CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — A new checkout policy at a Walmart in Colorado is under scrutiny for its security measures surrounding beauty products for people of color. The allegations of racial bias come almost a year after Walmart changed its practice of 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, of Aurora, who visited the Walmart store in Centennial on Sunday morning. Rachel, who didn’t want her last name used, said she was purchasing shampoo in the aisle housing beauty products for people of color when she was stopped by a clerk who told her she needed to pay for it at a special register near the back of the store before she could continue shopping.
“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 said. “I told her I had more shopping to do, she said it didn’t matter; I still needed to pay for it back there.”
There’s also clearly more surveillance around that beauty products aisle. There are three cameras over that aisle and only one over the other shampoos and conditioners. “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 hair care products or you don’t. It’s not okay 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.”
Rachel called Walmart corporate but did not immediately hear back.
“The more we speak out about it and just let other people know what’s happening, maybe they will change the division and discrimination we have in the country right now,” she said. “I am hoping to hear an apology. I’m hoping to hear they will change this policy immediately, that’s what I’m hoping to hear.”