Sunday, September 13, 2015

Racism or just drama?

A young woman claimed on Facebook that a Ridgeland clothing store's staff mistreated her when she recently visited the store.  She blamed racism for their actions.  The post received over 2,290 Facebook shares and is published below.  The names of the young woman and clothing store are removed.  She claims on her Facebook page that she is twenty years old. 

August 22 posts:

Hey y'all!! If any of you know people who live in the Jackson area, please share my post so that people can be forewarned. And I'm fine. This post isn't for a pity party. I just really want people to know what can happen if they shop there.

 I am new to the Jackson area, so I decided to go look around at the XXXXXXXXXX so I went to the xxxx xxxxx in Ridgeland. I went into a few stores, and even got an  impromptu job interview at one place. I was excited and called to tell my dad. As I was talking, I found my way to xxxxx. I walked in, and noticed a younger Caucasian girl who I assumed to be an employee. I was not greeted or acknowledged by her, but thought nothing of it. I decided to browse some items as I was talking to my dad. There was no one in the store at all. I found my way to a seating area in front of a mirror, and decided to sit for a while to finish talking to my parents. Anyone that knows me knows that I have manners and know how to be considerate. As far as I know, my conversation was at an appropriate level, and as I previously stated, no other customers were in the store. I sat there and talked for over 5 minutes. As I was talking, I was glancing at a mirror and could see that the employee was eyeing me while I was talking. She’d glance, and then fiddle with clothes. She did this repeatedly. I continued talking, then an older, middle-aged Caucasian lady (the manager or store owner I suppose) walked up and pretended to be fixing something, then turned to say that the seating area was for customers who were trying on clothes only. She added, “This is not a Barnes and Noble.” I told my dad I had to go, and hung up. I explained to her that I was at Barnes and Noble earlier, so I knew this wasn’t it. Since she seemed to have a problem with me not actively shopping/browsing, I decided to look around. I’d look at cute things, and look at the prices. As I was browsing, THEN more customers trickled in. She’d go and help the other customers, but was eyeing me from afar. I was looking at a dress (which was quite expensive, btw) and she asked me if I needed her help to price anything (the price was already on the item, as it was with EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE STORE). I said politely, “No ma’am,” and moved on to look at another item. I continued to browse and wonder what I had done wrong. I finally went to the desk and asked, “I’m just trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.” She told me that the seating area was for customers only and proceeded to ask me to leave and not come back. She then ensued to call security. So, I stood there with her to wait on security to arrive. She said, “So you’re not gonna leave?” I replied, “I thought you called security. I was gonna wait on them (so I could explain myself).” She said, “I want you to leave and not come back.” I asked for the number to call security myself. She spouted it out, and asked me to leave. I walked outside as the security guy showed up. He was a middle-aged African American man. She asked him to come inside. They talked for a few minutes. I have no idea what she said to him. When he came out, I tried to explain what happened. He explained that he was in charge of the outside property and that the owner had say of what happened inside. He explained that I was asked not to come back. I told him that he had no worry because I didn’t WANT to come back. I then went to my car, and left the mall completely. I’m not sure if the lady I encountered was just plain rude or what, but I definitely felt that I was mistreated and slightly discriminated against for reasons unknown. I called to explain the situation to my dad, and started crying because I was just THAT upset/angry. The lady that I encountered was definitely rude, and possibly another ‘R’ word. Just beware if you ever decide to shop there.

August 30

 Update on my experience at xxxxxxxx (for those who asked for an update): I contacted management of the xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. The lady in management that I corresponded with was very thoughtful and professional. She apologized for my bad experience and assured me that I was totally welcome at the mall. She expressed her belief that the owner was a Christian lady and had maybe just been tired and lost her patience. She also said that the owner had been frightened by threats that she'd been receiving (which were in no way even suggested by me). The lady in management said she would speak with xxxxx to hear her side of the story soon. She also offered to maybe introduce us to each other when everything cooled down if our hearts were in it. I have not heard from a representative of the store itself. As far as I am concerned, my duty to make my experience known has been done. Thanks for all the kind words, advice, and encouragement throughout the whole ordeal. I also appreciate those who thought I was wrong and expressed this without "attacking" me. I believe that the store is back open and running, and things are settled back down for the most part.

