Racism continues to rear its ugly head!
If we’re going to call a spade a spade, it’s time to recognize that Black people are continuing to be mistreated in various facets from employment to something as basic as everyday shopping.
To the latter, there have been various reports over the years of Black people dealing with discrimination and being racially profiled while shopping. Unfortunately, there is another incident to address.
In a viral Twitter video, a Black couple, who happens to be new homeowners, was accused of shoplifting at a Bed, Bath & Beyond location. And of course, social media users want the employees' heads on a platter. Here’s the rundown.
A Twitter video shows new homeowners being accused of shoplifting at a Bed, Bath & Beyond location in Toledo, Ohio.
Shopping while Black! On June 19, 2023, Attorney Ben Crump @attorneycrump shared a video of a Black couple accused of shoplifting at a Bed, Bath & Beyond location in Toledo, Ohio. Attorney Crump obtained the video from Lamar Richards @lamarrichards_, who was accused of stealing alongside his husband.
“A Black couple says an employee at a Bed, Bath, and Beyond in Toledo, Ohio, called the police on them for allegedly having 'too many high ticket items' in their shopping cart. They deserve answers for this humiliating experience,” the tweet reads.
As the video starts, you can hear one of the men asking an employee about being accused of shoplifting.
“Someone called and said that they thought we were shoplifting or something. Do you know who placed that call?” one of the men asked.
“I do not,” the employee shared.
The man went on to inquire if it was the store that placed the call and the employee said, “Yes.” The man goes on to say that it would have been one of her employees and she said “Yes” again.
“What would you like for me to do? What do you need help with?” the employee asked.
The shopper explained that he would like to understand why the police were called.
“It’s very simple. Why were the police called with the three Black people thinking that we were shoplifting? I paid $600 for my things so obviously I didn’t shoplift. I want to understand why you thought I was shoplifting?” the man inquired.
He continued: “You didn't place the call but one of your employees did and I would like to know why.”
As the employee said "alright" and started to fidget with her walkie-talkie, the shopper drove his point home.
“I mean that’s the standard, right? I’m not being hostile or anything,” the man continued as a police officer appears in the frame.
As the video continued, the shopper shared that the police officer asked the couple if they paid. Then, the employee shared that the call was made since they had “big purchase items.”
“I mean, I don’t care. If there are big purchase items or that type of thing, there’s usually a question. We just want to make sure,” the employee shared.
The shopper said that while he understands their policy, he is troubled that the police were called. The employee then said that they “call the police all the time and that they have their backs.”
While the shopper said that he understood, he pointed out that they called the police on the couple because they thought they shoplifted when they in fact did not.
“You called the police when we were on this side of the store, we were here for over an hour,” the shopper said. “So you called the police when we first really got in here.”
Another associate walks to the front of the store and admits that she called the police. When asked by the couple why she made the call, she said that it was “her right.”
“Because you thought three people were shoplifting, why?” the shopper asked.
“Because it looked like it,” the employee said.
After being confronted by the couple, the employee who called the authorities then walked behind the police officer.
“So Sir, just making sure, I’m not being hostile. I’m not being violent. I just wanted to make sure why this store called the police because they thought we were shoplifting. We just purchased a new home. Right? We came in because y’all are closing, it’s a closing sale. I didn’t realize there were a maximum of items you can buy. Right? So, we were not shoplifting and the police were called because you thought we were,” the shopper said.
As the video continued, one of the employees can be heard saying that “they’re not going to be able to resolve this and that she doesn’t know what the couple wants them to say.”
She implied that the call wasn't made because the men are Black and she doesn't care about skin color, but since they had “high ticket items” this is the situation they’re in.
The man pointed out that multiple shoppers have “high ticket items” but the police weren't called on them. Not to mention, he said that the high ticket item in question, which was a Dyson vacuum, was taken from the couple and placed on the register. So clearly, there's more to the story.
The police then shared that since his part in the call is over, the couple should complain to corporate.
The man asked if the employee described the alleged shoplifters and he confirmed and said he was told there were “two Black men.”
Interestingly, the officer shared that he understood the couple’s frustration with the situation.
“Can you call them back up here please so I can get their names? Thank you. That’s all I need. And I will take it up with corporate. I’m aware of what I can do.”
Twitter users want legal action to be taken against the store and employees.
One of the most gut-wrenching things to deal with is to be accused of shoplifting as a Black person — especially when you’ve done no such thing. Unfortunately, some store employees have prejudices against Black people and other racial groups that causes them to believe the worst.
That said, folks are hopeful that Attorney Crump, who is known for representing Black people who have been affected by everything from discrimination to murder, will take the appropriate action to ensure that Bed, Bath & Beyond and the employees atone for their disgusting mistake.
“I ain’t never seen any ish like this. God bless this couple. Obviously, the company has to address this immediately. Stuff like this cannot happen,” one person tweeted.
“If BB&B suspects people who buy 'high-ticket' items then why sell high-ticket items?? And, what quantity is 'too many high-ticket items?" another person tweeted.
One thing is for certain and two things are for sure; the fact that Attorney Crump has shared the video footage shows that he will ensure that the couple gets answers for this experience. SMH.
The sad thing about this is that this situation could have escalated when no crime occurred. This is just another example of the dangers that come with shopping while Black and dare we say, existing while Black.
Shame on those employees.
Bed Bath & Beyond shared that they "do not tolerate discrimination of any kind."
It's no secret that retailers and brands have to ensure that they're on the right side when it comes to addressing issues with discrimination and racism. And since the video of Lamar and his husband shopping continues to circulate online, it was only a matter of time before Bed, Bath & beyond made an official statement.
As expected, the company exclusively told Distractify that there are taking the appropriate measures to investigate the situation.
"At Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., we take matters of this nature very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind," a representative told us. "We are deeply concerned about the reported incident and are actively looking into the matter, as we do with any incidents described that are inconsistent with our policies and procedures."
It'll be interesting to see what the conclusion to this disrespectful situation will be.