Grocery Store Customers Say Racist Cashier Refused to Let Them Help Mom Using WIC Checks

A woman in Oregon posted a Facebook rant about an experience her mother had at the grocery store. A mother ahead of them using WIC checks went over budget, so the mother offered to lay out the cash.

The cashier refused to let her, and went on to make some racist comments about the lady.

Amanda Arnlund shared the experience on Facebook, which occurred at an Albertson's supermarket in Gresham, Oregon. The cashier, a white woman in her sixties named Debbie, was ringing out an African-American woman on a WIC purchase.

WIC is a benefits program for pregnant women and children under the age of five. They help by providing nutritional staples like cereal, fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs and infant formula.

WIC issues a booklet of checks each month that customers use to purchase the goods at local grocery stores.

The unidentified woman at the checkout counter was attempting to purchase fruits and vegetables with her WIC check, but the price of the goods went over by about $12. Arnlund's mother offered to pay the difference, but the cashier wouldn't let her.

"The cashier said, 'no', very abruptly, with a rude tone. My mother explained it’s not a big deal, and she would like to do this so the woman can have her fruits. Again, the cashier rudely said no," wrote Arnlund in her account. "My mom asked if the unnamed shopper was a regular there and this has been an issue. Debbie, the cashier, said, 'No, but she got her free stuff from WIC already, she doesn’t need anybody else paying her way'."

The woman with the WIC checks became discouraged and walked out of the door. Arlund says her mother reports the woman looked humiliated, with her head hanging in shame.

Arnlund's mother says Debbie told her, “Well, that’s what ‘they’ do, they keep on having kids and getting handouts.”

Arnlund and her mother say they're not sure if Debbie's remark was meant to be racist or classist, but it rubbed them the wrong way. She and her mother decided the story needed to be told and that something needed to be done about the situation.

“There really needs to be corrective action. My main concern is that this [shaming] occurs everywhere, Albertsons just happened to be the building this time,” Arnlund told Fox News.

“At Albertsons, we have a policy and a culture of treating our customers, and each other, with courtesy, dignity and respect. It’s at the core of who we are as a company and member of this community,” said an Albertsons spokesperson in a statement to KATU. “We sincerely apologize that, in this incident, it appears we did not deliver the customer service that we pride ourselves on.”

At this point, there is no word on whether Debbie the cashier faced any disciplinary action. Arnlund says that she’s gotten a lot of attention since posting the story on Facebook, from praise to death threats.

She’s set her profile to private. Albertsons is investigating the situation.

The WIC program checks are usually very specific about items that people are allowed to purchase, adding cash is usually not an option, so it’s possible the cashier refused because she couldn’t use cash for the purchase. That wouldn’t excuse the alleged comments, however.

Source: NY Post
Photos: U.S. Air Force/Airman Dillian Bamman Generic Photo, Facebook via NY Post, MortalConviction/Wikimedia, PinsDaddy

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