It's World Breastfeeding Month, but Anthropologie doesn't want to see your boobs.
Ingrid Wiese Hesson claims she was unceremoniously escorted off an Anthropologie sales floor and into a stock-room bathroom for breastfeeding her baby. (Remind you of any ads?) Here's the email she sent to the company, and then posted to Facebook:
I'm writing to share an unfortunate event that occurred at the Beverly Hills anthropologie location. As a long time Anthro member and loyalist, it seemed natural to do my first postpartum shopping outing at Anthroologie. Anxious to use my birthday discount, I brought my six week old infant along and we both smiled as I walked away from the register with $700 worth of Breastfeeding friendly clothing. But baby began to cry and I found a chair at the back of the store and sat down to feed him. Imagine my surprise when the manager Meredith approached, "I'm here to escort you to the ladies room where you can finish feeding your baby." Shocked. I unlatched the infant, he began to cry, and we did the walk of shame to the stock room bathroom. There was nothing but a toilet in the room. "Sorry we don't have a chair." I left the store embarrassed and called back to talk to Meredith and verify what I had just experienced. "I thought you and the other customers would be more comfortable off the sales floor," she explained. Please inform Meredith that CA law grants me the right to Breastfeed in public. As a store that caters to women, I would hope your staff would be more understanding. Meredith said, "we must be fair to all the customers, not just moms." Meredith, moms are customers too. At least the many women that have already liked my Facebook post in the past hour seem to think so. Shame on you anthropologie.
Hesson's story has been circulating through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram like wildfire. The Anthropologie manager's actions were not just unwise, they were also in violation of Hesson's legal rights. From the California Civil Code: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present."
People have been tweeting and leaving messages on Anthropologie's Facebook page, threatening to boycott. A nurse-in at the specific Beverly Hills Anthropologie was arranged:
@JayGordonMDFAAP Nurse-in tomorrow, Wednesday, at Beverly Hills Anthropologie from 3-4 pm. Woman was asked to nurse in the bathroom!
— Josh (@labicycleatty) August 20, 2014
Attention nursing moms: if you're in Beverly Hills go nurse your baby at anthropologie. Ask for Meredith. RT and invite a nursing friend.
— Jessica Gottlieb (@JessicaGottlieb) August 20, 2014
Finally, Anthropologie responded with a somewhat vague PR cut-and-paste, saying:
We are disappointed to hear of the unfortunate experience that occurred in our Beverly Hills store. As a company comprised of hundreds of mothers, which seeks to put the customer first, we celebrate women in all of their life stages. Given our staff's dedication to providing exceptional customer service, we welcome this as an opportunity to enhance our customer experience by providing further training and education for our staff. Our aim is that all women—all mothers—be comfortable in our stores and delight in their relationship with Anthropologie.
The craziest part? All of this has gone down in the past 23 hours. Technology is wild and impressive, but somehow people are still asking me to fax them documents? Weird.
Photo via Flickr.