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  1. Return Policy
  2. Container Donation Guidelines
  3. Theft Prevention
  4. Safety
  5. Dress Code
  6. Music in Stores
  7. Employee Misconduct/Harassment Policy
  8. Emergencies

Return Policy

There is no time limit for returns, as long as the customer can provide a receipt or the specific transaction can be found. If we can’t find the transaction or receipt, there is no way to prove that they bought the item at our store. 

What Qualifies for a Return:

  • Items that were defective or damaged at time of sale.
  • Refills that were made during the same store trip, did not get taken home, and were put in a brand new container from the shelf, or a clean donated jar.
  • Items that may have been lightly used once or twice, but are still in great / new condition that are still safe & sanitary to sell.
    • Some Examples:
      • Stainless steel funnels (can be sanitized)
      • Stainless steel lunch box (can be sanitized)
      • Produce bags (no rips or stains)
      • Insulated water bottle (can be sanitized)
      • Personal hygiene items in new & working condition that have not been opened or used.
      • Items that were gifted to someone who wants to return them (unopened, unused)
      • Items that were charged by accident or rung up incorrectly.
      • Duplicate transactions (this happens sometimes when our internet is down, and Square doesn’t show if it was rung up the first time so a transaction might be charged twice by accident. In this case, we refund the entire transaction.) 

What Doesn’t Qualify for a Return:

  • Items damaged by the customer after purchase.
  • Refills that were taken home, or filled during the same store trip in a personal container.
  • This risks contamination if we were to pour it back into our dispensers.
  • Items that cannot be traced to any receipt or transaction.
    • Example: Someone wants to return an item that can commonly be found anywhere, like a 16 oz glass bottle. If they have no way to prove they bought it from us, we cannot refund them for it. If there’s no transaction or receipt, there’s no way to know they didn’t get it somewhere else.
    • Exception: The customer is returning a Mama & Hapa’s branded product that is in new and usable condition.
  • Personal hygiene items that have been used.
    • Some Examples
      • Gladrags
      • Tooth brushes
      • Deodorant
      • Lip Balm

Exception: if someone had an allergic reaction and the ingredients were not clearly labeled or stated, we give them a refund, but do not restock the product. If it’s something personal like deodorant, we do not have to take it back. The customer can choose to do what they want with it, like give it away or compost it.


Container Donation Guidelines

In order to prevent customers treating us like a recycling facility and wasting our time & energy, we all have to be firm in saying no, as well as teaching customers to follow our guidelines. Our Donation Guidelines are always available on our website at

In order for us to enforce this with consistency, we all have to be on board. If one employee accepts a container that’s against our policy, it develops a false customer expectation that we will all take any of their trash without issue in the future.

How we accomplish this:

  1. When a customer drops off containers, we say “I’m just going to look through these containers and make sure they fit our guidelines”. You can direct them to the website if they’re curious.
  2. Take a look to double check that no dirty containers or anything against our policy.
  3. If a customer complains, explain that it’s our policy in place to protect other customers and ensure that our provided containers are clean, odorless, and allergen free. 

* We will still put containers through the wash after this sorting process.

Washing & Sorting (after accepting them from the customer):

Let’s work together and communicate to ensure that containers are sorted, washed and dried before being put out on the shelves.

  • Always update and keep track of the “CLEAN / DIRTY” sign on the dishwasher. 
  • Make sure dirty and clean containers are always kept in the correct crate with clear signage, in the same place at each location.
  • Keep lids close to containers in the dishwasher to avoid misplacing them.
  • Make sure containers are completely dry before putting their lids on and placing them on the shelves. (moisture can make our refill products mold)


Theft Prevention

It’s important to stay alert and keep an eye on the store whenever customers are present. We need to remember that we can’t necessarily trust every person who comes in, and while giving people the benefit of the doubt, we still need to be present and aware.