So is this an example of racism or just Facebook drama? 


Anonymous said...

Stopped reading when I realized this girl was mad a salesperson didn't want to interrupt her phone convo with daddy to acknowledge her presence. It was only after the girl made herself comfy on a stool and continued the very important call that she was asked to either stop with yapping or buy something. I understand the Barnes and Noble comment. Makes sense to me.

The girl was looking for a reason to be affronted.

Anonymous said...

It is rude to be on your phone in a retail store. And furthermore, to just sit down and talk away for over 5 minutes is ridiculous! Personally, I think she is the one that was being rude and perhaps even the other "R" word.

Anonymous said...

Definitely Facebook Drama. She seems to be a spoiled brat, whom is very In-Secure in her own skin.

Anonymous said...

Perfect observation...
"whom is very In-Secure in her own skin"
Assume the only color the store owner cares about is green or plastic as in the movie pretty woman and you want be seeing racism everywhere you go.

I'm Tellin' Dad On You People said...

What's up with all the baby-whiney crap about calling my dad and following up with my dad and crying on the phone to my dad?

Maybe she should have gone to the Food Court and talked to 'my dad' for ten minutes. Lots of other drama to compete with at the Food Court. And she could have heard other people matching her loud-yacking-mouth there.

The XXXXXXXX Store is not a lounge. Who gives a shit what color you are?

Anonymous said...

She left out the part about the "WHITES ONLY" sign in the seating area.

Burke said...

The conventions of cell phone use are still evolving, but I can only hope that in the future, any of us will be justified in asking another person to take their call elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the incident over in Switzerland a few years ago where the Oprah accused a staff in some fancy pants store of not believing that she could afford to shop there because she is black.

Y'all Not Doin' Any Hirin' Are Ya? said...

".....even had an impromptu interview for a job." Sure you did. But the place that sells college-logo-caps was all staffed up, right?

And if you fill out an actual application, you list your daddy as a reference. Right?

Anonymous said...

Finding/claiming racism where there was none and then writing about it for the Jackson area to read... sounds like she would fit in well over at the JFP.

Anonymous said...

Very likely both, which is not uncommon.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a spoiled brat looking to start problems in the name of racism. She needs to move back where she came from.

Anonymous said...

sounds like a whiny brat, regardless of what "color" she is. the kind of self-entitled girl that i hope every day that my son does not end up marrying...

Anonymous said...

Her story including the race of the worker to me says she was looking for a story. Not sure what that had to do with anything. Anyway I'm sure she is real proud of herself.

Saltwaterpappy said...

I am a 61 year old male WASP. Everything that you guys allege about her may be correct. However, the concerns she expressed are not limited to stores in Jackson. I too have seen the disparate treatment towards people of color in retail stores, particularly in those stores which have high-priced items that can be easily shoplifted. This instance is just another reminder of the psychological difficulty that all people face while we all strive to evolve into a color blind society. Human nature being as it is, even good people, like the sales woman involved, often react/respond to every day events differently towards individuals whom they judge to be different from themselves.

Anonymous said...

Just drama. And low IQ drama, at that. Another Facebook obsessed imbecile looking for attention.

Anonymous said...

Pappy - good observation. I have worked in loss prevention, and we are taught to watch the "casual" customer on a cell phone. Sometimes the "customer (#1)" is casing the joint and talking via cell to comrade #2 while deciding whether the store is ripe for plucking. The girl sat down, out of sight. Hmmmmmm. At that point #2 enters and engages the sales person. #1 is now free to "select" the coveted merchandise. #1 leaves while the sales mgr. is showing goods to #2.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I wasted my time reading this. Just another person who is obsessed with herself and attention. Moving on.

