The Shopping Diaries: Shopping Discrimination Continues…

Update: On 12/22/11 I spoke with the manager on duty at this Macy’s location. I explained my experience. He was very kind, understanding, and sincerely apologized. We chatted a bit about it and he said he would definitely speak with the associate. I hope he does and she learns from the incident. There’s no room for size/shopping discrimination. I’ll let my $$$ speak for me from here on out.

I’ve worked many years in the retail world. I know what great customer service is and I can spot crappy customer service from a mile away. As a sales associate, I knew that a smile and hello went a long way. And I would never discriminate against a shopper looking to spend their money in my store.

It sucks, but shopping discrimination happens a lot and is never really spoken about. It’s uncalled for and I don’t understand it.  Why would you want to stop someone from buying something in your store? And why would you try to make them feel like they don’t belong there?

Today, I was doing my Christmas shopping and I walked into Macy’s. I was looking to buy a coat for my mother-in-law. I came across a beautiful purple one with gold buttons, but I really wanted it in red. So, I asked the sales associate, who was standing behind the register, if they had one in that color.

She looked up at me and said, “Yes, but not in your size.”

Now, I will honestly tell you, I’m not a super sensitive person. But, this really irritated me. Not once did I say the coat was for me. I told her it was for my mother-in-law and I walked away. I didn’t buy anything there and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever shop at that location again.

I have no idea what that sales associate thinks about women who are my size. And maybe she didn’t “mean it that way.” I couldn’t tell you what ran through her mind as those words were spoken.

I will tell you I’ve been shopping at Macy’s for years and never once experienced anything like this. But, I have heard stories from women who have experienced it at other retailers. I just never thought it would happen to me.

In case you’re wondering, I decided to address Macy’s here for one reason only. I want them and other retailers to know that words like these can be hurtful. Whether it’s about size, race, age, or physical appearance-discrimination is discrimination. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to spend my hard earned money in places that treat me like this.

I’m curious to know if any of you have experienced anything like this. What was your reaction?

  • oh god i would have went off on that lady and then made sure to tell her manager girl i have such a hot temper when it comes to that kind of stuff, and i totally agree the work ethic when coming to customer service these days is just horrible.

    • Monique

      As much as I wanted to “go off” I knew it wouldn’t of been pretty. LOL

  • Moe

    Very rude indeed and so no the point of your question. It is Christmas, people are everywhere shopping for other people. Why would she even assume you were shopping for yourself? It is too bad, I hope you find a better gift for your mother-in-law somewhere else.

    • Monique

      Ohhhh I definitely will.

  • Kathleen

    Happens every day, over the country-best thing to do is proactively stay in the moment and ask for a manager. Walking away means that she gets to insult the next person of size who crosses her path. Tell her superior and be an agent of change-don’t let her ignorance steal your voice.

    • Monique

      That sucks that it does happen every day. But, I agree about asking for the manager. I’m actually going to call the store manager tomorrow. Thanks for the advice. 🙂

  • WOW! This infuriated me! Screw her! I myself would’ve asked her exactly what she meant by that comment she made. Was she insinuating you were fat? Sounded like an insult to me. You did good by telling her it was actually for your mother in law and walking away though. SMH I myself have never experienced this, being plus size myself I pray the day doesn’t come, because any cashier that has the gull to have something like that come out of her mouth would be wishing she wasn’t working that day! LOL I would still make a complaint to their head office, that’s just plain rude. Embrace your curves girl, don’t let her get you down.. she was probably a skinny bit*h anyways right? Hehehehe 😛

  • This happens to me consistently at Victoria Secrets. The funny thing is that I know they sell my size in the drawer down below the things that are out but I don’t worry about it. My mom likes their fragrances and that is the only reason I am in there.

    • Monique

      This is so sad that this happens at places I like to shop!!

  • I have been treated like this and I have to tell you that I can hold a LONG brand grudge. I have stores I still refuse to shop because of the customer service I received (Body Central… you see me looking at you)… That should be part of training101. But what gets me is this is the holiday season… why would she “assume” that it was for you? She was just an idiot… period!!

    • Monique

      Wow…they are seriously going to be losing out on a lot of money!!

  • Not only would I have been heartbroken and embarrassed for someone to say that to me, but my inner protective “B” would have kicked in high gear. I would definitely not only post this on because it gets a lot of attention and is growing in trust, I would write a letter to the store, its corporate office, and tweet/facebook as much as I could about the experience while copying their accounts in on my discussions. They deserve as much negative publicity as you can produce. If I experienced this it would hurt me tremendously.

  • I HAVE had a similar experience a few years ago, shopping at Kohl’s.  My friend had asked me to see if they had any sundresses since I was going to be there anyway.  I walked through the various racks in the store, and did not see anything.  A sales associate was in the “Petite” section of the store, and I asked her where sundresses were.  She eyeballed up and down, and made a scrunchy face and said, “We don’t carry dresses in YOUR size.”  Humiliated, I left the store.  And I was wearing a size 16 at the time!  I cannot even imagine how she treated other customers who were bigger than me, if she was that rude and size-ist to someone who is basically an average size.

    I did nothing, but to this day, I really wish I had.  Instead, I got a job at a plus size retailer on the weekends, and do everything that I can to make every woman who walks into the store feel amazing and important.