Tips for Theft Prevention:

  • Keep an eye on customers, but without making them feel uncomfortable of course. Do not closely follow customers around the store or invade their personal space. Be aware and avoid profiling or discrimination based on appearance; the BIPOC community already deals with this on a regular basis.
  • Interact with every person who comes in, so they are aware that you’re alert and fully present. Engage with customers on a regular basis (without overdoing it).
  • If you’re working in the back room, always have the front door closed so you can hear the chime notification when a customer enters. When you hear the chime, stop what you’re doing and go to the front to be present with customers. 
  • When taking a bathroom break, wait until the store is empty, and then lock the front doors while going to the restroom. Put up a sign that says when you’ll return.
  • When going to the back to grab change from the cash box, make sure no belongings have been left in plain sight. It’s best to keep your bags and belongings in the back room, and take your phone with you in your pocket if you have to walk away from the checkout counter. 

Catching Theft

  • If you have suspicion that someone has stolen an item, keep a closer eye on them. Only confront someone if you are absolutely sure that they pocketed something. 
  • Remember that accusations are usually met with resistance and defensiveness, and in the chance that we’re wrong, it can be detrimental to our relationship with customers.
  • Once you know for sure, the best way to approach it is to say, “Did you want to buy ____?” or “Hey, are you going to pay for that?”
    • This holds people accountable without direct accusation, and then they are more likely to pay for the item, saying “oops I forgot” or something along those lines. 
    • It puts them in check while giving them a chance to right their wrongs. It often works more effectively than saying “I saw you steal that”.
  • If someone walks out the door with products, do not pursue them. Your safety is more important than any product.
  • Take note of the time, the person’s appearance, and items they took.
  • Notify management immediately, with a detailed description of the incident. With a time frame, we can look them up on our security footage.
  • If a confirmed thief returns to the shop, we can tell them they’re not welcome on the premises, and let them know that we have their name, security camera footage, photos of their face, and that we’ve filed a police report. They are likely to leave immediately upon hearing this.

Ongoing Theft / Intruders

If the person is blatantly stealing from the store and not trying to hide it, they need to be kicked out immediately before they damage/steal more merchandise.  Some examples of things that have happened in the past and should be considered an immediate kick-out:

  • Someone came in and dipped their finger in the non-tester lotion jars and tried on the lip balms
  • Coming in to only to stock up on jars and damage displays
  • Customer began stuffing merchandise into their backpack
  • A previous thief re-entering the store

If the person begins to get aggressive or is having a mental emergency, call 911 immediately.  We also store pepper spray on top of the checkout screen at both shops.  Carry it with you in situations that might warrant it.

In Portland, once in a while we may encounter people who make us uncomfortable or unsafe. Here are some general guidelines on what to do if a person oversteps boundaries in our shops.



If a person comes in and exhibits behavior such as:

  • Sexually harassing employees and/or customers
  • Showing signs of mental illness
  • Entering off limits areas (back room, understock cabinets, behind sales counter)
  • Stalking / invading the personal space of employees and/or customers

Here’s what you can do if you feel uncomfortable:

  1. Notify management immediately so that someone can come to the store to keep you company and help address the problem. You can also call neighboring businesses (listed below).
  2. Ask the person to leave or stop the behavior
  3. Notify customers of what’s going on so everyone in the room is aware. There is power in numbers and solidarity. 
  4. If you can get the person to leave, it’s ok to lock the door and manually let people in until they are gone.


Neighboring businesses – who to call:


Business Name                           Phone Number

Tupelo Alley (our building) (503)493-1700
Sloan (503)477-5338
Blue Star Donuts (971)254-4575



 Business Name                                                 Phone Number

Home Room Apartments (our building) (503)231-3092
Grand Fir Brewing (208)861-5935
Meat Cheese Bread (503)234-1700

If you feel threatened or unsafe:

  1. Carry the pepper spray with you concealed.  Only expose it if you are ready to show it as a threat.
  2. Hit the panic button – an alarm will go off to scare the intruder away. Let them know the police are coming. (this is not true, it’s just a threat.)
  3. If the person doesn’t leave when you hit the panic button, you can leave the store if you feel that you’re in danger. In this case you would notify management once you are in a safe secure location. At Mississippi, you can leave out the back door and close it behind you.
  4. Activate the pepper spray.  Shoot toward the person’s face.
  5. If it’s a life threatening emergency, first get to a secure location if you can, and then call the police at 911.

*Notes: We try to avoid calling the police unless absolutely necessary. Often, these intruders are people from the houseless community who are suffering from mental illness. Sometimes cops can endanger the lives of these people, so we try our best to deal with it ourselves (up to a certain point). Call the police if you feel unsafe, threatened, or in a state of emergency. 

