A shopping trip with your best friend should be an exciting and stress-free occasion, especially on your birthday. But for Oregon teen Shelby Buster, that wasn't the case. Buster's shopping trip to the Valley River Mall in Eugene, Ore., turned out to be a bad birthday surprise. The 14-year-old’s first time shopping without her mom and accompanied by her friend Jennica to rue21 was a short-lived trip.
Buster claims that she faced weight discrimination when she was told by a rue21 sales associate that she should leave the store because of her size. “I walked in and the lady at the front counter said, 'Hey, you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave,'” Buster told news station KEZI on Sunday.
The teen, who hoped to buy some perfume with her birthday money, said Jennica was already in the back of the store looking for perfume when the incident occurred. Her friend proceeded to check out before the two teens returned to Buster’s mom who was at the food court in the mall. The birthday girl immediately told her mother Marge Wood-Buster about the incident at rue21, which prompted Marge to go to the clothing store.
Marge allegedly confronted the store employee about her conduct and verbal harassment toward her daughter, reports Yahoo! Shine. Marge then contacted KEZI, the ABC news affiliate station in Eugene, to tell the teen’s story and raise awareness about weight discrimination at rue21.
The rue21 district manager is currently investigating the case and plans to observe security footage from Buster’s Saturday shopping trip to resolve the matter. The clothing store has even updated its Facebook community page with the following message:
Buster, who updated her Facebook status on the day of the incident, wrote, “Well, happy birthday to me! The rue21 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, rue21!”
The clothing store’s Facebook page has received a lot of reactions, as many rue21 shoppers have begun to boycott the clothing store.
“Seriously? This is not a misunderstanding. While it’s nice to see the company apologize, to call it a misunderstanding totally takes the sincerity away. What are you offering this family?” wrote shopper Elaine Stanford on Facebook, reports Yahoo! Shine.
Harley Harter, a rue21 employee, defended the clothing brand. “As an employee of rue21, I have to say, my store does NOT discriminate … We also carry 'curvy' jeans so it's easier for people to find the style that fits their body type better," she wrote on Facebook.
Rue21 currently offers the following sizes for girls and guys: