UPDATE: Barnes & Noble is now apologizing to a customer who claimed he was booted from the store for shopping alone in the children’s section, saying in part, “It is not our policy to ask customers to leave any section of our stores without justification.”
When buying presents for your grandchildren, it’s a lot easier to do that without the actual children along on your shopping trip — especially if said children live in another state. A man looking for books for his two grandsons in Scottsdale, Ariz. claims that Barnes & Noble discriminated against him because he was a male shopper alone in the children’s area.
The 73-year-old man says an employee forced him to leave the store, because a female shopper had complained about him being in the store’s children’s area. The man says he wasn’t doing anything wrong, and simply was looking for books for his two grandsons who live in Wisconsin, says The Arizona Republic.
“Men alone cannot be by themselves in the children’s area,” he claimed he was told, and that the employee said other bookstores had problems with child molesters in the past.
A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman said in an email to the paper: “We have no comment on the store matter you called about. We believe we acted appropriately.”
But the man thinks Barnes & Noble didn’t properly address his discrimination complaint, even though it had promised someone would contact him after it was investigated.
“They’re trying to push it under the rug and they are not taking responsibility for what happened,” he said. He adds that his dignity was compromised when the store employee “escorted me out as a potential sex offender.”
The only remarkable thing he did while in the store, he says, was to take a phone call. He went to a quiet spot near the windows in the nearly empty children’s area and sat on the floor to talk, before he was interrupted by the store employee and told to leave. He later returned and asked to speak with the woman who had complained, but was denied.
He is now considering legal action.
Scottsdale man accusing Barnes & Noble of sex bias [The Arizona Republic]