Portland Street Response Team a program within Portland Fire & Rescue, assists people experiencing mental health and behavioral health crises.

The program is currently responding citywide and you can request the service by calling 911.

Armed Robbery

If employees encounter a robbery taking place, they should follow these procedures.

During a Robbery

  1. Remain calm and avoid any action that might incite the robber to act violently.  The robber may be nervous, and further excitement by the employee can cause the robber to panic and harm the employee or bystanders.
  2. Obey the robber’s instructions, even if it appears that employees cannot be harmed.  Money and property are not worth the price of a life.
  3. Do not make any sudden movements, and announce each action or movement you will make beforehand.

After a Robbery

Immediately after the robbery, employees should be checked for possible injuries. Once that has been established, follow these steps:

  1. Immediately call the local police department. Then, notify management.
  2. Close and lock up the store until the police arrive.  This procedure will help preserve the scene of the crime for fingerprints and other physical evidence.
  3. Preserve any notes that the robber may have written, such as a request for money/valuables, or any evidence they may have left behind.
  4. Each employee involved in the incident should write down their own description of the robber and events, for the police report.


Company Dress Code

When coming to the workplace, we encourage employees to express themselves, as long as they are wearing work safe clothing that’s family friendly. When making sales and helping customers, we want to look approachable and presentable, while comfortable and able to express our individual styles.

We provide free Mama & Hapa’s t-shirts and sweatshirts for employees, which we encourage to wear once a week – but it is not mandatory. We do ask that employees wear their M&H shirts/hoodies for events. 

Refill Specialists / Sales Staff


  • Comfortable shoes. This is for safety, in case you need to climb a ladder.
  • Family appropriate clothing. 
  • Mama & Hapa’s merchandise for tabling events (fairs, markets, and special events).


  • High heels or platform shoes.
  • Sunglasses (unless medically required, or when working at an outdoor event).
  • Excessively short or revealing clothing.
  • Large logos & brand names.
  • Clothing with explicit text or imagery.
  • Stained, ripped, or dirty clothing.
  • Pajamas.

Warehouse Staff


  • Close toed shoes.
  • Family appropriate, comfortable clothing.
  • Clothing you can easily move in without restriction.


  • High heels or platform shoes.
  • Excessively short or revealing clothing.
  • Clothing that restricts movement.
  • Clothing with explicit text or imagery.


Music in Stores

We allow employees to play music at each store location while working, typically on spotify, youtube music, or other preferred apps. We have a few guidelines in place to make sure the music is work appropriate, keeping in mind that customers are hearing it while they shop. It’s important that the music is not distracting, polarizing, or explicit. We don’t want to scare people away.


  • Genres that are easy for most people to listen to
    • smooth jazz, classical, nu disco, deep house, indie, classic rock, *some* pop, acoustic, reggae, spanish guitar, etc.
  • Music that allows for a calm shopping experience without distractions or stress.
  • Music that’s fun, groovy, uplifting, energizing.
  • For the winter holidays, play instrumental Christmas jazz, piano covers & cozy cafe music instead of top holiday hits. 


  • Explicit lyrics, cursing, & sexual content.
  • Abrasive or polarizing genres. Some examples: metal, punk, dubstep, explicit rap, country, electro, industrial techno, psytrance, etc.
  • Top 40 pop & Christmas hits (people hear enough of this everywhere else)
  • Highly experimental genres that sound ominous or confusing.
  • Podcasts, radio talks, & advertisements.


Oregon Workers Rights

Below are links to PDFs providing resources and information regarding your federal and state workers’ rights in Oregon. For the master list of PDFs in other languages, follow this link to the official website.


Employee Misconduct/Harassment Policy

What Constitues Misconduct?

Misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unauthorized absenteeism;
  • Unacceptable behavior towards managers/supervisors/employees/clients/customers;
  • Inappropriate or dishonest behavior in the workplace;
  • Any instances of harassment and/or bullying;
  • Non-compliance with Company policies, procedures, or practices;
  • Failure to follow lawful and reasonable directions

Depending on the nature of the poor performance or misconduct, a number of disciplinary steps may be taken. The action taken will depend on the nature and severity of the employee’s conduct. The steps below are listed in order of the seriousness of the poor performance and/or misconduct, however, they do not need to be followed in sequential order and how any matter is dealt with is always at the complete discretion of Mama & Hapa’s.

