News 12 at 11 / Thursday, May 8, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A local convenience store is standing strong, and even turning away some customers, because of what they think is right.
Their message is loud and clear, and it's written on a sign they attached to the front door.
It's a handwritten sign on a notebook size sheet of paper, but it's got a commanding message. It reads, "Pull your pants up before entering. No saggy pants, no loud music, or no service."
The store says it's getting a lot of support.
Cue Aretha Franklin's classic song Respect. "All I'm asking is for a little respect," she wails.
It's an old song, but it's about an age old value, one Ja Ho Market is standing strong to protect.
"Numerous males come in with their underwear showing, and we're just asking for the respect or go to another store," cashier Laturah Weems said.
Weems works at Ja Ho Market on Kissingbower Road in Augusta. She says the sign's been up a couple days now, but it's prompted more than a couple comments from customers.
"We get comments every time someone comes in," she said. "It's kind of 50/50. The young are more of, "Why this up there? You didn't buy my clothes," but the elderly is saying thank you."
While the trip to enter the store slows as people pause to read, all the customers News 12 spoke to who came in Thursday support the sign, including 11-year-old 5th grader Carl Wilkinson.
"I think it's a great sign. It's a fair rule," he admitted.
Another customer Tommy Daley said, "...loved it. I loved the sign. I hope every business does it."
Monika Clark said it shows "they value respect more than just a couple dollars."
Weems says the sign is already making a difference.
"I had a 9-year-old to come in just yesterday. He stopped and he read the sign, and right when he hit the door, he pulled up his pants, he tightened his belt, came in bought his snacks, juice, walked back out. Didn't pull his pants back down or anything," he remembered.
Saggy pants are a popular fad that you'll see in more places than Augusta, but Weems says it's not a battle against fashion. It's about respect.
"Sagging is not cool. It's not what's up. No," she said.
She hopes the change they get inside the store translates into life outside it.
"If we can get them at 7, 8 and 9 doing the right thing, then when they get 17, 18 and 19, it'll just continue on because that will be instilled in them," she hoped.
The sign also says no loud music. Weems said it doesn't matter whether it's in your car or on your phone, they don't want to hear it. Again, she cited respect, and the ability to hear the customer they're cashing out.
Workers at Ja Ho Market say they'll give you the utmost customer service and respect when you walk in. They're just asking for the same.