Zendaya Coleman recently chronicled what she believed to be a "shopping while black" experience at the California grocery store chain Vons.
Coleman posted a series of videos on Snapchat recounting her experience with a cashier she said didn't seem to like her skin tone.
“So we just got out of this Vons. Now I am trying to buy a lot of gift cards. … There are certain limits and some things, which is understandable,” Coleman stated in the video. “But the lady that was helping us, I don’t think she was a huge fan of our skin tone.”
Coleman went on to state that the cashier refused to sell her the gift cards and looked at her as if she couldn't afford them.
“In fact,” Coleman continued, “I recall her not trying to help us at all, saying that we couldn’t buy the gift cards and then throwing my wallet. I just can’t make this [s—t] up,” she said. “This is the [s—t] we deal with,” she said, and her friend added, “because we’re black.”
In response to Coleman's video and accusations, a representative of Vons issued a statement to People magazine:
At Vons, we strive to treat each and every customer with the utmost respect. There is a policy that limits gift card purchases using a credit card. Zendaya was able to purchase gift cards up to our limit, and we apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding.
We respect Zendaya's voice in the community and similarly are committed to diversity and inclusion. Moreover, we understand that race is a sensitive issue in America and view this experience as a reminder that every interaction is an opportunity to treat each customer as we ourselves would like to be treated.
Race isn't just a "sensitive" issue, though. It's an issue that plagues this and other countries. Hopefully the employee involved will get some "sensitivity" training.