A woman went into a Maryland RadioShack to buy a cassette tape adapter and left with a receipt that read “ugly itch” from “tattoville,” referring to the tattoos on her arm in memory of a child lost to SIDS and her deceased mother.
“I just got the tattoos on my arm for my son that passed away from SIDS and my mother that died 10 months later,” Shanae Lewis told ABC News. ” I’m not a ‘hood, ghetto person –that’s just totally not me.”
“To be displayed as something like that because of my ethnicity or because I’m from Baltimore is discriminatory,” said Lewis, who received the receipt after asking for a refund.
A Baltimore resident, Lewis was visiting one over 4,700 RadioShack locations on a drive to D.C. when she requested a bag for the device she purchased and was asked to pay an additional five cents. She declined to pay for the bag and requested a refund.
The five-cent charge “not on the receipt and there was no signage,” Lewis told ABC News. ”There was no prior warning. I felt like that was just extra.”
Montgomery County in Maryland began collecting a nickel for disposable bags earlier this year as a source of revenue for the Water Quality Protection Fund, which pays for litter clean up, water-shed restoration and other things. According to the county, plastic bags are one of the top four items found in the area’s streams. The city expects to collect about $1.5 million in revenue in the first year of implementation. According to the Associated Press, in the first month, the county has already collected $154,000 in revenue from the new tax.
Lewis, who is from a different county, was not aware of the tax that went into effect in Montgomery County on January 1.
Lewis says there was no big verbal dispute, she asked for her money back because she planned on purchasing the item at a store in Baltimore County. However, based on the body language of the sales associate, Lewis could gauge that he was unhappy with the refund request. But, it wasn’t until she was in that car that she discovered what was printed on the receipt.
On the receipt from the Silver Spring, MD store were these typed out words: ”ugly itch, ghettohood, usa, tattoville, Maryland.” Lewis decided to return to the store to speak to the manager.
When Lewis returned to RadioShack, the 27-year-old says she was greeted with a few curse words from the manager. The employee that wrote the note on the receipt began to apologize, calling the words “just a joke,” said Lewis.
When she attempted to get a number for the store’s corporate office, Lewis says she was given a bogus number and the manager threatened to call the cops.
“I told him to please do because I wanted his contact information,” said Lewis.
Lewis did eventually contact the corporate office and fax a copy of the receipt.
“Based on descriptions we’ve seen in the media, this incident obviously does not meet RadioShack’s expectations for customer service,” Eric Bruner, a spokesman for RadioShack told ABC News. ”RadioShack responded immediately after seeing reports in the media, taking the strongest possible disciplinary actions.” It is against company policy to discuss individual personnel matters but the company has taken the “strongest action available” in response to the issue.
The company has attempted to contact Lewis to offer an apology.
“So far we’ve been unable to connect, although we have conveyed our regrets to another person in her household,” said Bruner.
Lewis says she will never return to the stores. The Baltimore resident that visits the electronics company several times a month is looking to return the items she has purchased over the last few weeks at the store.
For her troubles, Lewis says she was offered a $100 gift card and was asked to review the experience and meet with someone from the store.
“They’re really apologetic but they’re not sure about what they’re going to do,” said Lewis told ABC News. ”I think both employees need to be terminated and I don’t believe they should even receive unemployment benefits.”
“If they wanted their job, they would know how to treat a customer,” she adds.
Her attorney, Paul Gardner of Gardner Law Group, said in a statement, “We are shocked and outraged by the course of events and behavior of the employee/agent at Radio Shack. We now look forward to a meaningful dialogue with the national executives of Radio Shack. If that dialogue is not fruitful, then my client has authorized us to move to the next level of legal action to ensure that this type of behavior is not repeated in any of Radio Shacks’ 4,700+ stores. ”