Store owners' rules upset some customers

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 04/09/2011 ( 51 moms have responded )




Okay, so I wear WHOLE SHIRTS, so this doesnt bother me, but it seems it does others, would this be an upset to you?

here is the link so you can see the pic

HOUMA — Arthur and Linda Eschete stand by their sign.

It’s the one that says “Ladies must have A WHOLE SHIRT on,” followed by rules against bare feet, alcohol, smoking and profanity, planted in front of the Sea-Go seafood store on Grand Caillou Road. And if some customers are offended by the sign, feel it discriminates against women or balk at orders to leave if the Eschetes find their clothing too skimpy, the couple is convinced that enough of their regular clientele support the sign to make it worthwhile.

“These are my principles and my beliefs,” Arthur Eschete said. “I appreciate my good customers and if people don’t feel they can adhere to my dress code there are other places to go. It is nothing personal. ... We had to implement a dress code.”

Some women who are offended by the sign or were shown the door during past visits to Sea-Go because of attire deemed improper are taking it personally, however.

“I felt like he was trying to make me into something I am not. If I am going out to a club I will dress differently. I am picking up crawfish for my family and I am told I can’t go in because of my shirt. I don’t have a tank top, I have a sleeveless shirt showing no cleavage. It is not improper at all,” said Missy McElroy, 45, a homemaker, grandmother and mother of four who lives near Coteau Road.

About a year and a half ago, McElroy stopped at Sea-Go for the 10-pound special on crawfish. The Eschetes, she said, barred her from entering and berated her. The memory still stings, she said. “I used to go there all the time. I never bought my crawfish anywhere else until after that day.”

Christa Falgout, a 31-year-old nursing student and mother of two small children, still smarts from her encounter at Sea-Go even though it was nearly two years ago.

“I was mortified,” she said. “I had my two children with me and I was wearing a halter top. Maybe some Capri pants. I got out of my car and went in there and they started yelling at me, they accused me of looking like a ‘whore.’ I had my kids with me. They said they refused to serve me and these people were screaming at me. I was not dressed like a hoochie. I wore that outfit to church, at St. Eloi.”

Falgout doesn’t remember seeing a sign outside.

The Eschetes’ new sign is easily readable and prominently displayed. Some say it violates the law. Louisiana law says it is discriminatory for a person to “deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation ... on the grounds of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin.”

A store is a place of public accommodation, according to law. A discriminatory practice means “any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin.”

Allegations that the law has been violated are handled by the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, a board appointed by the governor. Penalties for violations are not clear, however.

“It is appalling that any business in the 21st century would harass or deny women access for any reason at all, much less for an arbitrary dress code that isn’t fairly applied to males as well,” said Charlotte Klasson, president of the National Organization for Women’s Louisiana chapter. “While it is their right as a private operation, it is amazing that anyone would think it benefits their relationship in the Houma community,” Klasson added. “This treatment of women, who are not breaking any laws, demonstrates that misogyny is alive and well and part of our local area.”

Advocates for women say the gender-specific reference in the sign, with no corresponding caveat for men, nor a gender neutral ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service,’ sets a discriminatory tone, is intimidating and should not be allowed.

Eschete said there is no discriminatory intent, and that he is equally harsh on men who come into his business attired, in his estimation, inappropriately.

“This is not a woman thing,” he insisted, explaining that for men or women his rule of thumb on halter or tank-tops is that anything more narrow than two inches is unacceptable for patrons. Eschete said he is aware the sign could be construed as discriminatory, and that Louisiana has a gender provision in its laws.

“I checked with my lawyer and he said the only thing they could do is write a letter, the same thing the Better Business Bureau could do,” he said. To date, no complaint is known to have been filed with the Human Rights Commission.

“I would challenge it,” Eschete said, adding that his rules aren’t based on religion.

Eschete, who has been at the Grand Caillou location for 18 years, said he started the dress code years ago, when a group of teen boys and girls showed up wearing swimsuits and drinking.

The youths verbally attacked the couple, who called the police because of the underage drinking, Eschete said. Other insults from improperly dressed people followed.

One day, an employee, Eschete said, was accused of ogling a scantily clad woman and that was the end of it.

