open letter to local convenience store

Dear owner of my local convenience store,

I shop at your store everyday, at least once a day, occassionally up to three times a
day. I generally shop in the evening, shortly after eight-o-clock bedtime is over for
my kids. In the last couple of weeks, I have noticed a new employee in your store. It is hard
to miss her because of the abrasive, rude manner in which she speaks to people,
mainly other children.

I felt like saying something in defence of these kids a couple of times and everytime I
went home, berating myself that I hadn't spoken up. If
I had told the clerk that I wanted
to use the remainder of my change for candy, would she have muttered "How did I know
you were going to say that?" as she told me how many candy I could have? And would
she have yelled at
me in front of a long line of customers that she was currently waiting
on to "Hurry up! It shouldn't take you THAT long to pick out your candy!" Somehow,
I doubt it. In my head, I kept thinking if that was
my child that she was yelling at
and making feel like a criminal in front of a store full of people,
then I would say

That day has come.

Yesterday at around 6:30, my husband sent my ten year old daughter around the corner
to your store to buy some bacon. My daughter entered the store and did not know
where bacon might be. She wandered around for a bit and looked and when she
couldn't find it, she approached the counter, where there was a male customer ahead
of her. Before the male moved on, the clerk said to my daughter "Are you buying something?
Or are you buying nothing?" in a harsh enough tone that my daughter was
embarassed. When my daughter asked if they had bacon, she was told abruptly
that they did not, they were all out.

I went to the store a couple hours later to get our requisite 2 chocolate bars and
bottle of Diet Coke. I had also intended to remark in passing to the clerk that
she might want to rethink how she speaks with children. However, while I was in
the store, I witnessed her literally screaming and pointing at a boy in the store,
threatening to put him out. He was visibly embarassed and shaken. I walked
up to the counter at this point and told the clerk that I did not think I could shop
in this store anymore, that I shop there every day (which she acknowledged)
and that my daughter had been in earlier that day and had been treated in an
abrupt manner as well. The clerk began denying the minute I mentioned my
daughter. She remembered her immediately as the little blonde girl, and when
I started to say how she had felt she had been spoken to harshly, the clerk didn't
even let me finish before saying "No". She also disagreed with me by saying that
my daughter couldn't have been embarassed because there was no one else in the
store (so in essence, she was calling my daughter a liar). At this point, I said
that I have seen the way she talks to kids in the store and beleive my daughter,
and that it isn't fair to assume that every child is a theif...we all have the capacity
and ability to shoplift, to assume that because someone is under the age of 19
is a suspect is stereotypical and judgemental and

I don't know what that boy was doing to warrant being yelled at like that
but I do know that you are innocent until proven guilty and that there was
many other approaches she could have taken with him. She could have easily
called out, "Excuse me, could you put your stuff here on the counter while
you get some money from your friend?" Same results, less fear and embarassment
and discomfort for all involved.

I felt bad a bit when I came home and thought about what I had said and how
I had berated her in front of a store full of people. But then, when I think
that could have been
my son or daughter on the receiving end of that
verbal assault and I don't feel bad anymore.

I have worked in retail for ten years. I spent four years in a bookstore, four years
in a record store and one year in a store that sold tee-shirts, jewellry and sunglasses
geared towards teens, so I have had experience in dealing with large numbers
of teens and pre-teens swarming your store at lunch hour and after school. However,
I also saw these people as
potential customers rather than as only potential shoplifters.
If you are running a store then you have to figure out a way of guarding your
store against theft without discriminating openly against people you
judge as a threat.

In closing, I regret that I can no longer, in good conscience, shop at your store.
I also have no wish of seeing the clerk fired. I only wanted to bring attention
to what seems to me to be wrong. I'm sure the clerk felt that she was doing her
job to the best of her capabilities, however flawed her methods may seem to me.

And one last thing, when I went to buy the chocolate bars, I noticed the cooler
plenty of bacon in it.

Thank you for your time.