Burlington Coat Factory Informative - Treated Like A Thief
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- My 14 year old son entered the store in Concord NH to purchase an MP4 player. He had the cash in his pocket. He was tailed as soon as he approached the product simply because of his age. Undaunted, he continued to shop trying to ignore that the manager had been immediately paged as soon as he went near the high end products and was now following him throughout the store glaring at him angrily. Naturally, at 14 this made him a bit nervous. He decided it was best to finish up his shopping. When he headed for the registers, he was approached by the assistant manager and told to leave. Being rather shy, he did as he was told, but was followed still, all the way out the door. When he picked up his scooter to leave, he was yelled at by the manager to stop riding in front of the store; he wasn't. At this point he lost his patience and insisted he would be informing his parents of what had happened.
He did inform me and I told him unfortunately his age was going to cause suspicion, as unfair as this might be, and he was best advised to leave larger purchases for a day when I was with him. I promised to take him to purchase the item myself. Again my son entered the store, this time slightly ahead of me and my husband, the manager was again immediately paged to follow my son. Who, by the way, has no criminal record, nor has he ever been a behavior problem, anywhere! The child has never even chewed gum in class! I decided it was best to avoid a confrontation by simply letting it be known he was with his parents.
Again we picked up the item, again the manager and the assistant manager approached him, or rather me this time. Amazingly they admitted to having asked him to leave because he had acted suspiciously by looking at the higher priced items in the store. I informed them this was not a crime and that he had money to make his purchase in his pocket. A rather rude response followed and, as a former retail manager, I explained to him that I understood his reason for suspicion, however, the better way to handle it was to watch from his security room, or follow him discreetly, whereupon he would have seen my son pay for the item, not steal it.
He then informed me that my son was acting suspiciously and harassing the customers. I said if my son was being rude I was happy to hear his report, as this was unacceptable behavior and would be punished, he had no report. I asked for specifics, he could give me none. I asked if he'd videotaped it on his security cameras, he said that was private. I asked if he could tell me what was on the videotape, again he said that was private. I asked if he'd reported my son's behavior to the police and if so what was the claim. He had none. “So, in other words my son came in, looked at a product he wanted to buy, decided to buy it, and was thrown out because you assumed he wasn't going to pay for it, and now you want to harass me when I bring him in to buy the item with parental assistance.”
I asked for his district manager's name and phone number, I was told it was private. I reminded him that I had been in retail management for many years and knew contacting his DM was not a private issue. He gave me a phone number that turned out to be false. I managed to contact the DM anyway. I was told by the DM that the situation would be investigated. Three weeks later I have yet to hear back from him. I am appalled. My son took his business elsewhere and so have I. I sincerely hope anyone who cares for children's rights will follow suit.