Is a Retailer Worker Being Racist If They Follow You Around the Store?
I debated with myself on broaching this topic, but I honestly think it needs to be addressed.
Yesterday, I saw post after post in several West Texas Facebook groups where a woman, who happens to be Hispanic, claimed a local boutique owner stopped helping another customer just to aggressively follow her and her friend around the store. The owner was a white woman. The Hispanic woman was big mad, and I honestly can't blame her. But was the shop owner being racist?
I have chosen not to include the name of the woman or the boutique to protect their privacy since I wasn't there. And at the end of the day, I am neither Hispanic nor a business owner, so my opinion is just that -- an opinion. I am, however, a person that frequently gets followed around at stores.
Before it closed (ha! ha!), I heard a booming "SECURITY CHECK IN MAKE-UP" at a local Bealls. It was just me and one black woman. We looked at each knowingly and both shook our heads.
More recently, I went into a higher-end clothing store and the salesperson asked me, I felt somewhat snidely, "What brings you in today?" I was tempted to say "B***h, I came in to piss on the floor," but simply smiled and said, "I heard there's a sale."
It's entirely possible she thought I was beneath her store because I'm not rail-thin and wasn't wearing designer clothes. But as someone who has been very heavily tattooed for many years, I can tell you there's a high likelihood she assumed I was in there to steal.
Shop owners, listen to me carefully: If I even bother stepping into your store, there's a 90 percent chance I've already decided to spend some money. It might be $20 or $200, but in this economy, you need it either way. However, I will walk out and never come back if you treat me like a petty thief just because of the way I look. And trust me, I know exactly what you're doing when you follow me around; I can read your body language like a book.
'But you chose to get tattoos!' Yes, I did. This is why I am horrified and angry that people who were born with different complexions than me get treated the way I do. As if that had absolutely anything to do with their likelihood of shoplifting. Trust me, there's plenty of white people who are stealing, and these retailers might as well be handing the goods over to them.
So was this particular Lubbock boutique being racist? Honestly, I'll probably never know. As one commenter said, "maybe you looked like someone who did steal from her." That's possible. Or maybe the retailer got a non-race related bad vibe off of the shopper.
But just maybe, this shop owner should take a look at her behavior and do a gut check. Because if you're trying to run a boutique in West Texas without any Hispanic support, well...have fun going wherever that Bealls went.