When I walk into a bodega holding a bottle of water, I'm always worried that the person behind the counter is going to think I stole it from them and am trying to avoid paying for anything. So I do the totally mature and not-overthinking thing and make sure to have myself be seen with said item so my tracks are covered.
I don't know why I'm so worried about being accused of being a thief because in my entire life, no one in any store ever has even suggested I was trying to shoplift.
Sadly though, profiling does exist and there are plenty of instances where a perfectly innocent individual is accosted for being up to no good when they've done nothing wrong and are just looking for a tasty bag of chips or new pair of pants. Or a "pot deal" misunderstanding.
As funny as the GIF above is, sadly, James Conley III's alleged experience at an Old Navy store in West Des Moines, Iowa, was anything but.
Conley walked into the store wearing a blue bubble jacket that the retailer sold. When he approached the cashier to purchase some items, he was allegedly asked if he wanted to buy the jacket he was already wearing. The situation allegedly went from being an awkward one to a straight up horrible customer service experience that reeked of racism.
Today I was racially profiled by the Old Navy store in West Des Moines, Iowa in Jordan creek. I was accused that I didn't pay for my blue bubble jacket that I got for Christmas that I wore into the store. As I was checking out to purchase some hoodies, I was asked if I wanted to also purchase the jacket that I was wearing. First, I started laughing because I didnt believe what I was hearing.
The store manager Beau Carter was very unprofessional and stereotyped me because I was a Black male. He says "anytime someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customers clothing to insure that it was previously purchased". (Where do they do that at?) Every time I go to this store I have on my same exact winter blue jacket and have never been asked to scan my clothing and the previous "non-black" customers had on identical apparel as me from old navy but was never asked to scan their clothing.
After a manager scanned Conley's jacket, the store allegedly tried to get him to pay for it - even though he already owned it. Mortified, Conley noticed that other, non-black customers were wearing Old Navy clothing items and weren't asked to have their belongings scanned. He finally asked the district manager to check security footage to prove he came in already wearing the jacket.
Then after they scan my jacket they try to make me repay for it?? Finally the District Manager Shannon (who refused to give out her last name) came out and I made her check the surveillance tape to prove that her and her fellow employees were in the wrong for racially profiling me because of the color of my skin. Once she confirmed that I was telling the truth (after watching the tape) she never came back out to apologize to me nor did the store manager Beau Carter as you can see in my videos below. #RacialProfiling #CrazyWorld #NoMore #OldNavy#VeryDisappointed #ThankGodForKeepingMePoised #Repost #Share
When store employees realized their error, he claims they made no attempt to apologize to Conley or show any time of remorse for accusing Conley of trying to steal the coat.
He documented the entire ordeal with several photo and video uploads on Facebook.
His incredulousness is palpable in this selfie video he made to cap off his post.
James' post picked up steam on social media, leaving several people outraged. It racked up over 150,000 shares.
Several local news outlets covered the incident, too. Which ultimately, got the attention of Old Navy's corporate offices.
The brand publicly apologized to Conley on its Facebook page, and then took swift action in penalizing the employees for their actions.
That specific location was even temporarily closed down after Conley's post blew up.
Sadly, Conley's not the only shopper who's had to resort to documenting his experiences with racial profiling.
There are several "shopping while black" videos where people catch employees suspiciously following them around stores.
Or when this black veteran had his free veteran's meal at Chili's revoked because people in the store accused him of not being a real soldier.
What do you think?