Tilly (geeksicle) wrote in bad_service,

This post reminded me of my own personal instance of accused thievery. I guess their ploy is to humiliate shoplifters - but it would have been nice if they'd checked whether I was actually shoplifing first.

I was on my day off and needed several things, and was browsing around different stores to get what I wanted. I bought the clothes I needed and then went to a store called The Warehouse to pick up some stationery, because they sell it dirt cheap. I walked in just fine, no problems. They didn't have what I needed, so I left. When I got to the doors, the alarm went off. I wasn't worried as I hadn't taken anything, so when the security guard came up and asked to check my bag I assumed I'd be there for a minute tops, and go on my merry way.

Apparently not.

He pulled out a bag from a different store I'd been to and asked "Is there anything embarrassing in here?" It was lingerie, but fairly respectable and unworn. I told him it was underwear but it was brand new and I didn't care if he checked it. He responded with "I'll get a female staff member to check it". I protested again that I didn't care, but he insisted and got the other (male) security guard to keep me at the door while he went to get a female staff member. It took him about ten minutes to find a female staff member who wasn't busy, and for this entire time I had to stand at the entrance to the store with a security guard hovering over me. The Warehouse is a popular store, and nearly everyone who came in or left while I was being held pointed at me, laughed at me, or gave me some sort of disapproving look. After about five minutes of this I asked the guard I was with if there wasn't a room or something they could move me to, and was flatly told "No". Not "We don't have such a room" or "That's not possible", just "No".

The real kicker is that when the female staff member finally got there, she looked at the bag and said to me "Oh, our system doesn't like their barcodes, they set it off all the time". If they knew their system had a problem with tags from that store, why did they check at all? Not only that, but when she did check the contents of the bag, the original guard was looking! I had been under the impression that the whole point of getting a female staff member was to avoid the embarrassment of having a strange man look at my undies. So I was forced to stand at the front of the store, being treated like a criminal, for ten minutes, for NO REASON. I know it may seem silly, to care so much abut whether a bunch of strangers think I'm a thief, but I've never shoplifted in my life and I found the whole experience humiliating.
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