Customer Responds to Public Shaming by Hudson Valley Laundromat
After being called out for bouncing a check, the customer of a local laundromat responds.
Ann Marie Shirley was at The Laundermat on Violet Avenue in Poughkeepsie, a place where she says she spends up to $75 a week on laundry services, when she realized she didn't have her debit card. So, the loyal customer pulled out her checkbook and wrote a personal check for the money owed.
A few days later this message appeared on The Laundermat's digital sign in front of their building:
Ann Marie says she was so distraught that she circled the block four times before stopping to take a photo of her name and the message calling her out for bouncing the check. Ann Marie posted the photo to her own Facebook page with a plea for civility. Yes, she made a mistake. But did she deserve a public shaming for it?
We reached out to Ann Marie and she explained that the message made her feel "like a kid who got the wrong answer in math class and was bullied for it." She says she's posted about her experience in hopes that it doesn't happen to someone else.
Ann Marie's mistake cost her $40 in banking penalties, but she wasn't going to let it take more of an emotional toll on her. She says that posting the photo on her own Facebook page isn't about getting even. "It's about shared reality. It's about recovering from public shame. It's about a need to be seen. It's about making mistakes and giving other people permission to be compassionate through the mistakes we're all making."
As for the bill, it has now been paid in full by one of Ann Marie's dance students. And on Tuesday morning the sign in front of The Laundermat had a much simpler message:
What do you think about businesses publicly shaming customers who bounce a check? Do they have a responsibility to find out if it's an honest mistake on do you think it's alright for businesses to make the situation public? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.