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if you work for free...where would you draw the line at unhygienic 'duties' not in job description

(12 Posts)
alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:01:29

I managed a charity shop myself till last year, paid. At the moment I'm volunteering in one, unpaid, which is fine as i don't want the responsibility right now and I love it. I've only been there a few days.
I suppose this is a more 'what would you do' and where would you draw the line..
In my old shop, customers would regularly ask to use the loo. There were no public loos at all where my shop was.. however there were many, many cafes. I'd usually let them bullied into it sometimes, jeez i'm a soft touch! but actually wasn't allowed to because of health and safety, ie not being insured for customers in back rooms etc (also theft issues). Frequently they would leave an absolute mess especially if small kids were involved.. I'd have to clear it up. I kind of gritted my teeth on this as was at least being paid and some of them were regulars. I never expected my volunteers to clean the loo etc.. it was pretty horrendous at times as people could be very very messy eg poo all over outer seat / puddles on floor.. I was on minimum wage so it wasnt the greatest job to have to clear that up but probably my own fault for not putting foot down (though my vol's would also let customers use it against my better judgement. .knowing yours truly would clear up!) hmm
Today in my volunteer job.. lady comes in and there's a terrible smell coming from her toddler... she begs us to use the loo as child 'is potty training'. Public loos are a few mins walk away, nice clean ones in shopping mall. I ummed and aahed as its not my place to allow customers to use a staff loo, i'm just a new volunteer. She was very persistant and I gave in. It was only myself and elderly volunteer in shop... manager's day off. The other vol gave me a look, and told her, 'only if you leave it nice'. When she took the child in to staff loo, he told me that the previous week the child had peed all over the shop floor. She'd then taken him to the staff loo . She came out, ignored the floor and the vol' cleared it up.
So today he was cross with me for allowing her to go through. When she left the shop he went in and it was disgusting and he cleaned it up. Now he's cross with me and told me he doesn't get paid to clear up shit and piss...
So.. where do you draw the line with unpaid work? Letting someone who's desperate use the loo is one thing. But if they piss on the shop floor? or poo in changing room? (this happened a lot in my old shop). Do you expect unpaid workers to clear this up? What if you don't see it coming , as it were (because they are allowed to use changing room after all. . and you can't see them)
He said this lady has a 'grand sense of entitlement' as always lays on the 'but he's potty training' issue.. I do see his point.. I wouldnt want to clear it up either when i'd only signed up to work in the shop and do shop duties. You expect dirty donations etc but not cleaning the loo because a customer's trashed it. Often get donations are covered in bodily fluids but letting a customer use the loo.. just adds to more dirty work doesn't it.
So as a volunteer. .where would you draw the line if you had to clean up 'fresh' waste? Would you refuse and only expect paid staff to do it?
I think i made an enemy today with this vol' :-( but i'd seen other staff letting customers use loo even though the rules say no

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:01:37

sorry so long!

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:08:00

and whether you are paid or not in charitable work..where would you draw the line?

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 17-Jan-14 19:15:01

An unpaid volunteer shouldn't be letting them use the toilets. I would have expected you to clean it as you let her in. You need to learn to say no. It's not your place to go against company and H&S policy.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:50:57

Fair point. Just confusing when I'd seen other vol's earlier in day letting customers use it

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:52:43

i wouldve cleaned it but he went in there first and i was serving someone. Lesson learnt..but if i say no and other vols let anyone use it i bet certain customers will point that out..

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 17-Jan-14 19:55:42

Ok but......... what if you do not let a customer use the toilet. Who is expected to clear up other areas, if manager is absent? ie bodily fluids in the actual shop (this happened a lot in my old shop) Can vol's refuse? I frequently had nappies left in my old changing rooms as well as the 'phantom pooer' shock

Surely this is an issue for your manager to rule on - is store policy to let customers use the loo? If not, then if someone asks just say 'I am sure you will understand that we are only allowed to let staff and volunteers use our facilities and recent incidents mean we really have to stick to that policy. However, there are public loos just over there.' Big smile. And if the child poos on the floor offer to get her the stuff she needs to clean it up for herself.

CoffeeandNumbers Fri 17-Jan-14 20:23:24

Outright no, it's not fair on yourself or other vols/staff to possibly have to deal with other peoples poo and perhaps get ill.
It's up to a parents to know where the free toilets are on outings, and to try plan accordingly. And yep I agree with Lady... Parent of pooing child should clean up!
Also, it doesn't matter if you're paid staff or vol, unless you're a nurse/care worker etc. no one should have to clean up poo!

very fed up of 6mth olds nappies

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 18-Jan-14 19:16:29

So.,,,,,,, all day today I'm not letting customers use the loo! Except, a volunteer is letting them use it as changing room when the changing room is full! sigh..... what's to stop them doing a messy shit / piss whilst in there?! I give up!

Corygal Sat 14-Jun-14 23:08:51

Just don't let people off the street in to piss and shit everywhere and then leave it to someone else to clear up! Eww!

I hope you do give up, sounds like the established volunteers could use a break.

bakingaddict Sat 14-Jun-14 23:28:05

If you have people asking a lot just put a notice by the till saying something along the lines of sorry toilets not available for use by the public due to health and safety. Everybody who works in the shop must be firm otherwise you will be forever cleaning joe publics piss and shit

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