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Assaulted at a Mom & Pop Shop

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Assaulted at a Mom & Pop Shop

Ok, I'll admit that I can be annoying.  I have a tendency to question things.  I am also quick to speak up when something or someone is wrong.  Does it make me a bad person?  Does it make me disrespectful or crazy?  Well, apparently some may think so.

I often visit this local Korean spot in my old neighborhood.  You know, the little market that sells all the fruits, veggies, fish, and Caribbean stuff.  It's where I purchase all my Jamaican food and spices.  On our way home, my hubby and I decide to stop off at the little shop that my family and I have frequented for years.  I want to pick up some great nut ice cream, one of Princess's favorite flavors.  When I get there, the lady says they are all out.  I end up buying a few things there anyway, and convince my hubby to stop by the other store (owned my the same family).  Hey, if one doesn't have great nut ice cream, maybe the other one would.

We get there just by the skin of out teeth.  It's almost Princess's bed time and want to give her a little treat before hitting the sack.  I go to the back of the store, open the freezer, and I see the container of ice cream staring back at me.  I bring it to the counter, whip out my debit card to pay for it.  Instead of ringing me up, the lady points to the sign and says in broken English "Ten dolla!" Being the inquisitive and outspoken person that I am I question the reason for the minimum purchase.

"I've been coming here for years.  There was never a minimum charge to use a debit card.  When did this happen?"  I ask.

With an attitude she repeats, "Ten dolla, debit!"

I respond half joking/half serious, "I feel like I'm on a show.  I'm seriously having a Seinfeld moment."

A customer begins to defend the lady by telling me to read the sign.  "I have no trouble reading.  I can read the sign just fine.  They aren't allowed to do this" I reply.  I also tell the guy to mind his own business.  That's when things get heated.

The guy then says to me,"You're f******* crazy."

I couldn't believe my ears.  It becomes a three on one match up.  Even though I am out numbered, I thank god my hubby and daughter are in the car.  I wouldn't want her to see this and I know how my hubby can get.  In the midst of all this I try to tell them that I'm not there to argue.  I just don't remember there being a minimum required purchase to use a debit or credit card.  Then the lady tells me to give back the items (after my purchase).  I tell her it's ok.  There's no need to return them.

I'm here thinking she's so annoyed by me that she wants her stuff back.  She then comes from behind the counter, grabs me, and rips the bag from out of my hands.  I couldn't believe it!  By this time the disrespectful customer has already made his exit.  It's just me, the lady, and her son (who speaks perfect English).

So many different thoughts are racing through my head.  "Why are you doing this?" I ask.  After what seems like an eternity, I look at my receipt which read invalid and everything started to add up.

I unknowingly entered the wrong pin.  It's an honest mistake on my part.  But, there's no reason for her to put her hands on me.  I feel so violated.  In this struggling economy I do my best to support the local mom and pop shops.  It wouldn't be fair to pull the race card because the customer who cursed at me is a black Jamaican (like myself).  Although the woman doesn't speak English, her son does and could have translated.  After giving them a piece of my mind, I leave the store in tears.  What makes things worse is that my daughter hears be crying in the back seat, and then begins to cry.  It breaks my heart!

I'd like to think this is all a misunderstanding.  But, I don't think I'll be going back there anymore.  The next time I want great nut ice cream or any thing else Caribbean, I'll just hit up C-Town.

I may have a tendency to questions things, but it doesn't make be a bad person.  I just speak up for what I believe in and there's nothing wrong with that.

****UPDATE****
After contacting consumer affairs to investigate the matter, I received this note of apology from the Korean mom and pop shop.  The moral of this story is always stand up for what you believe in and you'll get results.  I still don't think I'll go back to this place, though.





Weather Anchor Mama


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18 Comments:

At June 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM , Blogger Team Jacob said...

Sorry this happened to you.

I've noticed a few stores saying you have to spend over $5-10 to use a debit/credit card..if that's the store policy oh well.

But there was no need to manhandle you...you shoulda buss dem...errr that was bloody ridiculous how she ripped the bag from you and the son spoke English he could have said something.

 
At June 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM , Blogger Harlem Lovebirds said...

Oh wow! I'm a squeaky wheel myself so I feel your frustration. There is so much going on here. Yes, it is against the credit card company's rules with the vendors to charge a minimum purchase. To fight back you can report them. I've read an article about the process before but I'm sure Google will tell you! Also, about the dynamic of Asian stores in black neighborhoods that is a post unto itself. It reminds me of a documentary I watched on You Tube about this aspect of hair supply stores. It was so eye opening the lengths that some go to to keep black owned supply stores out of predominantly black neighborhoods. And finally I can't believe the man who used an expletive against you. Where's the respect? The best thing we can do as a community is not support those types of businesses especially if they treat you that way.

 
At June 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM , Blogger Ugochi said...

Sorry about this, you know people are different and react differently to issues. I'm sure if she had told you about the receipt you would have probably reacted differently.
Thanks for stopping by at TESHUVA. Have a great week.
God bless!
TESHUVA-http://www.ugochi-jolomi.com/

 
At June 11, 2012 at 3:18 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

My point exactly. It wasn't a huge deal about the min charge, even though their not supposed to do that. There should be no min charge. The problem for me is that she got violent and the son wait until I got emotional to really step in. The women barely spoke English. I really couldn't understand what she was saying, and she couldn't understand me either. Her son later said that his mom thought I was rushing out of the store without paying for the items. Whatever!

