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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Ward’s customers complain about salesman comments

Ward’s Supermarket asked a wine salesman to leave the store after multiple complaints of sexual harassment were made public on social media Sunday.

Layla Russino, 35, of Micanopy, first wrote about the incident on Facebook. She said she was walking down one of the local market’s aisles to buy chocolate when the salesman, who was set up at a table, offered her a bottle of wine. The salesman was employed by an independent contractor, not the supermarket itself.

She said she declined and walked away, but he insisted.

“Well, you can come back here and cuddle with me,” she recalled him saying.

“I was so freaked out, I couldn’t even look him in the face,” she said.

Russino spoke to customer service but said they didn’t take the incident seriously. That night, she posted a status about the incident on Facebook.

Soon enough, it began spreading across her friends’ and strangers’ news feeds, and she said she found other witnesses of the man’s actions.

“What I found after I posted it was a ton of feedback from both men and women who had a negative experience with him,” she said. “Whether it was being sexually inappropriate or making them feel uncomfortable.”

One woman commented on the post saying the man had been inappropriate with her, too, but she said it is hard to maneuver around him.

“I would avoid him but, damn it, always in front of the chocolate,” the comment read.

A representative from Ward’s wrote on Facebook that the incident was unfortunate and the market asked the man, whose name was not released, to leave the store.

“They absolutely took you seriously, and he was immediately packed up and sent on his way,” the post read.

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