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Rue 21 Employee Tells 14-Year-Old She’s ‘Too Big’ To Shop There

Rue 21 weight discrimination

Eugene, OR — An Oregon teenager said an employee at Rue 21 told her she was “too big” to shop at the store.

Shelby Buster was celebrating her 14th birthday at the mall with a friend Saturday afternoon when they decided to go clothes shopping.

“Me and my friend were walking around the mall for, to spend my birthday money and my mom was sitting in the food court,” Buster said. The teens went into Rue 21, where Buster said she was discriminated against because of her size.

“I walked in and the lady at the front counter said, ‘Hey, you’re too big to be in this store, I need you to leave,'” Buster said.

The teenager said her friend was in the back of the store looking at perfume.

“And so she checked out and walked back and my mom came back to talk to them and they’re like, ‘Oh we’re so sorry,'” Buster said. Her mother contacted KEZI, who contacted the store. The Rue 21 district manager said that they were aware of the situation and were looking into it. The district manager also said the store is pulling footage from that afternoon to figure out what happened.

Shelby Buster and her friend, Jennica, were told to write down exactly what happened in the store.

“Seriously, that’s disrespectful and rude. Just because I’m bigger than you guys are, I’m not a 14 or smaller,” Buster said. “It makes no sense why they would do that.”

Rue 21 told KEZI that the company does not tolerate discrimination. Shelby Buster and her mother are still waiting for a response from the store.

Earlier this year, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries came under fire for saying he only wanted good-looking people working his stores, “because good-looking people attract other good looking-looking people.” Jeffries also said that his stores “go after the cool kids… the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.”

He added, “A lot of don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong.”

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110 Responses to “Rue 21 Employee Tells 14-Year-Old She’s ‘Too Big’ To Shop There”

  1. Chris Fleming

    fire the employee & sue the crap out of them & also fire the CEO as he's a biggot also……if that is what your store caters too, then nobody should visit or shop your stores ever, that is purelly wrong & highly disgust'ng to say the least……really…….fire them both & sue them for all their worth………

  2. Nikki Bell

    I say call and complain everyone and anyone who reads this, call the store! no girl should ever be told that what is wrong with these people!

  3. Cassandra Hall

    Ok… the teen COULD be exaggerating the truth. She is a teenager after all, but regardless… if true this is just disgusting. People have a right to shop at whatever store they see fit. Whose to say that she wasn't in there buying a gift for someone else? What if she's one of those thrifty plus size teenagers that likes to make her own alterations to her clothes? Either way, this whole discrimination thing is just really getting old. Whether it be towards heavy people, skinny people, rich people, poor people, black people, or white people. This whole nation just needs to learn acceptance and tolerance. Nobody is perfect and never will be. Stuff like this just irritates the shit out of me. When will people stop worrying about all this trivial crap and start focusing on more important things, like the aforementioned tolerance and acceptance. #Wow

  4. Tita Lastiana Soto

    Cuz she has room to call someone big smh lucky it wasn't me I would of cursed her out

  5. Dee Slaght

    I agree the employee should be fired but I do not agree with suing, that is one of the problems with this country everyone is so happy to sue anymore! Boycott the store and make it known how the treat people but stop filling our courts with bs lawsuits.. this would never have happened when I was growing up , people were taught respect period.

  6. Nancy Jo Daly

    I am 57 years old. This happened to me when I was a teenager and I remember it like it was yesterday. And I loathe shopping for clothes from that day to this. Fire her ass and the store should apologize.

  7. Jana Watts

    Fire the employee and sure the stores. I will never get any products from this store even for my skinny nieces. Rue 21 needs to carry clothing all sizes not just for anorexics.

  8. Jeannie Candler Cox

    The store sells more than just clothing. The young girl could have been looking for jewelry, perfume etc other than clothes. Shame on RUE 21. I hope you go out of business!

  9. Susan Rozanski

    I hope all teens that read this story never shop in this store again. They need to think about the day someone discriminates against them an how they'll feel.

