NYC Restaurant Ditches Bathroom Attendants After Blog Rant
Henry Blodget's screed against Balthazar has real consequences
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2013 3:59 PM CST

(Newser) – Perhaps it's a slow news day in New York, but the topic everyone appears to be talking about is ... bathroom attendants. It started with a blog post on Friday by Business Insider chief Henry Blodget, in which he complained about the bathroom attendants at famed Manhattan restaurant Balthazar. Blodget bemoaned the plight of the "poor guy" whose job is to "stand in the bathroom watching people pee all day." Their presence, he wrote, invokes a series of emotions: "Annoyance, guilt, pity, uncomfortable invasion of personal space, and then ... extortion."

First We Feast followed up on the blog post, asking Balthazar owner Keith McNally for a response, and was surprised to receive this: "Unfortunately, I completely agree with it and will, in the next few weeks, relieve the restaurant’s bathroom attendants of their duties," he said. But the Atlantic Wire followed up on that news by interviewing the actual bathroom attendants, who say they hadn't heard anything about it. Cheikhou Niane, who has manned Balthazar's bathroom for four years, says he doesn't think McNally will follow through, because his job is too important. "If there's not somebody here," he says, "people come in, drop the paper, pee, no flushing, make kaka, no flushing. Very very very messy." For his part, Blodget appears to feel bad that he might be costing Niane and his colleagues their jobs. "Whoa! I hope they're hiring them as waiters!" he tweeted, then promised Business Insider would create three new jobs to replace those lost.

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TM Dowd
Nov 6, 2013 3:54 PM CST
I have been to too many restrooms that had a few or a dozen plus stalls and most if not all were a mess. Yes, I can and do clean up, but that doesn't mean everyone does. Attendants in retail locations also help with loss prevention. In classy establishments they mean the guest paying a hundred bucks for a nice meal have to step in something mysterious. They are as much a part of providing overall service as the windowwasher, service that isn't tipped. I wish there were more attendants, because those are much cleaner. Customers then clean up after themselves because they don't want to look like churls, even if it is a low wage job. Too bad people need an audience to do the right thing sometimes.
Nov 5, 2013 1:06 PM CST
Yeah, I can handle getting my own towel. Thanks. I hope these guys get transferred to other duties (janitorial staff, bussing tables). I hate the extortion. I hate feeling like I have to tip a guy every time I use the bathroom. This is a job that needs to go away.
Nov 5, 2013 5:31 AM CST
They just did the same thing at a Marriott property in Annapolis, a patio bar called Pussers is there too. It incensed me!! I'll never return; there is something so 'third world' and pathetic. I'm not in Monterrey; I'm in the MD Capitol City, for chrisake!!! They came here, and we live here to avoid that cr@p!!! Marriott can have someone go in there and clean it and keep it sanitary, plus it's not the Sans Souci, either!!! No some guy forlornly waiting for you to finish up. Nunca mas!!!