Two mothers who were kicked out of a dollar store claim they were mistreated by a clerk who they recorded screaming at them to leave.
Monica Briones and Holly Montellano have four children each, and they brought all eight kids on a shopping trip to the King Dollar in Angleton, Texas. But their outing ended quickly when a store clerk shrieked at the two women to take their children and leave. Montellano recorded the argument that followed and posted it on Facebook on Nov. 8 — it has been viewed more than 35,000 times.
In the video, the store clerk tries to usher the women and their children out of the store. When the women refuse, instead demanding a phone number for the store owner and telling the clerk not to speak to them in a rude manner, the clerk loses her temper and screams at them.
The store clerk at King Dollar lost her temper with two mothers and their combined eight children. (Photo: KHOU11)
“Our babies were actually just fine. On good behavior and were being super sweet in King Dollar tonight,” Montellano wrote in the caption of the video post. “When Monica put something down that she decided she didn’t want, the lady behind the counter yelled at her to hand anything she didn’t want to her. We had a basket full that I kindly told her I decided I did not want. … She also yells about how many kids we have with us! If you’re familiar with this store you know it’s always dirty!”
Montellano added that she should not be penalized for bringing her four kids shopping with her. “This is a public notice that, yes everywhere I go I have my four children. I have no other family that can watch them. Not one family member. I may not be single but I am their mother and I take care of them. I am all they have!” she writes, adding in a comment that her children’s father is incarcerated. “We are independent mommas with four kids that we deeply love & would give our lives for! That we work more than three jobs for! We had to explain to them as they walked out of the store in tears, literally all 8 of them, their little wondering hearts failed to understand why they were unwanted in a dollar store! It took everything in me to NOT reach over the counter and shut her up myself!”
Holly Montellano, who posted the video, and her four children. (Photo: Facebook/HollyMarie Montellano)
The store manager told KHOU11 that Montellano’s account was inaccurate, claiming that all the children were creating chaos in the store, and that the store clerk had asked the women to leave several times before the camera started rolling. “The kids were tearing this store up,” a shopper who witnessed the incident told the news station. “I think the clerk did what she was supposed to do.”
Though she denies the store manager’s account, Montellano says even if her kids were misbehaving, the clerk should never have behaved that way. “It didn’t matter how many kids we had or how they were acting,“ Montellano told KHOU11. "You could have said what you needed to say in a nice way.”
Facebook users have been debating who was in the wrong after seeing the video. Many supporters of the moms say that they have been to the same store and had negative interactions with the clerk, and others add that this is simply no way to treat a customer. “It doesn’t matter what the kids were doing honestly. There is no reason for her to yell like that. She can calmly ask y'all to leave or call the cops. This is no way to run a store,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “I am a paying customer. If it was not for the customers you wouldn’t have a pay check. People need to realize they cannot treat their customers in this manner,” wrote another.
Monica Briones and Holly Montellano say they were mistreated at a King Dollar store in Texas. (Photo: KHOU11)
But others who have seen the video are convinced that it can’t be the whole story. “I can’t imagine she just went off like this. Something had to have caused it. I can’t believe 8 kids stayed nicely close to the basket with their parents. Something had to cause her to lose her cool. Just saying,” wrote one user. Added another: “You were both wrong to continue to stir up trouble. That’s why you were filming, refusing to leave and continuing to badger this poor woman. People don’t scream like that unless they are provoked.”
This isn’t the first time that a store employee’s treatment of a family has sparked a debate. In July, a diner owner landed in hot water after yelling at a toddler eating in her restaurant. The diner owner told KSDK at the time that she snapped after a couple, didn’t respond to her request that they leave or take their unhappy child outside. “I slammed my hands on the counter, and I said, ‘This needs to stop!’ meaning her screaming,” Darla Neugebauer told the local news outlet. “And I pointed at her. And she looked at me and she stopped. And her parents said, ‘Are you screaming at a child?!’ Yes I am. And she shut up.”
That debate, between the owner and the parents she yelled at (who called the owner “deranged” on Facebook), stirred up a lot of controversy online. But an etiquette expert told Yahoo Parenting at the time that both sides were at fault. “It’s hard to imagine that somebody would scream at another person’s child, and as a parent I wouldn’t ever want to see that, but parents have to do something to help their child in a situation like this so his or her upset isn’t continuing,” said Rachel Isgar, the owner of Please Pass the Manners. “You never want to let anything get to this level.”
Both moms, and the store clerk, might have done well to follow Isgar’s advice — as the two situations had similar no-win outcomes: “Since it escalated this high, everybody just has to move on at this point and learn from the mistake.”