Noting a Difference said...

I'm white too, but I'm going to respond here on behalf of all the angry black people who read this blog:

"Oh, OK! So, all of us black folk are in the mall only to steal your shit and you think all of us are criminals!"

And while Saltpeter Pappy used race inappropriately in his post, the loss prevention guy (above) was not trained to observe blacks. He was trained to be alert to *scenarios*, not sex, race or age.

Anonymous said...

9:09 - "Human nature being as it is, even good people, like the sales woman involved, often react/respond to every day events differently towards individuals whom they judge to be different from themselves."

It appears everyone except you "judged this person to be different from themselves". That's not behavior that we exhibit.

Her being called out wasn't because she had strips or dots or color.

Anonymous said...

ISIS is creating new ways to torture and kill people every day. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are living right now in the open desert with no food and water. ISIS is selling young girls into sexual slavery (after they rape the children themselves). And this young lady is offended by a mall store clerk's reflection in a mirror? C'mon. Develop a little perspective. It will be a valuable skill if you ever grow up.

Anonymous said...

Her explanation and response was not emotional and it was professional, in my opinion.

Whether or not race had anything to do with it, as an owner of a retail store, I would be very upset if my management handled the situation the way this person did.

With competition among clothing stores being so high, pretty poor customer service.

Anonymous said...

10:47; You forgot to tell us how you would have handled this same situation. Please be specific.

Anonymous said...

The girl gave one side - her side - of the story, and even her presumably subjective version can't clearly identify any racism directed toward her, so how would people who weren't there and don't know the people involved be able to do so? The girl states that the clerk and manager were "Caucasian" and were "eyeing" her and the security guard was "African-American," but I didn't see where she mentioned her own race. Actually, I'm just taking Kingfish's word for the fact that it is real and the poster was young and female - if this was some guy crying to his dad about how he was treated, um, "oddly" while thumbing through the wares of a women's clothing store, that would explain a whole lot. I wasn't there, so I have no idea about the situation and I have to wonder about those who attempt to offer concrete opinions about the situation.

I will say this: folks of different races can get annoyed with each other, even angry with each other, and justifiably or not, without race being a factor.

Anonymous said...

Her sense of entitlement is typical these days, especially among Millennials. No, you just do not wander onto someone's property and sit down without asking permission. You don't take up the business' time and space with your personal crap nor do you inflict your private conversation onto other shoppers and employees. Daddy taught her no manners or respect for others. Look at it from a shopper's point of view: would you be comfortable walking around a store, going in and out of the dressing room, etc. while some NON-shopper was sitting there having a phone conversation? I would not. It just looks bad - like the store doesn't care if teens and young people loiter. Shoppers should have some privacy and freedom from others' phone chatting. That isn't even considering what else she might have been up to, had she been a criminal. If you don't want to be suspected of doing anything wrong, don't call attention to yourself with your inconsiderate behavior.

Anonymous said...

she did not buy anything, her and Daddy could what needed to be done in the parking lot.

Grey Dog Waitin' said...

Waiting for 10:47, the customer service expert, to give us a proper analysis as to what should have been done by the store and its employees. But, I have to catch a bus later on tonite.

Anonymous said...

I'm not 10:47 but smiling, asking if she needed assistance or suggesting there was something that would she would look fabulous wearing or love to use is pretty basic salesmanship in a store catering to women.

I see lots of people come into stores talking on cells these days...especially in that age group. Glancing at them with a smile on your face and maybe a nod of understanding, seems to be what smart sales people do.

There's a difference between eyeing a customer like you except them to steal, and friendly,frequent "checking" on a customer's " needs", but you deter the opportunity to steal with both.

Facial expression, body language and tone of voice matter, Bubba , or have you missed that?

This young woman over reacted but geez, let's not join in on making a mountain out of a molehill!

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