Stores and Spats

From verbal assault to thievery, Grace Coury shares her experiences working at Spencer’s 

Grace Coury, assistant manager, smiles outside the Spencer’s location at Middletown, NY. Photo courtesy Madison Shann.

Unfortunately, because of the nature of the store, there are a lot of people who come in and the majority of them are not always the best. I work at Spencer’s at the Galleria Mall in Middletown, New York. I just recently had to deal with an HR report before this interview, because I had an older guy come in and make some comments about a worker’s body and then grab her. We had to call the cops when he left and couldn’t press charges. 

Sometimes we have young customers who think they can take advantage of us; they think they’re invincible because they’re kids. I’ve had teenage girls come in and try to steal from the store and when I try to stop them, I get verbally assaulted. 

For example, I had a kid come in a month ago when I was on break and noticed his beanie on the cameras. I started watching him and I saw him take a package of three Playboy chains, unpackage them, put them in his pocket, and throw away the packaging.

So, I went out and said  “Hey those Playboy chains, I’m going to need those back.” He said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said, “in your front left pocket,” and he started cursing me out. I had to call down security and have them follow him through the mall.

I told him, “Just give me the chain back and I won’t have to call the cops.” 

They still think they are going to get away if they keep lying, saying I don’t have it. I had to call the cops to get him. They come in and think it’s funny to steal and I have to stop and apprehend them. I dealt with that a lot with the teenagers coming into the store. 

Since I am the assistant store manager, it is my job to stop people from stealing. Associates will even come to me and tell me that they saw somebody steal so I have to go and deal with that. There are pros and cons. There are a lot of terrible things. One of the only reasons I am still there is that it is flexible with my schedule. I work through the week and take Monday and Thursday off to be here.

I like the people I work with, as well as Spencer’s inclusivity and the safety of LGBTQ people. I enjoy that part of the job and the conversations with cool customers. There are a lot of queer people that come in and talk to us and feel safe in the store, which is wonderful.

Lila Andres

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