David's Bridal / discrimination
My friend is getting married in July of this year 2009. She, her mother, her physically challenged 4 year old daughter and her five bridesmaids including myself went to David's Bridal on January 25, 2009. We arrived in a positive state of mind and with high spirits this would be fun and exciting. My friends and I are not what you would consider small women - are sizes range from 6 to 22 in dresses. Everything was going smoothly, we had all tried on our dresses and the young lady who helped us was very helpful. We are boisterous ladies, some of us use colorful language but we are friendly and try get along with everyone. I noticed we were not as nicely dressed as some of the other customers with their tiny frames, colored hair, nice haircuts, expensive purses and full blown makeup several of the store representatives were giving us certain glances. My friend’s daughter was in her stroller - although she is four her medical condition does not enable her to communicate and frolic as most four year olds do. She is mostly deaf and has medical devices implanted in her head so she can distinguish sounds. Unfortunately she suffers also from a seizure disorder and communicates with sounds rather than words as her medical condition has hindered her learning process. Nonetheless she is a beautiful girl and we love her dearly but it doesn't seem some of the store employees feel the same way we do about our little angel.
My friend's daughter as any child would be did not want to stay in her stroller and became upset. I decided I would try to soothe her and picked up one of the hand mirrors customers are given to use to see what the back of their dress looks like while they are wearing it. I held it up to my friend’s daughter’s face so she could look at herself. Children’s reflexes are more quick than adult’s at times and this one no exception and my friend’s daughter grabbed the mirror and threw it on the floor. The mirror landed face down and I had a feeling it was broken. I planned to pick up the mirror and ask someone how much it would cost to replace it when a sales clerk snatched it up off the floor, made a sharp sigh and made it a point to turn it towards me while she looked away so I could see it was broken. She then walked away briskly. It was the sound she made and her mannerisms that upset me. This was the same woman who had acted in a “holier than thou” manner when we entered the store. I was upset because I felt if I were in her place I would have said “is everything okay, can I help you?” to which I would have stated “I’m afraid this mirror has been broken, how much to replace it?” But she didn’t, she scoffed and didn’t give me the respect of acknowledgement. I told the bride and the bridesmaids what happened and they were concerned. I told the girl who was helping us what happened and that I wanted a manager and she left to get her. The manager was busy ringing up other people so I waited, and waited ….and waited. I approached the woman who had taken the broken mirror and I asked her” I’m not happy with the way you handled what happened with the mirror? Why didn’t you acknowledge me?” She responded “I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.” My thought is if you want to make sure someone wasn’t hurt would you not ask “Is everyone okay?” This woman didn’t even look at me or my friends daughter she just picked it up and walked off – you would think she would have at least checked the child if she were concerned. She also added “I didn’t want you to be embarrassed” To which I answered “Embarrassed by what? Embarrassed by a child? Why would I be embarrassed by a child throwing something?” She didn’t respond she just ignored me. I got the feeling she meant embarrassed because a child like my friend’s daughter would embarrass someone – a child with a disability who grunts instead of speaking.
The store manager approached at this time and the woman didn’t have the courtesy to stay to defend herself to which the manager’s reason was she was helping other customers and this matter apparently didn’t take precedence over the sale she was trying to complete. The manager was appalling to say the least. Before she even opened her mouth I could tell by her demeanor she felt we were beneath her and had no business to question her or her employees. I advised her of the situation. She stated “I wasn’t here and neither was the girl helping you so I can’t say what happened and I’m not taking sides I am being diplomatic”. I thought to myself, are the customers not always right especially when the customers are looking to spend 1500.00 and more at your store? The manager continued: I will take the necessary measures we have in place to rectify this…” to which I stated “listen, I don’t appreciate what was done and …” to which she interrupted me stating “I told you I would do what was necessary..” to which the bride’s sister in law stated “I think she should apologize for what she did.” The manager said and mind you this was all in a condescending tone “I cannot make anyone do anything” and continued to talk even when the sister in law stated “but she’s human and she should recognize when someone has been offended “but the manager wouldn’t stop talking and at this point I stopped listening because now the manager was talking down to my friends sister in law. I looked at the store manager and stated “Why are you speaking to us as if we don’t understand you, why are you talking to us like we are stupid?” and the manager responded “I’m sorry you feel I am not talking to you in the right manner.” The manager went back to the bride’s sister in law and they proceeded to argue with one another. I asked the girl who had helped us and asked her for the corporate number, she said the store manager is the only one with it and she didn’t know how to get it. I interrupted the manager and asked her for the corporate number. She rattled of the number in a condescending, melodic tone and then I asked her for her name “My name is Dana Martin and I’m the only one with that name in this store.” I asked her for the other woman’s name to which she stated “Her name is Tina.” I asked for Tina’s last name and she said “I can’t give that out” to which I stated “You are very uncooperative.” Then I told the bride and everyone I was leaving and I would not be buying my dress here and I will tell everyone I meet to never shop at David’s Bridal. Upon leaving the store I called the corporate number and left my first vocal complaint in a voicemail as no human was available to take the call. In fact, I am writing this complaint 3 hours after the event occurred. I have yet to talk to the bride to find out what happened after I left but if she decided to continue doing business with David’s Bridal I feel so strongly about the injustice done that I will refuse to be in the wedding. I know if my friend’s and I had been more attractive and less noisy and if our little girl had been what society considers “normal” we probably would not have had this occurrence. Or maybe if the store employee and the manager had better manners and more experience in their positions they would have listened to us and apologized rather than tried to prove to us we are as dumb and unimportant as they believe we are this would not have happened.
I will never shop at David’s Bridal again. This is a shame since I am a repeat bridesmaid and I am sure there will be many times again where I need to buy a dress for the occasion.
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