A bookstore in Australia has taken to social media to condemn a very specific group of people — dating coaches.
Kinokuniya Sydney, an Australian outpost of the Japan-based bookseller, took to its Facebook account on Jan. 23 to ban the coaches and their clients from its store. The bookstore claimed that it had become a sort of practice ground for "pick-up" techniques.
"It has come to our attention that a dating coaching company has been using our store to give their clients practical experience, much to our dismay," Kinokuniya Sydney wrote. "We apologize to any of our customers who have been approached in the store or had the negative experience of someone trying ‘pick-up’ techniques with them."
The shop went on to apologize to its customers, adding that it had reached out to one company in particular about the issue. Kinokuniya Sydney also said that its staff was on the lookout for any similar "coaching" groups, as well as any customers who may be receiving "unsolicited and unwanted attention."
"To anyone who has felt harassed we offer our deepest apologies … and to any other social coaching companies who might be considering using Kinokuniya for your clients’ practice runs, we say don’t come in," the store wrote.
Kawai Yusuke, the managing director of Kinokuniya Australia, told 7News that the post came after receiving numerous social media messages and emails from clients who said they’d been harassed. He also noted that several employees had witnessed encounters between customers that "seemed forced."
The post has drawn more than 1,500 comments, with some customers weighing in to share they’d experienced a possible "pick-up" technique practice while visiting the store.
"Omg this happened to me and just thought it was some random moment. I’m so glad it’s been addressed and hope it gets nipped in the bud!" one woman commented.
Many commenters seemed bewildered to learn that dating coaches actually existed, but the profession is far more common than some might think. There are countless companies — charging a variety of prices — that offer help in navigating the dating world, and last year the dating site Match even began offering real-life coaches to help its clients.