  10. Christel Hill

    how does the clerk know she wasn't shopping for someone else, and they have perfume when does perfume come for different size people, that person needs to be fired…..

  11. Marc Decrosta

    Am i the only one who thinks this should be a wake up call to this girl and that she shoukd maybe try to do something about her appearance. The way it happened was rude and disrespectful but she is still young enough to do something about it on her own. Maybe the reason we have a child obesity problem in this country is because everyone is afraid to tell the truth. If your that big at that age..get up and excercise instead of blaming everyone else for your weight problem.

  12. Marc Decrosta

    Am i the only one who thinks this should be a wake up call to this girl and that she shoukd maybe try to do something about her appearance. The way it happened was rude and disrespectful but she is still young enough to do something about it on her own. Maybe the reason we have a child obesity problem in this country is because everyone is afraid to tell the truth. If your that big at that age..get up and excercise instead of blaming everyone else for your weight problem.

  13. Joann Yeager

    That employee should be fired , they sell more then just clothes in RUE 21 so there is no reason why the 14 year old girl should not have been able to shop there , that girl is a bully and bulling is a crime she should be brought up on charges for doing that , as for suing , I do not think that you need to sue anyone unless it is a life or death situation but that is just my opinion , people sue for anything to day just to survive that's why we pay so much for insurance. However I do think that RUE 21 should absolutley give her a gift card to shop any store in the mall she wants for a weeks worth of clothes , shoes, and accessories , that would be a nice lesson for that cashier if they make her pay for it.

  14. Marcia Odell

    I wear an xl in shirt sizes and I always find tops that fit in rue 21, it's one of my favorite stores, finding pants in there to fit me is another story, but they sell more than pants and tops like underwear, shoes, perfume… I cannot believe they would tell this poor girl to leave :(

  15. Roberta Pactricia Fischer

    that is down right mean and gruel people need to to sign a petition to not shop there this is not the first time this company has run into problems before just like this when my daughter was younger I had the same problems stores like this make me sick , if more people would stop shopping at there store just maybe things might change , and just maybe thay might carry bigger sizes for the teens and preteens , rue21 has to realize that being skinny is not the end thing any more , girls need some meat on their bones to be healthy.

  16. Lucy Brock

    I say Boycott the store until something is Done. And call the corporate office and let them know your your Boycotting the store.

  17. Leslie Culhan

    She wasn't blaming anyone for her size you idiot! read the whole story! No one no matter what should be treated that way from a store employee period. You're as bad as the store clerk, I'd like to fire you!!

  18. Harriet Hopkins

    A wake-up call? Do you think this girl wants to be the size she is? I hardly think so. There is a reason she is heavier and it's either physical or mental but I am sure she has tried many times and many ways to do something about it. You're the one who needs the wake-up call to realize that not all situations can be treated the same way!

  19. Jessica Bakker

    I don't agree with what happened. but as for a comment on the rue 21 stores idk if it might be different in different places but I bought some underwear from the local rue 21 store here and I am not very big, and just had a baby, and I bought a medium and a large, mediums forget it and I burst into tears when I could not even get the larges past my lower thighs, and I'm only like a size 8-9 jeans. their larges would have fit my siz 0 friend snug. but their other clothes seem to be ok, and besides, what if she wanted to by shoes, jewlery or purfume. and as much as I think it was wrong, I think suing the store because of one person with a fat mouth or just suing for that is retarted.

  20. Kathy Cecil

    she an do something about her weight.. sadly, for you, stupid can't be fixed

  21. Tara Veldkamp

    Marc, not every person can control their weight. It could be a medical condition that caused her to gain weight. As for child obesity issues, why aren't you trolling mcDonalds, Burger King or other fast food's websites? Instead you troll on a page where a 14 year old girl got treated like crap and further degrade her. Congratulations on making yourself look like nothing more than a heartless Jerk. I hope and pray this girl NEVER takes what you say to heart. She is beautiful regardless of her weight and I pray she remains the grown up in this situation, unlike yourself.

