Ann Taylor Says It Was Misinformed The First Time It Issued A Statement On Guide Dogs

Today is a day of statements from Ann Taylor. At first, the company said that the woman who was told her guide dog couldn’t be in the store was because she didn’t have a harness on it, which was untrue. It also said she was invited back in the store, also untrue. Now Ann Taylor has a whole new statement, saying they’d been “misinformed” before.

We received the below statement from Ann Taylor today about Becky’s story — a statement that is also circulating on Facebook as the store’s customers react.

We at Ann Taylor sincerely apologize to [Becky] for her experience at [our] store.

Service animals are always welcome in our stores and this incident is not representative of how we approach customer service.

In our previous statement we had said that her guide dog was unharnessed. This was not the case. We were misinformed, and we are sorry that this information was released.

We strive for 100 percent customer satisfaction. In this case we fell short. We are reaching out to [Becky] and her family to make this situation right.

Sincerely,

Catherine Fisher
VP, Corporate Communications
ANN INC.

We forwarded the statement to Natalie, Becky’s daughter, and she seemed happy with the effort, writing, “Wow, that’s amazing. I know my mom will be pleased, she was so disheartened when they said that.”

Check out Becky’s blog and subsequent updates by clicking here.

Comments

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  1. Coffee says:

    Translation: Oh shit….oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit…*banging head on keyboard* oh shit oh shit y7uh67uy667yt76yu7y6u7y6u7y6u78.

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

  3. RedOryx says:

    “We were misinformed, and we are sorry that this information was released”

    AKA: The stupid manager lied to us when we asked and we just took her at her word and published that statement to shut all of you up.

    • AlfredaCosta says:

      Bingo. This is exactly what I thought when I read the original statement from Ann Taylor.

    • Difdi says:

      It’s not exactly a new law, after all. I imagine some of the sales clerks in the store are younger than the law is. How could they possibly not know by NOW?

  4. bluline says:

    Catherine Fisher, as someone who’s been in the corporate communications field for more than 30 years, I can say with a fair amount of certainty: You blew it. And so did your company.

    The first rule of communications is never to lie and never make the situation worse. You did this in spades, and then some.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      Wasn’t Catherine Fisher in that horror movie?
      Or was it Carrie Fisher? I’m so bad with names.

    • runswithscissors says:

      She wwebsite as on the internet. She wwebsite as on the internet BIG TIME.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      I doubt she intentionally lied. What she probably did was foolishly choose to believe a lying store manager. The store manager lied in a pathetic attempt to cover her own ass. once the truth came out Ms. Fisher did her best to clean up the mess.

  5. humphrmi says:

    I think that part of “making it right” should include signed apologies from the staff involved.

    • sirwired says:

      You mean all the employees involved except the person that came up with that stupid lie to corporate. I don’t think she’ll exactly be available to sign anything, given how she will be tied up searching for a new job.

  6. StevePierce says:

    Good for Ann Inc. for standing up and admitting there was a problem, they made a mistake, and are taking steps to fix it. – Steve

    • runswithscissors says:

      … on the third try.

      But yes, eventually they stepped up.

      • MMD says:

        Well, maybe they’re stepping up. The real test is how, exactly, they “reach out” to Becky. Until then, it’s just a bunch of words on the internet.

    • Costner says:

      Call me crazy, but I STILL don’t think they get it. They are still making it appear as if it would matter if the dog was in a harness or not… and they are claiming they were misinformed.

      The fact is, even if the dog was not in a harness, and even if they knew it wasn’t… it still doesn’t matter because service animals are not required to be in harnesses! They are grasping for excuses to defend their previous behavior – and in my eyes they are continuing to show just how out of touch they really are.

      I hope Ann Taylor develops some type of a new training program as a result of this, because it seems people at all levels of that organization are clueless.

  7. Cooneymike says:

    Wow, and all it took was three stories on Consumerist and a plague of bad press to get them to say they were sorry for breaking the law and treating a customer badly. If only Sears and Bank of America were so responsive.

  8. KrispyKrink says:

    Everyone in this company from the top down needs to be trained on the ADA. WTF people?

    When I did retail in the 80′s and into the mid 90′s ADA training was standard. We even learned about it before we were trained on the new fancy whiz bang computerized POS terminals and barcodes.

    • Mollyg says:

      I find it highly unlikely that you were trained on the ADA in the 80s when the ADA was passed in 1990.

      • KrispyKrink says:

        Started in the 80′s when the ADA passed in the 90′s it became mandatory part of training to avoid liability and crap like this.