Informal Counseling

We may informally counsel an employee in order to assist the employee to better understand workplace practices, the required level of conduct and/or performance, or any other matter we feel is appropriate to raise with the employee for their development. If the employee continues to engage in the conduct and/or poor performance which has been subjected to informal counseling, the employee may be subject to any of the disciplinary procedures set out below up to and including termination of employment.

Formal Disciplinary Process

If the employee’s performance or conduct does not improve following informal counseling, we may decide to commence a formal disciplinary process. This process may also be followed without prior informal counseling, where the seriousness of the performance or conduct issues mean it is appropriate to move straight to this stage.

The employee will usually be given written notification to attend a meeting in relation to the employee’s performance or conduct. Generally, the employee will be given at least 24 to 48 hours’ notice of the meeting. The letter will set out the performance or conduct issues to be discussed and warn the employee of the potential outcomes of the disciplinary process.

We will offer the employee an opportunity to have a support person present during the meeting. The support person is not entitled to play an active role in the meeting and is not entitled to speak on behalf of the employee, but may provide support, guidance, and advice to the employee (in private if they so wish).

Generally, the following process will be followed in the disciplinary meeting:

  • We will explain why the employee’s performance is not meeting the expected standards (by reference to the employee’s job description, contract of employment, etc) or elaborate on any allegations of misconduct;
  • The employee will be provided with an opportunity to respond to all such issues;
  • We will explain the potential outcomes of the meeting and the employee will be given an opportunity to respond to this (for example, if the termination is being considered, the employee should be given an opportunity to say while they feel this is inappropriate).

Possible outcomes of the meeting include (but are not limited to): no action being taken, the need for further investigation, a verbal warning, a performance improvement plan, a written warning, and termination of employment.


In certain circumstances, we will decide that no action will be taken against the employee (because, for example, the allegations of misconduct are found to be unsubstantiated). In this situation, we will generally confirm the outcome of the disciplinary meeting (and that no action is to be taken) in writing.


In some circumstances, we will need to undertake further investigation following the disciplinary meeting in order to decide on the appropriate action to take. This may occur when, for example, there are conflicting versions of events and we are not in a position to make a finding on the issues/allegations.


A verbal warning will generally be appropriate where the employee’s performance or conduct has not improved following informal counseling, or in relation to an incident that is not serious enough to warrant a written warning. A verbal warning will involve warning the employee that if their performance or conduct does not improve, they may be subject to more serious disciplinary action.


In the event that we have serious concerns about an employee’s performance or conduct, a written warning may be issued to the employee. This may (but will not necessarily) occur following continued or repeated behavior raised in earlier informal counseling or in a verbal warning. There may be instances where a written warning may be issued in the first instance, based on the seriousness of the poor performance or conduct.

A written warning will generally inform the employee:

  • Of the employees’ performance or conduct issues that have been found to be an issue;
  • Why we did not find the employee’s response to such issues in the disciplinary meeting to be acceptable;
  • Of a reasonable timeframe within which the employee must remedy their poor performance and/or conduct;
  • That if the employee continues to underperform or engage in misconduct, other disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination of employment.


Poor performance or misconduct may lead to the termination of an employee’s employment.

The number of warnings provided to an employee prior to termination of their employment may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, it may in some circumstances be appropriate for us to provide the employee with a number of warnings in relation to the same poor performance or conduct where such poor performance or conduct is of a relatively minor nature, before terminating the employee’s employment.

Similarly, we may provide an employee with a number of warnings where an employee engages in misconduct or poor performance which is separate to that which was the subject of an earlier warning, or which was not reasonably proximate in time to an earlier warning.

In extreme cases of poor performance or misconduct, it may be appropriate to terminate employment without any previous warnings having been given.

At the disciplinary meeting, the employee will be given an opportunity to explain why they consider termination of employment is not appropriate prior to taking a final decision.


