Hello, I feel the need to write you about a local story.
My name is Eric Leventhal. I went to Sammy’s Camera today(in santa Barbara) to inquire about my camera. I was there for 1 hour. The store happen to have a promotion today with balloons, and reps from various manufactures. I spent most of my time with a rep from a camera company. I had to leave, to take my 20 month twins to the pumpkin patch in Goleta. It started to rain when I got home. I convinced my wife to return to the Sammy’s to buy the item I wanted to purchase. I told her that there was a lot of balloons, and the toddlers would have fun. As we walked in, there was about 75 balloons with “strings”. I handed one to my son, Sam and one to my daughter Lucy. Within 15 seconds, a part time sales associate confronted me and said I could not have those ballons, they were for paying customers, and had to purchase $25.00 or more to keep the balloon. I informed her I was in the store for over an hour just an hour ago, and I was there to purchase an item, and not to worry about it. She told me that my children could NOT keep there balloons. I told her again not to worry and I was going to buy over $25.00 worth of merchandise. Back and forth. Back and forth. Finally my wife told her she would have to take it from him. (FYI, The balloons had a coupon in them, unknown to us). She went in the back and came back with two different colored balloons. Here is the interesting thing. She was ONLY interested in my sons balloon, not my daughters. She got on her knees and asked what his name is? My wife said Sam, and that’s enough. Sam was not giving his orange with a blue string blue up! It was his. At this time I went to speak to my rep and the sales person. After thirty minutes, I purchased $189.00 item (as stated when she started this). She was two feet away from the register when I paid (strange?).
Upon leaving, my wife informed me she was following my son around the store for 30 minutes. Trying her best to get his balloon. Not my daughters balloon. Why? Well, it turns out when I popped the balloon at home, not in the store, there was a $100.00 coupon on any purchase. My daughters balloon had a $5.00 coupon.
I called and asked to speak to the general manager. I then spoke to Richard who “defend” the situation. These balloons are for paying customers, and there are cameras in them. We do not want people just to get a free camera. I told him by CA law, you can not charge for a raffle, sweepstakes, contest, etc. I also told him, this was not my point, but why is your employee harassing a 20 month boy with a balloon for thirty minutes. It made my boy feel very uncomfortable, and not to mention my wife. I told him your employees should not be taking candy from a baby. He told me he already was aware of the situation.
Strange? If he already knew, and this was not out of the ordinary, how come he did nothing to stop a rogue employee following and harassing my son. He gave me this, “well, look at it our way”, and “I will speak with her”.
He knew the entire story before I called. He and the employee knew the $100.00 coupon was in that balloon. Why else would he have known this story? I also told him by CA law, you can not charge a fee for a choice drawing (this is correct by the state of CA law). He told me the store was owned by lawyers, and they know better than him.
I only write this because I am a father, and why should you take your son or daughter to a neighborhood store and by harassed, lied to, almost stolen from (if they got his balloon, like they tried so hard to). I honestly do know if they run ads with you, and if that is a controversy, I will send it to every paper in every market they have a store. Since it happened to me in SB, I feel the need to have it addressed. Would you want you toddlers balloon aggressively removed from him by an unknown adult? Call it “Sammy, why did you take a child’s balloon”
feel free to call me for names and details