CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — A security policy at the Walmart in Centennial is under scrutiny after complaints of racial bias.
The allegations of racial bias come almost a year after Walmart changed its practice on locking up beauty products for people of color at its stores.
“I honestly will probably not go back there again because of how I felt,” said Rachel from Aurora, who visited the Walmart store around 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Rachel was purchasing shampoo in the beauty products for people of color aisle when she was allegedly stopped by a clerk who told her she needed to pay for the bottle at a special register near the back of the store before she could continue shopping in other parts of the Walmart store.
“I asked the sales associate, if I am purchasing Caucasian products do I need to do the same thing? She said no you can walk around the store with those products,” Rachel told the Problem Solvers. “I told her I had more shopping to do, she said it didn’t matter I still needed to pay for it back there.”
When FOX31 visited the store, we noticed the register was separate from the others at the front of the store, located next to the beauty and personal care items.
“Honestly, I was shocked, because this is 2021, racism and discrimination are still happening,” said Rachel. “It’s either one or the other. You monitor all haircare products, or you don’t. It’s not OK to point out one group.”
A Walmart spokesperson responded to the alleged incident, saying:
“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve millions of customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store.Like other retailers, we have policies in place that allow security for some items, such as cosmetics and other personal care products. In the case of this store, the entire section of products is under additional monitoring. However, we do not want those policies to create an unfriendly shopping environment for any individual customer. The goal is to keep the products our customers want in stock while providing a convenient and friendly shopping experience. We have followed up with the store to ensure those policies will be followed properly in the future, and to provide a welcoming environment for our customers.”
On Monday, Walmart clarified their security measures further:
“Customers are encouraged to pay for products at the register within that department but are not required to do so. We apologize for any confusion or offense this may have caused and if it was communicated incorrectly,” said the Walmart spokesperson. “We have followed up with the store to ensure this is correctly communicated in the future.”