The worst experience in LakeForest Mall

Posted in the Gaithersburg Forum

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JOSE ZELAYA

Miami, FL

#1 Jul 13, 2007
Me and my wife recently traveled to the Washington DC area. We live in Guatemala city where my spouse is a housewife and I am an attorney. The purpose of our trip was primarily tourism and shopping. We shopped a lot in different places. Sometimes wrong sizes or defective merchandise made us exchange some merchandise (for example, Nordstrom and Macys) and get some refunds (like in Target). My wife specially likes the clothes of Express, so we shopped A LOT in their stores in Georgetown, Montgomery Mall and in the store located in Lake Forest Mall (701 Russell Ave Gaithersburg, MD 20877).
We had the worst experience of our trip in this store in Lake Forest Mall on June the 25th. My wife needed to exchange a couple of blouses because they did not fit. When she tried to do it, she ran in to the arrogant Mr. James White (the store manager). Even when the clerk remembered my wife and she was carrying her recipt, the manager would not exchange the blouses because my wife was not carrying her passport at the time and her Guatemalan drivers license was not a valid ID for him. He thought that my wife did not understand English and told the clerk: "You know how THESE PEOPLE are, I'm not sure If she had stolen this merchandise in the eatery". When the Hispanic clerk told him that my wife was understanding him, he did not even apologize and my wife left the store crying. Afterwards, accompanied with two of the mall security agents we tried to make the exchange again. This time Mr. White said that we could not be in "HIS STORE" anymore and he kicked us out like criminals. Finally a relative brought us our passports and accompanied with a directive of the mall we demanded a refund (it was not what we originally intended)
I understand if the store policies are different from the policies of all the major department stores. But I am not willing to tolerate the racist offenses and the lack of respect that Mr. White showed to my wife and me. I am willing to take this matter to the last consequences.
Joel

Washington, DC

#2 Jul 13, 2007
Mr. Zelaya,

I live in the neighborhood, 10 years to date. We have good people in this area. The attitude of this Mr. White is absolutely intolerable. I have years in customer relations. He should be fired.
sam

Washington, DC

#3 Jul 19, 2007
Mr Zelaya I understand how you feel and I am sorry...25 years ago things were different in Maryland.... and by that I mean, better customer service, unfortunately there are some people in those positions that can not speak but one language and that by itself makes them feel underqualified making them behave like this mr. white (lower case)and many others that are "named" managers but don't have the skills or minimum qualifications, they do it just for the money...I assure you that I will make sure no member of my large family buy anything from this store here or elsewhere....
yalise

Silver Spring, MD

#4 Jul 23, 2007
Mr. White you judge people by their looks.It is high time people like Mr.White stop looking at their nose but look ahead.
emily

Bel Air, MD

#5 Jul 28, 2007
i am sorry that you felt discriminated against. i know mr white (i am a colleague of his; i work at another store in the mall) and this does not sound like him. i have seen him treat people with only curteousy. i am not denying that this happened to you, just expressing my shock and confusion.
kmp

Washington, DC

#6 Jul 28, 2007
I live right next to lakeforest mall, and I;m so sorry this happened to you. There is a lot of discrimination in the area not only this kind but every race against the other... It's sad to me because I have friends of all different races but I don't know how to start to cure the hate.
Gaithersburg resident

Elkridge, MD

#7 Aug 16, 2007
Did you even think to put yourself in the manager's shoes for even a second before yelling racism? He probably sees this every day. People stealing bags of just purchased clothes (with receipts in the bags) from distracted people in the food court and running back to the store to "return" items they "just purchased". And a great majority of these people are probably not US citizens. Why would he think you were any different from what he experiences every day? He probably gets a lot of heat from his home office to crack down on this type of theft. It's easy for you to yell racism every time something doesn't go your way. Try a little understanding next time.
Fred

Washington, DC

#8 Aug 19, 2007
Who are you, Mr. White himself?
Gaithersburg resident wrote:
Did you even think to put yourself in the manager's shoes for even a second before yelling racism? He probably sees this every day. People stealing bags of just purchased clothes (with receipts in the bags) from distracted people in the food court and running back to the store to "return" items they "just purchased". And a great majority of these people are probably not US citizens. Why would he think you were any different from what he experiences every day? He probably gets a lot of heat from his home office to crack down on this type of theft. It's easy for you to yell racism every time something doesn't go your way. Try a little understanding next time.
Lyn

Baltimore, MD

#9 Aug 21, 2007
I shop at Lake Forst Mall and Express all of the time. I've dealt with Mr.White (capitalized)on numerous occasions. I am hispanic. I also know that most people that work under him (who I am sure he probably hired)are hispanic as well. I do not feel he is racist. That being said this is probably a case where a person did not want to follow the polices that are put in place by Express(not Mr.White).
Burtonsville

Baltimore, MD

#10 Sep 7, 2007
I just wanted to point out that the original posting says that Mr. White did remember the lady buying the blouses. Thus all of the theories of him just doing his job don't hold up. Most likely, he was in a bad mood and decided to take out his frustrations on someone who he'd never see again because they're foreign. However, regardless of his mood when you work with customers you should always be on your best behavior...what he did is inexcusable!
Gaithersburg resident wrote:
Did you even think to put yourself in the manager's shoes for even a second before yelling racism? He probably sees this every day. People stealing bags of just purchased clothes (with receipts in the bags) from distracted people in the food court and running back to the store to "return" items they "just purchased". And a great majority of these people are probably not US citizens. Why would he think you were any different from what he experiences every day? He probably gets a lot of heat from his home office to crack down on this type of theft. It's easy for you to yell racism every time something doesn't go your way. Try a little understanding next time.

