Target - Racial Profiling
WOODINVILLE, WASHINGTON -- My wife shops in this store and has for over 2 years now, although I don't know why, with how she has been treated.
She is Latina and every time she goes into the store there is at least one employee who seems to look her over, like she is thinking about stealing something. When she first brought it to my attention, I thought she was being somewhat sensitive, However about a year ago, I came into the store unbeknownst to my wife and I watched one of the Asset Protection people, a rather tall large women follow her around the store. The AP passed white shoppers, but seem to linger at other Hispanic customers in the store. I was so appalled at the behavior I asked to speak to the manager. A woman came over and I explained I had just watched the AP follow my wife and others, but saw no suspicious behavior on their part, but for the mere fact they were Hispanic. I explained I watched a young white man dressed in an oversized coat hanging out in the electronics section and witnessed him pocket something, but the AP was too focused on the Hispanics in the store to even notice.
She said she would address the concern with the AP although I never saw her call the AP over. My wife continued shopping and after a time, that the AP did not appear to be working there anymore, but was replaced by another younger man.
In the last several months, my wife has gone on in different occasions and has been followed into the restroom by employees. The last of which was the fitting room attendant who entered the stall next to her, but never used the toilet. Upon finishing her business and washing her hands, the Target attendant came out. My wife asked her why she was following her, but the employee said she was not, and walked out of the restroom. Evidently she didn't bother to read the sign that states "Employees are required to wash their hands before returning to work"
Disturbed by this incident I tried to make a complaint by calling the guest services phone number only to be referred to another number, which only allowed me to leave a voice mail. I received an canned response of "I'm making your concerns available to the regional and district offices to ensure that Target team member training sufficiently addresses the issues you raised."
Shopping again yesterday, my wife felt as though she was being followed by the AP again. She texted me distraught, so I told her take his picture.
The AP passed, she called him by the name on his tag, Michael. He didn't like this at all. He told her it was illegal for her to take his photo. She told him that she took it to report him for following her. He then told her that she was going to have to leave the store. She asked why, she hadn't done anything wrong.
She then called me to report what was going on. I could hear him ask who she was calling. "My husband" She told me she took the picture as I had suggested because she was tired of being profiled and followed. To which the AP says "You want I call the cops?" She asked for what reason, she didn't do anything wrong. He again asked if she wanted to call the cops. I guess he was trying to intimidate her by doing so, but she told him "go ahead! Don't worry I'll call the cops."
I told her I was already on my way to pick her up and just to meet me outside. She came outside but the AP was nowhere to be found. He obviously didn't call the cops or they had more important things to do, like fighting real crime.
I called guest services again asking to speak to a district manager, was told by corporate guest services that district managers don't take calls from customers, Oh really? I've worked in retail and it's been my experience that part of their job duties are to take care of customer issues. I was told to expect a phone call from the AP "team leader" in the next 72 hours.
I received a call from a woman who then began to tell me that the employees including the AP at the store are afraid of my wife, because she has "accosted" them on the sales floor and in the bathroom. My wife is a petite woman all of 5'3" and these people are afraid of her? I said my wife confronted employees who have followed her, and it's a result of the employees continued behavior. The woman said that my wife followed the employees into the bathroom to confront them and that my wife's view of the events are distorted.
I said this has been going on over 2 years, I had witnessed the woman AP last year follow her and other Hispanics and even made a complaint to the manager. She said that they had no such woman there, but then later said she had only been there 6 months but her knowledge of the situation is that my wife has been causing the problems. I guess the problem is she is Hispanic.
This "team leader" said she had the backing of the corporate office to inform us that if my wife engages with any of the employees again, that she will be "tresspassed" from the store. Great Customer Service!