Followed by a Security Guard.

This afternoon, Yours Truly got followed by the security guard at my local Rite-Aid. I guess my blackness pursuit of Q-Tips, lip gloss, and a package of toilet paper must've looked super suspicious to her.

Or maybe it was that my friendly self was just waay too chipper (or waay too super fly) when I walked through the sliding doors. Ms. Security Guard (MSG) was standing there in her too-tight blue uniform. I actually had the nerve to smile at her and say hello.

Next thing you know, she's hovering three feet away from me while I was checking out the various shades of the mucho overpriced Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze. I almost asked her if she needed something because she was all up in my kool-aid but I figured, whatever, let me put this lipgloss down and actually get rolling to the stuff I really need: Q-Tips and toilet paper.

So, I head over to the aisle with the Q-Tips. Sure enough. MSG trailed along behind me. She wasn't even subtle about it.

Oh, wait, I hear you saying, "Aww, be nice! MSG was just trying to get up the courage to ask you out for a date! After all, she's been inspired by Lindsay Lohan and Clay Aiken coming out." Well, if you could've seen how evil and twisted up her expression was, you wouldn't be thinking that AT ALL! Instead you'd be thinking you were in a remake of The Exorcist. Seriously, I thought MSG's head was about to spin around!

I meandered my way over to a whole other part of the store so I could get a package of toilet paper and guess who stayed four steps behind me. Really? I mean, really? It's like that? I actually did a full 180 degree turn and stared her down with the most evil, WTF is your problem look I could muster. Trust me, I used to be a teacher, it's not that hard for me to rustle up this look. Ms. Security Guard pretended to be looking at her nails and then stared over my head.

That's when I decided I was going to torture this woman. I made up my mind to go back to the makeup aisle and palm and massage every tube of lipstick and nail polish on the shelves. Then I was going to read EVERY magazine up in there, and THEN make my way through the haircare section and make sure to read the ingredient list on ever bottle of shampoo.

My shadow followed me back over to the makeup aisle. After about ten minutes of MSG's standing a few feet away from me, and me doing my best to ignore her, I decided to just leave. I still bought my Q-tips and toilet paper -- the cashier was super sweet and chatty -- and then I headed for the exit.

Yes, MSG was standing by the door. As I strolled out through the sliding doors I totally wanted to pop her in the lip and yell, "And, what? Bee-yotch! No alarm went off because I didn't steal anything! Now suck it!"

That would be wrong though. Right?

Let me just ask, did this heffa follow the greasy looking guy buying two cases of beer at one in the afternoon? Nope. Did she follow the punk-rock wannabe yapping all loud on her cell phone while massaging the gift card display? Nope. The shady looking guy with sores all over his mouth hanging over by the medicine aisle? Oh no. She decided to follow me.

I didn't complain to the store manager. Nope. Because this is what security guards are taught to do when blackness walks through the door. I can just hear the manager now, "I'm sorry ma'am but we can''t be too careful about black people in the store shoplifters. Sorry for your inconvenience.

And damn, I'm not even male or darker skinned. She would've had me in cuffs for sure if that had been the case.

Yeah, just another day in the United States of Bailout. Racism alive and well in the '08.


Anonymous said…
I'm trying this on my crackberry. Happened to me at Rite Aid3 weeks ago. I did call for a manager who was really embarrassed and wanted to deny it. I said I was fully prepared to file a complaint and never shop there again.
Anonymous said…
So does she learn from experience and realise all those black women she's followed didn't actually nick anything? Presumably not. She's still convinced that somewhere out there is the one determined thief. Or maybe she's new to the job and the manager just told her to keep an eye on the black women. As you say, racism is alive and well.
Mes Deux Cents said…
That happened to me at a local Long's Drug store. The guard followed me around. So I went back to the front and got a shopping cart, which I then loaded with tons of stuff. Then I went to the check-out and put all of the stuff on the counter...and walked out. (Lol)

