79-year-old Christina Brown had a sales receipt and bank records showing that Target had taken cash from her bank account, but the retailer refused to give her a cash refund — offering a gift certificate instead. Christina refused. She wanted her money, and said she’d stay at the Target all day if she had to, but she wasn’t leaving without $30. Target told her she was trespassing and that they would call the police. Christina said that was fine with her and called 9-1-1 herself. When the police arrived, Target had Ms. Brown hauled out of the store on a stretcher and taken via ambulance to a hospital for a mental evaluation. Does wanting a cash refund mean you’re potentially mentally ill?
“If they thought I was a cranky old biddy, they should just have given me my money and let me go,” Christina told the Star-Tribune. “I paid in good faith, and I wanted my money back. That’s all. It’s the principle.”
“They can put you in jail for this,” she says a cop told her. “Well, I’ve got nothing else to do today,” she replied. “Besides, I may meet a better class of people in jail.”
The store wouldn’t budge. Christina wouldn’t bend. A stretcher was brought in.
Christina was strapped to it, and taken by ambulance to North Memorial Medical Center. Her physical and mental health was supposed to be evaluated.
Attention shoppers: You won’t take a gift certificate? You must be nuts.
“They thought I was loony or something,” Christina says, her voice still incredulous. “That’s the real crazy thing. I just wanted my money.”
In the emergency room, they looked her over and sent her home that day. She seemed to be an elderly lady who was upset. From Christina’s account, she also seemed to have a good reason.
Target’s Fransen says store employees were concerned for her health.
“It’s not anything she did,” he said. “Team members were concerned about her well-being and her safety, and wanted to make sure she wasn’t endangering herself.”
Perhaps, so. But this could be one case where three $10 bills would have done a lot more — and done it more cheaply — than an ambulance ride to a hospital.
Christina Brown wants an apology, she wants her money (including getting her medical bills from the unexpected hospital trip paid), and she wants this: “I want the staff trained in how to treat customers.”
Christina won’t get to help train them. Target signed a trespassing order against her, meaning she will be arrested if she returns to the Plymouth SuperTarget.
That, friends, won’t be a problem.
“I wouldn’t go back to that store if everything in it was free,” she says. “If they’re waiting to see me again, they’re waiting for a cold day in hell.”