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California Lowes Employee Threatens Gay Family: 'I'll Be at Your House' - VIDEO


Jeremy L. Smythe and Daniel Soto, a gay Riverside, California couple, have filed restraining orders against two employees at Lowes after they said they were threatened by employees Andy Olague and Frank Villa when they came in accompanied by their teen son to complain about a product.

LowesABC7 reports:

Smythe said he approached the customer service counter and said he wanted to return the product, saying it wasn't working well. When he told the clerk he didn't have a receipt, but that it was likely under his Lowe's account information, for some reason the clerk became angry and annoyed.

"He says, 'Just so you know, if you'd read the [expletive] directions, you would see that you have to charge it for 12 hours to make it work correctly,'" Smythe said.

Smythe says he responded with, "Don't talk to me like that, I'm definitely not the one to talk to like that."

But the Lowe's employee only grew more hostile, allegedly making anti-gay slurs. According to Smythe, the clerk then said, "I'll beat your [expletive]. I'll say what [expletive] I want."

Smythe admitted firing back at the cashier at that point, saying, "No wonder you haven't been promoted." And that was when he says the cashier tried to attack him and had to be restrained by the assistant manager while saying, "I got your address, I got your phone number, I'll be at your house."

Watch ABC7's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

A rally at Lowes has been organized:

Jeremy Smythe, of Riverside, said the protest against the Lowe’s at 9851 Magnolia Blvd. has now been scheduled for 1 p.m. next Saturday, June 30, to allow more people to participate. The protest had been originally scheduled for Sunday, five days after Smythe and his domestic partner, Daniel Soto, say employees called them anti-gay slurs and had to be physically restrained by store managers.

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  1. How can he not have the receipt for such a large item? I also have to wonder how he presented himself...some queens act real snooty, entitled and arrogant when being served, I myself remember a few when I served the public.

    Posted by: nikko | Jun 26, 2012 1:06:56 PM

  2. Nikko, I guess you have every receipt for every item and have never misplaced anything. Also, why the homophobic remarks? Who says Smythe is a "snooty, entitled queen"? Do you know them or were you there to witness the event?

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Jun 26, 2012 1:11:17 PM

  3. Is there no cctv video/audio surveillance at the customer service counter? Any such employee who behaved like it's claimed would generally be fired on the spot or shorty afterwards by the head office. Lowes of course is afraid of the bad PR and lawsuits, but the video/audio surveillance could be video tape subpoenaed by a court.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jun 26, 2012 1:12:56 PM

  4. While any such rude treatment is unacceptable, I see no sign from Smythe's recounting of events that their being a gay family had anything to do with the exchange. Am I missing something?

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Jun 26, 2012 1:14:50 PM

  5. it's Riverside. Pretty antigay. Next.

    Posted by: JigsawFalling | Jun 26, 2012 1:19:32 PM

  6. Nikko,

    It doesn't matter if Smythe was "snooty, entitled and arrogant", which is of course no way to behave in public, but even if he had been rude to a store employee that employee is representing a large company and needs to follow proper protocol in dealing with customers, not act out his own hated for gay people. The alleged actions of this employee who had to be restrained by other employees AND who said that he had Smythe's address and would be showing up to finish the job should be immediately fired and charged with threatening someone with psychical violence!

    Posted by: Jake | Jun 26, 2012 1:26:32 PM

  7. This kind of exchange is unnecessary. The customer service should accept the return and send it back to the manufacturer. It is not their jobs to lecture customers how to use an appliance correctly.

    Posted by: simon | Jun 26, 2012 1:47:56 PM

  8. If I recall, Lowes is the bigot's hardware store of choice. Whenever the pro-gay politics of Home Depot is brought up by Freepers and the like, they always say "I guess I'll have to shop at Lowes."

    Posted by: MateoM | Jun 26, 2012 1:48:46 PM

  9. That's why you should do your shopping at Home Depot. It is gay friendly and the service is far superior than Lowe's.

    Posted by: Gonzo | Jun 26, 2012 1:48:50 PM

  10. That's why you should do your shopping at Home Depot. It is gay friendly and the service is far superior than Lowe's.

