On Saturday, 8 July 2006 I went to 7-Eleven located at 11590 4 St N in St. Petersburg to purchase gas. As this 7-Eleven changed over to a prepay for gas policy a while ago I go inside to the cashier to prepay for my gas.
While I was waiting in line I noticed that there was a gentleman being waited on. This gentleman was treated a lot more friendlier. When it was my turn to approach the cashier I requested a prepay for gas.
After the transaction was completed the clerk turned to me and surly told me to have a good day sir. I then politely and professionally asked the clerk why I was surly called sir when the gentleman ahead of me was not treated with the same respect. The clerk got on the defensive and angrily told me that it is her policy to call every man sir.
At that point I got very aggravated at her response and I told her I did not want to hear it anymore. After that the clerk got more angrier at me; I was extremely upset as I went back to my car to pump my gas and I left. Later that evening I wrote a formal complaint to 7-Eleven via their web site explaining what happened.
Fast forward to Monday evening, 10 July 2006. I went to the same 7-Eleven store to pick up a sandwich and bring it back home. After I paid for my sandwich I was approached by Kage, who is a sales associate. Kage angrily escorted me out of the store and told me that I was accused of verbally abusing one of his employees.
Yes I was angry and upset at one of his employees for the way I was treated but in no way I did not instigate this commotion in the very first place as I asked this employee why I was treated differently than the customer ahead of me. Kage went on to claim that it was documented and it was on the video tape and apparently Kage interpreted it that way when he saw the tape. Even though I filed a complaint with 7-Eleven on the web site, Kage never gave me an opportunity to explain my side of the story and threateningly told me to shut my mouth.
Kage went on to tell me that I was permanently barred from coming back to this 7-Eleven and that if I were to show up ever again he would call the police and have me forcibly removed from the premises and arrested for trespassing. Kage went on to further threaten and additionally humiliate me by pointing his finger right at my nose and at that point I feared for my personal safety as I had a feeling that Kage was going to take a swing at me.
I told Kage that if he threatens me with the police I will be in contact with my attorney. As I live across the street from this 7-Eleven I went home extremely upset and I could not hold my tears back as I called my sister to explain what happened.
You should know that this is also not the first and only time I have had concerns regarding Kage's behavior towards me as a customer. On a few occasions I have noticed Kage getting very aggressive with me by pointing his finger at me in a threatening manner, especially when he opens a register. I have been friendly with Kage despite his mediocre behavior until now.
Now that I cannot use this 7-Eleven anymore for anything, I have to drive a distance to other places for gas, food and other items. I appreciate the convenience of having this 7-Eleven close by where I live especially if I am doing something very late. Now every time I have to drive by this 7-Eleven (we only have one road that leads into my community) I get very scared and I break into a sweat. I have used to do some walking around my complex but now I am very scared to on the public sidewalk that abuts 7-Eleven or even across the street.
Kage has placed me in constant fear of my personal freedom and safety, whether I have permission or not to come back to the 7-Eleven store as well as potentially off the 7-Eleven premises. It appears that the only way I can truly put this incident behind me is to sell my condo and move elsewhere out of the immediate area of this 7-Eleven store.
To sum everything up, I was permanently barred from 7-Eleven on 11590 4 St N in St. Petersburg because 1) I stood up for my personal dignity, 2) I stood up to be treated with equal respect, and 3) I stood up for my rights as a customer. I do not mind being called sir as it is a respectful term of addressing a man and that's how we were raised; however, I cannot condone nor tolerate being addressed sir in a surly, aggressive or otherwise disrespectful way or fashion. Moreover, I was the victim of two 7-Eleven sales associates and management who stood up for their employees rather than listen to my concerns, who had aggression against me in their minds and was looking for one little minor incident as an excuse to have me permanently barred from the store.
My sister spoke with Tom, the manager of the 7-Eleven on 11590 4 St N, about this incident in order to achieve an amicable resolution. Instead of coming to agreement to resolve this issue, Tom concluded that I was to be excluded from the store, nothing more than a rubber stamp of Kage's decision.
At where I work I took a class not too long ago in diversity training and the class was called Unique Like You; in the class we were instructed how to treat customers in a dignified, yet respectful way. A part of my duties involve customer service and we have to treat customers in a friendly yet respectful way as I work for a governmental agency rather than private enterprise.
Comparing to the experience I received at other 7-Eleven stores in the St. Petersburg area, if 7-Eleven (and this particular store at 11590 4 St N in St. Petersburg) wants to remain in business, I believe 7-Eleven needs to be better trained on handling customer complaints and being on friendlier terms when it comes to dealing with the public.
Judging from what I experienced at 7-Eleven it is apparent that this 7-Eleven store in particular preaches poor customer service tactics to its employees and 7-Eleven employees are instructed by management to use threats and intimidation such as exclusion from a 7-Eleven store and calling the police when dealing with customer complaints. Moreover, I cannot condone a 7-Eleven sales associate who almost became physically abusive with me while threatening and humiliating me in front of several other customers and a 7-Eleven manager who rather than take the time to investigate this matter stands up for their employees and make deceitful statements to my sister who was attempting to rectify this issue for me as justification for my exclusion from the 7-Eleven store.
I do not know what my options are at this point besides contacting an attorney. But one thing is for sure and that is I did not instigate this incident in the first place I professionally and politely asked the clerk why and it is the clerk that got on the defensive which got me angry and upset in the first place. It is proved on the surveillance tape that I did get angry and upset but I did not get angry and upset on my own free will and accord instead, the surveillance tape shows how the customer before me was treated on better terms and how I was treated when I asked in a professional manner.
My advice for those people that live in or drive by the immediate area of the 7-Eleven store on 11590 4 St N: There are other convenience stores including 7-Eleven stores in the immediate area that want your business, but it is the 7-Eleven store on 11590 4 St N that apparently does not care about your patronage.
Please be careful if you stop there!
St Petersburg, Florida