Size does matter

I was recently shopping the Haight district in San Francisco, a cool section that is known for hippies, peace and love! Well, one store’s treatment to my son and I was far from that theory. First let me point out my son carries a bag…a purse for men. We walk into Amoeba Music and there is a sign (I’m not sure of exact wording) in the front of the store that says you must check all packages and large bags. We continue entering and we hear “sir your bag”, and we continue to walk. Then the words get louder “sir, your bag”…we still continue to walk. Then another worker yells even louder “sir your bag”. We both then look at this salesperson and she signals to my son that he has to check his “purse”. He points to the woman in front of him and asks “why not her”. The woman then just says “we have to check your bag”. I said in a very loud voice “this is discrimination”. She assured me it wasn’t and that it was the “size” of his bag. Well, my purse was either the same size or a tad bigger than his and I was not stopped. We walked out in protest. I regret now not making a bigger stink of the issue. I should have asked for the manager and showed them the sizes of our bags.

Was this discrimination or was it profiling? Do they just want to give men that carry purses a hard time, do they just think men are more apt to shoplift then women or do they think people in their 20s’ are not trustworthy? Whatever reason it was not fair. I have shopped in that store past trips but not again. I don’t like when I walk into a store and am asked to check my bags. I feel like they are treating me like a criminal from the start, am I not “innocent until proven guilty”. And why would I give you my large purse, I’m not giving any stranger my personal stuff!! They don’t trust me with their goods so why would I trust them with mine! My digital camera inside my purse is worth more then any album they have.

I know theft is a problem but these stores have to come up with a new solution, it should be their problem to control. They should not make the customer inconvenienced.


8 Responses

  1. There is nothing wrong with making someone undergo a bag check upon entering a store. It is their right to search and it is your right to say no and leave.

    My guess is that they were not targeting him based on any thing, especially since you two are white and respectable looking people (yes, racism can even be found in SF).

    Now searching bags upon exiting a store (like Costco, Frys, etc), that’s a different story.

  2. It may be their right but in my opinion…not cool.

  3. The issue is not “searching” in this situation. It was “checking” your bag in, so you have to leave your bags with them at the front of the store. I’ll undergo bag searches. It’s not pleasant, but it is understandable. The issue comes when they want to keep your bag with them and you are trusting them with your bag and personals as you shop. Well, as mentioned in the post, they aren’t giving me the benefit of trust, so why should I?

    Ultimately, what the described situation above entails is blatant sexism. The fact that the male purse hung at the hip and not mid torso classified the bag differently? The size of the carrying article for the male and for the female are the same size. If the male has to check his bag in, why doesn’t the female? A carrying article is a carrying article.

    Although this store was in SF, and in Haight of places you still see people who practice sexism. This situation was a blatant form of discrimination and sexual bias. In the spirit of Harvey Milk, boycotting stores that practice such injustice is only the start. I’ll be boycotting this sexist establishment and I will be spreading word through SF for others to do the same.

    AMOEBA Music – Locations in Haight (SF), Berkeley and Hollywood. BOYCOTT for SEXISM!

  4. Maybe it was not sexism at all but ageism. Older people are not as likely to steal as younger.

    How the story was described, I do not see it as sexism but more likely than not you may have suffered from poorly trained staff and a lack of a standardized bag measuring system. Maybe if they have a box that says “If your bag does not fit in this box than you need to leave it at the counter.” it may help avoid future mishaps.

    Either way I would never leave my bag with anyone, they would probably just steal my stuff.

  5. It’s not fair when they put a sign next to their bag check that says, “Not responsible for lost items.” Um… if I give you something, you are responsible for it. You take on that risk when you take my bag, just like you take that risk of me stealing when I come into your store. AMOEBA blows!

    I think a standardized box at the front would be perfect, similar to the ones they use to check carry on bag size. It would protect them from calls of discrimination!

  6. is it really that big a deal? most stores have bag-check policies, and i’ve found amoeba’s to be fair, and the security to be mostly friendly. fact is, people do steal. did you bother to ask if he could take his bag? i’m sure they make exceptions.
    you sound like a nit-picking whiner making the most noise about the smallest issues. congrats norma rae!

  7. Yes it was a big deal and most stores I shop in do not have a bag-check policy. If speaking up for equal rights is nit-picking then yes, I am a nit picker and proud of it. If we let all these “little” matters go by they will only have a snowball effect. We need more Norma’s in the world.
    Actually Amoeba made more of a big deal about it then we did…the way all 3 salespeople YELLED “sir your bag”, you would have sworn he was hauling in a truck to steal stuff. It was a very small purse. They made the “scene”…not us.

  8. The bag check is not so much the issue as the fact that two people walk into a store. Each has a bag of the same size, utilized for the same reason (a purse) and the male gets forced to check the bag. I have found Amoeba’s music in this instance and instances before to less than friendly. I find that store to treat customers more like suspects everytime I’ve been in there.

    As to this nit-picking whiner business that “jim” speaks of above, I ask whether or not discrimination or injustice in any instance should go silenced. If you think about it, forcing black people to sit in the back of the bus is a “small issue.” They were, in fact, allowed on the bus and allowed to go to their destination. They were simply told to sit in a seat towards the rear. These issues can be seen as minor. Typically the ones that feel annoying about such “noise” are the ones who feel most threatened by it… I think Fox News has a program on right now for you.

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