  22. Lloyd McCarroll Brown Jr

    The employee is probably a kid herself. It sounds like something a kid would say. Su
    re fire her so she can go on unemployment and drop out of college because she can't afford it. Just stop shopping at the store. Then everyone working for them will get fired because they will go out of business.

  23. Naomi Potter

    ugh ppl r so disgusting these days I swear. I love this store too but this employee should b fired.

  24. Carol Patterson

    So, if you are over a sz. 14 you can't buy perfume or someone else a gift? I'll have to remember the stores name and never shop there. EVER

  25. JoAnne Braley

    Guess the employee needs "good manners" training…She may have meant "we don't have your size." Some folks are afraid big people are going to shoplift and put stuff under their clothes. BTW, I do not look it, but I found out one shop (in Israel) did not have my size in pants…14…ha…embarrassing…but, now I smile.

  26. Carol Patterson

    Do not..I not… become a psychiatrist or psychologist Marc Decrosta because you're not intelligent enough. Just being honest.

  27. Ardyth Love Leady

    so Marc – you are perfect???? The store sells other items beside clothes and she has the right to go into any store that she may wish. She was not blaming others you are one Sick Human Being! Shame on you for your mean comments!!! PLEASE STAY IN PHOENIX!!!!

  28. Sandy Rahlfs

    Agreed on the jewelry and other accessories. It is a shame that stores like that have that kind of attitude. I have gone in Charlotte Ruse and Rue 21 with my daughter and bought jewelry for myself. I am 46 and my daughter is 11. It is ridiculous to treat customers that way.

  29. Lara Darin

    Congratulations on winning douche bag of the year, Marc. People should be allowed to go in a store no matter what their size. I am so glad that you are perfect. I'm glad stores don't discriminate against low I.Q.'s or morons with bad haircuts and patchy facial hair because you would be banned from everywhere.

  30. Renee Sophistra Browne

    I always wonder what people mean by 'All American'. What is that supposed to mean? If we're born here, we're American, if you're not a Native American you're not All American, seeing as they built their own governments and walked the goshdarn Bering Strait to get here. So if she's not pencil thin what does that mean, we don't clothe her? Does that give us the right to think that we're better. This CEO is a straight up asshole. He obviously doesn't know what an American is. It's everyone of us that was born here, everyone of us that strived to become a part of this country. Weight, race, sex or religion does not define an American, and this man needs to get that and start catering to ALL AMERICANS!

  31. Klarissa Miller

    I believe it was the employees doing alone. They may represent the store and it is up to the store to let their employees know how to treat their customers. But the employee acted upon their own judgement, not RUE 21's judgement. Fire the employee. Suing the whole company will bring unwelcomed pressure on RUE 21 employees that haven't done anything wrong and who would have perhaps helped Shelby find something suitable.

  32. Klarissa Miller

    I do see where Marc is coming from. BUT I think if everyone was honest, they would tell her in a polite, private manner instead of publicly humiliating her. If I was her friend and felt she was hurting emotionally and physically from her weight, then I'd offer to help her and to be my exercise buddy or something. Not blurt it out in a store. That's just wrong!

  33. Jeannie Candler Cox

    Wake up CALL???????? You have made me mad and I had to take a few mins before I replied. From the photo the girl does not look obese. Maybe you should wear a hairpiece ! Would that help your appearance! So how does that feel when someone says something like that to you? There is nothing this girl cannot change when and If she wants to. I know what I am talking about because at her age I went thru the same thing. People like you and Rue are CRUEL . I have heard this of lot of times so I will repeat it because it is true. " at least I can loose weight but you cannot change ugly" !! And obviously you are ugly on the inside!

  34. T'ahisha D. Heath

    That's easy, don't shop there! Stores like that usually have short lived success….and the reason why people who value their dollars eventually don't purchase their style of clothes anyways. Their loss, her gain, now the world knows!!!

  35. Gail Egnatz-Gabel

    That's just terrible for anyone to say that to our fellow human beings. Our society has become so callous and rude. Rest assured, their business will suffer greatly as a result of this. Send the employee to sensitivity training…and when she's done—FIRE HER. I can only imagine how the rude clerk was raised….

