An Australian woman has detailed a “harrowing” experience she goes through every time she visits Bunnings – and bizarrely, she’s not the only one suffering.
Podcast host Lucinda Price visited the hardware store recently to buy a hammer when the sudden urge to go to the bathroom “washes over my body”.
The bizarre sensation “happens without fail” every single time Lucinda, also known as Frooomes by fans, goes to Bunnings.
And in an unexpected twist, it turns out Frooomes isn’t alone.
After Frooomes shared her bathroom emergency with her 56,000 Instagram followers, the comedian was inundated with messages from others who shared the unfortunate plight.
“I’m not kidding, I reckon 150 people messaged me saying they have the exact same phenomena,” she said in a video.
One woman shared her “harrowing” experience with Frooomes, in which pooped her pants in the Port Melbourne Bunnings store six months ago while wearing expensive Lulu Lemon leggings.
As another alleged it has “something to do with the power tools”, Frooomes explained.
“Another theory is that it’s something to do with the smell of manure.
But perhaps the most disturbing message Frooomes received was one from an employee who believes the “phenomenon” is behind a gross act committed by customers.
“It’s not an urban myth for people to shit in the display toilets in the aisles,” the former worker wrote.
“Happened multiple times in the 5 years I worked at Bunnings and wasn’t specific to my store either.”
Another employee also told Frooomes the “amount of people who ask where the dunnies are is crazy” – prompting the podcast host to look into the signs for the toilets at stores and discovering something very strange.
“I wouldn’t have even thought about this until I took this next photo,” she said, sharing an image of a red “public toilets” sign hanging from a warehouse ceiling.
“The sheer size of that banner compared to the green banners is really giving alarm signals.”
Since the TikTok video was shared on Thursday, it has already been viewed over 65,000 times, with many agreeing in the comments “it’s a real issue”.
“No joke, this is real it happens every single time I go, especially in the power tool area,” one wrote.
“Bunnings giving everyone the sh*ts, literally,” another remarked.
As one employee declared: “I WORK AT BUNNINGS AND QUITE LITERALLY HAVE TO SH*T AT LEAST 3x PER 8HR SHIFT. This is so real.”
Others said it happens to them in other stores, including Kmart, TK Max and most commonly libraries where it affects so many people, it has been given a name – the “Mariko Aoki phenomenon”.
While Mariko Aoki phenomenon hasn’t been medically or scientifically proven, some doctors have presented anecdotal evidence to support the connection between quiet spaces and their ability to move your bowels.
“It’s more common than people realise, and I think people are just embarrassed to talk about it,” Dr. Sameer Islam, MD, a US-based gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Texas Tech university, told Mens Health in 2021.
He explained it is a “purely psychological problem” caused by a connection between the gut and the brain.
“It’s called the gut-brain axis. What we feel mentally will affect our bowels. That’s why when you’re nervous, like taking a test or giving a public speech, you have butterflies in your stomach.
“It’s the nervousness you feel that corresponds to the butterfly feeling in your gut. For others, that nervousness will cause diarrhoea and bowel issues to occur.”
So why is it triggered in a book store – or larger retail outlets like Bunnings? Dr Islam said “the intensity” of the surroundings you encounter in these places “can trigger an autonomic response in your gut” which is behind the “urgency people feel”.
Luckily, Bunnings stores are well equipped with public toilets, so there’s no need to panic and use the display ones.
Originally published as Bunnings customers expose ‘harrowing’ toilet phenomenon