A video clip of two employees at Incheon Shinsegae department store kneeling in front of an angry customer has gone viral and is in the center of controversy. The minute and a half long video clip released on October 16 shows a female customer sitting on a chair scolding two department store employees who are kneeling on the floor.
The customer, wearing a trenchcoat, sits on a chair with legs crossed and hands in pockets as she scolds the employees about the poor quality of their customer service. The two employees, dressed in black, are kneeling on the floor with their heads down.
The woman’s mother is said to have requested free after-service from the Swarovski store for items purchased about seven years ago. The items the customer requested for service are a necklace from 2008 and a bracelet from 2007. The employees then explained to her that there will be charges for the service since the free after-service is for items purchased within the last three years. Apparently, the mother told her daughter about the situation and the daughter got involved. After calling the store and hearing the same information, the daughter went to the store in person and went on a tirade complaining about their poor service. As the situation became increasingly worse, a bystander who happened to witness the scene reported the incident to the police.
The viral video clip is said to have been recorded and released by the same bystander. At the time, the police requested the video clip to be erased, but the bystander refused and went on to post it online for all to see. Since then, the video clip of the ill-mannered customer has gone viral.
The department store representative commented, “The employees hoped to ease the tension and wrap up the situation quietly by kneeling in front of the customer. The customer did not demand them to kneel or verbally attack them.” However, the employees involved have not come back to work since October 17 due to psychological trauma over the incident. They are expected to take another week off while receiving therapy.
On the other hand, Swarovski is said to be considering legal action regarding the incident. A Swarovski representative commented, “If the employees or the customer want to take legal action, we’re ready to take on the charge as a company. We’re currently reviewing the legal ramifications with our legal team.”
The two employees’ stances have not been revealed at this point. The Swarovski representative stated, “The employees involved are suffering from psychological distress due to the incident.”
The bystander who recorded and posted the video clip of the incident stands by his actions which brought this controversy to surface. “Mr. K,” who is in his mid-forties, asserted, “What a despicable sight! The department store is also responsible for allowing this to happen. If my posting the video clip becomes an issue, I’ll face it head on. I have no intention of erasing the clip.”
Mr. K met with a news outlet and sat down for an interview. He still appeared to be quite upset at witnessing such a ridiculous incident. He did not hesitate and began to describe what he saw. This is his side of the story:
“I went to Incheon Shinsegae department store on October 16 around 3:20 p.m. As I was passing by the Swarovski showroom, I heard a high-pitched voice. I thought a manager was scolding the employees at first. But as soon as I saw the female employees kneeling on the floor, I knew it was more than that. That’s when I turned around and started to record the whole scene. After I recorded about a minute and a half of the scene, I went into the showroom and helped one of the employees get on her feet. She was teary-eyed. It’s clearly a ridiculous exercise of tyranny by the customer. It was such ugly behavior.”
Mr. K was further aggravated by the high-and-mighty attitude the customer took toward him that he decided to share the video clip on his Facebook account within a couple hours of leaving the department store.
He also added, “There was a security guard at the department store. But he chose to ignore the incident. If an employee is kneeling and begging for forgiveness, shouldn’t you help her to her feet? The scolding customer is definitely the problem, but the department store is also responsible for letting it happen.”
A Shinsegae department store representative explained, “We abide by our rules to protect our employees and exercise their rights. We interviewed the Swarovski employees since the incident. We did our best to gather the facts and to protect our employees who are suffering from psychological distress.”
However, Mr. K stands firm in his stance that contradicts the claim of the Shinsegae department store. He also said the police repeatedly asked him to erase the video clip. He added, “After I had my own run-in with that customer, I reported the incident to the local police myself. The police asked me to erase the video clip over the phone, but I refused.” Mr. K also questioned the absence of the involved employees who are said to be taking some time off due to psychological distress. Mr. K feels uneasy at the fact that the main figures who were directly involved in the incident are currently missing. He is bothered by the fact that the very individuals who can testify to the customer’s unreasonable tyranny are nowhere to be seen at this point.
Check out the video clip of the incident here.
What are your thoughts on this incident?