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Grandpa Booted From Store's Kid Section ... Because He Is a Man - What do you think of this store's actions?

Posted by on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM
  • 64 Replies

Grandpa Booted From Store's Kid Section ... Because He Is a Man

Posted by Jeanne Sager on June 4, 2012 

bookstorePicture this: you're standing in the children's section of a bookstore. You've got money. You've got books to buy. And then an employee tells you that you have to leave. The reason? The other customers are freaked out that you're a man.

It's a story a grandfather from Arizona is screaming from the rooftops this week. Omar Amin says he went to Barnes and Noble to buy books for his grandkids, and he got kicked out because he was a man. And a store spokesperson is defending the action.

So who's right?

In this case, based on information as presented, I side with Amin. We have no sign this grandfather was doing anything besides shopping for books for his grandkids or that his "crime" was anything other than being a male. If everything he says is true, it's a clear case of discrimination. I am sick and tired of the tired old "man around kids must be a pedophile" reaction. It's unfair to the millions of males in this world who wouldn't dream of such base and disgusting actions. And when you consider there are female pedophiles out there, it's far too simplistic.

And yet, if customers are approaching a store manager complaining about a person in the store who is giving them the willies, what's a store manager to do? It's a basic rule of business that the customer is always right ... right?

Well, nope, not at all. A manager could have 10 customers pitch a fit, claiming a breastfeeding mom is freaking them out because OMG, boobies. But the law (not to mention common sense) protects Mom and child from getting the boot. Or there could be a small but vocal contingent of skinheads in the store on any given day, moaning to management that they shouldn't allow a (insert slur for ethnic minority here) into their establishment. Again, the law and common sense trump "customer is always right."

The customer is always right is a nice motto, but it doesn't hold up when ethics are on the line. People, real people, have to come before old mantras.

What do you think of this store's actions?

by on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Silver Member on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:29 PM
2 moms liked this

wrong- if he didn't do anything to anyone and was shopping on what grounds did they actually ask him to leave?? Does everyone now have to worry that they might be asked to leave if anyone finds them unsuitable for any reason at all?? What if my hair color is offensive? my weight? my glasses? I love B&N, but this really disappoints me.

by Bronze Member on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

I think the store manager was an idiot. If the manager had sent someone to ask him if he needed help finding something and offer advice, they wouldn't look like an ass, which they now do. A discriminatory ass, at that.

by on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM


OMAR AMIN, Ph.D. was born in Egypt and received his M.Sc. Degree in Zoology and M.S. in Medical Entomology from Cairo University. He later received his Ph.D. Degree in Parasitology and Infectious Diseases from Arizona State University, Tempe and his Post-Doctoral in Tick Borne Diseases Research from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. This was followed by Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Research at the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia.

His employment consisted of work at U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit #3 in Cairo, Egypt and University of Wisconsin, Kenosha teaching Epidemiology and 4 different courses in Parasitology.

Also he received many awards and grants given to him by different state agencies in support of his Parasitology Research. His Persian Gulf research was supported by Fulbright Research Scholarships.

Dr. Amin has over 160 published research papers to his credit. An equal number of presentations were made by him to various international and national scientific groups as well as a 5-part educational video set on parasites.

Scottsdale man accusing Barnes & Noble of sex bias

He was asked to leave kids' area

Omar Amin David Wallace/The Arizona Republic

Omar Amin at his home in Scottsdale with a photograph of his grandsons, for whom he says he was buying gifts when a Barnes & Noble worker asked him to leave the children's area.

A Scottsdale man is claiming that a Barnes & Noble bookstore discriminated against him when an employee forced him out of the store because he was a male shopper alone in the children's area.

Omar Amin, 73, said store worker Todd Voris told him that a female shopper had complained about him being in the children's area May 4 in the store at Shea Boulevard and Loop 101 in Scottsdale.

Amin, who was alone at the time, said he was in Barnes & Noble to buy books for his two grandchildren who live in Wisconsin.

"Men alone cannot be by themselves in the children's area," Amin said he was told, adding that Voris said other bookstores had encountered problems with child molesters.

Voris, when contacted by The Arizona Republic on Thursday, referred the call to a district manager.

