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Thread: Southpark Mall (Charlotte) Puts You in Danger

  1. #1
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    Below is a letter to David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, regarding my recent experience carrying in a mall in Charlotte, NC. Copies also sent to the mall manager, CEOs and managers of the stores mentioned.

    Thoughts and opinions are welcome. Bottom-line: I can't wait to get my CCW !!

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    Dear Mr. Simon:

    I am writing to let you know of an event that occurred yesterday, July 11, 2008, at one of your properties (Southpark Mall in Charlotte, NC) during which I was approached by two security guards while in Frontgate and “asked” to leave the mall.

    This letter is to explain to you the events that occurred, but more importantly to illustrate that, regardless of why they approached me, your associates erred in their enforcement of mall policies, essentially making the rules up as they saw fit. My intent here is not to argue mall policy, but to present a case where perhaps better communication or training is needed so as to improve the customer’s experience and safety while at your properties. Or, as is my case as of today, to inform a potential customer that they would be better suited to spend their money elsewhere based on such policies.

    My wife and I have been loyal customers of Southpark for over fifteen years, and were excited to find “that special gown” for her to wear to an upcoming wedding. Our plan was to visit several stores, including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor Loft and Ann Taylor in hopes of finding such a dress. Unfortunately, our plans were interrupted, and we ended up purchasing a dress at a location outside of the mall.

    At the point of altercation we had spent roughly forty-minutes leisurely enjoying shopping in the mall, having visited each of the stores mentioned above except Ann Taylor. During this time we spoke with several sales associates at the various stores, all with no issue or outward concern by any party. Upon leaving Ann Taylor Loft, we decided to stop by Frontgate to ask if they carried a particular item.

    As I do regularly, for self-defense reasons, per Federal and State law I was lawfully and peacefully carrying my .45 semi-automatic firearm holstered in plain view on my right hip. Additionally, I was under the impression I was allowed to do so while at Southpark mall for the following reasons:

    • There is nothing posted regarding firearms on the entryway of Nordstrom’s second story when entering from the third level of the Fairview Road parking deck. This is where we entered the mall.
    • There is nothing posted regarding firearms on the main Mall entrance across from Dick’s Sporting Goods, where we normally enter the mall (as such, I would assume other Mall entrances would be the same though I didn’t check).
    • There is no mention of any firearms policy on any Simon or Southpark corporate or retail website.
    • There is no mention of any firearms policy on any corporate or retail website for the various stores mentioned above, nor at the entrances of the stores we visited.
    • There is, in fact, no mention of any policy regarding customer behavior, dress, expectation or otherwise at any of these locations or websites.

    Therefore, any reasonable person, having done their due diligence in an effort to comply with your company policies, could only conclude that no policy exists regarding lawful carry of firearms while on Simon property or in the individual stores mentioned.

    As I was talking with the sales associate in Frontgate I noticed a security guard approach and stop outside the entrance to the store. Shortly thereafter, a second guard appeared. At this point I had my back partially turned to the entrance and was discussing my purchase with the sales associate while standing at the checkout counter. The associate was very friendly and either did not notice I was armed, or was unconcerned if she did. Upon determining that Frontgate does not carry the item I was inquiring about, I expressed my thanks and started to look at a chair my wife said she liked. I never got a chance to see the chair.

    At this point, the two guards entered the store and flanked me on either side. Their last names are Gainey and Kidd. The three Frontgate associates, or my wife – all whom were standing within five feet of myself and the two security guards - can corroborate what follows.

