Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sex toy store owner breaks the code.

Ok - so, yes this is another post about David Carradine.

He apparently was a guy who liked bondage. Good for him. Bondage is fun.

And he patronized a store where he purchased bondage supplies. How do I know this? Well, because the store owner told TMZ. And then told XBIZ (a web site that is focused on the adult industry).

I'm pissed and really, really offended.

It is unconscionable to me that a person who sells sex toys would reveal information about what a customer purchased, or what that particular customer's interests or proclivities are to anyone. Except maybe, to another staff member. And then, only to provide the customer with better service. Or to get a question answered.

I realize that we are not legally therapists. We aren't bound by law to protect our customer's privacy. But ethically? It's critical to what we do.

Our culture is riddled with shame around sex and sexuality in our culture. For some folks, even walking through the door of a store like ours is an extremely scary thing. Hell, the first time I walked into a store like this, I turned bright red and spent about twenty minutes flipping thru the books before I could even look at the toys. And that wasn't that long ago.

Customers tell us things, reveal personal details, ask questions and dare to purchase items that they will then keep under ugly sweaters in the bottom drawer. Sure, some folks are really public about their sex lives, but more people choose to keep at least some details private. Our customers deserve to know that we will not use their lives or their choices as fodder for a tabloid website or even for interesting party conversation. They take a risk and share their lives with us. They trust us. And we absolutely must deserve that trust.

At Sugar, each staff member signs a confidentiality agreement which references the confidentiality section in our personnel manual (bet you didn't know we had one!).
This is what it says:
All people who are part of Sugar are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the customers at all times. Customer information, including which products an individual purchased, what their requests or questions were, sexual practices, partners or fetishes, etc. must remain in the store. Sugar’s customers give Sugar a gift by choosing to share very personal information with our staff. We must respect that gift.

Violation of this policy is grounds for immediate termination.

And they understand that if it is broken, they will be immediately fired. I won't even tell my partner that a friend of her's was in the store without that person's express permission.

What kind of bondage gear someone bought? Seriously, that's a fucking sacred trust.

That said, if those of us who choose to engage in kink could find a way to be a little more out about it, maybe people wouldn't need to engage in bondage alone in hotel rooms. And end up dead.

But that needs to be the decision of the individual. Not the person who sold them the equipment.

BTW - i'm not linking to the article about the store because it names the store. And i sure as hell don't want to give them any additional publicity.


Alexandra said...

I've had customers approach me outside the store, saying, "OMG You work at Sugar! You sold me stuff!" If someone acknowledges me in such a way, I say yes, but I do not say, "Why, YES! You bought the 14-inch dildo shaped like Jodie Foster's knuckles!" The fact that some ass-clown wants publicity off this man's PERSONAL and PRIVATE life is disgusting, though (sadly) nothing new in today's day and age.

Sigh. People.

The Other Richard said...

But just think of the publicity for the store- the owner could have spent the year's advertising budget and not gotten the shop's name in front of half as many people as just those two little articles. They're famous now. (Or perhaps notorious. I always get those two confused.) Besides, the guy's dead anyway so what does he care? The owner was well compensated I'm sure, TPM and XBIZ get more readers for their advertisers and inquiring minds get to know. It's a win-win situation for everyone, right?

Somehow though a line from an old book- something about gaining the whole world and losing your soul or something like that- keeps coming to mind. I just wonder, once the gawkers and the curiousity seekers have gone, how many regulars will have found another shop to patronize? Thank you and your staff for your discretion and your professionalism. It is appreciated.

The Other Richard said...

And a lesson in the importance of proofreading. TMZ damn it. Not TPM.