A story this week brought in a huge reader response — and an unbelievable reply from “Babies ’R’ Us” to my readers who complained to them. First, the story:
When Heather Pebbles, 37, arrived at work at the Northville Township, Mich., Babies ’R’ Us store, she noticed a baby sitting alone in a car in the lot. The temperature: 9 degrees below freezing. Pebbles ran into the store and called the police, and then got on the store’s loudspeaker to try to find the parents. The mother, who said the 10-week-old was “too heavy” to carry while shopping, was charged with misdemeanor neglect. Did the store give Pebbles the raise that a customer who witnessed the event suggested? Hardly. A store manager said Pebbles was wrong to “involve” the store. “That guest now has a negative impression of shopping with us,” he told her. “We don’t need the bad publicity.” Outraged, Pebbles quit her job. (Detroit Free Press) …If Babies ’R’ Us thinks saving an infant from hypothermia is “bad publicity,” perhaps its customers should show them just how bad publicity can be.
A number of readers wrote the company to complain about the manager. Several of them forwarded me the company’s response — all of them are the same:
Babies ‘R’ Us firmly believes that calling the authorities in this situation was the right thing to do. We continue to support the decision to call the authorities, which was made by the store associate. There was never, at any time, any repercussion to the store associate for making the call. The associate voluntarily chose to resign from her position. Babies ‘R’ Us cares deeply about children, and we continue to support the decision that making the call to the authorities was the right thing to do. Please feel free to contact us with any further questions.
Dylan in California, one of the readers to send me a copy of that, notes, “They completely ignored my suggestion that the store manager should be reprimanded, and they seem to think that being told she was wrong for involving the store was not a repercussion for ‘the associate’.”
They surely think that by ignoring the outcries, the problem will go away. Is that the sort of merchant you want to patronize for your baby items? Think about it next time you go shopping for baby items.
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I’ve never heard any updates to this story, so as far as I can tell indeed they did ignore the outcries — and they did die down. Now you know why I sometimes keep pounding on outrages….
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