Fully Booked responds to buyer’s ‘horrible’ experience of buying Sonny Angel at bookstore

November 24, 2023 - 5:44 PM
Sonny Angels
Sonny Angels in this photo posted on its Facebook page on Oct. 17, 2023 (SonnyAngel.Official.Philippines/Facebook)

Fully Booked said one of the security guards who “humiliated” a customer in one of its branches is no longer connected with them after the latter shared a “horrible experience” in buying a collectible.

A user on the X (formerly Twitter) platform shared how his first purchase of a Sonny Angel collectible turned out to be a “traumatic” affair for him after a security guard shouted at him and “accused” him of shoplifting in the store’s S Maison branch.

User @LaurenzAlibuyog or “Lau” on Monday, November 20 narrated that he and a friend went to Fully Booked’s particular branch to buy their first Sonny Angel.

It is a cherub figurine created by Japanese toy manufacturer Toru Soeya, whose nickname — Sonny — was where the character got its name. He said the concept behind the figures is that of a “little boyfriend” who could serve as a source of comfort, a sense of healing and support to working women in their twenties.

While the toy has been around since 2005, it was only recently that it earned buzz on the internet, most especially on TikTok. Among the most famous owners is supermodel Bella Hadid.

Meanwhile, Lau narrated that he was “beyond excited” to buy his first figurine, adding that he “really hoped” the particular moment “would be a very special one.”

“I couldn’t decide which one to pick, so I picked up three boxes to choose from, then proceeded inside with my friend to look at some books. Eventually, I brought back the other two on the stall as I decided to buy only one for myself,” he wrote.

“But as soon as I [approached] the cashier, about to take out the money from my wallet, the security guard suddenly shouted, ‘Sir, nasaan na po ‘yung isa? Tatlo po ‘yung kinuha niyo! Isa lang po ‘yung binalik niyo. Bilang po ‘yan!’ in front of quite a number of people and to be honest, it was quite loud since the people paying [at] the cashier heard it and looked at us, even the ones who [were] looking at books,” Lau added.

“Apart from being startled by his sudden accusation, I felt ashamed because there were a lot of people inside the store [at] that time and they were all looking at me with disgust. Of course, I had to defend myself and told him that I came back twice to the stall of Sonny Angels to bring those back,” he said.

Lau shared that the guard “kept on saying things like, ‘Kapag kumuha po kasi kayo, huwag niyo na pong dalhin sa loob. Bayaran niyo na po agad! Bilang po ‘yan! Isa lang po ‘yung binalik niyo!'”

“I was so humiliated and trembling on the inside because he accused me of shoplifting when all I did was to carefully choose a Sonny Angel and look at the books inside after I chose one. On top of that, I was incredibly pissed and disappointed by the behavior of the other [staff] aside from the security guard, because all three of them just stood there and did not even bother to de-escalate the situation,” he added.

Lau said that the staff “did not even bother to stop the security to say those things aloud.”

He added that he told the guard to check his bag so the latter “can have his peace of mind.”

The guard found nothing and offered him a discreet apology.

Lau lamented that the incident “scarred” not only his first Sonny Angel experience but “in buying anything” from the bookstore “in general.”

“Normally, I would just let [these] kinds of things slide, but I am concerned that this situation would happen again to anyone. As someone who is diagnosed with anxiety, this experience was really traumatic for me, and I am even trembling right now, recalling and typing all of these,” he said.

Lau called out the particular branch and said that the incident should serve as a “lesson” for its staff “to treat each customer with respect if they want to be respected as well.”

The next day, the account of Fully Booked on the platform addressed his posts and said it treats such cases “very seriously.”

“Before anything else, we want to extend our sincerest apologies for the incident that took place in our S Maison branch. We assure you that this is not the kind of experience we want any of our customers to experience in any of our branches,” the store began.

“We take cases like this very seriously and have conducted an investigation into the matter. As of time of writing, we have escalated this concern to our security agency and the security guard in question is no longer connected with our company,” it added.

Fully Booked said the branch’s staff members will also be endorsed to its Human Resource department “for sanctions in accordance to our code of conduct.”

“We do not tolerate this kind of behavior from any personnel associated with our company. We value our customers deeply and are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment where all individuals feel respected and appreciated,” the store added.

“We strive to cultivate a culture of empathy, professionalism, and respect, and we deeply regret that this incident fell short of our unwavering standards. We sincerely apologize once again for the distress this incident has caused,” it continued.

Fully Booked said that while it cannot “apologize enough” for what happened, it said it would like to “make it up” to the customer, adding that its communication lines are open.

The store is among those that offer Sonny Angel collectibles in its branches.