An article last week inadvertently exposed a little discussed issue for the world of workers' compensation. A woman, who allegedly defecated in a business parking lot eight times in a month was finally caught. She is a suspected “serial pooper,” and has earned the nickname the Parking Lot Pooper. She was finally caught – uh – red handed (???) doing the deed in the parking lot of the Natick Outdoor Store in Natick, Massachusetts this past week.
First, we must clarify, there is a distinct difference between a serial pooper and a cereal pooper. We really don't know what her daily diet regimen was, so it is possible in this case that she is actually a serial cereal pooper. But that seems beyond the scope of our actual point.
Employees at Natick's say the poop started appearing in their lot in December. A police spokesperson was quoted as saying, “At first, [workers] thought it was an animal but then they noticed toilet paper and other wipes — items animals would not have access to.”
No argument from me. In all my years I've never really known of wild animals using toilet paper or wipes when they are finished with their business. In law enforcement, that would be something they call, “a clue.”
Anywhoo, the Natick police force staked out the business, obviously using some poor sap who drew the short straw on this assignment. The stakeout produced results, as the cop on duty “spotted [her] letting her bowels loose out of the door of her 2018 Lincoln MKX SUV just before 7 a.m.”
I am sure the folks at Ford were happy to read that. I imagine they would have much preferred she was a Cadillac person.
She initially told the officer she “has irritable bowel syndrome and was on her way to her job as a nanny.” It was pointed out to her that there were “plenty of public restrooms nearby.” According to the article I read, the police also “called her employer, who confirmed she could have just pooped at their house.”
I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall for THAT conversation. “Who, our nanny? Sure, she could've pooped here. She poops here all the time. Are you saying she won't be in today?”
The store for its part, didn't know the woman and had no idea why she had targeted their parking lot for her drive by droppings. But that touches on the challenges for employers and workers' comp that serial poopers present. You see, in most businesses, when something is spilled or a mess is otherwise made, it is not unusual for a supervisor to say, “Someone is going to have to clean that sh*t up.” Except in these cases, the sh*t is actual, well, sh*t. And that constitutes potentially hazardous waste that the average retail employee is neither equipped nor trained to handle.
According to the World Health Organization, when not properly handled, human excrement can transmit “many infectious diseases including cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, ascariasis, and schistosomiasis.”
Yikes. Of course, the extensive research performed to produce this article also found this gem:
According to the Illinois Poison Center, eating poop can be “minimally toxic.” However, poop naturally contains the bacteria commonly found in the intestines. While these bacteria don't harm you when they're in your intestines, they're not meant to be ingested in your mouth.
Thank you, Illinois Poison Center. How would we survive without that critical knowledge? It is sometimes amazing that we can sleep at night.
This event was not an isolated one. There have been other occurrences of “serial pooping.” In 2018, a New Jersey Superintendent of Schools was arrested after being caught relieving himself on high school grounds. He was caught by surveillance set up after “weeks of employees finding feces on a “daily basis” near or on the high school football field and track.” People now refer to him as the School Pooperintendent.
As for our Massachusetts super pooper, the owner of the Natick Outdoor store said it best. He said, “I'm so happy they arrested her. I have no idea who she is. This has been ongoing. She has defecated quite often over here. There's nothing more disgusting coming into your parking lot in the morning and seeing a pile of human excrement.”
And then, of course, having to tell an employee that someone has to go clean that sh*t up.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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