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Possible Issues of Racism with CVS Staff

Posted Mon January 14, 2008 12:00 pm, by Bridget B. written to CVS

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I was emailed a coupon from CVS corporate and the bottom of the coupon stated that the coupon could be printed in color or black and white. I printed in black and white and took it to the store to redeem. The cashier and another worker conferred then - in front of lines of people - asked where it came from and then said we had a talk with a woman - it may not have been you - about making copies of coupons. I was horrified and embarrassed and called customer service. At my next visit, these same 2 girls were working and they treated me worse. I had shopped at the store several times before and was never accused of being a criminal until I brought in my mixed race child. I believe the attitude towards me changed greatly. The cashier even asked if she was my child!

Have these employees either apologize to me or assure me and prove to me that they have been reprimanded for their actions.


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by Aileen M. Posted Sun August 8, 2010 @ 5:37 AM

I know what you mean girl, racism is not always in your face. My
experience, as a woman w/o much melanin, has always been: they never
ask me if i need help, or even a 2nd glance when I walk in. Yet when i
walked in 1 time with my man, who happens to have a lot more melanin,
they immediately asked us if we need help, what are we looking for,
and such. Also i noticed when we went to diff aisles in the store,
they KEPT watching him. What the fuck. So ya I won't shop there
anymore. That's just bullshit.

by Jugi Posted Sat January 19, 2008 @ 3:04 PM

I don't see how this has anything to do with race. Did they make
racial comments towards you?


by petrohd Posted Sat January 19, 2008 @ 1:14 PM

I don't think it has anything to do with Racism. Its more that these
people working behind the counter were not trained well enough.

There is a CVS near me where mostly minorities work...and I've had
problems with them as well. I had tried to redeem a coupon for a gift
card I was going to purchase (without realizing these redemption
coupons are not valid for the purchase of certain items including
coupons). It took an assistant manager and a manager before they
realized what they had to do.

And as far as the remark goes about them being rude and asking about
your child? Its more ignorance and rudeness on their part.

My advice? Simply go and patronize another store in the area.


by p d Posted Thu January 17, 2008 @ 12:34 AM

Oh, for crying out loud.

by T. C. Posted Wed January 16, 2008 @ 10:13 PM

I don't believe it has anything to do with your mixed race child but
more to do with trying to stop coupon fraud. Hell I wish they would
do away with them completely and lower their prices. As for treating
you worse, they know you reported them and that is why.


by KevinG Posted Wed January 16, 2008 @ 7:02 PM

So, it's racism because the coupon wasn't colored?


by Queen Green Posted Sat January 19, 2008 @ 12:38 AM



by MA Cunningham Posted Tue January 15, 2008 @ 2:40 PM

that racism can still happen even in our modern-day society. HOWEVER,
I think there are a lot of thin-skinned people who feel that
everything that happens that they don't like is somehow tied to the
color of their skin and this is often just patently false.

As StoicGrrrl said, it sounds more like an issue with the coupons.
Many stores have serious restrictions on coupons becuase of fraud, and
it wouldn't matter what color the OP (or her bi-racial child) is. Too
many people tried to get over on the system by copying coupons, making
up fake coupons, etc. trying to get something for nothing and the
stores had no choice but to crack down or risk losing even more

For all you know, the cashier might have thought you didn't have a
child! I have a lady that I work with who is Caucasian, she has an
adopted daughter who is African American. Even though they look
nothing alike, it is obvious that they are mother and daughter by how
they interact. No one blinks an eye because she doesn't make a scene
about it.

This isn't about what color your child is, it's about a policy not to
accept coupons and your supposition that it was racially motivated.
And to insist that you need to be "assured they have been reprimanded"
is not only inappropriate, it's none of your business.

If you want to make a complaint about the refusal of the coupons,
fine. But don't thrown the race card into it. That gets way too much
play as it is and it really isn't even necessary.


by StoicGrrl Posted Tue January 15, 2008 @ 1:21 PM

1. Racism absolutely happens. As much as we like to think that we've
moved beyond that as a society, we really haven't. It's possible that
OP encountered some form of racism at CVS, much as I'd like to think
otherwise. It's sickening, but it happens.

