JB Hi-Fi, which is like the Best Buy of Australia, refused entry to a boy with Down Syndrome yesterday. He was mistaken for another person with Down Syndrome who was banned from the store for suspected shoplifting. Even after his sister explained that he was a different person, the guard still wouldn't let him in. The boy's mom then called the store's manager about the situation, and was told that "he would never, ever, ever get an apology." Here's his sister's Facebook post, which went viral:
I have never been so disgusted and mad in my life. Today at JB HiFi Mt Ommaney, when my dad and my brother (who has Down's syndrome) entered the store the security guard immediately stepped in front of my brother and said that he wasn't allowed in the store.
My dad, confused, asked "Why not?" and the security guard said that he had my brother's photo and he wasn't allowed in. My dad asked to see the manager and while he is being called, the security guard goes through his phone to find a photo of the young man that they think is my brother. When my dad and the manager are shown a photo of a white male who also had Down's syndrome, my dad says it's clearly not James, who has olive skin, and the manager replied "well they look the same".
Despite the evidence that my brother had been mistaken for another young man, the manager still refused to let him in. By this stage James, the sweetest boy who is still in love with The Wiggles and Ben 10, was visibly upset at what was happening and my dad took him home.
Mum called up the manager of the store, demanding that he apologize to her son, to which he replied that "he would never, ever, ever get an apology" from him and that he had "the right to stop anyone he pleased from entering the store".
Please, if you are also disgusted by the discrimination shown to James, share this and take a stand against bullying and ignorance
After she received an outpouring of support, JB Hi-Fi released an apology from their CEO:
JB Hi-Fi is committed to providing all customers with the best possible shopping experience.
We have investigated the incident involving James Milne and his family at our Mount Ommaney store.
We apologise to James and his family for any distress he has suffered as a result of this incident.
JB Hi-Fi and the manager of our Mount Ommaney store believe that we could have managed this in a better way in the interests of James and his family.
JB Hi-Fi is committed to learning from this and improving our customer experience across all of our stores.
To support this we are reviewing our customer policies to make sure that they reflect best practice.
Richard Murray CEO of JB Hi-Fi said “We would like to apologise unreservedly to James. We should have done better yesterday. We are going to make sure that we learn from this and do better in the future. I have sent a personal letter of apology to James and we are continuing to endeavour to contact the family to apologise directly.
While they're at it, they should also probably re-evaluate their company name. "JB Hi-Fi" sounds like a made-up electronics store from a 90s movie. No one's gonna take you seriously with that. Here are some hipper alternatives:
- Murray's Living Room
- Slick Soundz
- Speakers on Fleek
- Death to Amazon
- g a d g e t