Retail Chain Under Fire After Teen Claims She Was Ousted For Being 'Too Big'

Fourteen-year old Shelby Buster says she was told to leave the store.

Girl Kicked Out of Store For Being
Discrimination against the obese is well-known and well-documented. But if you work in retail, you know that treating customers with respect is a vital part of the job. So it created an uproar when a 14-year old Eugene, Oregon girl named Shelby Buster claimed she'd been kicked out of a major retail chain, told she was "too big" to shop there.

On Saturday, her actual birthday, Buster says she was shopping with a friend for perfume at a Eugene outlet of rue21, the casual clothing and accessories chain, when a worker told her to leave the store. "You're too big to be in this store, I need you to leave," Buster claims she was told, as was first reported by the local ABC outlet, KEZI.

After Buster's friend finishing her shopping, the two left and found Buster's mother, Marge Wood-Buster, who was waiting for them at the food court. After hearing what happened, Wood-Buster returned to the store to confront the store's managers. On the spot, one of the store's employees apologized, according to Buster, as was reported by the Daily Mail.

But it was the first time Buster had shopped without a parent at her side, and she was upset. After returning home, she posted her story on rue21's Facebook page:

"Well 'Happy Birthday' to me! The rue 21 [sic.] in Eugene Oregon told me I was too fat and told me to leave the store! I can't believe it! Thanks for ruining my birthday rue 21 [sic.] !"

In speaking to KEZI, a rue21 regional manager said the company doesn't tolerate discrimination against overweight customers. The company, which has more than 900 locations nationwide, regularly offers clothing in extra large sizes. The regional manager, not named by KEZI, told the outlet the company is reviewing the video footage from the store before making a final decision about the fate of the employee. Rue21 posted an apology in response to Buster's Facebook post, saying the worker's conduct was "completely unacceptable." And the company was "really sorry to hear this," as was reported by the Daily Mail.

But Facebook users weren't particularly impressed with the company. "So you advertise with Notorious 'BIG' on your t'shirts but discriminate against plus size girls? that makes perfect sense! Shame on your store! SHAME SHAME," wrote Kimberley Boggs Catlin, of Pfafftown, North Carolina, on the company's wall. "Your company needs to explain what is up. The people who caused this should be fired, period," wrote Ray Anthony, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Bloggers also spoke out in defense of Buster. "To the ragemobile!" was how women's news site reacted.

Earlier this year, Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire after the CEO was quoted as saying that the store only wanted "thin" and "cool" customers. The store doesn't even stock women's pants in sizes bigger than a 10. After the outcry from teens and celebrities, the CEO Mike Jeffries apologized, but sales have been in a steady decline anyway.

In a country where two out of three adults are overweight, it seems many consumers share Buster's sentiment when it comes to stores sending away heavy customers. "Seriously that's disrespectful and rude. Just because I'm bigger than you guys are, I'm not a 14 or smaller. It makes no sense why they would do that," she told KEZI.

What do you think should happen to the rue21 worker?

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While there is beauty in all sizes I think it is refreshing to see fashion catering to normal sized women. For years it was supposed to be sexy to be so skinny. In Africa a more healthy sized woman indicates a woman of wealth. And what about paintings by the old masters of beautiful women, who were always rather fleshy.

September 09 2013 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Companies and their employees shouldn't have to be reminded that the customer is their job security. From chain stores to government agencies eg DMV through Social Security. YOU work for us. We are your rent, your daily living expenses, your lipstick, or tie, and your trip to Hawaii. Sometimes customers are unpleasant and sometimes you are but it's a managements responsibility and some do's and don't in training. You can't send someone onto the floor without it. It's commonly assumed that everyone is born with some common sense but never assume. I do believe the young lady. It was a mean and hurtful thing to say bullying and immature perhaps someone unkind to other at school, but perhaps it wouldn't have happened if some training had taken place. Pulling the video cams proves that shopping has become a hostile element to a shopper instead of a fun experience. Yes, we know people steal and that's unfortunate but big brother is making the experience of shopping joyless.