 
At June 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Not justifying what the customer said to me. But, I did tell him to shut up and mind his own business. So, I can kinda understand in a weird way that was his come back. You're so right about the Asian vs. Black thing. I just saw a documentary myself not too long ago about the race riots (asians vs. black) in LA years ago. It was like the wild west. Working in the news biz, we've covered so many stories about stores wrongfully placing a minimum charge to use a debit/credit card. It's so sad to me because these small stores are struggling like we are in this economy. To make matters worse, they're competing against giants like Wal-Mart, C-Town, Stop & Shop and Target. I've always supported this family owned business, but not anymore.

 
At June 11, 2012 at 3:26 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks for stopping by Ugochi!

 
At June 11, 2012 at 9:49 PM , Blogger Amarie said...

You did the right thing! When it comes to the money we work hard to earn, you're darn right I'm going to question things that seem "fishy"! I have a local "bodega" in my neighborhood, and you can debit anything, even if it's $2. What's happening is, they're trying to compensate, probably overly, for the fees the credit card companies are charging them for processing, but that's just greedy. How did your hubby react to seeing you so upset?

 
At June 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

My hubby apologized. I guess he felt bad for not going in himself. We had our daughter in the car and didn't want to do anything crazy. It's so interesting how you change after becoming a parent. It's not about me anymore.

That's why I questioned the min charge because I am well aware of what these small business owners are doing. It's just not right. I did file a complaint. So, we'll see what happens.

 
At June 12, 2012 at 12:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOw What is there address? Im going to report this story on yelp.com Im just SMH rite now. She couldnt tell you the purchase didnt go thru...smh I can't believe some man going to cuss at you of all people. Im trying not to cuss on my comment. I dont like koreans making money in the hood and never give back to us, then they have the nerve to be rude and slap on minimum requirements on a payment? I want them OUT the hood!
Glad your okay!!
~Rheapjoy

 
At June 12, 2012 at 1:07 AM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

K&J Farms in Uniondale, NY. I reported them to Consumer Affairs in Nassau County. Thanks so much Rheap. I'm doing ok. It's sad that this type of thing goes on. I debated whether or not to file, but decided it's the best thing for me to do. i'd feel like a hypocrite if I tell people to speak up and all I did was write a post and not report it to the authorities. Hopefully, it'll teach them a lesson.

 
At June 12, 2012 at 8:16 PM , Blogger De Su Mama said...

So sorry this happened to you. I'm even more sorry that Princess had to see her Momma so upset :( It is hard to not pull the race card, and sometimes its even more of a age/generational thing, but the son should have done something to diffuse the situation.

 
At June 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

I know. I agree, the son should have spoke up sooner. The lady who is usually there knows who I am. She knows my family well. I dressed like I was from around the way. i wasn't dolled up, so they may have figured I was nobody. It's sad but true. I notice difference in how I'm treated when I'm dressed for work vs. no hair/makeup.

 
At June 16, 2012 at 11:04 AM , Anonymous Patty@homemakersdaily.com said...

Seems like there's a lot of meanness going around these days. People are so stressed and worried that they're taking it out on everyone else. My daughter is a teller at a bank and she tells some amazing stories about how people act. I almost can't believe it! But I see it for myself when I'm out and about. People are just mean!

Visiting from SITS.

 
At June 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM , Blogger agapewoman said...

Thank goodness this didn't happen 15 years ago when I wasn't as rational as I am now. Wouldn't have been a pretty sight. The son was wrong, he knew he should have translated for his mother and would have saved everyone involved. I would have told the other customer to mind his business too. He needs to explain to his mother that you can't put your hands on people, because everyone will not respond the way you did. Really...

 
At June 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM , Anonymous Sharon said...

I am not saying that the owner was right or that you were right, but why question if a small business wants to up a debit purchase to a certain amount of money. Many store change policies like this even after years of not doing so. Actually, it is because of banks fees for anything less (which I have worked for . . the bank).
I think everyone in the situation handled it wrong, but she had no right to snatch anything from you or put her hands on you. I would avoid shopping at that store again.

 
At June 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM , Blogger Weather Anchor Mama said...

Thanks! Great question! The reason why I questioned the minimum charge is because i don't remember there being one before. But most importantly, businesses are NOT ALLOWED to do that. They doyou to avoid paying a fee to card companies. I basically caller her out!!

 
At July 5, 2012 at 11:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised to hear that businesses are not allowed to do this. I have shopped at a number of places that has this policy so I thought it was legal. I too am like you in that I question things and I did question one store cashier about this policy and he told me that credit card fees are high so that's why they have a minimum for credit cards. Also, a lot of stores only accept Visa or Mastercard, not American Express because the latter's fees are higher than the other two. It's very annoying in my opinion. I prefer to use my credit cards most times instead of cash, because I get reward points when I use my cards. The way stores jack up their prices, I think they can more than afford to pay the bank fees!

 
At October 17, 2012 at 8:15 AM , Blogger Carlo Powe-Crawford said...

When you're spending your hard-earned money and a shop owner makes you feel bad (for any reason), that's my signal to NEVER shop there (under any circumstances) again.

Bad manners don't show me any appreciation. You don't appreciate my business? Then find others who will because I'm "gone". No if's, no and's, no but's... that's it. It's over for me. Like, next...

 

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