There is no disputing that shoplifting is a major problem for retailers. Recent incidents across the nation have demonstrated the negative impact shoplifting can have on all types of merchants. Walmart Inc. is not immune to this issue.
Walmart is one of the world’s biggest retailers, operating more than 4,000 stores across the United States and overseas. While it is understandable that Walmart take steps to minimize the effect shoplifting has on their operation, it is its methods that are causing innocent minorities to suffer irreparable harm. Walmart’s use of racial profiling in determining who and when to investigate potential shoplifting has resulted people of color being targeted at disproportionate rate.
The pitfalls of self-checkout
We have all seen the self-checkout lines at major retailers. The ease, convenience, and speed make them a very popular choice for finishing your shopping trip. However, the self-checkout system is not perfect. For any number of reasons an item may not scan properly, the machine can register items incorrectly, and in some cases, a customer may just forget to scan something or think it worked when it didn’t.
In all these cases, a customer ends up leaving the store with an item that was not paid for, even though they had no intention of doing so. These scenarios coupled with Walmart’s apparent discriminatory practices leads to minorities being falsely accused of the crime of shoplifting.
How are minorities being targeted?
Anyone who uses the self-checkout lanes at Walmart is susceptible to the pitfalls listed above. Unfortunately, for minorities, what happens next is not only unfair, but blatantly discriminatory.
Caucasians are often times merely spoken to by a loss prevention specialist and given a chance to explain the situation. This usually results in an offer to pay for the item that was mistakenly not scanned.
Minorities are not as lucky. They are routinely detained, aggressively questioned, threatened with various repercussions, and in some cases falsely charged and arrested. This disparate treatment can only be owed to the color of their skin. These victims never had any intent to defraud Walmart, but nevertheless, they suffer the consequences of these policies, such as damage to their reputation, personal embarrassment, and financial loses for money spent defending themselves.
If you or someone you know have been subjected to this type of treatment while using the self-checkout lane at a Walmart store, you may qualify to be a part of a new class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals throughout the nation. You don’t have to be a victim.