By: Gawker Email
By: Gawker Email

(Gawker) - The Flood Zone, like many restaurants, has a policy requiring all restroom seekers to be paying customers. Fair enough.

It also has a policy stating that non-customers who insist on using its restroom pay $5 for the privilege Steep, yet still fair.

But Patricia Barnes says the Erin, Tennessee establishment left fairness far behind when it mailed a handwritten letter to her home address, demanding she fork over the restroom fee she neglected to pay.

Barnes told the Today Show she received permission to use the Flood Zone's facilities, but missed the small index card by the side of the mirror that informs non-customers of the $5 penalty.

An employee did bring it to Barnes' attention after she exited the restroom, but she declined to pay up.

That's when the restaurant's owner went into full stalker mode, contacting Houston County Sheriff Darrell Allison, and asking him to run Barnes' license plate number. The Sheriff complied.

Once the owner obtained Barnes' home address, she shot off a quick note detailing Barnes' transgression and requesting payment.

"I just thought it was unbelievable," Barnes said. "I'm like, what type of people are these?"

Despite repeated efforts on Barnes' part to pay the $5 and put this incident in her rearview, the restaurant refused to accept her money. According to Barnes, the owner said it wasn't about the $5 — it was about making a point.

And, considering what went into tracking Barnes down, it was a point that likely cost tax payers more than a measly fiver.

When confronted by the Channel 4 I-Team about his part in this sorry saga, Sheriff Allison expressed casual indifference.

"I would say that happens every day," he said, referring to sharing of residents' private information with business owners. "It's a very common occurrence."

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