What Would You Do?

I am in Las Vegas (Yay!) for the SHRM conference and ran into an incident that I want to run past everyone on this forum. I was doing some shopping along The Strip yesterday when I saw a high-end department store that has product I can only find in that chain.  I was of course excited and walked inside. One of the sales people was being very helpful and struck up a conversation about where I live.  When I told her where I live she mentioned that she had lived there when she was younger.  She was talking about the beaches in the area when she made a racially offensive comment relating to one of the beaches.  The comment was like a punch in the stomach. I quickly told her that her comment really bothered me and I couldn't in good conscience buy anything from her.  She said she didn't "mean anything bad" by her comment. I responded by saying that she may not see her comment that way ... but most everyone else will.  My question is ... Should I report the incident to her manager and/or the company? Or did I do enough already? If it were my company and I had an employee like her, I would want to know about the incident.  The non-HR-minded person in me thinks I did enough already and should let it be. I had never been in this situation as a customer before yesterday.


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This is a tough question. You seem pretty upset by the comment so it must have been offensive and not subject to other interpretation. I admire your taking a stand and letting the salesperson know that her remark was rascist. Since the comment was offensive enough to cause you to leave the store without purchasing the item you were interested in, I think it would be appropriate to report the incident to customer service.
  • Definitely inform the store about the incident.  I just read about a case where a Dillard's sales associate refused to show a high-end watch to an African-American couple.  If the couple hadn't reported this behavior, which is in violation of several Dillard's policies, the clerk would have continued to discriminate against and insult customers and create a negative image of the store. Store management needs to be informed so it can initiate disciplinary measures or termination.  The Dillard's clerk sued for wrongful termination, but the court of appeals found for the store.

    Green et al. v. Dillard’s (No. 06-1918) (<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Cir., 4/5/07)

  • I agree that you should inform the store management.  From an employer's perspective, that kind of comment is indicative of a big problem just waiting to happen.  If the clerk would say that to you, I think the clerk's bias would be reflected in lots of other areas too. 
  • I agree. If the clerk is disciplined or fired, she had it coming.
  • The opinion is unanimous so far. Thanks for the advice.  I think I have to bring it to the company's attention.
  • You started down the right path by confronting her now follow through and contact the company.

  • KUDOS for standing up for what is right and for doing it face to face.  That is not an easy thing to do.  I agree with everyone else that it should be reported and I hope by now you have done so. 

     I think a company can only benefit from customer comments good and bad.  I like to acknowledge good customer service by contacting the Corporate office with good stories, but I have contacted them for the bad as well.  The company's response also help you determine if you want to continur shopping there,

Sign In or Register to comment.