I never went back to that store. Before that I was a regular shopper there. I'm sure that Long's missed out on several hundred dollars over time. Eventually that store closed down. I wonder if a whole lot of other POC decided to quietly boycott that store too.
Jameil said…
that's when i start knocking stuff off of shelves and asking her if she has a problem. calling her a rent-a-cop. then i'm complaining BIG TIME! AND walking out w/o buying anything. NO. i don't play that.
Liz Dwyer said…
Who told me Whoopi Goldberg calls it the African-American Berry? Was it you? LOL! Anyway, What's up with Rite Aid security guards in California??? They need to cut it out. It's days like this when I miss all the Sav-Ons. Sav-On was always sooo much better.

It's total racial profiling. A manager might not even have to say anything because folks in this country are subconsciously trained to think a certain way about certain groups of people.

I LOVE IT!!! Oh my goodness, I absolutely love it. That's the best story. I'm so glad that store closed. I've been boycotting Banana Republic for two years and Ikea for like three. I think I need to add Rite Aid to the list.

I hear you. Sadly, once you start knocking stuff off the shelves then you become the one with the problem. It's a classic tactic: someone behaves in a racist way and then when the person who's the target complains or takes action, then they become the aggressor with the problem.
Great Blog! I found you through "What About Our Daughters".

Thank you for sharing this story.

Toni Campbell said…
while she was following you some woman was putting the latest Sally Hansen nail polish in her Prada bag and some guy stuck razor blades in the inside pocket of his Armani suit (those blades are expensive?!
g-e-m2001 said…
Today I was at Borders and I handed over my debit card for a $40 book and she asked me for my ID. Well the guyin front of me (white) didn't require carding. So I outright asked her. "Is it because I'm Black?" I would have confronted her.
Liz Dwyer said…
So glad you came over to visit me. I love discovering new blogs that catch my fancy! Come back and see me again!

Exactly! And those razors are ridiculous, aren't they? My husband asked me to pick a pack up for him and I was like, ahem, are there generics because wowzer, I wasn't prepared to pay that much!
The guard was tripping. I thought they were supposed to blend in.

I would have said something to the manager and then boycott that particular branch. There are other drug stores in L.A. Later for them. I will not shop where I'm treated poorly. There are other places more deserving of the little bit of money I have left.
sippinwineman said…
Never threaten to boycott. You just do. I find it may be best to tell a manager what you're doing but also inform him/her that you are sharing your experience with your neighbors and recommending that they stop shopping there as well.
It sounds corny, but I've worked for a major retailer for the last 14 years and believe me, it works and it's felt.
Jen said…
I'm just so sad and disgusted. I hope that when Obama wins the subject of race in this country can truly start to be addressed. Of course, once Obama wins, every damned thing is going to need to be addressed because our country is in such a mess.

Ugh, ugh, ugh.
Liz Dwyer said…
I really should just stop going there, which is a shame because it's the Rite Aid closest to me and I like that I can walk to it.

Besides, they never have any really good finds in Rite Aid. Same ole same ole. I miss Woolworth's type stores.

You're so right. Thanks for the encouragement on this. I organized a word-of-mouth boycott at a restaurant back home in the Midwest when I found glass in my food and they accused me of putting it in there to get a free meal... it really worked!

I hope it can as well despite the fact that I know there will be those that will say, "There is no racism because you got a black president."
Miriam said…
Personally, I think if you were in a good mood for a good fight then I would say something to the security guard.

Calling things out. Truths.
Malcolm said…
Sorry that you experienced the SWB (Shopping While Black) syndrome. Your story reminds me of the scene in "Don't Be A Menace..." when the Asian merchant followed Shawn Wayans' character all over the store while a white customer robbed them blind! Only in America.
Shiona said…
Man, how ridiculous! This same thing happened to me in Vegas at a Walgreens and I was holding Jayson. She was a manager. I noticed her and stopped abruptly and she was all like "Don't worry, I wasn't following you." I hadn't even said anything.

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