I was kicked out of a store for nursing in the dressing room!!!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 147 Old 10-14-2007, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently had a terrible experience in Orlando, FL (where I live) which has left me shaken and upset. A friend suggested that I post on here for support.

I have an 8 month old daughter (my first child) and I have been breastfeeding her without any issues or problems until yesterday. On Saturday, at around 3 pm, I was on Park Avenue in Winter Park, FL for an arts festival and to do some holiday shopping. I was in a store called Siegels trying on some shorts and a bathing suit when my daughter woke up from her nap. I had already placed several items that I was purchasing at the desk and, at the time my daughter woke up, was in the dressing room with no clothes on as I was trying on a bathing suit. Because my baby woke up hungry and crying I figured I would nurse her before trying on the next bathing suit. The minute I sat down on the bench (literally- I had not been sitting for more than 30 seconds) the sales clerk who was helping me came up to the curtain and said "excuse me....you'll have to leave the dressing room if you need to breastfeed your baby...you can go into our bathroom if you need to breastfeed". I said "I'm about to try on a bathing suit and will only be a few more minutes." She then said "I have other customers who need the dressing room you can go into the restroom." Shocked (as the store was empty and the dressing room next to me had been occupied for a good 15 minutes or so by someone trying on clothes and that customer had not been rushed), I asked the salesclerk if she was asking me to leave. She said "Yes- you need to leave now".

I was dazed and didn't know what to do so I stood up, put my crying baby back in her stroller and got dressed. I stormed out and left the clothes I had been trying on in the dressing room. As I went outside I made a comment to another clerk about how rudely I had just been treated. I took a few deep breaths to gather my thoughts and decided to go back inside to get the woman's name. When I went back in and asked for her name and the owner's name I found out she WAS the owner! She then began to tell me how rude I was for not leaving immediately when she had first asked me to (how dare I keep breastfeeding my crying baby???). When she told me I should have gone to the bathroom I replied by asking her if she liked to eat in the bathroom. She got extremely nasty with me and then said she wasn't having this conversation with me and I needed to leave her store. After telling her she didn't need to discuss it with me and could discuss it with my attorney I left.

I immediately called my friend who is also a breastfeeding mom to tell her what had just happened. She suggested that I go to the art festival and tell the news crew there. I told them my story and was asked to follow up on Monday (tomorrow)....I have not decided whether to follow up or not b/c I don't really want my name or picture on the news.

However, I want to make this woman feel as uncomfortable as she made me feel. If anyone has any suggestions I am open to anything!
Here is the info on the store:

The woman who helped me was Robin Siegel (the owner)
Siegels Clothing Co.
330 PARK AVE. SOUTH
WINTER PARK, FL. 32789
(407) 645-3100

www.siegelsonline.com
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#2 of 147 Old 10-14-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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I'm sorry I don't have any advice, other than to maybe write a letter to the newspaper or something? I'm sure she advertises locally- maybe find some venue where she is trying to garner business.

FWIW, you should find no problem nursing in the Gap dressing room! My sister is a manager at one of their stores, and they regularly have those reminders at their employee meetings. Sorry for the random thought- she told me this just the other day.
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#3 of 147 Old 10-14-2007, 11:59 PM
 
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I don't really have any advise, but I would definitely write a letter to the paper. That is unbelievable...I have nursed in plenty of fitting rooms while trying on clothes and have never had an issue...I wouldn't be shopping there anymore. Some people are just so clueless, of all places, I don't think I would ever nurse in the restroom.

Jessica ~ SAHM to Julianne (5-19-07) & Jocelyn (8-10-08) #3 12-25-10
Wife to my best friend and love of my life
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#4 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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That's just horrible. I mean besides the fact that it is not legal, it was horrible customer service. You were buying something, you were naked and in the middle of trying on another article of clothing, and you pretty much left once she asked you. Then she accuses you of being rude.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I would do, but I would really be tempted to picket with signs and chanting outside of her store. If she is going to treat her customers as badly as she does, she doesn't deserve to have any business.
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#5 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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Florida has a law that permits breastfeeding in any public or private place:

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/breast50.htm

and see especially here:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/ind...20015#0383.015

I would write a letter to the newspaper and copy this business owner, clarifying that fact. Perhaps some lactivists here or at your local LLL can help you with the appropriate wording.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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#6 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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Sorry you had such an awful experiences- was she not aware that she was breaking the law by asking you to leave?
Definitely take this further and keep us posted!

~e, wife to my sweet T partners.gif, mama to my turtleman (8) , sunshine (6 vbac.gif), and monkey (2)
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#7 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain optimism View Post
Florida has a law that permits breastfeeding in any public or private place:

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/breast50.htm

and see especially here:

http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/ind...20015#0383.015

I would write a letter to the newspaper and copy this business owner, clarifying that fact. Perhaps some lactivists here or at your local LLL can help you with the appropriate wording.
I agree!
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#8 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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I am sorry you were treated so badly! I am in Orlando too. I will never shop there...not that I do anyway but now I def. wont!!!!
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#9 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:41 AM
 
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I"m not getting why you think it was nursing she had a problem with. I wouldn't have bottlefed my baby in a changing room. It's for trying on clothes.
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#10 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by angelcat View Post
I"m not getting why you think it was nursing she had a problem with. I wouldn't have bottlefed my baby in a changing room. It's for trying on clothes.
She WAS trying on clothes. The way she was treated was rude & illegal.