        • ChuckECheese says:

          They didn’t have disabled peopple back in the 80′s. We all danced to The Go-Go’s back then. Assistive devices only got in the way.

    • Stannous Flouride says:

      When I read “new fancy whiz bang computerized POS terminals and barcodes.” I didn’t see POS as ‘point of sale’ but ‘piece of shit.’
      (though of course as with all new technology both might have been true)

  9. Scoobatz says:

    Here’s the real test. Becky needs to go back to the store and see if she gets the same treatment. Hopefully, the same employees will be working.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Don’t count on it. The other Ann Taylor stores are probably still clueless. The malls are also often clueless – their mall cops think “no dogs” means “no dogs of any kind, regardless of harness”

    • crispyduck13 says:

      No, she should go to a different Ann Taylor (although I think this is the only one near her), get the same shitty treatment, and hire a damn lawyer already. What the hell are they waiting for? Sometimes people are too nice. AT deserves to pay the fine here.

      • Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

        IANAL, but I didn’t think someone had to sue in order for the store to get a fine. It’s not like the aggrieved party gets to keep the fine anyway.

  10. sirwired says:

    I do believe a certain manager and PR rep are both now unemployed. (The manager likely in a way that makes him/her ineligible for unemployment.)

    This was an epic fail on so many levels. Both at the store and corporate.

    It should have been obvious to corporate that the idea of an unharnessed guide dog for the blind Did Not Compute. Not only was it a lie by the manager, it was a STUPID lie that should have been spotted in about five seconds by anybody with a dozen functioning brain cells.

    And, in any case, PR should have talked with Legal, who would have informed them that even if the guide dog was unharnessed, that makes precisely zero difference. To get a service dog kicked out, it must be disruptive, not merely unleashed.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      Yeah, I was thinking “let’s review the security video footage here…uh, oops…” should have been done BEFORE releasing the statement and not after. And that employee SHOULD be fired for the original offense, and then lying about it. And the manager demoted to shoes.

  11. MMD says:

    You would think that after the first internet maelstrom, they would have really made sure they understood what happened before making a statement. It’s not like we weren’t all waiting to see what they’d say!

  12. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I do believe the possibility of $50,000 fine caught the attention of the executives and hopefully the Ann Taylor Corporate Communications drones have learned a little something.

    • sirwired says:

      No, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the puny fine that got their attention. The beyond-lousy PR is a lot more expensive than an insignificant 50k.

    • sparc says:

      fines mean absolutely nothing. Just look at BP. They’re still going strong after the Deepwater Horizon and they’re on the hook for tens of billions.

  13. Elder Feller says:

    Sounds like they finally found the oil can and got the old management roller skates lubricated.

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    “HEY THERE, ANN TAYLOR, YOU SCROOOOOOOOED IT UP!” —Randall Flagg

  15. bobosgirl says:

    Yep- that’s my post on their Facebook page. I am happy thy left it up, and responded.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      What does your post say and what’s their response?

  16. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Most likely the local manager lied to head office and is now in deep doo doo.

  17. El_Fez says:

    Initializing the PubRelationTron 2000. . . .

    Engaging Filters. . . .

    “We’re sorry we got caught feeding you a line of standard bullshit. We’re sorry that you were offended by this statement.”

    • incident_man says:

      That’s exactly it, too. Their typical responses seem so canned that it has to have come from some sort of computer algorithm.

  18. PupJet says:

    Glad to see that they went all out in making a post…now if they could only back it up.

    I have a service dog (I have severe enough panic/anxiety attacks that they can cause me to collapse and he is there to either keep me supported if I’m still conscious, or to lay lengthwise as to get someone’s attention that there is an issue). He is a registered service dog that I trained (and had him tested so I can see his progress, and yes, it DOES get expensive).

    If I went into a store and was told I couldn’t have him in there -OR- if they asked what my disability was, I guarantee you I’d hop on the ‘F-U’ bandwagon. To be honest though, I’ve only ever had the problem once and that was at a restaurant (small ma-pa type). I notified them that he is a service dog. They actually brought him out a bowl of water (he lays under the table in most cases).

    The thought from this? The fact that ma-pa stores know more about the ADA than apparently this company! LOL

  19. longfeltwant says:

    Seems legit to me. Better late than never.

  20. Clyde Barrow says:

    I was greeted by a clerk with her first words indicating I needed to leave the store with my dog. I politely explained that she was a guide dog and allowed to be here. She indicated again dogs were not allowed and she would need to talk to her store manager.
    ________________________

    Can anyone really be this ignorant?