Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dear K-Mart

Dear Customer Service,

On February 4, I was at the Oak Park, Michigan branch of the Secretary of State Office. Due to the extraordinary wait, my wife left to pick up a few items at K-Mart (Store #3730 on Greenfield Road).

After she made her purchases, on her way out the door, a security guard rather brusquely demanded to look at her receipt and to look through her bag. (He did not make similar demands, for the receipt or for a search of the bag, to the customer who left before her, or the customer who left after her.) She permitted him to look, and as he rummaged through her purchases she joked, "If you wanted my phone number, all you had to do is ask." Apparently he took umbrage at her humor.

As she left the store, she was passed by a family which was also leaving, and the door security alarm went off. The security guard stopped my wife by grabbing her arm, and demanded "Was that you?" He started to rummage through her bag again. His attitude was belligerent.

The Secretary of State's office has a "take a number" system. My wife had accidentally taken the paper slip with our number with her to the store. As it was getting close to our number, I walked over toward K-Mart to see if she was coming back. Since I didn't see her, I phoned her on her cellular phone. As soon as the security guard heard her talk to me on the phone, and saw me outside through the window, his attitude immediately changed, he started stuffing her items back in the bag, and he permitted her to leave.

I have sympathy for your efforts to reduce "inventory shrinkage", or whatever the preferred term is these days for losses due to shoplifting. However, that does not give your security guards any right to be belligerent, particularly toward honest customers. Nor does it give him the right to harass female customers until the moment it becomes clear he might be confronted by their spouse.

Had the security guard sincerely thought my wife had set off the door alarm, he could easily have reset the alarm and allowed her to try to leave. She can't work magic - if she had a sensor on her person, the alarm would have gone off again. Further, my wife had only purchased three or four items - which the security guard had already reviewed the first time.

Perhaps he was trying to "teach her a lesson" for joking with him. I can only speculate as to his motive. I do know that his conduct was entirely unprofessional, inappropriate and unnecessary. If it was consistent with your company's security policies, those policies need to be revised.


Aaron Larson


  1. Working at K-Mart is probably a downer liable to lead one into bad behavior. Not that it is excusable. I think though that your wife might need some help to find out why she sexualizes her interactions with men - especially to a complete stranger. Not a very healthy thing although not uncommon.

    T. Mathias.

  2. Um... And I think a few years on a psychiatrist's couch might help you come to terms with your misogyny (especially toward a complete stranger), and help you learn that sometimes a joke is just a joke.

  3. Look. Enough with the game playing. YOU need to get over the fact that Aaron married ME and not YOU. It's been a year now. Enough is enough, m'kay?

    Signing my real name, unlike you,

  4. I'm sorry my comment caused so much upset although I realize there wasn't any good way to make it. As a comfy hetero male though, I am not interested in your "husband," LAURA in all capitals.

    Sorry again for offending.

  5. Besides, "T", I have far too many other interesting neurosis. You need not invent one from whole cloth. LAURA

  6. I don't think I've ever heard a straight male describe himself as a "comfy heterosexual", but... whatever.

    I will note this: Whenever I post anything which even slightly relates to my wife, a new "anonymous coward" shows up to try to insult her. When confronted, the "anonymous coward" retreats into an "I didn't mean to offend" defense which, well, rings rather hollow. And, as in this case, the "armchair analysis" provided by the troll at issue tells us more about the troll than about anything else.

    Should you choose to disclose who you really are, "T. Mathias", I will be happy to consider you an exception to the prior pattern, who simply coincidentally followed it. Yet, whomever you are, I can provide you with some advice.

    You say, "I'm sorry my comment caused so much upset although I realize there wasn't any good way to make it." That's not quite accurate - your comment didn't cause upset. But my advice relates to the latter portion of your comment. There was "no good way" to make your comment. That's true. As I previously noted, it revealed you as a misogynist, and for that matter a rather unintelligent misogynist.

    Not that I want to fall back on a cliche, but my advice therefore is as follows: It is better to keep your mouth shut and be though a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.


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