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TJX / T.J. Maxxracial profiling staff behavior

Lm Jul 21, 2019 Review updated:

While visiting my college roommate for the weekend we decided to go to TJ Maxx in Plaistow to find items to wear for the evening. We arrived to the store a little after 8 p.m. We had her two children and my daughter with us. I went to the dress section, then home section in the center (picking up two plant stands to purchase along the way) and finally to the shoe section to find shoes for the evening. My daughter was pushing the carriage and the two boys 5 and 7 of were on the back of the carriage as children often do. I went down two shoe aisles to view the selections. In the meantime, I received a phone call and began talking on the phone while looking at the shoes. I saw a short Hispanic woman ( a TJ Maxx employee) come to the aisle. I looked up and she just stared at me. I thought this was odd as she never entered the aisle just came to the aisle opening and stared expressionless at me. I went back to looking at a few different pairs of shoes and I tried on a pair of sandals as well.

Moments later I see a Caucasian woman and the Hispanic lady at the opposite end of the aisle saying something to my 12 year old daughter. I pause my phone conversation and the woman says to me, "Are you shopping in this section?" I reply yes and ask why. She responds she was just asking. I instantly respond, "This is a store, why else would I be in the shoe section if not looking for shoes?" She then proceeds to go on about how she was just asking says she is sorry however, never explains a reason as to why she asked. I instantly felt weird about this entire interaction. I say to my daughter, "Let's go, " and to bring the kids back to my friend who was trying on an outfit for the night. We grab the plant stands and head to the register.
Upon purchasing my items, the whole situation isn't sitting right with me. I look at the time and TJ MAXX is open for another hour. I think about the kids if they were misbehaving and no they weren't loud nor playing around. Just a few steps away from me chatting with my daughter as I looked for shoes. It is now 8:39pm, I asked the cashier to speak to a manager. I have never been in any store and asked that question. I just couldn't process what just happened.
The cashier calls for the manager. As the manager approaches, I am completing my transaction, my daughter says, "Mom, it's her." I tell the cashier to cancel the manager call and I would contact the corporate office with my complaint. But the manager whose name I learned is Ellen Sickle still comes and begins with saying she is sorry. I said to her, "Knowing now that you are the manager I would like to ask, what was the purpose in asking me the question? As if people go to TJmaxx for other purposes than shopping?" I asked if it had to do with the children and she replied no. Ellen explained she was sorry and she shouldn't have asked me that. I asked if that a common practice of store managers to customers. I asked if she needed to do something in the aisle. She says, "yes actually, she needed to move a large load of items to that section." Mind you she was empty handed without a cart in tow, just the Hispanic woman glaring at her side.
I explained that if that was the case, her approach was wrong and seeing my response she should have followed up with an explanation to the question. Why would you be doing inventory at 830 at night when you close at 10? Not sure what TJmaxx practices are for inventory but I doubt this was the case in this situation.

Then to add insult to injury she says, "Ma'am I asked you because you were all over the place." What?!!! Now I am absolutely offended and upset! My indecisiveness and going down two aisles of shoes are supposed to indicate that I'm not in TJ Maxx to shop???!!! I don't understand how my shopping in different sections or being on the phone was even a valid reason for a manager and a store employee to ask if I'm actually shopping.

I finished the conversation letting ELLEN SICKLE know she was rude and her behavior was unacceptable. She said she had already said, "sorry multiple times and didn't know what else to say." I said sorry was not enough and she needed to reevaluate her skills as an employee because she was wrong to even approach me with that question in the first place. The explanation from Ellen and her lack of empathy was astounding. An apology with that sort of justification is unacceptable. I can only conclude that this type of behavior was displayed because of racial profiling!
Ellen was not in the aisle to restock and the Hispanic lady was actually not a deer in headlights but watching me as if I was a thief of some sort. A black woman being on the phone and visiting different sections of the store is somehow an indication of an unusual shopping pattern for consumers in TJ Maxx stores. Ellen said I was all over the place? What does that even mean??? Does that warrant the right for her to ask if I'm shopping in an area?????
Sadly, I questioned my attire which to include I had on a black bodysuit and Bermuda shorts with a small black pouch purse that was thrown on my arm instead of my waist. Where the heck would I have to even put stolen shoes?? Why am I even questioning my attire? Was that an indication of my intentions while in the store or was it used to stereotype me? Apparently, a black woman cannot shop leisurely around TJ Maxx in Plaistow, NH without her intention being questioned!
Why on earth is this behavior acceptable especially coming from a TJmaxx store manager or any employee? I feel insulted and appalled to have experienced this kind of service! I am from Massachusetts and never have I ever had this type of encounter in one of the TJ Maxx locations. The fact that my daughter had to experience this in what was supposed to be a quick shopping trip but ended up watching her mom be unjustly questioned and then having to explain that this experience was based on racial discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice. Is this the type of Employee behavior Tjmaxx allows?!

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Comments

  •   Jul 21, 2019

    Are you from Lawrence?

