Kroger Food Store Complaint - Racial Disparement Treatment

Review by cloudyjohnson386 on 2011-05-31
On May 31, 2011 at approximately 8:01 A.M. I went to the Kroger food store located at 3410 Northpark to purchase some items. As I gathered my items I observed a customer in front of me that was address by the name "Mike", The Cashier "Paula" was very cordial with him and provided an exceptional customer service, to include how he wanted his items bag. He was given the option of plastic or paper and was extended warm greetings you expect in a customer service driven environment.

Well I was in for a shock, when I placed my items on the belt. I was neither greeted nor acknowledged until I displayed my Women Infant and Children program (WIC) card. The cashier "Paula" response was " O, I don't know how to do that hold on". Another employee responded without any professional acknowledgment or eye contact, completed the transaction and walked away. The Guy that bagged the items, placed them in the buggy and walked away. I am a Black 43 year old female that is seven months pregnant, I have been a resident of Kingwood for the pass 12 years. To have someone display this insensitive behavior of a major Grocery Chain is appalling. I encourage your customer service department to review the video footage at approximately 8:17 A.M. and observe this behavior that I have describe. I ensure you if you are about your customers you will aggressively address this behavior and monitor for a possible pattern amongst customers.
Comments:12 Replies - Latest reply on 2011-06-02
Posted by Yt on 2011-05-31:
He's probably busy doing something else and only popped over to help the cashier. I don't know why you're making a case of race out of this. You already established the girl treated the first guy nicely, but she wasn't the one who did anything with you so the comparison point is moot.
Posted by Oh No on 2011-05-31:
Race card?
Posted by Venice09 on 2011-06-01:
I honestly think you are making too much of this, perhaps because you are a bit self-conscious. I am on a first name basis with the employees at my supermarket, but if the cashier has to call someone for an override or price check, most times they do not acknowledge me or make eye contact. They just do what they were called to do and leave, especially when it's busy.

Since Paula knew Mike's name, have you considered the possibility that they are friends? That would explain the cordial behavior.

I read your post twice and do not detect any insensitivity on the part of the employees. Maybe they will honor your request and monitor the situation because I do not think the treatment of only two customers creates a pattern.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2011-06-01:
What city was this in? V09..VH my same thoughts, don't see a race issue here at all.
Posted by MRM on 2011-06-01:
Its in Kingwood,TX
Posted by jktshff1 on 2011-06-01:
Thanks MRM
Posted by Vinnie on 2011-06-01:
Since she addressed the other customer by his first name, she obviously knew him. Did you greet the cashier? I do that when they forget to greet me. The stand up there for hours and it is easy to forget to give each customer individual attention. She didn't wander away or start chatting with someone else, making you wait. She rang your items up and got to the business of getting your transaction completed and sending you on your way. She promptly called for assistance when she needed help with your checkout. I would tend to think she was not as friendly with you as with the previous customer because you were a stranger, not because you are black. Everyone should get a smile and a greeting and it's good you bought it to their attention but I doubt it is the making of a grand conspiracy.
Posted by Churro on 2011-06-01:
Sounds like overt racism to me. I see this kind of crap played all the time in stores and quite frankly it makes me physically ill. Like the one time I was sitting next to the exit at a walmart in Moore Oklahoma and this old hag working the door without exception checked the receipt of every black person exiting the store while not checking a single receipt of any white people. Odd considering about 90% of the exiting customers was white. Therefore by my3cents standards since I’ve seen racism in my life then this review MUST BE a case racism.

Good review!
Posted by Pepper on 2011-06-01:
If they're using EACH OTHER'S first names it sounds like they've known each other for a while.

I'm thinking it was nothing to do with race or your WIC paperwork... except that perhaps you may be feeling self conscious.

And perhaps because of envy that the clerk didn't treat you the exact same way they treated one of their friends.
Posted by Josh on 2011-06-01:
Churro, is that perhaps why they say that savvy consumers avoid Target?

The main difference between the two customers in the scenario is that one was asked what type of bag they wanted, while the other person didn't. Both customers had their bags bagged and put away for them. Beyond that, the lack of a warm greeting seems to have happened because Paula knew Mike and not you.
Posted by Fufu487 on 2011-06-01:
Seriously, Churro?
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-06-02:
cloudy, it is always nice to be acknowledged, I agree. Did you make a point of acknowledging the cashiers yourself? I have found that initiating a pleasant smile and a "hi!" given to employees is irresistable and is instantly reciprocated. You can call and speak to a manager about the perceived lack of friendly customer service if it is that upsetting to you.

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