I always used to enjoy shopping at Penney's, especially for back-to-school items for my children. Now that they are grown, I've finally been able to have some "me" time and was looking forward to starting a whole new wardrobe for myself. However, my most recent experience at JC Penney in Steubenville will remain my last.
This incident happened a few months ago and I haven't been to the store since. I let it go and tried to forget that it happened, but after explaining to my daughter what I experienced, she insisted that I post the ordeal on this site. Before stopping at Penney's that day, I did some shopping in Sears and Macy's. I had a couple of large bags from both stores, along with my over-sized purse. After about an hour of careful browsing in the ladies' section of Penney's and trying on a few pairs of slacks, an associate asked if I'd like my bags to be held at the register until I was done shopping. I thanked her, but declined, as the bags weren't very heavy and I prefer to keep my belongings on my person to avoid any mix-ups or misplacing.
I carried on looking at jeans in the corner near the fitting room, and noticed an increased number of sales associates flocking to my general area, persistently offering help and offering to take my bags. I went from feeling like an overly-appreciated customer, to almost suffocated by workers with a bit of an attitude, who seemed determined to get my bags off of me and to get me out of the corner I was browsing through. I recently recovered from a long illness, resulting in me not moving as fast as I used to, so I did not appreciate feeling rushed, especially by people who are paid to ensure my satisfaction. I tried not to pay any mind to them, as I was not planning on driving out to shop for quite a while and I wanted to be sure of my purchases.
I heard what sounded like "dimes" on the associates' walky talkies that they carry and sighed a bit of relief that they'd perhaps leave me alone and tend to the dimes request. Then again I heard "I need dimes in the Women's department", after which about seven associates swarmed the general area in which I was shopping. I felt very threatened and somewhat frightened, so I made my way towards the register so I could get away from the commotion. In passing, I heard a young associate make a rude remark to another about my outfit. As I previously stated, I have been recovering, and did not find it all too necessary to "pretty" myself up just to visit my local mall on a rainy afternoon. I felt very embarrassed and offended. I put everything down and left the store with a red face. It wasn't until my drive home that I realized that they must have assumed I was trying to shoplift. First with the persistence in getting my bags away from me, then damn near every worker in the store focusing their eyes on my every move, and finally the hurtful remarks as I was heading to make my purchase. I don't know what kind of training they go through at JC Penney's, but sensitivity does not seem to be a priority. I still shop at JC Penney's, but never again at that store. I now shop online and occasionally at the Robinson store.