2. I feel that it's probable that your poor treatment had more to do
with the coupon thing than the race thing. While I wasn't there and
can't say for sure, my experience in retail makes me think that a
cashier is more likely to mess up where coupons are involved than
race. Again, I'm going by what my own reactions would have been, and
I happen to think it's neat that people come in lots of colors. So I
could be wrong.

3. The fact that the coupon clearly states that it is valid in either
color or black and white makes me think that CVS should go over their
coupon policy a bit better with their employees. Coupons are hard
sometimes, and a little training can go a long way. Keep in mind,
though, that most "coupon training" is actually a crash course in "how
to find what's wrong with a coupon so we don't get scammed." And
emailed coupons are notoriously fake. I'm not saying that you
presented a fraudulent coupon in an attempt to scam anyone, just that
often coupons seem valid when they really aren't, especially
internet-based ones.

4. I agree that the whole thing could have been handled better, and
that the "is she yours" question is almost always inappropriate. But
I don't agree that you should be privy to any reprimands that CVS
management chooses to give to these employees.


by calm Posted Tue January 15, 2008 @ 9:50 AM

I've been saying for awhile that if a poster is going to allege racism
that she ought to give us some idea of why she thinks racism was
involved. I've also been saying that people who experience certain
kinds of prejudice are a lot more likely to be able to recognize it in
a subtle form than people who don't. So while I acknowledge that
sometimes some people think they've run into prejudice when they
really haven't, I applaud the letter-writer for explaining why she
thinks she encountered racist CVS employees.

She went to the store several times without being accused of criminal
behavior. Then she went to the store with her daughter, whose
appearance suggests that her parents don't both belong to the same
race, which is something that some people in the US do not handle
well. (And one of the ways that some people in the US do not handle
it well is the assumption that parents from certain races don't share
children.) At that point she was accused of criminal behavior. She
came back another time and was also treated badly.

The showing up with a coupon that looks as if it might have been
photocopied (although it was printed in an acceptable form and
although I don't see what would stop someone from printing out eleven
color copies) apparently occurred on the same visit on which the
letter-writer was accompanied by her daughter. So either of those
could have been the reason she was treated badly. She continued to be
treated badly later when she didn't have a coupon but when the
employees in question already knew what her daughter looked like. Of
course, they also already knew that she had showed up in the past with
a black-and-white coupon. But she was also treated in a way that
suggested racism to her. (You know what? There are a lot of comments
that I get regularly that are offensive despite the fact that if I
were to write them and post them online a lot of nondisabled people
wouldn't immediately see why they're offensive.) I also note the bit
about the other customer -- who may have been Bridget -- because one
thing members of a lot of minority groups often find is that people
who aren't members of the same group cannot distinguish between them.

I don't think there's enough here for me to conclude that yes, racism
is the issue here. I do think there's enough here for me to conclude
that Bridget thinks racism may well be the issue and that she doesn't
think that solely because her daughter's biological parents are
identified as being of different races. Nor do I think there's enough
here to make it clear to me what I think ought to be done. (I would
especially like to know what the outcome of the first report was, and
in what way the two employees treated Bridget "worse" the next time
she was in.) If I worked for CVS corporate and I determined that
Bridget had been treated inappropriately, there isn't enough
information here for me to identify the workers, either.

So I don't think this is a perfect letter by any means. But I do
think that this is a pretty good "racism" letter, and that is because
Bridget lets us know why she thinks racism may have been involved and
addresses a number of the questions (why would it be race and not just
a coupon-related issue? why do you think people who look like you but
don't have mixed-race children get treated differently?) that one
would ask when trying to figure out whether this is in fact racism.

Bridget, I don't agree that you are owed proof that the employees have
been reprimanded. Even if what they did had been unmistakably racist,
I think that employment matters are between employers and employees.
I do think that if you are being treated badly on an ongoing basis you
are owed an immediate end to that sort of thing, but how CVS achieves
that goal is CVS's business. And I hope that if Customer Service did
not resolve the first issue you will consider writing another letter
that contains more detail about the coupon interaction.


by RedheadwGlasses Posted Tue January 15, 2008 @ 8:43 AM

The race card aside, I think it's terribly rude and nosy to ask a
stranger or acquaintance "Is she yours?" Just ask any parent of a
mixed-race child or a child of another "race" altogether (adoption,
remarriage/step-child, whatever).

