Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Running into Racism and Discrimination at the Job market at the Supermarket

A few weeks ago there was a sign on the door of Food Bazaar, this supermarket near the library where I do my research and surf the net saying they needed people to work in various departments such as grocery, frozen and such. Having experience working in a supermarket on front end (cashier, bagger) and back end (Stock) I go in and inquire about the jobs and ask for an application. However, this Arab female in their office tells me they’re not hiring, all the positions are filled and there’s no jobs.

So I just walked out and keep it moving.

Fast forward to yesterday. I go back to this market to run an errand for my mother. The signs are back up saying they’re hiring and looking for experienced people and to apply at Register 7. 

Something smelled foul about this.

How do you go from Help Wanted to, No Jobs and not hiring to Help wanted in three weeks or so? 

This sounds like a case of discrimination to me. One day there’s a help wanted sign in your window. The next day when the Black man walks in and asks about an application for said jobs, you’re not hiring, all the positions are filled, and there’s no jobs.

But three weeks later the signs are back up again looking for people to work in those departments. WTF?

So you’re gonna tell me that all the jobs are gonna be filled a day after posting a Help Wanted sign and three weeks later you’re looking for new hires again?


Having worked at Food Emporioum back in the 1990s, I know it takes two to three weeks just to do a background check, refrence check, train someone, and put them on payroll. And once a supermarket has put that kind of money into someone they don’t want to lose it. If anything the company would be full up with new hires right now learning the jobs.

On top of it, most New hires in retail don’t get their first paycheck until the first month is over. So that excuse about not hiring and all the jobs being filled really didn’t wash with me. It just sounded like another case of Black Men need not apply here.

As a guy who has been unemployed for six going on seven years it just frustrates me to see managers still doing unethical stuff like this. These managers at stores like Target and Food Bazaar here in the Bronx won’t hire me, but have no problem taking my Black dollars when I’m buying their groceries.

Sure this was a low-paying supermarket job, I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 25 years. I shopped in this neighborhood for 25 years. That should mean I should be able to work here as well and keep dollars flowing in my own community.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Everywhere I go to look for work I run into a brick wall. People giving me the run-around, or trying to keep me from applying for one. In between the games, bullshit and out and out discrimination at these gotdamn companies it’s been next to impossible to find that next job to help me get back on my feet. Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever find that next day job.

Here’s what I have to say to the Management of Food Bazaar on 161st Street: If I’m not relevant to your help wanted signs then my dollars won’t be in your till either. If I can’t work here I won’t be shopping there either. You have no problem denying me employment so I have no problem denying you my money. 


  1. How do you otherwise make an income, Shawn? Are the book sales enough?

  2. Book sales are what they are. There's eBay these days. Been trying to find another full-time job for a while now. If I can get back on my feet I can do a lot more with the books and promotion. Really would like to hire the Black comic artist Des Taylor from the UK to do a cover or two.