Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shopping While Black? Insiders sish on Barneys’ “deeply ingrained” racist culture in America

This is really a disheartening observation to read about. All money spends, and to be singled out because of race, and not the color of the money, is truly appalling to those who experience this…

On the sales floor at the Madison Avenue flagship store of Barneys New York, salespeople would joke about customers who, in their view, didn’t belong.

Often, those jokes would be aimed at the black customers, a former sales associate at the store told The Huffington Post.

The former employee, who spoke on condition she not be named for fear of jeopardizing her career in the industry, said she heard sales staff and security repeatedly rip on black shoppers: “Their card is probably not going to go through,” they’d say. “I don’t know why they come in here and want to try stuff on that they know they’re not going to buy.”

“If a black person comes in with a sweatshirt or sneakers, some of the white sales associates would be on the floor saying: ‘Why are they even here? They’re probably going to scam,’” said the former associate, who is black and worked at the store in 2012 and 2013. “They would say this stuff in front of me. Sometimes I would just walk away, and sometimes I would say, ‘You never know.’”

The luxury department store chain counts on its reputation of elitism and exclusivity to attract rich shoppers willing to shell out big bucks for a $1,595 Givenchy sweatshirt or a $4,495 Andrea Campagna suit. But that same highbrow culture has fostered racial profiling at Barneys, company insiders and industry experts say.

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