High profile gastroenterologist Dr. Gina Sam suffered duress over a dress.
Sam, a media savvy M.D. who frequently turns up on TV and has graced the pages of Elle, Forbes and People, found herself in a Wednesday morning run-in with employees at the Burlington Coat Factory in Chelsea. She says the incident happened when they insisted she couldn’t wear a dress she’d planned to purchase into the bathroom.
According to Sam, she arrived at the outlet store shortly after 8 a.m. following a morning workout. She says she’d spent more than four hours compiling clothes, toiletries and toys to donate to the Red Cross for disaster relief in the Caribbean. That’s when she saw a white dress she decided to buy for herself, then tried it on. Since Sam had on gym clothes under her fur coat, matching hat and Ugg boots, she figured she’d save time by wearing the dress out of the store and heading straight to her afternoon events. But first, she had to use the ladies room.
“They said ‘we can not have you leave the dress on and go pee’!” she claimed one of the five store employees who’d come to deal with the situation told her. Sam said she demanded to speak to a manager and told the employees “I feel like I’m being cornered.”
According to the Tufts medical school grad, she had two bins full of merchandise totaling $ 1,300 and had every intention of buying the $ 40 dress too. But management insisted she had to go downstairs, pay for the dress first, then she could use the facilities. Sam said she paid for the dress then ran out to a nearby bank to get more cash so that she could come back and buy the rest of her merchandise.
Sam also said that she asked a bank teller for a glass of water and an aspirin because she was feeling such anxiety over the run-in.
“People should not be made to feel this way,” she told us.
Sam plans to have her attorney write a letter to the retailer.
The Chelsea store’s manager referred us to the Burlington Coat Factory corporate office, which did not return a call for comment.
With Brian Niemietz