Thursday, March 21, 2013

S.I. Swimsuit Issue at B&N

Dear Madame L,

I was browsing through the magazines at my local Barnes & Noble store earlier this evening, and was shocked to see that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was displayed prominently at a child's eye-level in the very front of the magazine section.

I talked to the guy who sells Kindles about it. He wouldn't even let me finish what I was saying before he pursed his lips like an angry old man and said, "We're told where to put them." 

I said, "Really? The store tells you to put that right where it's perfectly visible for little kids while adults have to kind of lean over to see it?" 

He said, "Yes. This is a company policy. I can't do anything about it."

I said, "No problem. I turned all of them around so the back cover is showing."

Then he REALLY got mad and said, "Then I'll just have to turn them back around again."

I said, "You can do that, of course, but I will never bring a child into this store if I think they'll be subjected to images like that."

He said, "You don't have to."

I said, "I know that. And I know that you can talk to someone in management and tell them that you have a customer who has talked to you about this and asked it to be changed."

He said, "I'll do that."

Madame L, I was outraged. What can a person do about things like this?


Like I said, Outraged

Dear Outraged,

Madame L joins you in consternation and suggests that your next step would be asking to speak to the store manager. Madame L will also go to her own nearby Barnes & Noble store as soon as she has an opportunity, to see if the same situation exists there.

Madame L sincerely doubts that a big corporation like Barnes & Noble would really force its store managers to place offensive magazines where they are clearly visible to children. Even Madame L's local grocery store manages to find a way to display magazines with suggestive or objectionable photos high up by the check-stand and even put some kind of plastic covering over the objectionable material.

Dear Readers, does anyone else have any suggestions for this Outraged Reader?

Thanking you in advance,

Madame L


AskTheGeologist said...

CLIMB IN THE FACE OF THE ANGRY WHITE GUY. No... THAT angry white guy. Ask him if customer concerns are important to him? No? Then could you have his name, please, to report this to B&N Corporate.

Employing an angry jerk is inconsistent with a customer-oriented corporation that is having financial troubles staying alive right now.

Ellen said...

I think the key here is that in order to be effective, a person can quietly cause a lot of waves by politely and kindly reporting their concerns, in writing, to the "higher-ups." Here is a link to an article in the Ensign about someone doing just that:
I have found, in other situations, that my voice really does make a difference, so I would encourage this person to go beyond that store employee and make sure that, not only the Barnes and Noble managers hear about it, but also the Sports Illustrated people. I know that in grocery stores, for example, the Frito-Lay people pay for specific shelving rights that are the best for displaying their product. At any rate, I think that threatening to take your business elsewhere, and then following through with the threat if need be, can also be very effective. Post it on Facebook! Let all your friends know why you are offended about shopping in that store, and let the store know what you're doing as well. I think that even one voice can move mountains if that voice is persistent enough to be heard.

LFP said...

I'd be as mad or madder about the tone the employee used with me and didn't actually LISTEN, than I would with what he actually said. As soon as a CUSTOMER SERVICE person starts getting snippy with me, I stop listening and say, "I'd like to speak to a manager, please." It doesn't matter what the message is, as much as how it's conveyed.

Then I'd have two complains to lodge with the manager - the placement of objectionable material and the attitude of the employee. Even if the employee PRETENDED to listen and empathize I wouldn't be so mad.

Ellen said...

Okay, here's the article that I meant to reference in the first place. This one deals more directly with this same sort of situation: