Black hair care products locked in case at Walmart stirs outrage

Posted: Updated:
RIVERHEAD -

A shopper at Walmart in Riverhead was outraged to discover that black hair care products were kept locked in a case.

Patricia Fulford says she was shopping at the store but couldn't find the hair products she was looking for. She was shocked to find them locked behind a glass case.

She says she found an associate who went to get a key to unlock the case, but Fulford says she was left waiting for 10 minutes and the worker didn't return.

"I went to the manager and I asked them simply, you know, 'Why are the black hair products locked up?'" Fulford says. She says the manager didn't give her an answer, but says a store associate told her that it's because people have been stealing them.

"I said, 'Are you saying only black people steal, that white people don't steal out of Walmart?'" Fulford recalls. "I said, 'That's discrimination.'"

Fulford was so upset by the situation that she ended up returning the products. She tells News 12 that they weren't expensive, and only cost $1 to $5.

In a statement, Walmart says, "We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store. We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures.”

Catherine Kent, a Riverhead town councilwoman who is part of the Anti-Bias Task Force, saw Fulford's story and asked a Walmart manager about it.

"Walmart based it on some data. We asked to see the data, but we haven't seen the data yet," Kent says.

Walmart recently removed the locks from the Riverhead store.

A lawsuit against the company over a similar situation is currently underway in California.

 

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