2006_01_cent21.jpgAnd it's not over the warfare-like atmosphere on the weekends! It's because she was beaten by guards when they thought she had shoplifted some items. According to the Post, Newtown teacher Kimberlee Bent says that on June 2, 2001, she was kept in a basement room where she was allegedly "held down, repeatedly punched and spat upon and even ridiculed about her weight" while detained by Century 21 guards. So, some of the lawsuit's $63 million damages must be for that, plus the fact that she had to spend a full day in jail on later-dropped shoplifting charges. Bent's lawyer thinks Century 21 is pulling a fast one over the case, as the discount department store says that surveillance tapes that would have recorded the assault were "mistakenly thrown out" when the store cleaned up after September 11, 2001. Gothamist has never had run-ins with security at Century 21...surly employees who have mountains of inventory to stock, sure, but who wouldn't, given the traffic the Broadway/Church location gets. We wonder what made guards think Bent shoplifted - at Century 21, it's like a firesale, with people grabbing anything and everything, leaving merchandise looking picked-off and a little grungy. But, hey, it's a last-season-Behnaz Sarafpour dress marked down 70%!

The NY Times visited Century 21 last fall (Times Select article). And this NYU Journalism article about the store has a quote from a spokesman saying, "We’re higher end than T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, and we’re just different from Sak’s and Barneys." No kidding it's different.