Claim: A veteran was booted from an Old Navy store for complaining about a uniform-wearing employee.
Examples:[Collected via e-mail, June 2012]
We got this from a guy who went to old Navy recently. Check it out and let us and Old Navy know what you think:
So this past saturday, my wife, daughter, and I go to Old Navy at Orange Park Mall, here in Jacksonville, FL. As I walk in at the front there is a little basketball hoop set up with an employee helping customers shoot hoops. When i look at the kid I notice he is about 16 wearing Dark blue jeans, white Keds, a white t-shirt, and a regulation green USMC dress jacket, complete with Lance Corporal rank, three rows of ribbons and a weapons bolo badge. Not only that he is continuosly pulling the sleeves up around his elbows. I tell my wife, who is still AD, to go ahead and do her shoping and i am going to address this issue with the manager. I walk up to this portly older employee and as to speak to the manager. She informs me that she is the manager. Inform her that, I am a vet, and that the employee in the jacket is disrespecting the uniform and that it needed to removed, that this being a NAVY town, they are in danger loosing alot of bissness, also that the kid is NOT suppossed to be wearing medals he did not himself earn. At the onset of the conversation she walks up to another employee and wispers some thing to her. I then go to the rear of the store and tell my wife I am going to Sears to pick up some tools I needed. On my way to sears I am stoped by a Sheriffs Deputy and A security rent a cop. and in formed that I was banned from Old Navy for making the employee feel threatened and causing a disturbance, and if I ever went back to the store I would be arrested for tresspassing. The deputy said he understood why I was upset cause his dad was Airforce. I called my wife who was still in Old Navy and told her to leave and not buy anything. Then called there Corprate office, which is in San Francisco, and have yet to here back from them. Needless to say I will not be back at Old Navy.
Origins: The above-related incident about a customer's being banned from an Old Navy store in Orange Park, Florida, for complaining about an employee's wearing of a U.S. Marine Corps jacket was picked up by television station WJXT in Jacksonville, which reported:
An Army veteran's story that he was kicked out of an Old Navy store has gone viral on Facebook and across the Internet. The retail chain says he was never asked to leave the store.
Aaron Bennett says he was at the Old Navy location in Orange Park when he saw an employee wearing a dark green Marine Corps dress jacket.
Old Navy [said] that the employee said the jacket with decorations on it came from a military surplus store.
"Had rank on the side, couple rows or ribbons and a weapons badge," Bennett said.
In addition to being a veteran, Bennett comes from a military family and knows that the United States Code makes it illegal "to falsely represent oneself as having received any U.S. military decoration or medal."
Bennett said he told the store manager and was then approached by a deputy and mall security, who told him he was banned from the store.
Old Navy [said] that Bennett was not banned from the store and mall management said he was not banned from the mall.
"We can confirm that mall security and the sheriff's officer on duty did not ban anyone from the mall," said Helen Ciesla, manager of Orange Park Mall.
A (since disclaimed) response to this item provided by Old Navy of Orange Park maintained that the item in question was an old French military uniform and that the employee wearing it had been "bodily threatened by others":
Sir. Just to clarify and to be clear. The jacket was a French uniform from the 1930's that was bought at an antique store. The young man thought of it as fashion. This employee as well as all others across our nation would never dream of intentionally being disrespectful to our troops. Unfortunately, we had to protect our employee because he was bodily threatened by others earlier in the day. We have seen several uniform inspired fashionable shirts and jackets as a trend lately. Again, no disrespect was intended and never will be. We stand behind our record as highly supporting our troops with our programs Operation Care and Comfort.
Gap, Inc., the corporate parent of Old Navy, issued a non-specific statement about the incident claiming there had been a misunderstanding which it was investigating:
Old Navy has the utmost respect for the military and we're proud of our longstanding tradition of supporting American troops, including our own employees and their family members who serve. We believe there was a misunderstanding between a customer and a store employee and are looking into the matter. We're truly sorry for any misunderstanding or offense caused by this incident.
The Stolen Valor Facebook page posted an e-mailed response from Aaron Bennett about his contact with GAP, Inc., regarding the incident:
I am proud to find my self among such individuals, Thank you all and I am truly honored that I had your support in all of this.
I was contacted by GAP, Inc. last night and they offered an apology. The gentleman I spoke to was named Adam Russ, they still maintain that this was a misunderstanding and that GAP, Inc. did not ban me from Old Navy, that the manager acted on her own. I told him I failed to see the difference. He also stated that Old Navy has no Dress code. I told him this was about how his company handled the situation, not the kid. He is mailing me an official apology and gift card from GAP, Inc. which I will make available as soon as I receive it.
I also informed him that he needs to make this right with the community as a whole, that we are one big family an look after one another. He said he would look in to it, I am going to let this ride over the weekend to get feedback from you guys and get back in contact with him with yours and the members suggestions.