The retail giant Claire's piercing policies criticized after a former employee's letter goes viral. A few days ago, a former employee publicly called out the accessory store for not respecting the child's right to refuse piercings. The public complaint was launched on social media on April 6th, 2019, and it has swiftly gained viral status. The policy is shocking but this Edmonton woman hopes to change that.
Raylene Marks is an Alberta resident that used to work at a Claire’s retailer in the Edmonton area. In an open letter published on Facebook, Marks touches on the current policy surrounding ear piercing at the store. According to Marks, the current policy is questionable and as a result, she has penned an open letter to the company in hopes of sparking change.
In her letter, Marks states that there are “gray area piercings" that she believes restrict on the rights of the child being pierced. This is when the children resist the piercing heavily but are pressured and intimated by the parents to settle down. Sometimes, even once the piercing was over the child is still not happy about the decision. Marks then began to wonder at what point the piercer and the parent are actually invading the child's personal boundaries.
While it was a question in Marks’ mind, it finally got brought to light following one incident. One day, a seven-year-old girl came into the Edmonton Claire’s with her mom for the purpose of ear piercing. According to Marks, the girls sobbed and pleaded for 30 minutes not to get her ears pierced.
“Despite Mom saying, 'Honey, we can go home whenever you want,' she was not letting her daughter go home. She was putting a great deal of pressure on her daughter to go through with the piercing,” writes Marks. She also explained that the child was articulate, smart, and well aware of herself and her body. She even expressed that she was feeling uncomfortable and that people were standing too close to her.
“That child's message was loud and clear to me: Do not touch my body, do not pierce my ears, I do not want to be here. I'm inclined to respect a child's right to say no.” As a result, Marks told the other piercer that she wouldn’t be a part of the process, and in the end, the mother respected her daughter's opinion and they went home.
The next day, Marks was reportedly approached by her manager. After explaining the situation she said she was firmly told that she would have had no choice but to do it. Marks was told that no matter the extreme circumstances, you pierce the ears at the parent's request.
After reviewing the policy manual, Marks found that they were able to refuse a piercing if a successful one cannot be done, however, nothing was mentioned about the use of physical restraint by a parent or employee.
That same day, Marks gave her notice after realizing her lack of options. "Children can be held down and pierced. Children do not have a voice in the piercing process. The associate doing the piercing has no right to refuse to shoot metal through the ears of a child who begs not to be touched.”
She ends her open letter by asking the large retailer and other companies to consider changing their policies that ignore that child's right to refuse.
Following the letter, Marks has posted an update on April 10th, 2019, from Claire’s. According to the update, the policy at Claire’s may be changed to “reflect a right to refuse a piercing if the child is distressed or resisting.” She also asked that the policy is changed to reflect the wishes of children when they say no to the piercing.
Narcity has reached out to Claire's for a comment but at the time of publishing, we haven't received a statement.
“If Claire’s changes their policies, it will be because you helped make it happen,” wrote Marks.