Even if it's harmless curiosity, IT'S NO ONE'S BUSINESS.


I completely agree by April Smith Tue January 15, 2008 @ 1:00 PM

I pretty much agree with you... by StoicGrrl Tue January 15, 2008 @ 1:12 PM

Are they ALL yours? by Final Score: Boys-3, Girls-1 Wed January 16, 2008 @ 9:25 AM

maybe they can't by T. C. Wed January 16, 2008 @ 10:04 PM

I admit, I've asked the "are they ALL yours?" by RedheadwGlasses Thu January 17, 2008 @ 12:47 PM
by don w Posted Tue January 15, 2008 @ 6:44 AM

I'm sure this had nothing to do with your entitlement attitude did it?
I'm so sick of people playing the race card. Get over it and lose the


by Gino Posted Tue January 15, 2008 @ 1:03 AM

Anything's possible, but asking a person if a child is theirs does not
rise to racism unless you can prove for sure what was in her heart and
mind. It's unclear exactly how or if you were called a criminal or if
that was another misperseption.

What if she asked "Is that your child?" because she saw a resemblance?
Her next words may have been "She's Beatiful" but she stopped dead in
her tracks because of your reaction? Whatever the case, it's sad that
you felt that way. Being in a Mixed Race relationship brings with it a
lot of uncalled for and unwanted attention on it's own, One would
think you'd have an approach to deal with it.


by justZu Posted Mon January 14, 2008 @ 10:09 PM

I'm sorry, your race card has been declined. What other form of
entitlement would you like to use today?


by Adam D Posted Mon January 14, 2008 @ 8:26 PM

So what exactly does this have to do w/ race? Because you did not
get your spoiled little way, your going to call someone a racist.
It's funny, you lothe at the idea of someone calling your oreo oops, I
mean mixed race kid, something racist. (See it does not feel good
does it!) but, you have NO problem calling someone else racist. Your
labeling them, just as much as you assume they are labeling you!!


not the same by bethish Tue January 15, 2008 @ 12:08 AM

Where does it state this child is african american mixed with caucasian? by Gino Tue January 15, 2008 @ 12:48 AM

Three things... by Blackrack Tue January 15, 2008 @ 7:40 AM

See my point by Adam D Tue January 15, 2008 @ 8:29 AM

The "oreo" comment was low Adam and you know it! I expected better, don't counter what you assume to be ignorance with more ignorance. Remember "an eye for an eye" leaves us all blind! by Queen Green Tue January 15, 2008 @ 3:11 PM

Wow Adam! by MA Cunningham Tue January 15, 2008 @ 4:11 PM

Your right by Adam D Tue January 15, 2008 @ 4:50 PM

And I forgot to mention by Adam D Tue January 15, 2008 @ 4:59 PM

Little tip... by Blackrack Tue January 15, 2008 @ 5:10 PM

Hey Adam by Queen Green Tue January 15, 2008 @ 5:19 PM

Cosbys by Adam D Tue January 15, 2008 @ 5:22 PM

The ward... by Queen Green Tue January 15, 2008 @ 7:10 PM

Puzzle Factory by Adam D Tue January 15, 2008 @ 7:32 PM

What a great story! by RedheadwGlasses Wed January 16, 2008 @ 11:18 AM

I agree with you, but Geez! by MA Cunningham Wed January 16, 2008 @ 10:29 AM

by dulynoted Posted Mon January 14, 2008 @ 5:42 PM

Since the coupon has bar codes and it was a CVS coupon, exactly how is
anyone supposed to be able to re-use an in store coupon such as this
I mean once its scanned into CVS computer it reads to their main
computer I imagine...so there is no chance of re-using that same
coupon again.

However if there was no bar code of course anyone can use it multiple
times by copying it.

But drawing the race card...whew that is stretching it a bit.


some are.. by Angelic Princess:) Tue January 15, 2008 @ 10:02 PM

I know what coupons she is talking about. by Adam W Wed January 16, 2008 @ 7:46 PM

in store coupons by dulynoted Thu January 17, 2008 @ 4:15 PM

maybe true of store coupons but by T. C. Thu January 17, 2008 @ 11:42 PM

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