A Wal-Mart store announcement ordering Black people to leave brought chagrin and apologies from the leaders of the company, which has built a fragile trust among minority communities.
A male voice came over the public address system at a store in Washington Township, in Southern New Jersey, and announced: ” Attention Wal-Mart customers: All black people, leave the store now.”
A manager quickly got on the public address system and apologized for the remark. And while it was unclear whether a rogue patron or an employee was responsible for the comment, many customers expressed anger to the store management.
A concerned customer who was shopping at the time asked the authorities, “I want to know why such statements are being made, because it flies in the face of our children about tolerance for all. If it was meant to be a prank, there is only one person laughing, and it’s not either one of us.”
Two other customers said they plan to boycott the retailer until they are assured that the issue has been addressed so it does not happen again. The pair confessed that initially they thought they had misheard, but later as it sank in, they got upset and angry.
One loyal customer said, “I am dependent on Wal-Mart for all my needs because the store has everything that you want. But until the issue is addressed in a way that I am comfortable with, I can’t walk through those doors again.”
Officials with Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., said that the announcement was “unacceptable” and that they are trying to determine who made it and how it happened.