A TOOWOOMBA woman's rant about her treatment at the Grand Central Kmart has gone viral and highlighted dissatisfaction in the community with a controversial change.
The customer attended the store on Tuesday to have a security tag removed from a pair of tracksuit pants she purchased weeks earlier.
She only realised the security tag was on the clothes when she went to wear them.
The problem arose when she walked into the store - with the tracksuit pants and receipt in hand - and headed to a counter to have the tag removed.
The woman wrote she had "never felt so embarrassed and humiliated" as when staff questioned her about whether she'd purchased the tracksuit.
She said: "Staff discussed the matter while I stood waiting, (a) crowd looking on as if I was a thief.
"Apparently they had to get confirmation that I hadn't stolen them before I was allowed to leave the store."
She asked what the hold up was and was told "there are dishonest people around" and she "could have walked in with a receipt and empty bag, picked up the tracksuit and took it to counter to get tag removed".
The woman said she was lectured about the importance of showing staff items at the front of the store before proceeding to the central checkouts.
"This bit of information about returns/issues would of been nice to know before I entered the store," she said.
She then took aim at the controversial new layout at Kmart which moved the checkout from the front to the centre of the store.
"Newsflash Kmart: had your store still been in the original layout with customer service and checkouts at the front of the store I would not have had to walk through your store to sort out my issue and in turn would not have had to be treated and viewed as a thief," she said.
The angry woman said the layout was seriously flawed.
"Who in their right mind would think paying in centre of the store is a good idea?" she questioned.
She called for change: "Save everyone the time of double handling and to avoid having to treat every customer like a thief and reposition the counters to the front of the store."
Her post to the Kmart Facebook page received hundreds of likes and dozens of comments.
A spokeswoman reached out to her and said: "We're sorry to hear of your experience and would like to look into it further."
Do you like the new layout at Kmart?
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A Kmart spokeswoman told The Chronicle the store had evolved the store format in response to growing changes to the way customers lived and shopped, in order to make their lives easier and ensure a more improved shopping experience.
The spokeswoman said: "Our innovative new store layout is centred around three product worlds, Home, Clothing and Kids. These new worlds are designed to make it easier for customers to find products, customers will see products grouped together in these specific areas to make their shopping experiences as easy and enjoyable as possible.
"Self-serve and central checkouts, and a combined service counter with layby and photo processing, will provide customers with a convenient way to access these areas.
"Store entrances will now be free of queues and clutter, allowing customers to enter and exit with ease."
Other residents backed the woman on her stance regarding the layout, with some calling it "terrible."
Sharon Everson wrote: "I agree totally. You are really looked at when you exit the store with bags now. It's such a silly setup with checkouts in the middle of the store. The lady on the door looked stressed trying to check everyone who was walking out with bags."
The Chronicle attempted to speak with the customer for further comment.
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