.

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#11 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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My question would be more how did the woman know the momma was breastfeeding in a closed dressing room where she was trying on clothing? That disturbs me on an even deeper level than the illegal and rude behavior.

Anna
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#12 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:53 AM
 
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I"m not getting why you think it was nursing she had a problem with. I wouldn't have bottlefed my baby in a changing room. It's for trying on clothes.
Probably because the owner heard the baby crying and came over to say, "excuse me....you'll have to leave the dressing room if you need to breastfeed your baby...you can go into our bathroom if you need to breastfeed"
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#13 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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I"m not getting why you think it was nursing she had a problem with. I wouldn't have bottlefed my baby in a changing room. It's for trying on clothes.
Sure, the change room is for trying on clothes. If the store owner had a problem with a customer having a child in the change room, that MIGHT be a reasonable policy. Since that is not the case (cause if it was she would have informed this customer on the way into the change room, not after she had already been in there for while), the owner's problem was with breastfeeding. Suppose she had a 4 year old child in there with her, would the owner have kicked them out if the mama paused to hug her child, talk to her child, dig a cookie out of her pocket to keep the child happy? I doubt it, but those are all "not trying on clothes" activities that would very likely happen with a parent and child in a change room.

So sorry this happened to you.
I hope no mother in Florida EVER shops there.
To give us all hope for good shopping experiences: Room for Two (maternity and children's wear & toys) on Commercial Drive in Vancouver will bring you a foot stool and a glass of water if you are bf'ing in their change rooms, which I have done on days when I'm not even shopping in there!!!!! But you can bet they have my loyalty!!!

mama to two DD's, 7 and 3 (3 rounds of IVF and more FET's than I can remember)
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#14 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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: i am so sorry you were treated that way. that woman is a UA violation

Mummy to dd (Jan 13, '07) born by emergency c-section at 35 weeks due to severe pre-e  :ribboncesarean.gif and ds (Jan 30 '09) :hbac.gif and stork-suprise.gif    (06/11)
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#15 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 01:07 AM
 
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I would have been tempted to walk out of the dressing room half naked when she asked me to leave! Not that I would have actually done this, but I would have been tempted to!

Now that it's already happened, and she broke the law, wouldn't it be appropriate to contact the police about the matter?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#16 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 01:27 AM
 
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I would write a letter telling her how this made you feel. Include copies of the laws that the pp posted. Then wait a reasonable length of time for a SINCERE apology. If none is forthcoming, kick it up a notch, take it to your local bf groups and maybe if she doesnt see the error of her ways, a peaceful and educational nurse in/out is in order.
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#17 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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Maybe you could also get a petition of signatures from people who will not shop at her store and will tell others not to shop there until she apologizes, or agrees to be breastfeeding friendly in the future. I'd sign it. I live in Wyoming and am not likely to ever go there, but she doesn't have to know that. I shop online all the time and I'll definately not buy anything from her online store.

Or you could take all the breastfeeding mama's you know with you into her store with a copy of the laws and all breastfeed at there at the same time. You could also report your story on momsrising.org. They might have some good advice for you there too.
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#18 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 02:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Da WIC Lady View Post
My question would be more how did the woman know the momma was breastfeeding in a closed dressing room where she was trying on clothing? That disturbs me on an even deeper level than the illegal and rude behavior.

Anna
Yes that's what I was thinking....???
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#19 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 05:21 AM
 
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me too, is there a camera in there or something? dodgy.
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#20 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 05:42 AM
 
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I was thinking the same thing how in the world did she know you were bfing : the implications of that are scary to me.

 
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#21 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 05:55 AM
 
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Some people are nervous around children of any age, and she was probably "hovering" because of the stroller and baby. She had no right to make you leave. You were right to talk to the arts festivle people, I would go public with my story because if this yucky lady could do this to you soo easily, you know she has done it to others, or will. You could be the person to stop this.

Write the letter, call the papers, call the T.V. news station (maybe problem solvers kind of thing?) talk till you are blue in the face. The only way people learn is to educate them. Start a nurse in and hand out flyers to all who pass about the Law's regarding BF and all the great benifits to baby and mom. I would also add her to a LLL mailing list to recieve breastfeeding items. LOL ok maybe not the mailing list. Something, but don't take this and "go away" as she so wants you to do! Be strong for your BABY!!! Keep us posted please!

ETA my sister in law is a hair dresser in Jacksonville- she was OUTRAGED and is telling all her clients about how badly they treated you, word of mouth is a VERY powerful thing! As is education!