  36. Linden Gibson

    Cannot believe all of you are so eager to see someone fired. Being fired is the work world equivalent of the death penalty to me. What ever happened to apology and some education? You all are MEAN!

  37. Linden Gibson

    And in my opinion the "sue someone" mentality is a big part of what is wrong with our lazy freeloading society.

  38. Tammy McGaa

    i say fire her and give the girl a 50 or 100 dollar gift certificate as a sincere show of apology.

  39. Suzanne Lee

    She doesn't appear to have a big weight problem you arrogant fool. May you and yours have a bigot ask you to leave their store for some stupid reason some day. I don't think she was blaming anyone, just responding to a really rude, ignorant abusive store employee. Fire the employee and demand respect for customers from remaining employees. May you have a couple of overweight children and may the rest of the world treat them respectfully because you sure as hell won't.

  40. Rachel Ranes-Meis

    Klarissa Miller I agree. If this actually happened the way the teenager said. I have never had bad service at a Rue21 store. The employees are always very nice.

  41. Michael Crabtree

    If you are going to live life as a tub of lard, get use to discrimination, from boys, bosses, friends, and even family. The clerk/store just expressed reality, if you are morbidly obese, you will not be allowed to play with the beautiful people.

  42. Eryn Stilp

    Yep. One time at the mall I went into an…ugh…Abercrombie store SOLELY because my friend wanted to shop there. I hung around by the door and wanted to leave.
    A female employee wasted no time laughing in my face and saying I was "too fat" to fit into any of their clothes.
    She wasn't too happy when I told her I had better things to spend my money on than their shitty, ugly-ass clothes lmao.

  43. Eryn Stilp

    …aannndddd how do you know she hasn't already lost weight and still happens to be in the process of losing it? Wow, dude. -____-
    I myself have lost a HELL of a LOT of weight over the years, and am still large. Still losing the weight. It is dense people like you who look at me and go "Oh, you should diet….oh you should WORK at losing that weight!!!" when, not only am I well aware of that fact, but have already taken leaps and bounds in my weight loss journey.
    I can't imagine what it must be like to not think of things from every angle. Very narrow minded.

  44. Sharon Screws

    I agree I am not a small person but Rue 21 has never been that way with me ever have a policy in place and discipline the employee not the whole company <3

  45. Sharon Screws

    I agree I am not a small person but Rue 21 has never been that way with me ever have a policy in place and discipline the employee not the whole company <3

  46. Rick Stutz

    Klarissa Miller, I disagree….if the individual is a employee then he/she is Rue21… plain and simple…..a law suit is appropiate because if that is what it takes to teach all Rue 21 employees tact then so be it!

  47. Barb Dionne

    Shame on that those employee saying shit like that. This is a free country and u can go anywhere anytime, I agree sue those bastard, and fire there asses. That 14 yr old girl don't deseaver to be treated that way, sue them big time

  48. Mori Lemau

    Wow! Store employees dictating to a customer! A great salesperson could sell combs to a bald person! Even if the 14 year old couldn't fit into the clothes she could have gotten some accessories. I would most definitely fire the clerk for her poor behavior, apologize to the poor young lady and give her a gift card.

  49. Patrick Fredrickson

    I agree with with not suing them. If it is true as to what happened then yes the employee should suffer some consequences. The new thing in "style" these days is to sue the pants off of everyone that is offensive. By suing the company it will in a way show that there has to be a happy ending. Let her be awarded that she can grow from this. Let this make her stronger, be able to blow comments off like that later in life. Eventually she will find out that there are some hate filled people out there that talk out of their ass. We can't sit here and baby our children into having a infantile adulthood where they think every situation is a winning one. I hope the employee who said it learns from this as well and thinks about what he/she says at her next job.

  50. Chris Dontneedtoknow

    Good for you Eryn. They only cater to the rich anyways, and most of todays clothes are ugly anyways.

