Fact Check

Bath & Body Works Chesterfield Mall Incident

Did a Bath & Body Works manager refuse to serve a group of disabled kids?

Published Nov. 7, 2014


Claim:   A Bath & Body Works manager refused to serve a group of disabled students.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2014]


I was very disappointed today while on a field trip with my Special Education students. They were given an assignment to find stores on their own and locate a product and write down information about the product. This seems like an easy task, however this is an important skill these students are still learning. As we got ready to walk into Bath & Body Works we were met by a worker who told us we were not welcome to come in the front door. We stopped in our tracks and I told him who we were and what we were doing. He told me we were not welcome in the store. He then pointed out to the sensor at the entrance and told me that if the three students and I walked in the door of his store that I would hurt the sales for the store since we couldn't buy anything. He had no clue that I was going to buy something. He told us we could not enter so I explained to the students that we were not welcome. They did not understand why. I then found out that a few other groups tried to go into the store and were met with the same rudeness. I can't believe they would treat these disabled students like this! If you have a family member or a friend who has a disability or know someone with a disability please share this. This filed trip turned out to be more than a life skills and social skills lesson, they were exposed to discrimination!!Please share this with everyone you know!! People with disabilities do have money to spend, and they did spend money on our trip today!!


Origins:   On 6 November 2014, a Facebook user posted the above-quoted claim about her experience at the Chesterfield Mall in Missouri. According to her account,

although other stores in the mall had warmly welcomed her party, the manager of the Chesterfield Bath & Body Works was uniquely unkind to her small group of disabled students.

Not long after the first post, the woman updated her Facebook page to link to a news story about a similar claim involving a Bath & Body Works store in Alabama. Additionally, she reposted the statuses of two fellow teachers or school staff members who described the same initial claim stemming from the students' visit to Bath & Body Works on 6 November 2014:

I am respectfully asking each of you to boycott the Bath & Body Works at Chesterfield Mall (the actual mall, not the outlet). We took our students to the mall to work on a life skills scavenger hunt today and the man that was working there prevented three of our groups of students and paras (1para and 2 students... not large groups) from entering the store. He was rude and said it would drive away his customers. He treated everyone very rudely and tried to cover himself when I went to confront him and get his information. We have done this scavenger hunt before and have never run in to any other problems. In fact, everyone else from the food court to the carousel to the other retailers up to the mall manager (yes, i took it that far ) were more than respectful. Whenever you are doing your holiday shopping or any time for that matter, please consider going to Chesterfield Mall and skipping that store. I will be contacting corporate tomorrow. In this day and age, it is downright disgusting that anyone with special needs would be treated in such manner. Please spread the word to not patronize this store. I'd like for him to understand that this type of discrimination will not be accepted.

FYI Our special needs students had the opportunity to take a community access field trip to Chesterfield Mall today! What a wonderful time they had ordering their lunch, riding the carousel and working on social skills. Unfortunately they also experienced the cruelty of discrimination at Bath & Body Works. Three groups of no more than 3-4 ( including at least one staff member) were met by an employee with arms outstretched refusing them access to the store! They were told only purchasing customers were allowed in and they would hurt his business! Apparently our kiddos didn't "look" like they were there to buy anything from their store. Shame on him! Our own Casey Brown calmly approached him to inquiry about the treatment of the students and was equally treated rudely! Everyday we stress the importance of treating each other with kindness, respect and understanding with these children. And yet this man clearly never got them memo.

So maybe rethink your shopping trip at Christmas time and bypass the Chesterfield Bath & Body Works! I have a feeling that boycotting that store will hurt his sales much more than our presence in his precious store! And by the way, corporate office, mall manager and other B&B Works locations have been contacted by several of us.

The original claim about the Chesterfield Bath & Body Works manager has been shared tens of thousands of times since it was first posted on 6 November 2014. It's worth noting all three accounts are different versions of the same single incident and are not indicative of any wide-ranging claims about Bath & Body Works' treatment of disabled individuals.

On 7 November 2014, a statement posted by the company to the main Bath & Body Works Facebook page addressed social media controversy over the Chesterfield claim:

Dear fans: We appreciate your concerns regarding the information that has been shared about Chesterfield Missouri Mall. Please be assured that we take this situation very seriously and are investigating this matter in an effort to resolve it as soon as possible.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

The employee apparently assumed the group wouldn't be buying anything and was concerned that if they walked past the sensor that tracks the number of people in the store each day, it would hurt their sales percentage.

Last updated:   8 November 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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