A Canberra workwear company, in hot water for allegedly telling an 11-year-old girl to "go and get lost" after she asked it to change its ad, is furious at the backlash.
Seears Workwear is getting hit with nasty reviews and one-star ratings on Facebook after allegedly lashing out at schoolgirl Mollie McMahon when she asked them to change their jingle because she felt it wasn't inclusive of both genders, reports News.com.au.
Decades ago, the store started using the song Click Goes The Shears in its ad, altering the lyrics to "Get down to Seears, boys, quick, quick, quick."
But when Mollie called and asked for "boys" to be changed to "folks", the manager allegedly told her: "Look, I was brought up in a different time to you … I don't want to hear any of this bulls**t. Go on and get lost."
Mollie's mum Julie heard the entire conversation, furiously posting the encounter to Facebook and later speaking to Kidspot.
Julie's status, and subsequent article by Kidspot, has landed the company in hot water — another "sign of the world going mad" said Simon, a manager at the local institution.
Speaking to news.com.au, Simon said despite not being the person behind the original phone call, he still thought it was "appalling for someone to get their kid to call up and do their dirty work".
Julie McMahon, who is the mum of Mollie and originally told her story to Kidspot said Simon's comment meant "he clearly hasn't met my 11-year-old".
Responding to the nasty Facebook reviews and the story from Kidspot, Simon said the whole thing had been "blown way out of proportion".
"Christ, it's just so, so stupid," he said.
"It's getting to the point where things are so ridiculous and over the top," he added.
Simon, who has worked for the company for more than 20 years, said the recent claims against the store left him wondering, "Where do normal people draw the line in the sand?"
"If that was my daughter and she asked about changing the ad, I would sit her down and explain to them that it's a song from a long time ago, the 1890s, and that I'd guarantee there were no women shearing sheep back then, things were different," he said.
Simon said the comments on Facebook were getting "out of hand" and said there could be "legal ramifications for those people".
The manager said a big part of the business was female clientele and most of the staff were women, too.
"We're not sexist, we're the furthest thing from it," he said.
Simon said whoever spoke to Mollie on the phone shouldn't have behaved or spoken to the 11-year-old like that. However he admitted, if it had been him on the phone, that he probably would've responded similarly.
"I probably would have told them to go and get a life. It's just petty and stupid," he said.
"No one should speak to anybody like that but seriously, everyone's lost it," he added.
Yesterday, Mollie and her mum Julie told Kidspot about their experience with Seears.
When Julie told her daughter they could go to Seears to buy some work boots, the 11-year-old said she didn't want to go.
When Julie asked her why, she replied "I don't want to go to Seears Workwear. It's only for boys".
Mollie told her mum she thought the store, which stocks a large range of female workwear, was only for boys "because of their ad".
The 11-year-old then decided she'd call and ask them if they'd consider changing the word.
A proposal the shop's manager clearly wasn't interested in.
Julie said despite the debate on both sides, her main gripe with the store was that they swore at her daughter, despite knowing she was an 11-year-old.
"The point is that he knew how old she was, he swore at her and then he justified his response because he 'comes from a different time' but it's a double standard because if you come from that time you shouldn't swear in front of women," she said.
The mother said if the manager had given her daughter a "rational and calm answer" she never would've said a word.
"He could've just politely declined her, said no, and that would've been it," she added.
Julie vehemently denied claims she'd coaxed Mollie into making the phone call.
"I would never make that call. I think it's completely pointless in calling someone to try and change something," she said.
"I explained to her that it's a small business and it'd be unlikely he'd want to change this. I explained advertising is costly," she said.
At the end of the day, Julie said it came down to the way men treated women.
"The issue isn't about her, it's about men deferring to swearing at women instead of giving them a logical sentence. They defer to insults, sexist comments, swearing and it shouldn't be happening," she said.