A Moral Quandary For Our Age

Staff Blog

Staff Blog | Sep 11, 2013

What's new at Car Talk Plaza? This week, we’re puzzling over an ethical and moral quandary from a call on this past week’s show, courtesy of Darrell in Nitro, West Virginia:

When nature calls and the only restroom on the horizon is inside a fast-food restaurant are you obligated to get fries with that?

Can you pee without guilt, if you don't pay? (Flickr photo by Leo Reynolds)Truly, a question for our times!

This ethical, moral, and excretory conundrum sparked a lively debate on our Facebook page . (Missed the call? Hear it here.)

Here’s what a few of our philosopher-fans said:

The “I Bought Something Last Time” Defense: “I often buy there without using the facilities, so why always buy something?” -- Tim Van Son

The “Pay-It-Forward” Argument: Belinda Evil-Cackle Franke says, “I almost always buy something. If I'm on an epic road trip, I'll be needing more coffee anyway.” John M. Polhamus responds, “That may be why you stopped there in the first place, so it's sort of a ‘pay it forward.’”

The “Capitalism in Action” Defense: “Public place, public restroom, no obligation to buy something for using the restroom. A bathroom is a convenience offered in part to attract customers. Put another way, what if you are shopping at a department store and need to use the restroom...are you obligated to buy a piece of clothing? Of course not.” -- John O’Hara

The “Who’d Notice?” Defense: “No. They dispense so much crap that I feel like I'm sort of helping to even the score.” -- Diane Sirois

The “Your Tax Dollars At Work” Case: “Honestly, all those joints are so heavily subsidized between the food they buy and the aid their employees receive, I look at it as a public restroom.” -- Nancy Floyd

And the just plain “Yuck” Argument: “That gives new meaning to a #2 combo.” -- Chris Seidt

You’ve read the arguments, now we’re going to settle this once and for all.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One