“I got tired of dealing with it and said I am going to put a dress code, that women must have a whole shirt,” said Eschete, who will also refuse service to men “with pants to their knees” and people in hoods. “The majority of my customers love it,” Eschete said. “Many say ‘Why should I come in here and see a woman or some guy who barely has any clothes on and make me uncomfortable and my wife uncomfortable?’ ”

Eschete acknowledges that he can be brusque, particularly when the dress code is concerned.

“Believe me, my wife has got more patience with people than I do. I can be very rude, I will say it,” he said.

Houma attorney Jerri Smitko said she had difficulty understanding the dress code, and the sign in particular.

“How about a sun dress, spaghetti straps, as opposed to a halter top? What about a woman who just left the gym from working out and she has a tank top and decides she wants some crawfish to take home right now? If they choose to prohibit clientele without whole shirts it should apply to men and women equally. The sign doesn’t do that, ” she said.

Eschete remains firm.

“There is no law requiring that they go to Sea-Go Seafood,” he said. “I don’t go out in the street and drag them in here. There are many seafood places in this town. Make me adhere to what it is you want to do? I just don’t see the sense of it.”


Jenni - posted on 04/12/2011




I wonder what level of outrage would be if a muslim family living in the US owned a conveince store and had a sign banning women from entering without a burqa. Then berated women and called them whores who tried to enter they store not wearing one.

o_O Something tells me all of America would be up in arms. What's the difference between that scenerio and this one banning women based on modesty and personal beliefs.

[deleted account]

Jennifer if people are comfortable with what THEY are wearing how is that sending the wrong message about respecting THEIR body? There are different levels of what people think of as acceptable dress - many cultures show far more flesh than is deemed acceptable in many Western societies, that doesn't mean they are any less respectful of their bodies than somebody who dresses in a more modest manner!

Lady Heather - posted on 04/10/2011




And a final addition - the sign tells me not to wear shoes. Bravo.

Jenni - posted on 04/10/2011




It's a seafood market? Since when is there a dress code for a seafood market? I could understand an upscale restaurant. But dang! You run a seafood market, I think they need to take a few steps down from moral high ground.

Maybe his wife influenced him because she was worried about him getting erections from staring at *shudder* shoulders.

And it's in Lousianna. It's freakin' hot there. I sure as hell wouldn't want to do my shopping while worrying about pit stains.


View replies by

Stifler's - posted on 04/12/2011




That's so true Jennifer. People have issues with Muslims no matter what though. It's sad.

Brandi - posted on 04/12/2011




so wait, the sign says NO SHOES... So people aren't supposed to wear shoes?! LOL just kidding, their sign is totally screwed up!

Isobel - posted on 04/12/2011




aaaaaahahahahha... I know I had to carry a shawl in my bag everywhere I went, AND wear capris or a knee length skirt

Bonnie - posted on 04/12/2011




I wonder if they realise that sign says "NO shoes"....
Personally, I'd never waste my money in a store that is going to dictate what I can & cannot wear.

Casey - posted on 04/11/2011




I guess it's up to them what rules they would like to implement in their store but I don't think they have the right to be abusive and use bad language towards a woman who is wearing a halter top and has her children with her, calling someone a whore is going way to far.
I wouldn't waste my time shopping there and hopefully once word gets around about how rude these people are maybe buisness will drop off a bit and they might re-think they're attitudes.

[deleted account]

Crawfish season is now. Crawfish boils are outdoor events. It's stinkin' HOT right now. It makes perfect sense for someone to go buy their crawfish wearing short shorts and a tank top, because that's what they would wear to the boil. Whatever, their loss. They are turning away their market.

Jaclyn - posted on 04/11/2011




I understand not wanting people in their bathingsuit in the store or topless people. As long as they have a shirt on I don't see the problem. These people are asking way too much from people and I'm sure they have lost a lot of business

Jessica - posted on 04/11/2011




Lol, wonder what he'd do if a nursing mom decided to BF her baby in his store. Probably shit a brick!

Stifler's - posted on 04/11/2011




I'm interested to know what a whole shirt even means. I mean, some women are hot... no matter what they wear. Is he going to kick them out *because they look like a whore and customers are oogling them* even if they're wearing a t-shirt that covers their chest and navel but has huge boobs and no bra? Good Lord too many variables.