Serious misconduct is willful and/or deliberate behavior by an employee that is inconsistent with the continuation of employment, including but not limited to:

  • A material breach of the employee’s employment contract;
  • Serious failure in the performance of duties or improper or inappropriate use of the employee’s position; Willful violation of any law or rule of a regulatory body;
  • Deliberately diverting customers or business away; Accepting bribes or secret commissions;
  • Any conduct that in the reasonable opinion of Mama & Hapa’s constitutes a serious or potentially serious conflict of interest, including working for a competitor during the term of the employee’s employment;
  • Refusal to comply with a lawful and reasonable direction given by management;
  • Dishonest behavior and/or acting in a way that is inconsistent with the best interests of Mama & Hapa’s;
  • Deliberately providing false or misleading information to Mama & Hapa’s or any of Mama & Hapa’s customers or suppliers;
  • Being convicted of a criminal offense which, in the reasonable opinion of Mama & Hapa’s, may have the effect of bringing Mama & Hapa’s into serious disrepute or affecting the ability of the employee to meet obligations under the employee’s employment contract;
  • Theft or misappropriation of Mama & Hapa’s property;
  • Being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs whilst at work or on Mama & Hapa’s property;
  • Acting in a way which in the reasonable opinion of Mama & Hapa’s may injure or be likely to injure the business or reputation of Mama & Hapa’s;
  • Acts of bullying, harassment or discrimination; Threatening, violent, or offensive behavior;
  • Conduct that causes imminent, and serious risk to the health, or safety, of a person or the reputation, viability, or profitability of Mama & Hapa’s.

At the disciplinary meeting, the employee will be given an opportunity to explain why they consider termination of employment without notice is not appropriate prior to Mama & Hapa’s making a final decision.



When emergencies happen, it’s important to be prepared. In the case of an emergency, try your best to stay calm, and act quickly. Below we will address a few emergency scenarios:


If you’re having a life threatening medical emergency, call 911 first. If you experience a minor injury, there is a first aid kit at each location:

  • Stark: in the back room, on the wall directly behind the curtain.
  • Mississippi: in the back room, on the wall above the microwave.
  • Warehouse: on the wall by the sliding metal door that leads to the building lobby.


If a small fire breaks out, we have a fire extinguisher at each location in an easily accessible location, and an evacuation protocol for larger fires. In the case of an electrical fire, first shut off the breaker if the path to it is clear and safe, before attempting to extinguish the fire.

Fire Extinguisher Locations

Mississippi: on the wall behind the cash register, just behind the curtain in the stock room on the left when you walk in.

Stark: on the wall right behind the curtain in the stock room, to the right when you walk in.

Warehouse: on the back wall of the warehouse, by the glass door and at the top of the stairs

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Remember PASS:

Pull the pin.

Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handle.

Sweep from side to side, continuing to aim at the base of the fire.


In most situations, you can protect yourself if you immediately:

  • DROP down onto your hands and knees before the earthquake knocks you down. This position protects you from falling but allows you to still move if necessary.
  • COVER your head and neck (and your entire body if possible) underneath a sturdy table or desk. If there is no shelter nearby, get down near an interior wall or next to low-lying furniture that won’t fall on you, and cover your head and neck with your arms and hands.
  • HOLD ON to your shelter (or to your head and neck) until the shaking stops. Be prepared to move with your shelter if the shaking shifts it around.

DO NOT run. Stay calm. It is not always best to run outside, unless you’re already next to the door. Running can put you in the way of more obstacles & falling objects.

To reduce your chances of being hurt, take the following actions:

  • If possible, within the few seconds before shaking intensifies, quickly move away from glass, hanging objects, bookcases, shelves, or other large furniture that could fall. Watch for falling objects, such as light fixtures, wall hangings, items on high shelves.
  • At the stores, try to stay away from the back room shelves holding heavy buckets and backstock. The store front is safer than the back room. Under the checkout table is the safest place to duck and cover.
  • At the warehouse, stay away from the shelves. If you’re in the upstairs office or in the middle of the main warehouse floor, hide under a table if you can. If you’re near the front or back door, exit the warehouse either outside or into the lobby, where there are less items that could fall on you.
  • If available nearby, grab something to shield your head and face from falling debris and broken glass.

DO NOT stand in a doorway. You are safer under a table. Doorways do not protect you from the most likely source of injury − falling or flying objects. Most earthquake-related injuries and deaths are caused by falling or flying objects (such as TVs, lamps, glass, or bookcases), or by being knocked to the ground.