Going poop in public — Rocky Mountain Chocolate edition

With four daughters, I’ve changed a lot of diapers over the years.

Almost all the diapers were cloth; at least for the first two children. Then, after too many green apple splatters seeping through, migrated to the seemingly more absorbent disposable diaper.

And then there were the emergency dumps that, well, we’ve all had, regardless of age. On Weeds last night, Nancy Botwin, played by Mary Louise Parker (right), peed into a cup while waiting to cross the Mexican-U.S. border.

Sometimes it’s not nearly that neat.

A reader told The Consumerist yesterday that,

"Last night we were out with friends and went to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at Bella Terra/Huntington Beach. We were eating outside as my 5 year old daughter got an uncontrollable urge to use the bathroom and began crying and screaming ‘diarrhea, diarrhea.’ I ran into the store with her in my arms, begging to use the bathroom and they refused multiple times.

“I explained she had diarrhea and couldn’t hold it and told them she was about to go on the floor. They refused again and never offered me any alternatives. I begged them to have a heart and that she was 5 but by that time she had lost it all over herself and me. I ran with her in my arms to the movie theater that let me use their bathroom. I cleaned her up, threw out some of her clothes and went back to the Chocolate Factory – asking for names and number of management. I again pleaded with them to use their heart in situations like this.”

Almost a year ago, a similar incident happened at a Jo-Ann Fabrics in Indiana. With similar results.

Today, California’s Orange County Register reported that officials with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory issued an apology, and that the story sparked a backlash that led to death threats, according to store owner, Bonnie Overturf, who was not there during the incident last Thursday.

Overturf said her employees were following insurance policies for her store, and there were at least a dozen restrooms near the store the mother could have used.

Bryan Merryman, chief operating officer for the Colorado-based candy company, issued an apology to the mother Tuesday, saying "the actions of one franchised store’s employees do not represent the values of the company … We truly regret this situation occurred."

"We are a very family friendly company and would never encourage any policy that does not take individual facts and circumstances into account,” he wrote.

Overturf, who said she apologized to the mother earlier, contacted police once death threats began and her home address was posted on an unknown Website. People also threatened to throw feces at her home, she said.

People shouldn’t throw piles of shit at store owners and their homes; or leave burning bags of poop on the front step. Poop is the source of many pathogens, stores are not all equipped to handle public poop, and some people don’t clean up after themselves (or pick up their dog’s shit).

But when kids (or others) gotta go, it’s better to isolate the mess to a bathroom.

I’ve cleaned up lots of shit. And expect lots more.