Last week Academy Award Winning actor Forest Whitaker was racially profiled by an overzealous clerk as he walked in and out of a deli.
Shawn knows his pain. I was racially profiled at my local Associated Supermarket on December 29, 2012. And even after contacting their corporate offices I still haven’t received a response from Associated Supermarkets corporate management. Shows how much that chain cares about its customers. And why I’ll never shop there again.
Anyway, Forest Whitaker was patted down by this zealous dumbass who decided he was going to show how great an employee he was by overstepping his bounds and violating the laws of the State of New York.
Now Forest is saying it wasn’t racial profiling But Shawn knows it was another case of Shopping While Black. He’s experienced this situation too many times in his life. The message those businesses want to send to a Black man to never come back there.
Cool. Let’s not spend our money there. Send a message to them that we Black people value our dignity more than the products on their shelves.
Forest was very graceful in trying to keep this idiot’s job. Now Shawn would have wanted his head and would have sued his bosses for damages, but Mr. Whitaker tried to help keep this moron employed. Unfortunately, in spite of Mr. Whitaker’s impassioned plea he still got fired.
And he deserved it. No smart owner is going to keep a cowboy on their payroll who could cost them millions in a civil lawsuit.
Here’s some advice for you cowboy grocery clerks who want to play security guards:
You’re only being paid $8-$12 an hour. That ain’t enough money to pay the rent in most local municipalities here in the United States. And it’s definitely not enough money to play hero.
If you get hurt trying to apprehend this shoplifter who is going to pay your medical bills? Most of these minimum wage jobs aren’t union. They don’t offer healthcare. You have to pay those bills YOURSELF.
And who is going to pay your disability when you can’t work from those injuries or in the time you’re recovering from them? Not your employer. When you call yourself busting employees and you get hurt they’re gonna turn the tables on you the same way they turned them on Rayon McIntosh and Artis Hughes.
What you’re going to find out is that minimum wage employer is going to hide behind HR and HR Policy. And their official stance will be “You violated company policy” and “You were acting on your own.”
Leaving you with a heroes reward of JACK SHIT. All while the medical bills pile up.
Chances are just to get disability you’ll have to sue your employer. And you’ll still lose. Because you were violating their company policy and state law.
So stopping that alleged shoplifter doesn’t seem so smart after all. It’s just cheaper and safer for you to let the guy walk out of the store. Don’t you know they have insurance to cover every item in that store? Even if it burned down to the ground the owner would still get paid for everything in it.
But if you approach that shoplifter and he hurts you, you’ll be drowning in debt from medical bills. Spending over a year fighting for social security disability benefits (which will possibly be denied). Struggling to pay your bills. Eventually winding up on welfare to make ends meet.
Don’t you know the average person only stays six to eight months on a retail job? In between the low pay and no benefits, it’s just not worth risking your life to play hero.
And it’s not worth the lives of your fellow co-workers or customers. You don’t know if this person is armed. If they’re carrying a gun and it goes off, someone could DIE as the result of your reckless behavior.
Most smart Business owners don’t want employees like sales clerks stopping shoplifters or alleged shoplifters. It leaves them liable to be sued.
And the stigma of being a place that profiles customer isn’t good for customer relations either. Most people don’t want to shop in a place where they’re not trusted.
The law in New York State says that a clerk has to see the individual take the item off the shelf. And they have to follow them around the store and see them actually leave the premises with the item to constitute a crime being committed.
And if a clerk does see a theft happen, they are to contact loss prevention who will contact law enforcement. Salespeople are NOT to engage a customer on the sales floor. There is no telling if that person is carrying a weapon. If that person is armed with a blade they could injure the clerk struggling with them. If they have a firearm, the clerk could be shot and killed. Worse, a shot could go the wrong way and harm an innocent bystander.
Now in the case of Forrest Whitaker this clerk put the lives of everyone in that store in danger with his overzealous “stop and frisk”. In worst-case scenario of a store that’s packed 50 deep and Mr. Whitaker was carrying a firearm and used it to defend himself, it could have caused a riot or stampede for the doors.
And the store owner would have been liable for all the injuries and deaths as a result of that stampede.
All because a clerk decided to not do their job. Sales people are hired to stock shelves and help customers. They don’t have the skills or the training to deal with retail crime. Nor are they paid to do so. Security specialists are licensed and certified by the State of New York to do security work and deal with retail crime. If a store owner is too cheap to hire a proper loss prevention specialist, then they deserve to pay for the lawsuits that come from their greed.
If this Deli owner was smart, they’d fix their cameras to work properly. Then hire a proper loss prevention specialist to secure the store. Smart security specialists would know the law regarding shoplifting and use of force. Moreover, they’d know what to look for in shoplifter activity. Those professionals would be looking at the majority of middle-aged WHITE WOMEN who do most of the shoplifting in the U.S., not the Black man who walked in and out quickly.
Retailers need to train their employees on how to deal with shoplifters. It’s not the job of salespeople and stock clerks to be security guards. If they see something, they’re to tell management or Loss prevention. They will call law enforcement and make efforts to apprehend the shoplifter. No store clerk ever needs to play hero and put their lives and the lives of others in danger.