    If you describe the situation accurately, then it sounds like discrimination. Her questions were not necessary and her radar was off-course. I’d like to hear her side of the story as well.

    +1 Votes
  • Lm
      Jul 22, 2019

    @SubSquirrel No I am from Stougton, MA. If she offered me a valid explanation I would have shared that. She didn't know what to say. Nor did I mention anything about race when I spoke with her. She was apologetic but couldn't justify as to why she thought I wouldn't be buying shoes in the shoe section. I just can't comprehend why I was even asked in the first place.

    -1 Votes
  •   Jul 22, 2019

    @LM1313 Stoughton to Plaistow is quite a shlep. You aren’t far from the Westgate Mall or South Shore Mall. You drove an hour to buy shoes when you have shoe stores closer to you.

    0 Votes
  • Lm
      Jul 23, 2019

    @SubSquirrel If you read my first line, I was visiting my college roommate for the weekend.

    +1 Votes
  • Lm
      Jul 23, 2019

    @Greeneee Funny how you are so concerned. What would you call it? A manager needed t "restock" then saying it was because I was "all over the place" is why she asked. Hmmm! I never knee so many internet trolls on on this particular website to comment when it doesnt concern you. Do you work there? Are you losing sleep over my post? Find a hobby instead of lurking on a complaint board with your opinion no one asked for.

    -1 Votes
  • S1
      Jul 22, 2019

    I might add that this incident made me so angry that I hit my friend's sons just because they were Hispanic. I told them that I hope that they die. My daughter told me to stop and I slapped her across the face. Now the racist police put my daughter in a foster home.

    -2 Votes
  •   Jul 22, 2019

    @Greeneee Greenee, click both nicknames. The abuser is a phony nickname and has been doing that for a while. Click on FAQ at the bottom of the page and find the email submissions form. Report it as I do with most phony nicknames and commenters.

    +3 Votes
  • Lm
      Jul 23, 2019

    @SƤ1213 Why even create a bogus acct for this nonsense. Find a hobby and get a life!

    +1 Votes
  •   Jul 23, 2019

    @LM1313 It’s confusing and causes turmoil. They get off by creating drama.

    +1 Votes
  •   Jul 24, 2019

    @Greeneee Every!
    G'damned!
    TIME!!!

    0 Votes
  •   Jul 23, 2019

    I actually am with you on this. Just a question regarding the Hispanic woman... Did she work there? Did she have some sort of lanyard with her ID/badge hanging around her neck? Was there a clothing rack in a Z formation ( that's what they use for restocking)?

    What was the specific reason why the HW was so obsessed with you? Did you ask? I would have, in case I really DID do something that looked suspicious so I would not do it again.

    Why did the manager decide to disregard her 'are you shopping in this aisle?' question? Did you demand an answer as to why she asked in the first place?

    Pay no attention to Greeneee.

    0 Votes
  • Lm
      Jul 25, 2019

    @Um is not an answer! Hello,
    There was no clothing rack in sight. The hispanic lady did have a lanyard. She stood silently alongside the manager when I was questioned.

    The manager & I had the conversation at the checkout section. At the time I did not bring up the HW. I definitely should have however, my initial reaction was based on the intention behind her question.

    I'm not sure what is deemed suspicious. I literally had not been in the store for no more than 15 minutes. I went to women's dresses, the middle part of the store w/ the household items (which I sent my daughter to get a carriage for the two plant stands I picked up), and then down two shoe aisles. I answered my phone en route to the shoe section. Is this behavior not a norm for shoppers in Tjmaxx?

    I asked the manager several times for a reason for her question. She could not provide an answer. She just kept saying sorry. I was the one who brought up the inventory. I asked why didn't she follow up that response when she initially questioned me seeing my reaction and no response. If it was about inventory that would have been the time to mention it.

    The fact that I kept asking why led her to switch her inventory reason to me being "all over the place." That's when I saw that the restocking excuse was a lie. I wish I had seen the HW's name to report her as well. Whether prompted by the HW or not, as a manager it was ultimately up to her to decide the proper method of response.

    0 Votes
  • Lm
      Jul 25, 2019

    @Um is not an answer! Sorry I'm long winded 🤦🏽‍♀️

    0 Votes
  •   Jul 25, 2019

    @LM1313 No problem. Good to talk to you.

    I think the fact that she had no explanation for the behavior and her profusely apologizing for it means that she knew she was wrong. Many people do things like this because they don't think anyone will notice or make a fuss if they did.

    I'd have still asked about the HW and even spoken to her directly. Make her responsible for her actions.

    +2 Votes
  • Go
      Aug 01, 2019

    THAT EXPLAINS EVERYTHING NOW, THANKS! Got a negative explanation for everything and everyone. Go smoke another bowl kr1111.

    0 Votes
  • Go
      Aug 01, 2019

    @kr1111 How old and black are you?
    Grow up and get a set of small balls.
    Then go to the playground and play with them.

    -1 Votes

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