The bookstore chain Barnes and Noble issued a rather belated apology to Dr. Omar Amin, 73, of Scottsdale, after he was thrown out of a children’s book section in Arizona. He was told that men are not allowed to be in the children’s section unless they are accompanied by a minor. That’s right. He was told that as a man he was viewed as a danger if reading alone in the section.
Amin was shopping for books for his grandchildren at his neighborhood bookstore when a female customer complained that a man was seen reading alone in the section. Barnes & Noble employee Todd Voris reported explained that men are viewed as potential child abusers if they are alone in the section.
What is fascinating is that the company responded to the incident by publicly supporting the decision to throw Amin out — insisting that Voris “acted appropriately.” What followed was days of criticism of the company.
Finally, yesterday the company did a complete 180 turn and denounced the decision as wrong and unacceptable. Now, Barnes & Noble vice president Mark Bottini maintains that “[i]t is not our policy to ask customers to leave any section of our stores without justification. We value Dr. Amin as a customer and look forward to welcoming him in any of our stores.”
Once again, I am amazed by the ineptitude of major corporations in such controversies. The company had to have deliberated on the first response and decision to embrace the policy. Then it abandoned that position and denounced the very act that it previously called appropriate.
There is something perverse in our society that the image of an elderly man reading in a children’s section is enough to send a woman to the front desk to report a suspected child molester.
Source: Daily Mail