Jenni - posted on 04/11/2011




I own a chic fashion store. I am offended by people who clash and people who wear last years fashions. I do not wish to serve those people at my boutique. I have a sign that says "Patrons must wear Prada" to be served. I will turn away and berate anyone who tries to come into my boutique who *I deem* is a fashion reject.

Sound ridiculous?

America3437 - posted on 04/11/2011




As a mother of 3 teenage children I can some what agree with this policy. I also work in a discount store and am sometimes shocked at what people will wear out to the store. All I can say is if you don't like what they are wearing you have the right to refuse service to anyone but no one has the right to belittle people just because they dress a certin way!!! I wonder how much business they have lost because of this policy?

Sylvia - posted on 04/11/2011




Well, it likely wouldn't affect me, because I don't wear tank/sleeveless tops outside the house or halter tops at all, but I still think these people need to get a life. I mean, it's a seafood shop, not the Kotel or the Vatican. And definitely if the sign and the verbal abuse are directed at women only (because let's face it, who's more likely to be topless near a beach? women? I don't think so), it's absolutely a discriminatory policy.

On the plus side, they are probably ultimately harming no one but themselves, since there are undoubtedly other places in the area where one can buy one's seafood without being subjected to comments about one's morals :P

Becky - posted on 04/11/2011




I think he has the right to have a dresscode in his store if he wants to, but I do feel his particular dresscode is ridiculous. And I don't think he has the right to berate women for the way they dress. That is just rude and is definitely going to lose him business!

Jennifer - posted on 04/10/2011




I disagree that the store owners should feel ok with verbally assualting the customers who don't follow the dress code, but I would love for our society to rediscover the beauty of modesty. I really cringe when I see moms dropping off their kids at school wearing skin tight or very revealing clothes. Totally sends the wrong message about respecting your body.

Jane - posted on 04/10/2011




As ridiculous as this store and the owners are, he's right...they don't have to shop there.

Jessica - posted on 04/10/2011




First of all, what kind of idiot TRIES to turn away customers. He's going to hurt his business, and it serves him right.

Second of all, I'm trying to imagine a group of teenagers wearing bathing suits, getting drunk and deciding to go to a seafood market. Who does that?

LadyJane - posted on 04/10/2011




I don't like seafood so most likely wouldn't go in there, but then again, I don't wear tank tops or halter tops.

I do know there are still some fancy restaurants that won't let you in without a suit and tie for men, dress, nice slacks, for women.... That's all fine with me. I rarely ever would go to a fancy restaurant dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. I do think this guy should re-word his sign. Perhaps a better sign would read: "No tank tops, halter tops, etc. allowed. Shoes must be warn.... Whatever needed to make the sign less offensive and still in keeping with his message of what is expected of his patrons.

Bonnie - posted on 04/10/2011




I read the 'no shoes' part earlier and I was thinking, what the heck, either I am reading this wrong or the guy expects people to take their shoes off. I must have re-read it at least 5 times, then I thought, maybe I should come back later and read it again lol. Most places have a sign and included on it is 'Must wear shoes'. I am thinking that is probably what he meant.

Bonnie - posted on 04/10/2011




@Heather, that exact same thing happened at the Vatican happened with my sister inlaw and a close friend of the family. The friend got turned away. They pretty much called her a slut for what she was wearing :-).

Johnny - posted on 04/10/2011




I just wouldn't shop there. I make it a point not to patronize uptight prudish assholes. I wear "whole shirts", never halter tops and rarely tank tops, but I won't have anyone tell me how to dress.

I'm guessing that his business will probably suffer a great deal. I can't imagine that there are a lot of people wearing very covering shirts in Louisiana in the summertime. And probably many who do wouldn't even go there on principle.

[deleted account]

I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw that it said whole shirt but no shoes - I thought maybe I was losing my mind!

I wouldn't want to shop somewhere that looked at me like I was a whore (or worse told me I was) because I wasn't wearing a shirt with sleeves. I think I look really nice and fairly conservative in my summer tea dresses :-)

Iridescent - posted on 04/10/2011




Hah. No shoes are allowed. I read it a few times. Love the typo he made on his big special sign.

Jenny - posted on 04/10/2011




If some asshole calls me a whore in front of my children there's a good chance he's going to have black eye when I leave. I would never frequent this business though.

