Snobby Manager Tells Customer To 'Sidestep Our Store' -- How 'Pretty Woman'

GASP customer complaint goes viralRetail clerks can be a snooty bunch, especially when they work in high-end shops. But it's rare for the snobbery to extend all the way up to management, who generally prize every customer that walks through the door.

Down under in Australia, however, it seems things are a bit different -- at least at one upmarket chain called Gasp. That's where Keara O'Neil went shopping for bridesmaids' dresses recently, at the retailer's shop in South Yarra, a trendy suburb southeast of Melbourne, only to be rebuffed by a sales clerk who chided O'Neil for her size 12 frame, the Herald Sun newspaper reports.

The sales clerk then further berated O'Neil as she was leaving the store, yelling, "I knew you were a joke the minute you walked in."

Distressed by the incident, O'Neil sent an email complaining to Gasp's customer service department, only to receive a reply from management defending the sales clerk's actions.

Referring to the Gasp employee as a "retail superstar," area manager Matthew Chidgey told the customer in his missive the only problem his clerk has "is that he is too good at what he does."

Chidgey's letter went on to say that people as talented as his clerk generally don't "tolerate having their time wasted, which is the reason you were provoked to leave the store." He further suggested that in the future O'Neil should "sidestep our store."

The email exchanges have since gained an extensive Internet audience that has reportedly resulted in Gasp having to shut down its Facebook page, following a deluge of negative comments concerning the incident.

Read O'Neil's letter as well as more of Chidgey's response in the Herald Sun story: Customer Complaint Email And Response By Gasp Clothing Goes Viral

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Tricia Youngblood

The behavior of the sales clerk and manager was appalling. I hope they go out of business soon after losing all of their customers. But then again, bridal stores are horrible whether it is in Australia or the United States, where I live. The sales clerks always seem snotty and it seems to be a universal thing. I'm a bride who is voluptuous myself. I've had problems in other stores as well, snooty clerks who tell me, "That doesn't come in your size, or "You can't afford it." A lot of business talk the talk about good customer service, but they don't back it up by their actions.

September 17 2012 at 4:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know, having abusive treatment of customers and then not taking responsibility for it generally causes A LOT of potential customers to want to "sidestep" that store.

July 05 2012 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You would figure the bigger the woman the bigger the dress and the more you can charge.

September 30 2011 at 8:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

maybe she had accidently interrupted the clerk and the manager... (need I say more, they're both men working in a dress shop??)

September 30 2011 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Christie's comment
Tricia Youngblood

I wonder that too. The owner's statement seemed to imply that he loves the sales person calling him a "superstar."

September 17 2012 at 4:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what kind of "************" name is "chidgey" ANYWAY?

September 30 2011 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this bride to be has nothing to be ashamed of, size 12 is a nic place to be. At size 12, many women (myself included) have very nice curves. And as for that clerk, he's a clerk - not exactly a position that entitles him to pick on anyone else. Besides, how funky is it that he's a man working in a bridal shop (or dress shop)?! hmm, a little light in the loafers I would guess. maybe he's jealous that he'll never be a bride. maybe the snooty manager is too. I hope the backlash ruins their business, that's what such rudeness deserves.

September 30 2011 at 7:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Christie's comment

There's a difference between curves and rolls.

September 30 2011 at 8:37 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

He's a salesclerk who works in a shop, nothing more.

September 30 2011 at 7:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked in the paint deptment at a local hardware store. A lady came in while the Final Four (basketball to the non-Hoosiers out there) wanting me to help her with her paint. She had purchase a couple of gallons from another store and didn't like the color. That store sales clerks wouldn't help her fix it because he was too busy watching the game. I gradually added colorant until she was happy with the color and didn't charge her anything. It only took about 15 minutes or so, but she always came to us after that and told EVERYONE she knew about our service. We got all kinds of business from her. She was a great customer too, very low maintance.

September 30 2011 at 6:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

from my 33 years as a retail store manager in a "very upscale" town.......customers are notorious liers. The reason why retail workers are so crass and obnoxious is because of how the public treats them.

September 30 2011 at 6:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to xraybrain's comment

that's the mentaility of a teenager speaking. When i was a teen working in stores, I was always annoyed with customers. There are customers that are crappy, like those that tear open bags of socks and then leave them there all torn up - then someone has to pick it up, tape it up, and most customers still won't want to buy it. THOSE people suck. And I used to be pissed that some people just leave things wherever if they decide not to buy it. Now, I am mature and a mom and while I am very considerate 95% of the time, I also know that sales people never know what kind of day a customer is having or what their life is like. Basically, if you don't like customers, don't go into a customer service sort of job. go get a different job or adjust your attitude. That's the deal with that kind of job. Use your frustration with the public as motivation to get a better job.

September 30 2011 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Christie's comment

No, he's pretty much right on target. I've worked retail for over 30 + years. Unless you've actually been on the service end of retail sales you don't know what you're talking about. The clerk in this story sounds like he needs to be fired but he's also an exception. Most of us just want to earn our check and do our job. We get walked on daily by customers that see us as little more than machines. Fact is if you didn't have us you'd be standing in ailse seven with your thumbs up your butts and no clue how to find what you need.

September 30 2011 at 8:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Maybe your brain needs to be xrayed

September 30 2011 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow....guess its the ONE retail store that, in this economy can turn AWAY customers! I agree with others...don't go there! Shame on them!

September 30 2011 at 6:51 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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