Married to Michael and Mother of Jake 9, Jillianne 7, Jensen 5, Jacen 4. I've got severe osteoporosis, a fractured hip and chronic pain-so please be patient with me! Pagan,Crocheter,Reader,Homeschooler- that's me in a nutshell.

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#22 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 08:36 AM
 
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I think I would have said something along the lines of, "I am feeding my baby, and was in the middle of trying on clothes. I can either come out now naked, or you can wait until I am done and I will come out with clothing on. Feel free to get mall security if you have any problems with that."

Now, in real life, I probably wouldn't have had the nerve to say that, but I would have wanted too. I would definitely made it VERY clear though, that I knew a LOT of mamas that I would encourage to never shop there again. Like the PP said, word of mouth is extremely powerful.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#23 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 08:47 AM
 
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Welcome to MDC!



You might try posting in the "Finding Your Tribe" area of the forums to spread the word to others in your local area. Here's a link to the forum that includes Florida:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...splay.php?f=77

What that store owner did was just wrong. That's why there are laws against it. I'm with the others - call news stations, write a letter to the newspapers, get the word out.

Ann-Marita. I deleted my usual signature due to, oh, wait, if I say why, that might give too much away. 

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#24 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 09:03 AM
 
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I agree with everyone else's good suggestions. I just wanted to give you a hug and say I'm sorry that you had to go through that. Somehow in my 2.5yrs of nursing, I've yet to have an "encounter". I'm starting to feel like I am the rare exception these days.

Nessa, DD1 (5) DD2 (3) & expecting again in late February/early March!
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#25 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 09:11 AM
 
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My GMIL lives in Orlando, I wonder if she has shopped at that store. I am very angry for you (just angry in general today, but that makes me angrier).
If I can think of a good letter to compose to this woman, I will. However, I think that my words would have more weight if I had actually previously shopped there, and would be taking my business away because of her illegal, offensive behavior. I would tell my GMIL about it, but she would probably be on the side of the store owner.
What if you had been bottle feeding? Your baby woke up while you are trying on close, you sit down to give her a bottle, would she have kicked you out then?

I am also curious about how she knew you were breastfeeding. Did she just assume when the baby got quiet? I do know that some stores have cameras in the dressing rooms to deter shoplifting, but I didn't think that they sat there and watched them as they were being filmed! Ick.
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#26 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 09:39 AM
 
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My parents live in that area. I'll make sure to give a nice little visit next summer and see if the store owner is well informed by then...

Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
Mama to love.gif DD (9yr), DS luxlove.gif (3yr), & 2twins.gif UC twin DDs (5yr)

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#27 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 09:54 AM
 
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Sorry mama this is so disturbing on many levels for me. First off I agree with the other posters how did she know you were bfing? This is beyond creepy. Second you have every right to not oly nurse in her dressing room but wherever else you may have needed to nurse. It is your legal right and your baby's birthright.

I think a letter is appropriate feel free to post it here for comments prior to sending remind her of FL state law

Quote:
Fla. Stat. Ann. § 383.015
1993 Fl. ALS 4; 1993 Fla. Laws ch. 4; 1993 Fla. HB 231

The breast feeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values. A mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother's breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding.
So providing you were allowed to be in the dressing room your baby was allowed to nurse there. Perhaps you have a friend who is a lawyer and could put it on some fancy letterhead for you. Or talk to LLL they have some good resources when it comes to this. It sounds like a lot of work but when people break the law they need to be held accountable. I would also file a complaint with the human rights

here is the link for that
http://fchr.state.fl.us/complaints__...s/who_can_file

Again I am so sorry mama that this happened to you. But now you are in the position of power and have the ability to affect change for other nursing mamas who may go into that store and to give that UA violation a slap on the wrist.

Tracy, Wifey to Jeff . Mama to Maya-Papaya 7/04 and Carolina Bean-a 5/07 and Jack 7/4/10!!
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#28 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 10:33 AM
 
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I am angry for you as well. I wanted to lend you my support at this time.

When this happens it is so shocking. Words do not come easily and you are in such an emotional state the things that you do say don't come out the way you want them to.

When this happened to me I contacted EVERYONE! Papers, news, internet connections. I searched breastfeeding advocacy and emailed every link that I found. Word spread quickly. There was a nurse in and plenty of news coverage.

I hope it all works out for you.

Leigh Bellini
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#29 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Da WIC Lady View Post
My question would be more how did the woman know the momma was breastfeeding in a closed dressing room where she was trying on clothing? That disturbs me on an even deeper level than the illegal and rude behavior.

Anna
I remember a show YEARS ago that explained how dressing rooms usually have hidden cameras in them. That is true especially of larger chain stores, though. Maybe this owner uses that kind of surveillance?

And maybe she also had the "baby radar" out and was waiting for a reason to get rid of you.
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#30 of 147 Old 10-15-2007, 12:05 PM
 
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I remember a show YEARS ago that explained how dressing rooms usually have hidden cameras in them. That is true especially of larger chain stores, though. Maybe this owner uses that kind of surveillance?
Where I live all the clothing stores have signs posted that the fitting rooms are watched, by female attendants.

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