Dillard's - Falsley Accused of Theft
I went into a Dillard's Department Store to purchase a new outfit for a work event and during the walk from the car to the door, I had to make a mad dash through a summer downpour (the kind that pops up out of nowhere). I used my purse to cover my head and when I entered the store, I asked a sales associate for a shopping bag to place my wet purse in.
I walked around and found some items to try on, and put back the items that didn't fit. They were having a sale so I selected a few more items on impulse since they were a good price. I know how the sales at the store works, where the associates get credit for the purchases they ring up. Since the first associate was so nice to me by helping me out with my wet bag, I planned to give her all of my sales. I also have worked in retail before and understand how LP operations work, and the legalities of it.
I selected items from different areas of the women's department, and had probably 8-10 items. After encountering some pushy sales people that kept trying to take my items and "hold" at their register, I used the shopping bag to carry the selections with me, rather than have an armful of clothing that was hard to carry. I removed my purse from the bag before I did this.
On my way to the pajama department, not anywhere even near the exit, I was stopped by 3 very young associates, that said I had to come with them. I asked why, and they very blatantly accused me of shoplifting. I asked them, how could I have stolen anything, I haven't even left the store, and it's difficult to navigate shopping without something to aid in carrying purchases. "where did you get that bag?" "From one of your associates, to hold my wet purse when I came in" I offered my wet purse to them to feel. They kept insisting for me to follow them, and I refused.
I said that I have no intention of taking their things, and explained that I wanted to credit the associate that offered me the bag since she was very helpful. I handed the girl my shopping bag and said if you want to take it to the lady that I got the bag from, I'll leave it there until I find some pajamas. They still insisted that I was shoplifting, and since I really wasn't I refused to comply to their demands.
Their threats were very loud and embarrasssing to me in front of other customers, and they didn't even listen to the explanation without jumping to conclusions. When they asked the associate that gave me the bag, she said that she did, and I looked at her and said "You can thank your co-workers for losing a $300 sale for you. I appreciate your help, but I'm not going to purchase these items".
I turned and left, and one of the other associates attempted to block my way with her hands. I promptly pointed at her and said calmly, "you are not allowed to touch me, and if you prevent me from leaving, I will have a talk with your manager that I was falsely detained, and my attorney will be following up." Indignantly, the first girls sputtered, "well...don't ever come back here!" I said "I haven't signed anything stating that I am trespassing nor banned from this location, so I'm free to come back and shop if I want to, not that I will after this episode."
I think the stores poorly train their associates and while I understand and respect their rights to prevent theft, they could use a little more judgment when it comes to who they accuse, and the methods they take when confronting a suspected shoplifter. I will be sharing this story across many internet consumer complaint boards, as I feel they are a company that could use a little change, especially in the pushy sales associates.
I understand they only make a very low wage, and their salary is based on the volume of sales, regardless of the amount of customers willing to purchase or the economic environment, hence the pushy sales and nearly ripping items out of your hands as soon as you touch it. I hope they change something, because their products are nice, but I can find comparable items elsewhere.
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