Meijer, Inc. Complaint - Relationship Discrimination
FORT GRATIOT, MICHIGAN -- My boyfriend and I were unfairly discriminated against by a cashier (unknown) and the 2nd Shift manager, on the evening of May 7th, 2009. We were attempting to purchase a bottle of liquor when the cashier informed me that Meijer policy states that all adults purchasing liquor must show ID. When asked if I could return the car and have my boyfriend re-enter to purchase liquor in the interest of preserving the sale, we were ordered to leave. We understand that the cashier was acting in her best interest to protect company policy, but her personal verbal attacks were way out of line.
The cashier made several statements regarding the age difference between myself and my boyfriend (I am 29, he is 45) and referred to him as my "sugar daddy" while on a phone call to bring her manager to the register. Another customer overheard this and was appalled saying aloud "did you hear her? That was extremely rude." Additionally, she took my boyfriend's license and did not return it while she went to the phone and we fear she was taking information for an identity theft scheme, as we saw her remove a pen and paper and write down notes about it while waiting. Then, when returning his license, she struck an aggressive stance and threw it onto the register in our direction. We asked her not to be so hostile, which only increased her aggression. The manager did little to stop her personal rant on us.
We planned on spending over $500 in this location this weekend alone for an impending Mother's Day Celebration and would have returned the following day to purchase a variety of cooking supplies and products. Additionally, we spend $200-$300 monthly on items like hot dogs for "customer appreciation" for professional functions. Fortunately, there is a Wal-Mart located directly next door to this Meijer, so we will be moving all of our business to these locations instead.
I am appalled by the injustice that was done to us. Having our relationship referred to as being "suspicious" and "inappropriate" by a manager and a cashier simply based on the fact that I look young is discriminatory and offensive.
When we asked if my boyfriend would be allowed to buy liquor with his daughter (a minor) present, we were informed that "was fine because that is his daughter, but because I look old enough to be an adult, I must present ID." What I don't understand is that this "store policy" seems to encourage discriminatory behavior amongst Meijer associates, and does little to prevent minors from obtaining liquor. We understand that these employees were doing their best to follow company policy, but their verbal attacks on our personal situation were unnecessary and wrong. I have been encouraged by several friends to seek legal counsel for this incident, but I believe that doing so would only encourage more speculation on our healthy romantic relationship, which I am unwilling to do, not matter what type of financial gain I would receive. Some things are more important than money, like values and morals.
I pride myself for practicing anti-discriminatory values in my daily life and consequently am glad today to know that I will never cause anyone to feel as violated as I felt on May 7th 2009, when verbally attacked by the staff of the Fort Gratiot Meijer.