An Oregon teen was asked to leave a “Rue 21” store at her local mall because she was too fat.
Shelby Buster, who had just turned 14, was looking for a way to spend her birthday money.
“I walked in and the lady at the front counter said, ‘hey, you’re too big to be in the store, I need you to leave.’”
“Thanks for ruining my birthday rue 21!” Buster wrote on Facebook.
Rue 21 replied publicly with a cookie cutter statement:
"We have been unable to corroborate that the incident actually happened. We value diversity and welcome all customers in our stores. We train our associates on inclusion and do not condone discrimination in any form. Behaviors like that described are unacceptable and are not by any means directive of the company."
A few points to make here. One: rue 21, it is really not necessary to include that first sentence, especially the word “actually,” which makes the store sound colloquially like they doubt Shelby Buster’s story. You can just say, “we are looking into the incident.”
Two: rue 21 sells perfume. It would still not be okay to tell someone that they are too fat to be in a store even if the store only sold clothing that wouldn’t fit the patron—maybe they want to try anyway, or are shopping for someone else—but perfume is perfume no matter who it’s on. Rue 21 also sells clothing, but Shelby Buster was there specifically to buy perfume.
Three: this doesn’t make the rue 21 employee’s comment any more or less acceptable, but Shelby Buster isn’t even that fat. She might be overweight, but it’s not like she is morbidly obese. I bother to point this out because it shows how far weight discrimination goes: someone who is unremarkably overweight can still get kicked out of a store that sells perfume.