  51. Joanne Alfonse Maura

    That's ridiculous….I hope that employee is fired. Especially since they sell other products besides clothing. I wonder if anyone ever gets kicked out of Lane Bryant or Avenue because they're too small. I doubt it because their employees seem to be sensitive and caring people.

  52. Christina Crafton Muso

    I'm obese. Many factors have played a part. Sometimes weight isn't a choice. Regardless, it is not respectful for anyone to make unsolicited comments about another person. I am an intelligent and productive person. My size does NOT define who I am any more than a burn victim's scars define them. If I want your opinion I will ask for it. Small minded bigots like yourself irritate the crap out of me. If you are so pro-"honesty" why don't you just go to the mall and give it a shot. Tell everyone you see your honest opinion whether it be fat, ugly, badly dressed, etc. Then when you get out of intensive care at the hospital just drop us all a line and see how you feel then.

  53. Brandy Gray

    it is discrimination- Can you tell someone they are too white or too black to shop there? Or how about too poor or ugly? In America you can shop where you want and for what…. Do I hear TERMINATION in the future?

  54. June Jankowski Coll

    Klarissa Miller RUE21 is responsible for the people they hire!! Now let it hit them in the pocket!!

  55. Devon Collins

    Discrimination for ANY reason is against the law in ALL FIFTY U.S. STATES AND TERRITORIES. So, that is a multi million dollar suit in the making

  56. Melanie Hooper

    Maybe Marc, you should do something about YOUR appearance! You're an ass!

  57. Melanie Hooper

    Klarissa Miller What the HELL is it the employees' business what size that young woman is, or any employee for that matter? You sound as bad as Marc!

  58. Melanie Hooper

    What the HELL does a person's size have to do if whether they're going to shoplift or not? Nothing! I've have busted WAY more skinny people shoplifting than larger people and BTW I never considered their BMI when I was calling security on them!

  59. Melanie Hooper

    Looking in a mirror Michael? You gotta be! Otherwise you wouldn't be talking shit like that!

  60. Lisa Jeffrey

    So as a 5 foot 120 lb woman I should have the right to be pissed that I can't shop at the big n tall store?!? Pull ur heads out ur asses. There are all kinds of specialty stores don't be bitter that they don't carry your size just go somewhere that does!

  61. Lisa Jeffrey

    So as a 5 foot 120 lb woman I should have the right to be pissed that I can't shop at the big n tall store?!? Pull ur heads out ur asses. There are all kinds of specialty stores don't be bitter that they don't carry your size just go somewhere that does!

  62. Jodie Wiggins

    That employee should be fired for bulling a costumer and that employee will fire and sued who care if a person is big or small who cares

  63. Margaret Thurmond

    Just wondering if anyone witnessed this exchange? There is more than one side to any story and all facts should be gathered before any lawsuit is pursued. "If" the clerk did embarrass her, why sue? This country has gone lawsuit crazy. Most stores cater to women whose size is no larger than a 14. We plus size girls have great places to shop as well…

  64. Shelli Dill

    So, Marc Decrosta, I guess gay people should just act straight? Just be how intolerant, narrow minded people think you should be an the world would just be peachy, huh? Who put you in charge of what size she should be? You don't know her health history-what if she takes meds that cause wt gain, or maybe her genetic makeup does. Size is a media driven discrimination, in some cultures and eras it was considered beautiful to be zaftig…what would happen if, say, brown eyes became undesirable, unfashionable?
    Unless she comes to u for wt loss advice, butt out-u are offensive. Thaaanks

  65. Shelli Dill

    Dumbass, u would have every right to shop in a big/tall store-could be for ur dad, hubby, son, or even yourself-no one would be rude to you. Fat is one of the last descriminations to be eliminated-you'd scream if something about you became "unfashionable" and you couldn't help it. And yes, some people CAN'T help their size. I'm a nurse and know this to be true…

  66. Shelli Dill

    So, you don't live what you preach?
    Your banner says coexist, most people think that equates to tolerance, acceptance.
    Do you really think you would be disrespected in a big/ tall shop?
    Think before you regurgitate stupid remarks, u offend. Thaaanks

  67. Julie Lucia

    yes and so it continues the CEO of a & F has NEVER been on the cover of VOGUE either and probably never will be– H & M is no better either— they DISCRIMINATE when hiring as well only again manipulate the title of such an employee– the employee should be fired as well as the store manager for allowing it– this is considered bullying which starts a a very young age and progresses way until adulthood— it needs to be stopped.

