NEW ORLEANS — It was inconvenient and embarrassing for Walmart shopper, Patricia Fulford of Riverhead, NY, when she needed to grab her regular beauty products and found them behind a locked case.
She shared an image on her Facebook page showing only the black hair care products locked away. She patiently waited for 10 minutes as a Walmart employee tried to find a key that would unlock the case.
Patricia told local news outlet News12, “I went to the manager and I asked them simply, you know, ‘Why are the black hair products locked up?’” The manager didn’t respond but another employee allegedly told Patricia that it was because the items were “often stolen.”
“I said, ‘Are you saying only black people steal, that white people don’t steal out of Walmart?’” Fulford says, “‘That’s discrimination.’”
Patricia was so turned off by the experience that she almost immediately returned the beauty products.
A lawsuit against Walmart over a similar situation is currently underway in California.
In response to the negative press, Walmart removed the locks from their Riverhead location.
Additionally, Walmart released this statement:
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store. We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis, using data supporting the need for the heightened measures.”