Presuming their managers did indeed instruct them to behave this way (which I have no trouble believing, at all), the article doesn’t mention how they plan to prove this was a CVS-wide policy, and not just a couple of rogue managers. Especially since CVS almost certainly has a written non-discrimination policy (as all giant corps do, even if they don’t follow them). I sadly have a feeling that the most likely outcome here will be a couple managers being thrown under the bus, maybe an out of court settlement, and a “no admission of guilt” from CVS.
Yes, I think so too. Especially since the most important portion of most corporate non-discrimination policy is written on the back:
“Don’t write down our discrimination policies”
Well, okay, this is a bad thing, but don’t forget, there’s NO SUCH THING as white privilege!
Granted I grew up in Birmingham, AL, but both the managers of both of the retail stores I worked in told me to keep an eye on black people (“Not to be racist, but…” they’d start with).
I don’t understand why I haven’t clued in until now that as a middle aged, middle class white guy I can probably get away with a lot because no one thinks I’d do anything. I’m gonna go steal me some liquor from CVS! They won’t be watching me!
I worked at Kmart for awhile, and part of that was as a security guy at the front. Those friendly people handing out leaflets? Those are security people. My job was to eyeball every person and call store security if sketchy folks came in, and they often did.
The big thing to watch out for were groups of 2 or 3 teenagers wearing backpacks. They were our obvious shoplifters, and were always awful about looking innocent. Nobody told me to watch for black people. Just “teens looking shifty wearing backpacks”.
Now known in many stores as “loss prevention specialists.” And you may have been, instead of a “clerk” or “cashier,” a “sales associate”?
Yikes! I’ve pretty much learned to grit my teeth when I hear a sentence that starts like that, because chances are that what follows is going to be pretty damned racist.
Off topic aside: I am pleased to note that the word “damnedest” was offered to me by autocomplete as I was typing the above.
The News Quiz on Radio 4 read a clipping from the Bournemouth Echo last week:
A bank robbery took place in New Milton, Hampshire a week ago. The criminal dressed in a white tracksuit, white trainers, and wrapped bandages around his head and face like a mummy.
The police said: “this is a serious crime, we are looking for a man described as white.”
Well, sort of. I was a “door greeter”, serving double-duty: answering any questions about where to find things, but also scoping everyone out as the first level of store security. That was after several years of being a cashier, which I still did during rush times. The actual ‘loss prevention’ folks stalked around the store watching for people putting things in their pants or purses.
90% of my ‘security guy’ thing was telling teens to leave their backpacks and duffel bags at the front desk, and watching them stalk back out.
Having known people who worked in loss-prevention, I instantly believed it. I don’t even think it was official CVS policy (which isn’t to say they aren’t responsible for who they hire and how they behave) but I can say that when black people say they feel tailed in stores, it’s not just a feeling. One friend in particular whom I think of was a white guy who said that he would find himself following black people around the store more often than white people. He didn’t say it was because he believed they stole more often, he just said it was something he subtly found himself doing. Other people he worked with, however, were actually very strident in their belief that black customers should be followed more- which even if he disagreed certainly affected his thinking.
There’s a video that goes around online where they have a black kid stealing a bike, a white dude, and then a white lady. I find it pretty amusing that when the cute girl is stealing the bike, all the men are like, “Hey, can I help you with your bike, little lady?” I feel like I could TOTALLY lead a gang of middle aged ladies into some crime spree and make some major coin.
Indeed. And for those who haven’t seen it, a great video indeed.
ETA: thanks, watched it again. truly . . . disgusting. We have so far to go…
I saw that awhile ago, and IIRC it was pretty fucked up. Didn’t they have one where there was a pretty white girl straight up say “I am stealing this bike” and some guy helped her? That’s some serious cognitive bias, or voo-doo punany. I am not sure which.
Yes, that woman (ahem) is at the end of the clip I embedded. The men who fall all over themselves to help her steal the bike! are funny and horrific at the same time.
Also this one:
The honest truth is that it’s usually incredibly obvious when someone’s trying to look innocent. Holding their coat in a weird unnatural way to hide the bulge of hidden merchandise, striding “casually” towards the door, it’s ridiculous how obvious shoplifters are. If you’re a middle-aged white guy (or a middle aged black guy, or a middle aged asian woman, whatever) and you confidently walk out the door with merchandise, you’ll most likely get away with it.