Sacks off 5th Avenue customer speaking in car holding dress in bag (l) Sacks off 5th Avenue building entrance with sign (c) Sacks off Fifth Avenue customer speaking in car holding receipt (r)

BrandonKleinPhoto/Shutterstock @tiffanycheen/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘I felt like that was racially charged’: Asian woman says Saks Off 5th worker wouldn’t accept her return because the dress ‘smelled like soy sauce’

'Of all the things she could have said.'


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Apr 28, 2023

In a TikTok posted on Feb. 25, an Asian woman says that she had a “racist encounter” at a Saks Off 5th in Los Angeles.

The TikToker, Tiffany Cheen (@tiffanycheen), says that when she attempted to return a dress to a Saks Off 5th location, her return was denied because an employee said the dress “smelled like soy sauce.”

Cheen says she went into the store to return a dress she had ordered online and received the day prior and that she brought the dress in its original packaging with the receipt. Though she tried it on, Cheen says she never wore it beyond that.

When she was returning the dress, a Saks Off Fifth employee denied her return because it had “been worn.”

“The kicker was she smelled the dress and said the dress ‘smelled like soy sauce,'” Cheen says in her TikTok, which had over a million views on Thursday. “Of all the things she could have said the dress smelled like … I felt like that was racially charged.”

Cheen says her boyfriend confronted the employee, who responded by telling him that she can say “whatever” she wants.

@tiffanycheen @saksoff5th is this how your company is?? Telling an asian customer a dress smells like soy sauce?? Blow this up #fyp #viral #racist #saksoff5th #westhollywood #beverlyconnection ♬ original sound – Tiffanycheen

In a follow-up video, Cheen says the manager of the Saks Off 5th location apologized to her via phone and ultimately processed her return. She also spoke with a vice president of Saks Off 5th, who also apologized and told her that a “full scale investigation” of the employee who made the racist remark to her would be underway.

“The VP has stated that they will be doing further diversity and inclusion training to fill the gap,” Cheen says in her follow-up video. “So another incident like this wouldn’t happen again.”

Cheen did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

In a statement to Yahoo! News, Meghan Biango, district vice president of corporate communications at Saks Off 5th, stated that “the associate involved is no longer employed by the company.”

“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Biango told Yahoo! News. “This incident was not consistent with our values.”

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*First Published: Apr 28, 2023, 3:03 pm CDT