Have you ever walked into a store only to find the Black haircare products behind the counter or locked up in a glass cabinet? That was Jasmine Saunders’ experience at her local Walmart in California. While perusing the haircare aisle, she, along with a few other women of color, waited for an employee to come and unlock the cabinets.
In a statement to NBC News, Saunders said, “One poor girl was trying to look up products on her phone because you can’t even pick the products up to read directions, ingredients etc. I could not believe the emotional response it elicited, I felt as if the second I stepped into that aisle, that it had already been determined I’m a potential thief – as well as anyone else who looks like me.”
Once Saunders selected her products, they were then handed over to the employee, who took the items over to the register and held them until she was ready to check out. She was so offended by the behavior of the employee that she decided against making the purchase. “It was embarrassing to feel a part of a group being singled out,” she said. “I left my cart just sitting in an aisle.”
Unfortunately this isn’t Saunders first time experiencing this kind of discrimination from the mega-retailer. At a Walmart closer to her job, the Black haircare products were also locked behind cabinets. When she inquired about it, she was told that any item that is frequently stolen will be put in a cabinet, not just Black haircare products.
We are no stranger to this kind of thing. Race discrimination cases have been filed against Walmart in New York, Long Island and Virginia. The practice of locking up Black haircare products is wrong, but escorting the items to the register until you’re ready for purchase is beyond insulting. Retailers will change these practices once they respect the impact of the black dollar. What do you think? Is Walmart wrong for locking up Black haircare products?