I have tried to contact district and corporate offices by telephone. No live person to speak with at the district level. i called corporate complaint line. They took my information and said it would be about 2 days before someone gets back to me. Ridiculous. This is the letter I have prepared for them about the situation:
I went in to Walgreens with my 16 year old daughter, Shawna. She went to look at nail polish; I went straight to the register to make a purchase. There was a man in a motor-ized power chair in front of me that required assistance from the cashier with paying for his purchase and I helped by getting his bags out for him and loading them onto his chair. As I was paying for my purchase I noticed that my daughter was in line behind a couple that was behind me (that smelled horribly of alcohol and were buying beer), and the line had gotten quite long. I went to my car to wait for her.
I saw her walk out of the store, she got about halfway to my car and a store employee walked out and motioned for her to return inside. I figured she must have forgotten something and just sat in the car for a bit. After a few minutes, she hadn’t come back out so I went to see what was going on. As I approached the entrance to Walgreens I see my daughter standing there and the store employee, Ashley (manager), with my daughters purse in her hands. I asked what was going on and Ashley told me that Shawna "beeped" when she walked out. I said "oh really". She replied "yes, I was at the back-up register near the door and she beeped when she walked out". I said "and it took you until she was almost to my vehicle to come out and direct her back inside? She was walking very slowly". No reply from Ashley. So I asked, "Is she beeping now?" I was told no, she did not beep after walking back through both sides of the security entrance, and her purse did not beep when Ashley walked through both sides of the same entrance. I suggested that they pay closer to attention to who is in the doorway when their security device actually beeps or have it checked for malfunction and left. At no time did Ashley offer and apology or even say one word as we walked off.
On the way home my daughter described in detail what occurred from the time she walked into the store, until the time she walked out. She stated that she went straight to a nail polish display and was checking out the options when the cosmetics counter person approached and asked if she needed help, she told her "no, I’m just trying to decide on a color". Shortly after that the manager, Ashley, approached my daughter and in a rude and disrespectful tone said "do you need help here". Shawna again said "no, I’m just deciding on a color". Shawna then took her choice to the register, where I was still in line and helping the man in the power chair, so it’s obviously she didn’t linger in the cosmetics for an extra long time. She paid for her purchase and walked out the front door. She said she heard the beeper go off after she was already about 5 feet from the door, and the employee came out and directed her back in when she was approximately 15 feet from the door. When Shawna asked her what was going on, Ashley replied "you beeped when you walked out". Shawna told her, "No, I don’t believe so. I heard a beep after I was already out the door and on the sidewalk". The manager insisted it was her that beeped and demanded her purse. Shawna handed her the purse and the manager walked back through both sides of the security device with the purse, no beeps.
Then the manager had Shawna walk through both sides of the security device without her purse, no beeps. This is where this should have ended, but it did not. Next, Ashley said to Shawna "I need to check your purse". Shawna, being 16 years old and never having been in a situation like this said "fine". Ashley searched through Shawna’s purse, opening zippers and pockets. She pulled out a lipstick (one that Shawna had purchased at Walgreens 3 months ago) and gave her an accusing look. Shawna told her "you can open that, it’s almost empty, I bought it months ago". Ashley opened the lipstick and saw that it was used almost down to the bottom and put it back in Shawna’s purse. This was about the time I walked up, as Ashley still had the purse in her hand.
After hearing the entire story from my daughter I called Walgreens and spoke with Ashley. When she answered I asked "is this the manager?" She replied "yes". I said "are you the one that just accused my daughter of stealing?" She said "yes, um I mean no, I didn’t accuse her". I said "it sure seems that way." Ashley stated that an employee had told her to "keep and eye" on Shawna. The only other employee nearby was the cosmetic counter person, who sees my daughters and nieces frequently and is always nice and helpful to them. She appeared to be training a new employee and maybe as an example to the new employee, asked the manager to watch Shawna, I’m not sure. However, the way that it was handled by the manager was not appropriate. It’s funny how adults expect respect from teenagers, but they fail to "show" respect the teenagers. She was rude and demeaning, humiliated my daughter (the store was very busy), and crossed some legal limitations when handling (or creating, as I see it) this situation.
Shawna was dressed very nice. I understand that just because someone is dressed nice and in expensive clothes does not mean they are not capable of shoplifting, I get that. But, when you put all pieces of this scenario together, Ashley failed to be a professional.
1. Shawna was innocently checking out nail polish colors.2. The cosmetics counter person asked if she needed help, she said no3. The manager approaches her and asks her (in a demeaning tone) if she needs help, she said no.4. Nobody witnessed Shawna attempt to "conceal" any store item.5. She was not lingering for a long drawn out time or moving between aisles with store items6. She paid for her purchase at the register.7. The "beeper" went off after she walked out.8. Shawna cooperated fully with going back to the doorway and going back through the security device and letting the manager go back through the device with her purse.9. Ashley made a demand to Shawna that she "needed" to check her purse, fully aware that she was not seen concealing anything and that the beeper was NOT going off as Shawna or her purse went back through the device.10. After searching the purse, opening lipstick, etc…..she offered no apology to either of us, only cold accusing stares.
Our family has lived in the neighborhood near this store for many years, and we have used this store for many years. NEVER in our lives, have we been treated with such disrespect, at ANY store. The cosmetic person on duty that day sees my girls and niece quite frequently, as they are teens that purchase a large amount of hair care products and make-up from her store. There has NEVER been a question about their actions. Shawna is a minor, 16 years old, has NEVER been in trouble in school or with law in her life. She has already graduated from high school (with a full diploma) and will be attending college in the fall. She is not the "average" teenager, and does not behave as an "average" teenager; she is mature far beyond her years. For this reason she did not resist Ashley’s demands, as she knew she had not done anything wrong, was embarrassed enough, and had never experienced anything like this. But again, she is a minor. It’s bad enough that the manager was rude to Shawna, but to take this as far as to take her personal property and search through it further embarrassing her and accusing with no probable cause is disgusting.
I am sure that the loss of our family’s business won’t impact this store too much, but I will be warning every single family we know about what happened to Shawna at this location. What if that lipstick that Ashley pulled out of Shawna’s purse had only been purchased a few days ago? I think we know what that manager would have "assumed" if it had appeared fairly "new". It makes you afraid to go into the store, especially when you purchase all of your cosmetics there.
I am also considering seeking legal advice, this way of "doing business" is not acceptable and needs to stop. Maybe they should focus a little more on not selling alcohol at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon to a couple that reeked horribly of alcohol already, and appeared intoxicated (the couple that was behind me at the store). My daughter deserves to be treated professionally, all people do, and management should lead by example. If they can’t, maybe they should reconsider working with the public.
Product or Service Mentioned: Walgreens Cashier.