    Posted by: Gonzo | Jun 26, 2012 1:49:34 PM

  11. This is hardly news. My guess is the employee would have on off on a straight family too if they did the same.

    Posted by: ed | Jun 26, 2012 1:51:34 PM

  12. Nikko - From what I can tell from reading your comment, you seem to be the arrogant, snooty, entitled irritating queen.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 26, 2012 1:53:51 PM

  13. The customer service person does not have a leg to stand on. By any measure of PR, he failed 100%. I don't care if the customer was angry, arrogant or anything else, Lowe's is in for a lawsuit unless they act rapidly. For some reason, there are still people in this age of gay liberation that simply don't get it. This type of behavior is simply not going to be tolerated any more.

    Posted by: Brian | Jun 26, 2012 2:02:54 PM

  14. Maybe there's some info missing but how is this an anti gay incident? It seems this kind of stuff happens all the time so how did this escalate into a LGBT protest event?

    Posted by: sara | Jun 26, 2012 2:03:09 PM

  15. This doesn't seem to be much about Lowes, but about an overly stressed out and unprofessional employee dealing with a tactless customer. If your goal is to return a product then say what you need to say to return the product. You're not there to do anything else. Don't be an ass.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 26, 2012 2:03:27 PM

  16. Customer service is so poor these days. I get into it with at least one "customer service professional" once a day when I shop.

    Posted by: River | Jun 26, 2012 2:03:45 PM

  17. Is this for real? The employee was having a bad day, the customer was being rude back to him, and it got out of hand. Why is there a rally? To protest bad employees? Please stop using gay people to pretend like every time someone is rude to you, that it's the only reason why.

    Posted by: Tony | Jun 26, 2012 2:08:56 PM

  18. Welcome to the future my gay marriage friends.

    Posted by: Jack | Jun 26, 2012 2:10:50 PM

  19. I have a hard time believing some of these comments - which are just variations on 'blame the victim'. Perhaps you folks missed the part started yelling anti-Gay crap? Or where the employee literally attacked Mr. Smythe, and had to be restrained by a manager? Or the part where he said that he had Smythe's home address and phone number?

    And being verbally harassed, physically attacked and threatened further is somehow Mr. Smythe's fault? If anyone threatened me, my partner and my child all at the same time, they'd be calling the paramedics when I was through.

    Posted by: Oz in OK | Jun 26, 2012 2:14:55 PM

  20. I too had an incident at Loews. I was accused by a store employee of pocketing a few screws and nuts. He swore that he saw me take them. I wasn't even in that department nor was that what I was there to purchase. But I had stopped to ask for the item I was looking for. A Christmas item. Which had not a thing to do with nuts and screws. I emptied all my pockets at the register and asked for the police to be called for them to search me. They would not. A manager was called and after talking to him and giving him my side of the story no apology was offered. I don't know why that employee lied but it is most probable that he thought I was gay. I do all my home improvement shopping at Home Depot now.

    Posted by: J. Leo | Jun 26, 2012 2:26:52 PM

  21. @ TONY & NIKKO,

    Perhaps you're unaware of what customer service does. Let me enlighten you since I've worked customer service for years.

    Customer might be irritated because they wasted time and money - driving back and forth - and were not able to accomplish what they wanted with the tool they bought from us.

    He says, I'd like to return this item.

    I say, what's wrong with it.

    He says, it doesn't work.

    I say, I apologize for the inconvenience. Would you like a new one or a refund.

    No anti-gay slurs, no threat of physical violence, just doing my job and making sure my company looks like we care about such customer, which will make him happy and keep him shopping with us.

    The employee is the professional. He is supposed to remain courteous and not take anything personal. That's what he gets paid for.

    It is customer service not employee service.

    Posted by: truthteller | Jun 26, 2012 2:43:23 PM

  22. @OZ
    In addition to the paramedics, you'd better also call an attorney because your butt will be hauled off to a jail quicker than a New York minute.

    Posted by: Paul | Jun 26, 2012 2:45:04 PM

  23. FACT: Heterosexuals, male and female, with time on their hands are trouble-makers.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 26, 2012 2:50:17 PM

  24. FACT: Heterosexuals, male and female, with time on their hands are trouble-makers.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 26, 2012 2:50:24 PM

  25. It's Riverside; the clerk was probably on meth.

    Posted by: Troy | Jun 26, 2012 2:54:44 PM

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