Dollar General at Mcfarland Plaza in Tuscaloosa is being accused of racial discrimination after the store moved black hair care products to the front of the store by the cash registers.
The location’s general manager would not go on camera, but said the decision was made by the company’s corporate office. The reason? They get stolen a lot.
That assumption is a problem, said customers Jaela and Anedrea Avery.
“I (asked a cashier) ‘why are the black products up front?’ And she said ‘because people steal.’ I said, “OK, so you’re saying only black people steal?’ ” Anedrea Avery said. “She didn’t really say anything.The manager happened to walk around. It was an older black lady and the young girl was like, ‘They want to know why the black products are up front.’ She just kind of blew it off and like its a high theft problem.”
The manager said she doesn’t understand why it’s a problem, because cigarettes are kept up front as well. But that’s not a valid argument, Anedrea Avery said.
All races smoke, she said. And pretty much every store keeps their cigarettes behind the counter. But moving only the black hair care products is singling out one group of customers, and that’s discriminatory.
President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference he Rev. Tyshawn Gardner said he’s visited several other Dollar General stores around Tuscaloosa County, and no other store had those products in the front.
Gardner said the supposed theft problem is concerning, but Dollar General shouldn’t be singling out black customers by moving only their products to the front of the store.
“If there’s an issue of theft, then the proper steps probably should be to invest in greater security measures such as cameras, mirrors, security guards,” he said. “Rather than to separate a large proportion of your shoppers who are African-Americans.”
WVUA 23 News made contact with Dollar General’s corporate office and explained the situation to them. We were told they would call back, but they haven’t returned our calls.
Gardner said he’ll continue reaching out to the corporate office so the issue can be resolved satisfactorily for all parties..