Toronto Feminists

Women treated like a lady? Is Loblaws Sexist?


I’m new to this and I’m not discussing my feelings towards an absurd ad right now, but the blog write up on Loblaws did get my attention and it makes me wonder what kind of people work there. I recently had a bad experience at Loblaws that left me frazzled, shaking and disillusioned with this decade.

I was walking out of Loblaws one night and stopped to put my grocery bag in my carry all. I looked up to see and very tall young man at the entrance, standing near the cash register, selling the outdoor plants. He looked at me most unpleasantly and I wondered why he was looking at me with disdain in his eyes. Then I saw an oriental couple walking out with their grocery bags. The tall man said good bye to them and they continued to walk. I tried to break the ice with a joking tone and asked him why he didn’t say good bye to me? He responded with a most aggressive and disrespectful tone and blurted out, “YOU DIDN’T SAY HELLO TO ME!!”

I was so set back and offended by his hostility and disrespect, that I responded by telling him I didn’t think he was brought up very well for being so hostile and disrespectful. He raised his voice and bellowed, “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME!!” and made an aggressive lunge towards me. I immediately took action because I was not about to let this man think that I was afraid of him and that I was going to allow him to attack me. I yelled with authority while pointing my finger at him. I managed to blurt out, “If you lay one finger on me, I’m going to call the police!” That stopped him dead in his tracks and he knew I meant business! As I walked away my legs were shaking and I thought I was going to faint. I did end up talking to their store manager. She told me that all she could do was talk to him because he was considered a senior staff member and had authority. I was very offended by her lack of concern in regards to my well being, so I called the head office and asked to speak to their most senior manager who deals with all of the Loblaws stores. I’m presently waiting to hear from him.

My tiff is also with this particular store manager’s attitude. Does she believe that because he is the assistant manager that he has the authority to behave anyway he wants and can’t be properly reprimanded for violent and disrespectful behaviour towards customers? I can’t stand this kind of macho bully and what’s most shocking is that he didn’t even think to refrain his temper while in his work place and wasn’t the slightest bit concerned with how he treated a customer. I wondered how he felt about women in general; obviously not very much.

What has happened to the way men and women treat each other these days, when men can’t even behave and be civilized in the work place?!? Has anybody else experienced this kind of hostile disrespect? I think you know where I’m going with this. I told the store manager that I have 19.5 years of education and 15 years of professional work experience, so I could say I have authority over him and I never saw this kind of hostility and disrespect from any “business person” I worked for. I have seen barely concealed male chauvinism, but even they had the decency to be reasonably polite. When I was assistant head cashier 20 years ago, I remember my store manager drilling us that we had to treat all customers with the same respect. The 80’s were a different time and customer service people wouldn’t dare become rude back then. I was told by the head office that my complaint is on this man’s employee record, but I’m still waiting to get my phone call. Is Loblaws sexist?



Written by torontofeminists

August 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

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  1. That’s an incredible story, Christine. Some people are nuts, eh?

    I’m not clear, though, on how it’s sexist. Of course, some times you just need to be there and see it in context, but from what you’ve written it sounds absolutely disrespectful and threatening but not like he was treating you that way because of your gender.

    As you point out, there are 2 connected but separate beefs going on here: 1) with the dude, and 2) with Loblaws’ response to the situation.

    Likewise, I think the store’s representatives handled it in a disappointingly uncaring fashion but I can’t say that it looks like it has anything to do with the fact that you’re a woman.

    I think you should pursue this issue until you get a more satisfying response but I’d be a little wary of calling it sexism. You’ll make a stronger and more damning case against them if you call it what it is: rudeness and apathy toward the customers that support their business.


    August 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm

  2. Sounds like a terribly unstable individual- although i think i might be as well if i were senior management at loblaws.

    However, i agree with Tara- it seems like you’re jumping a little to lable this incident a product of sexism (when he made no outwardly sexism remarks or actions).


    October 9, 2008 at 3:29 am

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