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We have a customer whose special orders have been brought to my attention by other booksellers. He has purchased books of photography by Sally Mann and Jock Sturges and other titles with the same theme, i.e., naked children (these had to be special ordered b/c we don't keep them in the store). We have also rung him up for unusual magazine purchases, such as Playboy, Maxim...and American Girl Magazine. Together. While this is technically all circumstantial, it really does seem like he's a pedophile or working up to it. So the question is, should we ban him from our store? Or should we just try to keep him out of Kids? Or should we allow him, as a PAYING customer, to do whatever he wants, which is how we usually operate? Granted most of them just want to us to hold their books indefinitely or construct a conference table in the cafe...Anyway, I personally think we should throw him out.


( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Loss Prevention
Whoa. This is a job for BN's Loss Prevention Dept who also handle quality of life situations. Your SM should contact Loss Prevention immediately. And if he/she won't, you need to call WE LISTEN, tell them what is going on, and get them to refer this to Loss Prevention. Booksellers should not tackle this issue themselves. If this guy just like porn for himself (or erotica in the case of the photography books) and happens to be picking up something for the kids (yeah, right, I know it's a stretch), you could get into a ton of legal trouble confronting this guy on your own by calling the cops on him. Let Loss Prevention handle it. I was a BN manager for nearly 20 years and we handled this stuff all the time in our store.
May. 17th, 2011 04:55 am (UTC)
Re: Loss Prevention
Agreed. LP will take care of this stuff as it is part of their job and they do (unfortunately) handle it. Also, you should never feel guilty about voicing concerns to your SM in a case like this because it is something they ought to at least be aware of, if for no other reason than to be extra cautious if he starts spending a lot of time in the kid's section.
May. 16th, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
What the other person, for sure. Also, has he done anything to an actual person? I'd watch him, yes, but it doesn't sound like he's done anything specifically wrong. He's just been creepy.
May. 16th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
Are you serious? A customer is buying something that you are selling and you believe he should be banned for buying it? Are you the thought police? Many of the books we sell offend others for a variety of reasons. However, you can assume that any book that we have in our warehouse is legal to be sold and therefore legal to purchase and own. I am not aware that we traffic in child pornography. Whether you find the contents of what he buys or the combinations in which he buys them acceptable is immaterial. Unless this guy is hanging out in the Kid's section and actually doing something illegal, what he does with what we sell him is none of our business.
May. 17th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
I'm with the above poster. Unless he is doing something IN THE STORE, you can't report him. You can keep an eye on him, yes (as you should do for any customer who raises suspicion). What they do outside of the store is not our business -- would you report a customer for buying a book on marijuana cultivation?

If it will help, call LP and ask how you should handle the customer IF something should happen. And make sure your SM knows about your concerns.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 01:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 02:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lots42 - May. 17th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - night_avariel - May. 18th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 17th, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
Wait, wait, wait. It's possible to buy photography books of naked children?

May. 17th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
That came out wrong. I don't want those things to exist.
(no subject) - theniwokesoftly - May. 17th, 2011 03:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 04:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smammers - May. 22nd, 2011 06:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lots42 - May. 17th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 17th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
Not our job to be the morals police. Call the cops if he does anything illegal.
May. 17th, 2011 03:35 am (UTC)
Unless he's done something illegal, you have no reason to consider banning him. He may be buying things you don't find appropriate, but you don't get to police others items. Maybe he's a photographer. Maybe he has kids. Maybe he's going to become a pedophile. Maybe he has a wife who likes pictures of children. You have NO IDEA why he's buying these items, what he does with them, and you have no right to decide such things. At this point, be happy he's willing to spend money in your store on photography books (usually pricey).
May. 17th, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
While I don't think the OP should be banning anyone or calling the police, be happy he's willing to spend money in your store is a bit poor taste considering the fact s/he's worried about a possible child molester.
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 04:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 05:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 18th, 2011 08:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 18th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 18th, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - friktionridge99 - May. 19th, 2011 12:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lots42 - May. 17th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thisdaydreamer - May. 17th, 2011 04:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lots42 - May. 17th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lots42 - May. 17th, 2011 05:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 05:11 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 17th, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
He isn't doing anything to rate banning from the store. Definitely keep an eye on him when he's back in the kids' department or around children, but it really isn't up to anyone at the store to try to limit the legal books and magazines he's buying.