September 07 2013 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Brian, everyone has an opinion, and yours must be the biggest and loudest in the world. One of those seeking attention kind of guys.

September 07 2013 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We accept the 14 years old comment because it happens all the time. So I disagree with you xgomax!
if you have or ever had a weight problem, maybe you would understand better. We're talking about a 14 year old CHILD, not an adult woman of say 40 whom most liikly could have handled the situatiion herself. Now, let me just say this because by now I'm sure you have assumed I'm over weight, well I have been overweight and have been very thin. The most happiest times in my life have been when I have been overweight. They are some of the best times of my life, I dressed fashionably and turned heads of men and women, why, well because I was and still am worth taking a second look at. Noones ever chewed they're arm off trying to get away from me in the morning. If anything, I have had to have my number changed and even moved so as to not being stalked. I married my husband at my highest weight, and believe me were not talking about some Don Knotts fellow, were talking about a well built, tan, gorgeous handsome man who I have been married to for 28 years and has never tried or wanted to stray. He hated it when I was to thin, he said my bones hurt his body and was like being jabbed with poles. So lets get over that oh so skinny size 0, looking deathly ill as being seen is sexy!! IT IS NOT SEXY at all!!!!!! Also these women who are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 sizes usually have a face only a mother could love and they are just pretending....LOL Feeling oh so happy at a comfortable size 10 and a redhead, now thats SEXY. Bless the heart of the 14 year old whom was discrminated against. It just taught her there are alot of people in this country that are just down right mean and she should also know that the clerks insult to this young lady was really her own. Shes most likely unhappy with herself, so sweetie don't you worry about comments like that, Your a beautiful young lady now and Im sure you'll be a even more beautiful young woman in a few more years. To be as thin is a vine is deadly, to have some meat on your bones is devine.

September 07 2013 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a comment on size, not on the 14-year-old who may or may not have been told to leave. I'm a size 12-14 and have been for years - and don't have an ounce of fat on me. But designers and manufacturers seem to think that, if you're bigger than a 10, you don't have any taste. Time after time my husband has seen a really cute outfit, but when we start to look for it in my size ... good luck.
As for the plump teen: I question whether she would be asked to leave out of the blue if the store carries plus sizes. What happened before that? And how old was the clerk? Was this a teen "i'm cuter than you" attack, or did Ms. Buster mistake a harmless comment for an insult? I agree with the other commenters: what's the whole story?

September 07 2013 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It just seems to unlikely for it to have gone down this way I'm having a real hard time beleiving this story. And why are we so willing to just accept the claims of a 14 year old? Its not like 14 year olds arent known to make anything up.

I want to actually hear the other side of the story first

September 05 2013 at 8:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to xgomazx's comment

Forever sluty one doesn't fit anyone over a size 6 so most girls cannot go there.

September 05 2013 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cherkobak's comment

Not even to purchase something for someone else? I'm a grandma with a bit of weight on, but have two gorgeous, slim granddaughters for whom I often purchase clothes and other items. So, does that mean that this store will not accept me as a customer - and, believe me, I have more money than most of these teenagers and wouldn't hesitate to be offended by someone telling me that my money isn't good enough for them!

September 07 2013 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I do feel sorry for these young girls, and boys too, whose parents didn't take the responsibility of teaching their children good eating habits.
Too many young girls are influenced by the " celebrities" the media promotes as the ideal. when they can't achieve that skinny look, their self-esteem goes down and too often over indulging in food follows.

September 05 2013 at 7:41 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to paintppa1's comment

Weight is not always about not eating healthy. But I do agree the media plays a huge part in dictating what all women should wear and that would be any size below an 8. If girls have a good role model in their life who accepts themselves as they are, then they to, will have confidence.

September 07 2013 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

they should fire the idiot after posting her pic all over the internet so she doesn't get another job. Shelby should be given a job there once she's old enough to work.

September 05 2013 at 7:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Large Marge Wood-buster was waiting for her in the food court.Ya gotta love it. Mama knows what is really important.

September 05 2013 at 7:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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