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© 2003
Robyn Gallagher

Disrespect-Mart

I'm still waiting for K-Mart to reply to my complaint, but it's been six months so far. I've almost given up.

It started on Labour weekend 1998. I was staying with my parents in Hamilton and was in town doing a bit of shopping. It was a warm spring day and I'd been doing a lot of walking and my pale Irish complexion was a tad flushed. As to be expected.

So I found myself on my journey entering K-Mart's Hamilton store. There I bought a disposible camera and was served a man, who later identified himself as Brent. He seemed pleasant enough at the time.

Things were going well, until the time came to wait for my EFT-POS transation to go through.

I had nothing to say to him, but he felt it necessary to engage in a spot of non-conversation.

"Looks like you've got a bit of sun."

This comment annoyed me. It wasn't sunburnt. As I am prone to sunburn I had slathered all exposed parts of my skin with sun screen to ensure that I wouldn't get sun burnt. I replied to him,

"Well, that's just your opinion."

He could have - he should have - just left it at that, but he continued the conversation.

"Ooooh! We've got a bit of an attitude!"

I was, by this stage, a little bit astounded. If defending yourself against snooty shop assistants is having a bit of an attitude, then yes, I had one! I was getting mad.

"I just don't appreciate having comment made about the colour of my skin."

He stared at me, like how dare I make such a comment to mighty Brent the K-Mart worker! He handed me my purchase, looked me in the eye and said,

"Never come back."

Excuse me?

I grabbed my things and started to walk away. Then I got really angry.

"Excuse me! I'd like to speak to your superviser"

"She's not here," he said, without even turning around to look at me.

"Well who can I speak to to lay a complaint with."

"Front desk."

Again, not even looking at me. As I stormed off towards the front of the building he yelled out, "The name's Brent."

By the time I had reached the front service desk I was in tears. I explained my story to the helpful, friendly and kind manager. She explained that it was likely that he would be taken aside and asked to take the rest of the day off.

She then gave me a complaint form and a leaky pen and asked me to fill it in and assured me that I would receive a reply.

Sniffling and wiping tears of anger and frustration from my eyes, I filled in the form, trying to outline my ordeal as succinctly as possible in the tiny space provided.

The manager again apologised and said the form would be sent to head office where it would be read and I would receive a reply.

Well, six months has past and I have not received a reply from K-Mart. I'm not holding my breath. Their non-action has spoken for them.

So, to summarise:

Brent at K-Mart in Hamilton: Fuck you.
The manager at K-Mart in Hamilton: Thank you.
Whoever was responsible for my complaint being unanswered: Fuck you too.

I shall never ever purchase anything from K-Mart in Hamilton ever again until they can prove themselves worthy of my patronage.