J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Complaint - Discrimination and Harassment
MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA -- This letter is to discuss the experience at your Minot, North Dakota JC Penny’s store. The experience was the worst form of harassment and discrimination that we have encountered. To start with, we went to exchange a pair of pants for our young diabetic son who is 8 years old and has encountered many hardships in his life, this should not have added to his hardships. The visit to JC Penny had included my wife, 2-year-old daughter, 8-month-old son, and our 8-year-old son.
Pushing the two strollers should not have made us look suspicious. While we were at your store we decided to do some more shopping, we like the clothes that your store offers. My son likes to look at the rest of the mall also; he is a very happy 8 years old.
My son had to use the bathroom so he went to the one in the mall. My 8-year-old son had to use the bathroom because he is diabetic and sometime is immediate with his body than with a non-diabetic’s body. My wife took him and my 2-year-old daughter. While I waited in the store with our 8 month old son. I noticed that there was a woman who had been following us. The security personal continued to follow us.
While the rest of my family was gone, the security continued to follow my 8-month-old son and me. My wife did eventually return and the security woman proceeded to follow all of us again through the infant area, the toddler area, the young children’s area, then to the young teen area where my wife and I looked for our other two teenage daughter’s clothes who are 13 years old and 15 years old. It was very disturbing that this was so blatant and obvious, and the fact that she was continuing to follow us through the entire store. It was so apparent what she was doing because there were so many people in the store and she just kept following my family and me. The other people in the store were of no concern to this security guard.
The experience reminded me of a story that I had been told about 4 years ago by a person who had worked there and been told by the staff and security to watch the Native Americans when they came into the store. The former associate told me she was offended. She told the staff about her husband being Native American and they asked her what tribe he was from, when she responded what tribe he was from the staff told her they meant the other tribe in North Dakota from Belcourt, North Dakota. The tribe the staff is referring to is the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, which I come from.
So you understand my ethics and beliefs. I was never taught to run from adversity, I was never taught to scream the word discrimination or to hate anybody for his or her skin. My parents are very proud of being Americans; we are a very strong family. Our core principles are God, education, hard work community service and a faith that others will treat your fair. I have always been independent. I have always taught my five children to better their lives by education, handwork, and the strong belief that we can do better by hard work and believing in Gods word. I do not believe in stealing. I have never taught my children to steal nor do I believe anyone should steal under any circumstances.
This would never be acceptable to me.
I believe that we do learn from the past and believe me the past is still in play in this store, there are generations of prejudice here in this particular store and the status quo is not ready to change without further urging of the corporate office, the CEO and the President of JC Penny’s. I do believe that you do have to identify the obvious in order to change what is taking place and this store has a serious problem with who they racial profile and that they choose to employ people who discriminate. I do hope you appreciate what it feels like to work all your life to undo people’s unfair and unwarranted stereotypes and prejudices’ and to have this happen to your children who you love and care for.
I hope you know what it feels like to explain to your children that they have done nothing to deserve this treatment. When my wife and I got to the checkout counter the person, who was the cashier went to exchange something for a different size for us. The security person continued to circle us, which by this time I was very frustrated with this behavior. We were fortunate that another checker came by because she asked if she could assist us, she started to ring up the merchandise, I let her know how hurt and offended I was, and that I just wanted to pay for our merchandise and leave.
I let her know that I was feeling very discriminated against and insulted that this was occurring. I explained to her that the security person even continued to come by and harass us as we stood by the counter waiting for the cashier to return, she asked was this person blonde and I replied yes the second cashier came back and I filled her in about this situation. She seemed generally apologetic and at that very time, the person walked again by us and acted as if she was leaving the store. What she really did was go into the security room. I asked the checkout clerk if she would please relay this message to the manager. She stated she would. As we exited the store, I saw the security person again coming from a room by the exit and I told her thank you for making our shopping experience so pleasant. It was very odd how she left when we left, and how she invested a whole hour to just following us.
I immediately called the store back when I arrived home and asked if I could speak to the manager. The supervisor on duty Jackie answered the call. Jackie stated the two cashiers had not yet mentioned the story to her when I asked. I then explained to her what had happened and she said she did not believe that this person was doing this intentionally. I explained to her the circumstances again there was no mistaking what had happened she almost seemed like it was finally getting through to her, then she said I would have to speak to the Assistant manager tomorrow. Why did she want me to speak to the assistant manager? I even asked her to view the tapes. I called the store today 08/29/08 the next day around 1330cst.
I initially asked for Jackie the supervisor to see if she had spoken to the manager. Jackie the supervisor then transferred me to the assistant manager Penny. Penny explained that she would have to speak to the cashiers. I asked her Penny to call me back and she asked why? I explained to her that I wanted to have a response to the complaint. She told me sorry but she did not feel that I am owed an explanation. I felt that she did not even have the customer service skills at this point in our conversation to assure me that she understood my families concerns.
I was very disappointed that some people never find prejudice old and tiring. I am especially hurt that the staff of JC Penny’s did not even feel they owed it to us to properly address this issue.