*Well this is timely news with holiday shopping in full swing and all. Every customer likes to feel appreciated when they walk into a store and spend their hard-earned money. And with competition being so stiff, most stores are falling all over themselves trying to out-do one another with great customer service. But retail giant Macy’s has found a brand new way to bring in the extra dollars. And its one that my black and brown folks out there should be on alert about.
Macy’s Department Store is now involved in a class-action lawsuit that alleges they “attempt to shake down minority customers.” The latest example of this comes from Cinthia Carolina Reyes Orellana, who was shopping in New York’s Macy’s Herald Square (I worked there what seems like a million years ago!). She went into the dressing room to try on two blouses. After trying them on she left the dressing room (blouses in hand) and decided to do more shopping downstairs. She got on the escalator, with the merchandise she intended to purchase, and headed down to the first floor.
But as soon as she got off the escalator, she was approached by a security guard who accused her of planning to steal the merchandise and demanded her purse.
Cinthia, 29, was taken to a holding cell in the basement of the store; refused access to a phone to contact a lawyer or family member; made to sign a legal document that assumed her guilt; and forced to pay a $100 fine…all of this before she was turned over to NYPD.
According to her lawsuit (you’d better believe it!), which detailed Reyes Orellana’s experience, the customer continued to receive emails from Macy’s seeking “damages” in the form of money from her.
A class-action lawsuit filed in November in Bronx Supreme Court alleges that thousands of other minority customers have been shaken down by Macy’s in a similar way, under a law that allows retailers to fine customers they believe have tried to shoplift without proving them guilty.
“This coercive collection practice or scheme has become so profitable that Macy’s … has dedicated an entire unit within its existing store, which operates like a typical jail, equipped with holding cells, where alleged shoplifters are held for hours on end, and are pressured, threatened, and often harassed until they find no reprieve but to make civil penalty payments to [Macy’s],” the lawsuit says, according to DNAinfo.
Of course the retailer has provided double-talk that boils down to how they would NEVER do such a thing!
In fact, Macy’s spokesperson, Jim Sluzewski, told TIME that the retailer rejects the claims of the lawsuit and that Macy’s is in full compliance with the law.
“Our company takes great pride on the proactive steps we have taken in recent years as an industry leader in shopping equality,” he wrote in an email. “In fact, we sponsored a first-ever symposium hosted last fall at John Jay College by the Retail Council of New York State to discuss how all retailers can improve the shopping experience across all segments of the population.”
So now they are calling their blatant racist practice an “improvement of the shopping experience” and further, they are now holding symposiums on it.
I don’t know about you, my black and brown folk, or our supporters, but all of a sudden I am smelling a boycott coming on. And you know how money talks…I’ll bet they’d appreciate our black and brown asses then.
As Bruno Mars sings, ‘Don’t believe me just watch!’