    Guard Gainey excused himself for interrupting and informed me I was not allowed to carry my weapon in the mall and that I needed to leave immediately. I stated that I was lawfully carrying per NC law, and that no such policy stating otherwise was posted on the Nordstrom entrance through which we came. He then stated that the mall was private property and not bound by NC law (this is incorrect). He further stated Nordstorm was a privately owned store and may have their own policy allowing firearms. To which I questioned, “Does this mean I can enter into and shop at Nordstrom, but am not allowed to enter the mall?” He couldn’t answer this question and repeated that I was not allowed to carry in the mall, and that there are round brown stickers on the main mall entrances stating as such. I told the guard I was not aware of any such postings, and that it is my understanding that such postings are to be placed conspicuously on all public entranceways, or otherwise made available to patrons. Again he repeated that I was wrong and that I must leave now. I then requested to see a mall Manager, and a copy of the firearms policy in writing. At this point his voice became more urgent and he moved slightly toward me, stating that he did not have a copy of the policy, that I could not see the mall Manager, and again repeated that we needed to leave, as he gestured for me to go. At this point I turned to Guard Kidd and stated that I would leave and that my only intent was to understand the rules, as we had spent a good amount of time in the mall with no one mentioning this policy, and that we enjoyed shopping there. He said he understood, though again simply repeated that we needed to leave. For some reason, at this point Gainey informed me that someone in Neiman Marcus had called security and they had more or less followed us from there. Based now on Gainey’s body language and verbal tone, I knew this was going nowhere and agreed to leave. I asked him if we would be allowed to go back the way we came through the mall and Nordstrom, to which he said yes. As we all exited the store together, Gainey and Kidd appeared to go about their business as my wife and I proceeded to leave as requested. After leaving the mall through Nordstrom’s, I stopped by the mall entrance by Dick’s Sporting Goods to verify what I already knew – there is nothing posted regarding firearms at that entrance.

    At no time did Gainey or Kidd indicate I was doing anything illegal or otherwise to threaten the security or comfort of the associates or patrons of Southpark Mall. Their only repetitive and wholly unsupported argument was that I was not allowed to carry my firearm in the mall.

    It is an interesting side-note that they obviously felt I was not a threat based on Gainey’s comments as to when they were alerted of a “man with a gun.” Obviously they had followed and observed us from Neiman Marcus to Ralph Lauren to Ann Taylor Loft and then to Frontgate. Additionally, they courteously waited until my conversation with the sales associate at Frontgate was over before approaching me. Tactically speaking, with necessary precautions aside, you would think any threat assessment and apprehension should be accomplished before the “suspect” visited four additional stores, each spread widely across the mall. This in and of itself reinforces that the safety of my family, along with any such innocent associates or customers around me, and myself is largely in my own hands in the event of a life-threatening situation while at Southpark mall – hence the very reason I carry my weapon. Had my intent been less than honorable, I surely would have had ample time to execute my plan and escape before Gainey and Kidd took action. As the old saying goes, “When seconds count, help is only minutes away.”

    In any event, as I mentioned at the start of my letter, it is not my intent to argue mall policy or push my personal beliefs on anyone. However, it is merely my point to illustrate that there is obviously some confusion on the part of some of your associates regarding the mall’s stated policies, and perhaps, to bring to light that you have a safety issue on your hands.

    I do understand that guns in particular, more so perhaps than wearing inappropriate clothing or expressing oneself lewdly, etc., have a potential to make some people “uncomfortable.” However, regardless of what makes people uncomfortable, we are a nation of law and rules; we cannot simply make them up as we go in order to placate those we feel for some reason are more important or worthy of our attention than others. It is for this reason I am writing this letter, and as such, I appreciate your time in reading it and understanding that my position really has very little to do with guns specifically, but more with how we interact with one another for our mutual benefit, comfort and safety.

    As such, as an added precaution to others concerned as I am with personal safety in today’s world, I am posting this letter to http://www.opencarry.org, http://www.nra.org and http://www.1911forum.org, such that our four million plus members will be aware of the current situation at Simon properties. Of course, I will be happy to report back to them your reply and any clarification of your policies.

    In closing, barring that I am allowed to carry my weapon for my own protection while at Southpark mall (or other Simon properties), I will politely choose to take my business elsewhere.

    Thank you for your time and with regards,

    Dave

  2. #2
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    cross creek mall fayetteville wont allow you to carry conceal or open they put some signs no wepons allowed

  3. #3
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    South Park Mall is way too "foo-foo" for me.

    Besides - has anyone ever signed off on the stability / structural integrity of the parking decks?





  4. #4
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    Carolina40 wrote:
    Besides - has anyone ever signed off on the stability / structural integrity of the parking decks?
    Actually, I can speak to that . . . my company has built all the decks at Southpark mall, though we did not build the one that failed (which actually is across the street and is unrelated to the mall).

  5. #5
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    Dave, I think you're going to need a new place to shop. Might I suggest the Monroe mall? The only mall in the area that allows OC without incident.

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