There are gracious ways to tell someone that your store doesn’t sell clothes that fit them. Throwing a teenage customer out of the store by saying, “You’re too big to be in this store. I need you to leave” is not one of them. That’s what an Oregon teen claims happened to her at a Rue 21 store at her local mall.
“We don’t have items in that size, but our sibling store does” works. Referring customers to the company’s website for a wider size selection or ordering a larger item in-store is constructive, at least. “Go to the black Macy’s for plus-size formal dresses” is helpful, but problematic. Mall stores can’t carry clothes that fit all people, and that’s okay. Throwing kids out, though?
Sure, it’s private property, but being fat in public isn’t a crime. Rue 21 is a trend-oriented store that sells clothes, and also sells things that fit everyone. Like accessories and fragrances. The girl claims that she and her friend were in the store to shop for perfume.
Of course, these incidents always happen over holiday weekends when news is slow and the PR department is on vacation. When Rue 21 didn’t have an answer for the girl and her mother, they turned to Facebook and to a local news station. A representative for the company told the station that they don’t condone discrimination of any kind.
The details of the store are meant to elicit sympathy: it was the teen’s first time shopping without a parent. She was looking to spend her birthday money. Having extensive experience in the field of being an overweight teenage girl, sometimes how you perceive or remember what someone said isn’t quite accurate. “We don’t carry that skirt in your size” or “miss, please don’t try on that sweater, it’s three sizes too small for you” might sound like the person is saying “get out of the store, fatty.”
Rue 21 says that they’re reviewing surveillance video and investigating the incident.
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