Since: Sep 07

Rockville, MD

#11 Sep 12, 2007
Gaithersburg resident wrote:
Did you even think to put yourself in the manager's shoes for even a second before yelling racism? He probably sees this every day. People stealing bags of just purchased clothes (with receipts in the bags) from distracted people in the food court and running back to the store to "return" items they "just purchased". And a great majority of these people are probably not US citizens. Why would he think you were any different from what he experiences every day? He probably gets a lot of heat from his home office to crack down on this type of theft. It's easy for you to yell racism every time something doesn't go your way. Try a little understanding next time.
WHAT!!!!! Are you serious????? He is yelling racism because it is racism. As a store manager it is not his place to judge someone because of their race. I have over 15 years of ratail experince. Once something is paid for and has left your store it is not of your concern. When some one comes back to your store wanting to return/exchange something you do so according to your stores policies. Why wasn' her Guatamalen driver license enough??????? How would her passport prove if she had purchased or stolen the merchandise. People need to come of the whole thing that only people of color or minorities steal...... White people steal too!!!!!!!! All customers should be treated equally. You never know what person has or doesn't have.
gaithersburg T

Washington, DC

#12 Sep 16, 2007
I live in the neighborhood, The attitude of the store manager was not ethical and its totally intolerable. As a store manager he should have been more polite to the customers, from out of country. Even though the drivers licence of that country was not valid, as the manager's coworker recognized them, the store should have been accepted the return. This matter should take seriously and the manager should be fired.
Yuing

Silver Spring, MD

#13 Sep 24, 2007
I know how you feel, Mr Zelaya, my family and I recently visited China, and my sister and I were speaking Japanese and English all the way through our time there, while our parents spoke Chinese. When we walked into a restaraunt, they wouldn't let my sister and I sit down.

I also went to Lake Forest Mall recently, and when I went to reserve something, they sold it when I got there an hour before the time I said I would be there. When I reserved another one, they made me pay double for my reservation, and they gave me the wrong color, and they told me I HAD to buy it. Once I did, they said they wouldn't give me a refund. They insisted I wasn't making sense, because I have an accent.
John

Washington, DC

#14 Nov 3, 2007
I feel for Mr. White because the immigrants have really run the mall down over the years. Notice all the closed shops nowadays!
Vanessa

Frederick, MD

#15 Nov 28, 2007
He should be fire....if i was you I would file a complaint against him through the Express corporation as well as with the company that owns Lakeforest Mall. There is no excuse for him being rude and disrespectful towards anyone. He is a manger thus he should know better. If he can not conduct himself in the proper manner of being a manager he should think about finding a new job.
Vanessa

Frederick, MD

#16 Nov 28, 2007
He should be fired....if i was you I would file a complaint against him through the Express corporation as well as with the company that owns Lakeforest Mall. There is no excuse for him being rude and disrespectful towards anyone. He is a manger thus he should know better. If he can not conduct himself in the proper manner of being a manager he should think about finding a new job.

“Stop Global Whining”

Since: Dec 06

Location hidden

#17 Nov 28, 2007
I never go to that mall anymore for anything. I'd rather shlep it up to Frederick nowadays. Same with the Costco. People up there are 900 times more polite, speak English, and there's a whole lot less stabbing going on.
Richard

Chevy Chase, MD

#20 Dec 8, 2007
New Mossad agents flying the old zoom copter stand with some other branded helicopter.

Clearly straight out of neocon mythology these spies are from.

Then I walk past the dead sea scoll mud packs..
they ask for me to try some but tell them i dont want dead crap on my face.
Brian

Chevy Chase, MD

#21 Dec 8, 2007
Yuing if you still have your receipt I can go with you as i speak some chinese and I have been a LakeForest mall rat for over 20 years.

The mall management there knows me very very well and I can take care of this for you. Even the council member Bob Dorsey knows me very well( http://www.votedorsey.com/ )
Sue

Hyattsville, MD

#22 Dec 30, 2007
I agree the treatment was poor, but I disagree with you for accusing him of "only" speaking one language. This is America, where we speak English, so others need to adapt to this country when they come, as we would when we travel. It angers me greatly that Americans are pressured to learn other languages to adapt to newly arrived immigrants, but they are not forced to learn our native language.

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