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To be fuming with anger at M and S sales assistant

(16 Posts)
Deeeja Wed 26-Aug-09 02:11:50

Today I was in M and S with my two autistic sons. 4 year old in his major buggy, and his high functioning brother, my 6 year old. 6 year old was upset by someone bumping into him, he can not tolerate unexpected touching, and I was trying to distract him and calm him away from a pending meltdown. While this was going on, he decided to hide in a clothes rail, I was standing next to him. A sales assistant came and physically pushed him out of the clothes rail, even though she could see me standing there, trying to calm him down and coax him out. I was shocked and asked her not to manhandle him since he was autistic and can not tolerate even the lightest of unexpected touches. He then lashed out and she held his arm and forcefully moved him.angry He was not harming anyone, or damaging anything, until that moment. He then ran around the store in a state of angst, with me at 36 weeks pregnant, with my 4 year old ds in major buggy in not very hot persuit. Luckily dh arrived in the nick of time.
Dh was understandably very angry. I was just exhausted, and quite frankly not amused that I did not go into labour with all the running about, but that is another topic. My 6 year old is now again refusing to leave the house.
I have written a letter of complaint to my local M and S.
I am so angry at the stupid shop assistant, especially after I explained to her to not touch my son, and the reason for it.
Dh says she assaulted ds.
I am just so angry.

Deeeja Wed 26-Aug-09 02:14:52

Am considering buying a t-shirt with apt message...

CarmenSanDiego Wed 26-Aug-09 03:08:46

Nightmare, Deeeja. The assistant should absolutely not have touched your child. Someone will probably be along with better knowledge, but I believe your dh is right and technically, this could constitute unlawful force... common assault. Whether you actually want to take it further or not, I don't know, but I would be writing to M&S HQ as well as the local branch.

Poor you. Take care of yourself, you don't need that at 36 weeks!

fuzzywuzzy Wed 26-Aug-09 03:35:27

You poor thing!!

Frankly I'm shocked the assistant touched your son at all, I used to be a sales girl (many years ago), and manhandling the customers would have definitely gotten me into huge trouble with management!!!! Did you get his/her name?

littleducks Wed 26-Aug-09 04:37:05

That is awful, if she had held and moved him before you had explained i would have felt that she was possibly trying to keep him safe/in his best interest/whatever but to do it after you specifically said not to is unforgiveable, to tut and roll her eyes would be rude but to physical move him is an assault

Im not sure it is something you would want to persue in a legal sense but that is something she needs explaining to her

I am really surprised, i have had shop staff apologise for touching my toddler when the caught her before she ran onto an escalator (as i also pregnant chased her) which i thought was bizarre as i was grateful but people are so not used to ever restraining a strangers child

Hope you and your son are ok now, I would be expecting an apology to ds, though i realise that prob wont help him if he feels so bad he doesnt want to leave the house

AmazingBouncingFerret Wed 26-Aug-09 07:09:12

She shouldnt of done this.
I work for a major high street store and we have rules for the touching of customers, most specifically, children. There is no way she is allowed to touch your son without your permission, the moment you told her not to she should of apologised and moved away.
You should put a complaint in.

PM73 Wed 26-Aug-09 07:43:38

Just to play devils advocate here did she think your ds was about to hit her so thats why she held his arm?

Glad you ds seems ok now.

MmeLindt Wed 26-Aug-09 07:54:33

I would copy your letter to M&S head office.

You told her not to touch him, explained why and yet she held his arm and moved him.

Ok, not everyone understands what you mean by autistic and that he cannot tolerate being touched. But you were standing right there. She had no reason to step in.

Even if he were not autistic, would it be acceptable for a shop assistant to physically restrain a child when the mother was standing right next to him?

Lizzzombie Wed 26-Aug-09 07:54:43

This is outrageous.
I am a Sales Assistant. And we have children in out shop on a daily behaviour. Many of whom have "meltdowns". I would not dream of stepping into the situation. It is for the parent to deal with. And my colleagues and I would NEVER grab a child unless they were running out of the store and the parent shouted "Catch my child!"
The M&S woman was totally out of line. If your son had not been a 6 year old, and was a teenager size or even adult, would she have intervened then? Probably not.
Hopefully she just panicked and judged the situation badly, but that doesn't help you now.
Definately take it up with M&S HQ and the local store.
Do not accept anything less than a full apology & explanation + a decent reimbursement for now not being able to go shopping due to your son having been set back with his behaviour due to the sales assistant. (logically they are now down in sales due to you not being able to go shopping there at the moment).

Good luck.

Lizzzombie Wed 26-Aug-09 07:55:16

doh - meant to type 'daily basis' obviously.

gingernutlover Wed 26-Aug-09 08:05:14

I agree with your DH, surely this counts as assault? Not sure how helpful you would find it to go to the police? But I feel you would be within yur rights to do so

YANBU at all and if I was you I would expect a full explanantion and assurance that the staff member would be dealt with.

funkybuddah Wed 26-Aug-09 08:06:49

that terrible, when I worked in mothercare (as a teen) we never minded kids hiding in the clothes, in fact we used to do it regularly (if you are pricing up the sale, sit on the floor obscured by clothes and you dont get pestered by managers hahaha)

def send the letter, its not on, I work in retail now and I wouldnt dream of doing anythign like that!!

screamingabdab Wed 26-Aug-09 08:06:53

I hope you get a decent response from the store. I am not sure what you would like them to do, but if you are not satisfied, I'd definitely take it higher. Before you do, I'd think about what you'sd like to happen :

Do you want her disciplined ?
Do you want a written apology from her ?
Would you like the opportunity to speak to her and educate her ?

Please let us know how you got on.

OrmIrian Wed 26-Aug-09 08:08:39

Shop assistant is a total idiot. How dare she? He was hiding in a clothes rail not tearing the fecking clothes with his teeth! I would want her head on a plate angry

Goblinchild Wed 26-Aug-09 08:45:31

I would go for righteous indignation, combined with educating her and the store.
She should apologise for her ignorance, but the store needs to be clear about what the rules are for its staff and make sure that they are followed. They may need to look at further education for their staff.

Just as an aside, if my AS son had been grabbed by a stranger at 6, the result would be an instant meltdown. He would have belted them with everything he had, and at 6 he was 28k of solid muscle and no restraint.
If he'd broken the shop assistant, the consequences for both would have been severe, and yet her fault.
Your girl was lucky that the effects of her rudeness and stupidity were not more dramatic.

BalloonSlayer Wed 26-Aug-09 08:54:59

I am shocked at her pushing him out of the clothes rail - what was she thinking!

The next part of your experience is a bit less clear cut though: "I was shocked and asked her not to manhandle him since he was autistic and can not tolerate even the lightest of unexpected touches. He then lashed out and she held his arm and forcefully moved him"

What do you mean by "lashed out?" I would take that to mean he tried to hit her. If that is what happened then surely she was quite within her rights to grab his arm to protect herself and put some distance between them. Even though you had asked her not to touch him, if you see a hand/arm flailing towards you, you act instinctively to protect yourself.

Apologies if I have misread what you meant, but if I have not, then I think the basis of your complaint should be the original pushing which is completely unacceptable.

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