  68. Julie Lucia

    and yea Marc your such a total babe seriously?? looks ar in the eye of the beholder and you are in obvious need of glasses

  69. Julie Lucia

    and yea Marc your such a total babe seriously?? looks ar in the eye of the beholder and you are in obvious need of glasses

  70. Shelli Dill

    So, you have NO overweight people in your life? Tell them how you REALLY feel about them-oh, you only have the guts when online? I hope your children/ nieces/nephews don't develop any weight issues b/c you're an unfeeling, uneducated asshat.

  71. Shelli Dill

    So, you have NO overweight people in your life? Tell them how you REALLY feel about them-oh, you only have the guts when online? I hope your children/ nieces/nephews don't develop any weight issues b/c you're an unfeeling, uneducated asshat.

  72. Shelli Dill

    I say:
    Get Botox for that crater btwn ur eyes
    New hairstyle
    Some makeup-u r scary
    BUT, then again maybe how u look is NONE OF MY BUSINESS
    C U Next Tuesday 😉

  73. Felisia L. Izzi

    MARC YOU ARE A TRUE ASSHOLE! (A) she is 14 years old (B) Have you ever went into rue 21 that store has clothes that do not fit most people that are a size 14 (BECUASE ALL THE CLOTHES ARE MADE IN F****ING CHINA AND ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING TRUE TO SIZE (C) How dare you discriminate against a child that COULD POSSIBLY HAVE A MEDICAL PROBLEM (D) It is not easy to loose weight who's to say she is not trying SAYING SOMETHING LIKE THAT CAN TOTALY RUIN ANY TYPE OF MOTIVATION SHE HAD or MAYBE SHE 100% LOVES HERSELF JUST THEY WAY SHE IS WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE FOR THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I THINK MOST PEOPLE COULD AFFORD TO LOOSE A FEW POUNDS BUT DAMN WHAT THAT GIRL SAID WAS RUDE AND SHE DESERVES TO BE FIRED AS FAR AS I AM CONCERED WHAT SHE DID IS AND SHOULD BE CONSIDERED HARASSMENT AND AS FOR YOU MARC I WOULD PUT YOU IN THE SAME CATEGORY.

  74. Laura Yepthatsme

    Boycott needs to be in order. If Tommy Hilfiger couldn't get away with their discriminating ways neither can Rue 21 or Abercrombie & Fitch. I see their sales dropping drastically because of this, as it should..

  75. Holly Aitken

    I too was discriminated against when I was in High School by a Rue 21 Employee. I was shopping and at this time I was a Large. I asked one of the employees if I could see one of the shirts that were up high. The ignorant Employee looked me up and down and said… "We only have that shirt in a small." I was too timid back then to reply to her that I didn't ask her what size she had it in, I asked her to do her job and get the shirt down from the wall. I wasn't even shopping for myself. I was shopping for a friend who was a size small. Needless to say I left that store and NEVER went back. I do not think these are isolated incidents.

  76. Deborah Lorene Buckley

    How did that employee know the shopping was for her could be a gift she lost a sale fire her!

  77. Deborah Shaw

    Truth…you seem a bit uncaring, rude and stupid. Are you going to try and work on those things?

  78. JoAnne Braley

    Well, Melanie, they can wear huge coats, that have places to put things in. We had to catch them ourselves when I worked in shops. There was no security. There were smash and grabs, and all kinds of things, but some would pretend to be pg and put things in there…read about it…it's something we were to look out for. I'm not sure how long you worked or busted…where did the skinny's hide stuff? Maybe pocket jewelry, but not clothes…sometimes, they would put their clothes over the store clothes. Oregon is kinda' backward, anyway. When I lived there you coudln't even fill your own gas tank.

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