Racial profiling is alive and well in 2018. A woman in Pineville, North Carolina, was flabbergasted for being accused of stuffing her shirt and stealing from a local Staples store.
Sherell Bates left home Friday, August 10, to do some back-to-school shopping, reports WSOCTV. What she didn’t know was that a mundane task would become an embarrassing moment.
“Being pregnant is already high-risk, and having to deal with that, just additional stress that I don’t need,” Bates said.
She went to Staples, picked up a few items and prepared to check out when a Pineville police officer approached her while she was in line. He reportedly was alerted to Bates by a manager, who claimed the mother-to-be was a possible shoplifter. To prove her innocence to the officer, Bates lifted her shirt a bit and exposed her pregnant belly, containing her twins.
Bates then spoke with the manager.
“When I confronted her about what happened, she admitted that, ‘In the past, we’ve had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said.
After the news broke of the story, Staples’ corporate office released a statement saying that the manager apologized to the customer and gave her back her money for her entire purchase.
“After a quick conversation, the issue was resolved, the manager apologized to the customer and refunded their transaction due to the inconvenience,” the statement said. “At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our store and work with our store associates to try and foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer if that was not the case in this instance.”