Edmonton

'Fat' comment on store receipt angers Edmonton shopper

"Fat" is a cruel label that Edmonton shopper Camilla Glowacki never wanted to see in writing, but she did, and despite a store apology, she remains angry about what she considers a body-shaming incident.

'Necessary action was taken,' head office says in emailed apology

'It obviously wasn't meant for my eyes,' Camilla Glowacki responds after an Ardene employee writes 'fat' on her transaction receipt 0:59

"Fat" is a cruel label that Edmonton shopper Camilla Glowacki never wanted to see in writing. 

Glowacki is now speaking out, saying that she was "body shamed" by a store clerk earlier this week.

"I've been called fat, but not from a store," she said.

"It just makes me think, 'Is that what everybody thinks when they look at me? Do they hear me or do they just see how I look?'

"I was so embarrassed." 
Camilla Glowacki says a cashier at an Ardene store in north Edmonton labelled her as 'fat,' including the word in the customer information section of her retail receipt. (Supplied )

Glowacki was shopping for presents for her daughter's fourth birthday Monday afternoon at accessories store Ardene in Edmonton's Northgate Centre.

After picking out a few hair clips and headbands, she went up to the till, but decided to shop around a little bit more. When the cashier suspended the purchase, the employee left the transaction paper on the counter, and Glowacki picked it up.

That's when Glowacki found the word  "fat" printed neatly on the receipt, in the comment section meant to include customer information.

"I stood there and started reading it, and the cashier ripped it out my hand. And she crumpled it up really hard into a tiny little ball, and threw it in the garbage," said Glowacki.

"That transaction paper was clearly not meant for my eyes."

Shaken and insulted, Glowacki said she calmly demanded, again and again, to see the receipt.

Eventually, a manager came out of the back room, fished the offending paperwork out of the garbage, handed it to Glowacki and apologized for the cashier's behaviour.

However, the shame from that three-letter word lingers for Glowacki. She can't stop thinking about what would have happened if her daughter, who has special needs, had been there.

"It just confirmed everything, that receipt. I'm not welcome in this store. This store is only for nice, pretty, thin girls and I shouldn't be here. And I guess my daughter wouldn't be welcome here either.

"What would she have written on the receipt if my daughter were there?"

It just reminds me, just stay there, don't leave the house, you're too ugly to go anywhere.- Camilla Glowacki, Edmonton shopper

Glowacki, who is on long-term disability for uncontrollable seizures, said the shopping trip was a rare bright spot in her difficult life.

"People don't realize I don't just sit at home and eat. I really am struggling with other things.

"But people don't see my epilepsy, they don't see my daughter." 

'Isolated' incident 

A manager at Ardene Northgate told CBC News the incident was "isolated" and was being "dealt with internally."

Glowacki later received an email from Ardene's head office in Montreal.

"As soon as our customer service department was made aware of the experience you had at our Northgate location, necessary action was taken," the email said. "The right people were immediately contacted and the situation brought to light.

"We sincerely apologize on behalf of the staff at our Northgate location. The event that occurred during your visit most definitely does not represent our company as a whole. We can assure you that this will not happen again."

Glowacki said she doesn't take much comfort in the apology.

"People think what they think and there's nothing you can do about it," she said. "They can't guarantee what some girl they're going to hire is going to think of me or is going to write. They'll be more careful, but that's about it."

Glowacki hopes her story will lead to better training for retail staff, and more awareness about body shaming. 

But even then, she said, a silver lining will be hard to find.

"I try to go out and have a good time and feel a little better about myself, and I just got pushed right back down, right back into my place. 

"It just reminds me, just stay there, don't leave the house, you're too ugly to go anywhere.

"It was just one cashier, but I wonder how often this happens."

Glowacki was shopping for presents for her daughter's fourth birthday Monday afternoon at the accessories store Ardene in Edmonton's Northgate Centre when she said she was body shamed. (CBC)

About the Author

Wallis Snowdon

Journalist

Wallis Snowdon is a digital journalist with CBC Edmonton. She has nearly a decade of experience reporting behind her. Originally from New Brunswick, her journalism career has taken her from Nova Scotia to Fort McMurray. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca