Yesterday my son Blake and I stopped into a local Walgreens. I wanted a new sewing kit and Blake just wanted to look around. I'd picked him up from work so he was a bit tired so was "just looking."
As I am standing at the counter to pay for the sewing kit, an elderly man was in front of me paying for his merchandise. While waiting, I saw Blake leave the store. Apparently, that clerk had seen Blake leave too because he leaned over to the elderly gentleman and said quote, "You see that guy that just left? He probably stole something." unquote.
I heard this and asked, "Are you talking about my son?"
A little stunned he said, "Well, yes. Young guys like that come in and don't buy anything but leave with their hands in their pockets usually steal."
"Well, if you think my son shoplifted let's get him back in here and you can check him."
"No, no" he said, "I was just talking to that gentleman."
"Yes, and giving him the idea that because my son had his hands in his pockets...he's automatically a shoplifter!"
I couldn't believe my son--and probably me--were being profiled.
Blake is a tall guy with short hair, blue eyes and a certain red "hue" about him that actually confirms him as a Native American. Yesterday, Blake had just gotten off work with nowhere to change from his suit to regular clothes. Admittedly, his suit is black and so are his shoes. He stood out.
I understand that stores have issues with shoplifting and customer service. Maybe profiling helps.They have to be careful and protect the store while treating customers with excellent service . But for a clerk to "decide" my son was a shoplifter because he was in black and had his hands in his pockets was too much.
I certainly learned a lesson--if you are a young man and walk into a store, please don't have your hands in your pockets. Really?