awkward retail experience

Hey guys,

I was trying on a winter coat in a Banana Republic the other day, when one of the associates walked by and said "you look good, but you might want to go up one size to avoid looking gay.

I just bought the coat and got out of there…but I actually happen to be gay, so I was wondering what you would have done…it was really awkward.

:confused: Why does a right-sized (or too small?) coat = gay?

I’d have asked to speak to a manager.

Relate story. Point out you are gay. Tell them you don’t want anyone to lose their job but something needs to be said, to someone, right now, in front of you. Their choice, an apology or a gay rights protest/legal action/news coverage etc.

Watch them dance, accept apology with grace, leave store knowing you fought a little ignorance.

Had I been you, I would have just shrugged it off. Sure, he’s a bit of a jerk, but I probably couldn’t be bothered complaining to the manager. I’m a bit surprised, though. Banana Republic? Gay guys abound. You’d think the associate would know that and temper his comments. It makes me think he’s kind of dense rather than malicious.

If it really bothered you, you probably shouldn’t have bought the jacket, and told the management why (in person, by e-mail, whatever). Your power as a consumer is your money, and you should avoid giving it to companies which cause you offence.

ETA: If you want to tell them you’re gay and raise a stink about the comment, that’s totally up to you. But your sexuality is your own business, and if you’re not comfortable bringing it up in order to teach a sales clerk to watch what he says, I don’t think anyone can fault you.

I wouldn’t have bought the coat.
Tell the manager that he just lost a sale because one of his employees is clueless about dealing with the public.

Was the employee fairly young(<20)? That seems to be a common phrase lately among the high school crowd.

Would it have changed your reaction if you knew the associate was gay?

Obvs. He did say he was at Banana Republic.

I suppose I did not mention the tone of the comment…it was like a disgusted/humorous tone…like…you don’t want to …you know…look like that.

It’s cool though, I bought it and left-no biggy. I was just curious about what others would do when confronted with petty little ignorance like that. I typically don’t make everything a protest.

No, but this is a case where I would have. The salescritter should have been called on the carpet for it, and the outcome would determine if I bought the coat or not.

I agree; a fuss should have been made. That sort of thing isn’t just uncalled for, it’s actively unprofessional and rude and I don’t even know what. At the very least, I would have said Excuse me? in my iciest voice, and if an apology wasn’t forthcoming, would have spoken to the manager and etc.

yeah…I’m already a little not good with big crowds in stores and stuff…so it was kind of a shock and I just got the heck out after I bought I coat I really liked…in the size that maked me look like me hehe.

You should let the store manager know about this.

Isn’t ‘gay’ also used similarly to ‘lame’ by the youngsters these days? So it may not have necessarily been meant as a homophobic slur. Not saying that makes it okay though.

Take the coat off and put on another one, one size smaller, slowly, staring the associate in the eyes the whole time.

Yeah, but this guy was older than me (28-29?), and he didn’t mean it any other way hehe.

Doesn’t remaining silent, in the face of this, make you part of the problem and not the solution? Just curious.

Don’t you want others to stand up and defend your rights? (Employment, housing, marriage, etc.) How do you reconcile this with your own unwillingness to do so? Again, I’m just curious.

Yeah, I’m another one who wouldn’t have made a HUGE deal, but I would have gone to the manager and just quietly told him he lost a sale today because of his employee.

And I wouldn’t have bought the coat. I’m surprised you did.

I do plan on emailing customer service-I guess I was just nervous, did not want to let it ruin my day and was helped right after by someone a little more respectful.

Remarks like this are a major reason for me loving you so, former flou.

Well, I figure he’ll get his point across or get a date. Or both. :smiley:

I think a good reply might have been, “Oh really? Do you think it would make me look look more gay if I got a size smaller than this one? I should get the smaller one then. I need to look more gay because you obviously failed to consider the possibility that I might just be a great big flaming queer.” In fact, I probably would have said that even though I’m not gay just because I like to make people like that feel stupid.

You may be a kinder soul than I.

But either way, you definitely should have gone to the manager and explained the situation. You didn’t have to make a scene, but you should have told him or her. Then, you should also email customer service, including information about how the manager responded.

I used to be in retail management, and this is the kind of thing that I REALLY wanted to know about.

I would have handled it thusly: I would have apologized to you profusely, thanked you for bringing it to my attention, and assured you that the employee would be dealt with appropriately. I also would have acknowledged that you probably didn’t want to buy the coat any more, but still offered you the steepest discount that I could possibly justify on it.

Then I would have sent that employee home immediately and consulted my boss to make sure that everything was being done by the book before unceremoniously firing his ass. Then I would have explained the situation to the rest of the staff to make sure they understood what had happened and (just in case they were morons) why it was so bad.

What I would absolutely not have done is what elbows suggested and make the employee apologize directly to you. If you had demanded that, I would have refused. I would not have allowed any more interaction between the employee and you. That would have far too much potential to escalate, especially since the very fact that you were demanding it would show me that you ARE interested in making a scene.

Absolutely not. The comment was totally inappropriate in a retail context.

If a gay friend of the gay employee had been shopping, and the guy said that to him in jest and they both thought it was funny, it would still have been a bad thing to say. If I overheard it or found out about it, I wouldn’t have fired the gay employee, but I would have read him the riot act. That comment could easily be overheard and misunderstood by other customers. It’s just not okay on the retail floor.