I understand why you are alarmed by the guy. Hell, I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but I don't believe in banning reading material or customers for what they choose to read.
May. 17th, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
But we don't have TIME to keep an eye on him or anyone else. He does hover around the entrance to Kids but our lead only saw him in there once. There's another guy who slowly walks back and forth in front of Kids staring into it, always pretending to read a book but half the time it's upside down or something ridiculous like Diary of Wimpy Kid. He's there a lot for storytime and we're not sure if he's staring at the kids or the mothers. Last year there was an incident in the restroom that ended with a guy being sentenced to prison. If we don't do anything until a crime has been committed, isn't it kind of late? And even in terms of business, we make more money from people with kids than we do from selling a few photography books. People aren't going to bring their kids to our store if it's not safe or if they even think it's not safe.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - friktionridge99 - May. 17th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 17th, 2011 09:13 am (UTC)
Men without children are not allowed loiter in the Kids department. Ever. Men who are alone in the Kids department are always approached immediately and offered assistance. If they refuse they are asked what they're shopping for. If they say anything along the lines of, "Just looking," then they are asked to leave the department. If a man who's by himself is sitting in the Kids department, staring at the children, skulking around, or really doing anything that seems mildly weird, he's asked to leave the department. Yes, it's only men (and teenagers, but for completely different reasons). Yes, it could be considered discriminatory, but we'd rather make some man who had no ill intentions wonder why he was told, "Only parents with kids are allowed to hang out in here," than some creepy guy make all the moms uncomfortable.

That being said, do I think you should ban him from the store or refuse to allow him to make purchases? No. But I do not think he should be allowed anywhere near the Kids department. If a manager needs to non-specifically but sternly speak to him about staying away from the Kids department, then they should. If there is EVER a complaint from a parent about him making them uncomfortable or hanging around their child, he should be banned from the store immediately.
May. 17th, 2011 11:21 am (UTC)
Are you freaking serious? Please tell me which store you work at so I can go to the Kids department and say I'm "Just looking." When you ask me to leave, the least I will get is a huge apology and Gift Card from Corporate. If I find a willing lawyer hopefully I will get much more.

Anyone who agrees with the original poster of this thread has no idea of the philosophy this company was founded upon by Len Riggio.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jedifarfy - May. 17th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 17th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - friktionridge99 - May. 18th, 2011 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
That is just plain stupid. - (Anonymous) - May. 18th, 2011 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - May. 19th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smammers - May. 22nd, 2011 06:26 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 18th, 2011 06:19 am (UTC)
I hear ya. I stay out of the wedding section cause all those women might want to get married. That would be so scary!
May. 18th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
Ugh, its a tough one no doubt
It's a tough one, no doubt. Truly, as sales representatives, we have no right to judge the man. For all we know, his niece is having a birthday and he wanted to give her a subscription to American Girl. It just so happened that he was purchasing other material.

At least he is purchasing the items. He could be going into the john and using them temporarily...it happens. The mags get tossed and the books become a part of the already overflowing inventory made from orders never purchased.

It's good to keep our eyes open but I think we have to be cautious of our own values and how they might cause unfair opinions. It's a big challenge for me as well.
May. 19th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
I think everyone above has made some really great points. We can't discriminate because of purchasing products we sell.
However, sometimes you get that "creepy" feeling that something just isn't right. So, if this guy has placed orders, his information is in the system. Why don't you run his name through your circuit court on the internet, or google his name? See what comes up. Maybe he is a convicted offender and the material he buys is against his probation. Then you can make an anonymous call to police. If you don't find anything, you can keep an eye on him, and, much like when we have a shoplifter in the store, if they feel you are aware of them, then they usually leave. I have had those creepy feelings about some customers, and as someone who has known a pedophile (I didn't know about him while we were friends; I found out when he was convicted), I try to order a book for them so I can look up their name on circuit court. A "little" paranoid, definitely! : )
May. 24th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
I think every store has their creepy customers. Thankfully, my store's don't come close to the guy your describing. When I'm in the kids dept and someone rubs me the wrong way, I definitely keep an eye on them. I don't ask them to leave, but I make my presence known like I would any other customer. Too many parents leave their children unattended, assuming we live in Pleasantville (which we don't).

While I agree banning him from the store on speculation is wrong, did you consider looking his name up on the public list of sexual offenders in your area? You have his name and suspicions. People use that list all the time when moving to a new area, so I don't see why you couldn't do the same.
May. 24th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Just to add...
Same poster-- I forgot to mention that the list is flawed and you never know when someone was wrongly accused of whatever they did, but by checking and not seeing his name, maybe you won't be as worried?
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Jun. 14th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
You really can't just go around and accuse people of stuff you don't have proof on. It could be a grandparent buying for a grandchild, many adults enjoy reading kids books, a single male could be buying a b-day present for a niece. Yes child molestation is bad but we can't start a witchhut.
Jun. 14th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
sorry witchunt
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Jan. 27th, 2012 10:11 am (UTC)
Ну вообще-то, многое из того, что Вы пишете не совсем так… Ну да ладно, не важно :)
Feb. 15th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
Чего-то не хватает, а чего не пойму.
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