Mary Ellen Keating, a Barnes & Noble spokeswoman in New York, said in an e-mail response: "We have no comment on the store matter you called about. We believe we acted appropriately."

Keating did not respond further to e-mailed questions about Barnes & Noble's policy on male shoppers in the children's area and about removing customers from the store.

Amin is director of the Parasitology Center Inc. in Scottsdale and an expert in infectious disease.

He said Barnes & Noble has not properly addressed his discrimination complaint despite the company's promise that someone would contact him after the matter was investigated. He said he is considering legal action.

"They're trying to push it under the rug and they are not taking responsibility for what happened," he said.

Arizona State University law professor Charles Calleros said Arizona's public-accommodations law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

If women without children are allowed to shop in the children's section "then we arguably have gender discrimination," he said.

"The case is muddied up by the statement that another patron had complained," Calleros said.

But it is unclear whether the other patron reported suspicious behavior by the doctor, he said, noting that the preliminary reports on the dispute are one-sided.

Amin said he only talked on his cellphone in the store and did not disrupt anyone.

Amin said his dignity was compromised when the store employee "escorted me out as a potential sex offender."

Amin is a native of Egypt who earned a doctorate in zoology and parasitology from Arizona State University in 1968.

Amin, who speaks with an accent, said he has been an American citizen for 45 years.

He said he frequently shops at Barnes & Noble and went there late on a Friday afternoon to buy books for his grandsons, Alexander, 7, and Nicholas, 5.

Amin said he received a phone call as he arrived in the store and went to a quiet spot along the windows in the children's area, where he sat on the floor to talk with a female friend who had called him. The area was nearly empty, Amin said, and he did not see any children or female shoppers while he was talking on the phone.

The store employee, Voris, interrupted his call and said he would have to leave the store, Amin said.

The doctor said he left and then came back into the store to confront Voris and asked that be allowed to speak with the woman who had complained about him. His request was denied, Amin said.

In his complaint letter to Barnes & Noble, Amin wrote that "I did not break any rules, there was no sign posted that said men are not allowed in the children's book area."

In response, Barnes & Noble sent Amin an e-mail promising to review what happened and contact him. Amin said he also received a call from a district manager who promised to investigate the matter.

On a recent afternoon, the children's area in the Barnes & Noble store had handful of children and female shoppers and one elderly male flipping through a book. The area, with tables and chairs for children, is set off with bookshelves restricting access to one entry point.

Amin said Barnes & Noble is not taking the matter seriously. "I'm not going to go away."

by on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM
7 moms liked this

I think the store screwed up and the people complaining about a "man" in the children's section are melodramatic idiots.  

by on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

 That's just really weird....

by Bronze Member on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM
I know my manager probably would have just asked if he needed help finding anything and upon hearing why the man was there would have told the other customer why he wasn't kicking the man out. The manager was completely in the wrong.
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by Bronze Member on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM

How odd! I have seen men that gave me the willies and I steered my DD the other way, never crossed my mind to think they shouldn't shop there. 

 I say they are wrong....

by Member on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:47 PM

 I think they are in the wrong. It's not like he was hanging out doing nothing....he had books in his hands. This is ridiculous

by on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

As the mom of 3 young kids whose father (my husband :-) is much older than me, I think the store was competely wrong.  The one and only time we took our cat on a leash to a public playground (where dogs are allowed), kids were naturally completely facinated with a CAT!  ON A LEASH!  And clustered around husband and cat.  Since I was swinging our son, nobody realized he was with me.  So some "concerned" mother called the police.  The police came in, talked with hubby for a few minutes, he was so mad and embaressed he went back to our truck, and the officers left.  My husband does not embarress easily.  :-(  We've never since taken kitty out with us though she does enjoy outings.  There's just too much risk of further unsubstaniated police calls.

My husband has also been reported to the police simply for walking with our son (the two of then alone) to nearby stores.  It sucks but it is what it is.  We realized early in our relationship this sort of crap was probably going to happen, we just didn't realize how often.  There is SUCH a bad attitude towards men with small children in general and particularly "old" men.  Very, very sad.

by Ruby Member on Jun. 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

The store is in the wrong if they were concerned they could have had a employee keep an eye on him while dusting shelves and what not without being complete fools about it.

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