[deleted account]

I would think that since only ladies have to have a 'whole' shirt there would be a good case for sexual discrimination against them.

All the women in town should go to that store wearing a full shirt, but remove their shoes at the door... lol

What a bunch of crazies! They should move to Hawaii and see what happens...... ;)

Lady Heather - posted on 04/10/2011




@Bonnie - the extra shirt thing reminds me of when I went to the Vatican. I knew I couldn't have bare shoulders but totally forgot my cardigan. It was blazing hot out - middle of August in Rome. Thought I had my cardi in my bag and got to the front of the line to discover it wasn't there. REJECTED. Fortunately they have souvenir t-shirt stands everywhere around there, so I got myself a Ciao Bella shirt and went into Popeland. Long and the short of that story is, this guy needs a Ciao Crawfish t-shirt stand next to his store.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/10/2011




wtf? I thought the sign was maybe referring to women who might show up in just a bikini top or something. Still didn't understand why that was a HUGE deal, but no tank tops? That's all I wear in the summer! And trust me, I don't look trashy or whore-ish. Would definitely never shop there, especially knowing that they yell at people in front of their children. That's worse than any tank top in my book.

Rosie - posted on 04/10/2011




while it's his right i suppose, it's pretty fuckin stupid, especially his attitude towards people. calling them whores? seriously? for fucks sake dude, get a grip, it's a friggin tank top (which i wear everyday in the summer, i get stanky hot). oh well, the asshat wouldn't get any business from me.

Christina - posted on 04/10/2011




I wanna drive down there. I wanna go into the shop wearing my mini skirt and bikini top and have my marine fiance grab my butt and make out with me on the counter. I bet it would make them burn the counter.

Tah - posted on 04/10/2011




I'm wondering where the law allows him to embarrass and berate these women, especially in front of their children. I would have made the biggest stink ever about that alone. Who measures their shirts to determine if it's 2 inches or not. I have dresses with halter tops and regular halters, trust me if it passes the husband test it's fit to wear anywhere. I think a case by case basis should apply here. If it applied to men as well then where is that sign I wonder?

Amanda - posted on 04/10/2011




Cant wait for a lawyer to take this to court about discrimination against woman, as they sign doesnt say men have to wear whole shirts. :0)

Bonnie - posted on 04/10/2011




What an ass! If it is a scalding hot day outside, women are going to wear tank tops and halter tops. What are they going to do, bring with an extra shirt, put it on before they enter the store, and then take it off when they leave? I would just take my business elsewhere where I can be respected no matter what I am wearing.

Dana - posted on 04/10/2011




Well, they have every right to refuse service and put up any kind of sign they want. Just as anyone else has every right not to support their store. I could care less but, the berating of customers and calling them whores is just too much. I'd personally be happy to give my money to someone else.

Jocelyn - posted on 04/10/2011




They are idiots. Their business will suffer because of those sticks up their asses.

Ez - posted on 04/10/2011




I bet it was HIM who got caught ogling some boobies lol. Total knob. But it is his business, and if he wants to alienate a large portion of his clientele then that's on him.

Stifler's - posted on 04/10/2011




ROFL @ a whole shirt. They sound like prudes. I probably wouldn't be allowed there anyway, I love boob tubes and stuff like that. HAHAHA. But it's true, no one has to shop there. They can go elsewhere if they don't like the dress code.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 04/09/2011




He is a jerkwad, and rude, but…it is his store, and hellz no I would not shop their…maybe that’s why it doesn’t bother me

Pia - posted on 04/09/2011




This is ridiculous. Sometimes, I wear shortish shorts. I spose I should find the nearest brothel and apply for a job now...

Jodi - posted on 04/09/2011




What an idiot. I wear tank tops ALL the time when I go shopping in the summer. It doesn't mean I'm dressed like a whore FFS. He'll lose business, because I wouldn't change my shirt just to go to their shop, I'm sure others will think the same way. As Nikki said, out of principle if nothing else.

[deleted account]

He even looks like a douche... I agree with Nikki - I wouldn't shop there out of principle either...

Sarah - posted on 04/09/2011




In the end, he'll just be shooting himself in the foot because he will lose customers.
I agree with Nikki, he's a douche.

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