Wal-Mart Sued Over Policy of Locking Up Specific Beauty Products
A woman in California has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart over claims the company keeps products primarily used by African-Americans inside a locked glass case. Essie Grundy told reporters in Los Angeles on Friday that she felt humiliated and discriminated against when on three occasions this month she had to ask a store employee at the Wal-Mart in Perris, Calif., to unlock the beauty supplies, including a $0.48 comb. Grundy said she soon realized that “all of the African-American products [were] locked up under lock and key,” according to KCBS. After speaking to a supervisor about why these specific products were locked up, she learned that the additional security was a directive from corporate headquarters. "I felt that I was being treated as a person who might be a thief," Grundy said. She has since recruited high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, who says they're asking for an apology from Wal-Mart, as well as changing its policy, paying her lawyer fees, and up to $4,000 in damages.
Total Retail's Take: Wal-Mart has since responded with a statement, saying that while the company doesn't discriminate, it will review Grundy’s complaint. “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,” the statement said. “Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for heightened measures." The statement also said that Wal-Mart "serves more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and is focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store." We will be watching this case closely in the months ahead.