Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Dumb Nigger" Receipt from Journeys


A young, college-attending Brother named Keith Slater purchased a pair of shoes at a store called “Journeys” in Overland Park, Kansas (Oak Park Mall). After doing some additional comparison-shopping, he found the shoes for a much cheaper price at another store. So Brother Keith went back to Journeys to return his shoes. He got his money back, and with it a receipt that identified him as “Dumb Nigger.”

Here is video of KMBC-TV’s new report. http://www.kmbc.com/video/17768384/index.html

It seems that the store programmed in the option “Dumb Nigger” into its computer and that employees must select that option to appear on receipts. As you can see, employee #355 made that selection by scrolling through a number of other codes to opt for this hateful statement to be printed on Keith’s receipt.

Sisterdoc says start a campaign to SHUT ‘EM DOWN!!!!

Oak Park Mall
11683 West 95th #126
Overland Park, KS 66214
(913) 859-9418

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black America and the N-word:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP2U0jmZjec

Sisterdoc said...

Anonymous: Every time I have criticized the use of "nigger" as a racist pejorative, someone has countered with a reminder that Black people use the word in similar form, even if in a dissimilar context. The problem here is that such a rhetorical strategy shifts attention away from the problem-a racist utterance, to a debate over hypocrisy. I want to redirect you back to the core issue: a corporate entity that refers to its customers in such racist terms. That Biggie or Mooney use the word (in a very different context) does not give Journeys a pass in doing so. Perhaps both are wrong. I think you would agree there is a difference between a crude, base, but friendly (for example) 'hey ho' between two friends versus one snarled by a lecherous stranger with the effect of disempowering and demeaning.

katherine eileen said...

first i'd like to say that it is HORRIBLE what happened and i can't believe anyone would do that.

i do however want to clarify something in this report.

i too work at journeys, but in north carolina. the way that racial slur got onto the receipt is when you take back a return you get the customer's phone number and on the next screen you are supposed to get their information, name, address, etc. the employee (who i seriously doubt is still employed) put the racial slur as the customer's first and last name.

there is absolutely no way to program that into the system like that. journeys as a company would NEVER do that. it was the person behind the computer who took the return who is the racist asshole.

Sisterdoc said...

Katherine: Thank you very much for your post. Your insiders experience sheds important light on this terrible incident. I should explain that the Journeys store employee explained to the victim and to authorities and management that she selected a programmed computer code which gave her the slur. She said that code was programmed by someone no longer with the company. So, that is where I go the computer code bit of information.

Steve said...

Turns out they had outsourced the company's computer program to a Indian company

Sisterdoc said...

Thanks Steve for the update. But this means there are a great many people culpable for this bigotry. The programmers, those in the store who knew it was there but did nothing, and those purposefully selecting this option to appear on a Black person's receipt. Blah...

Anonymous said...

Yea I was discussing this situation with some classmates of mine just the other day. I think it is absolutely disgusting and I e-mailed Journeys as soon as possible. My black studies class have been trying to figure out a way to address this. It really is sickening! I am extremely disappointed and there are no excuses. It doesnt matter how it got there. The fact is that receipt represents that company and that is the bottomline!

Sisterdoc said...

Anonymous: Kudos to your Black studies class for engaging in this discussion. This means that you are coming to understand how such incidents are not individual acts of bigotry; rather, they reflect continued social and institutional problems. Journeys' corporate culture may not be one that promotes such behavior. But "absence" is a problem at well. Silence sometimes breeds as many problems as overt declarations of hatred.

Mrs. J. Renai Taylor said...

Almost similar thing happened to me on Friday November 20th at Famous Footwear in Overland Park Kansas. I went into the store to purchase 6 pair of childrens shoes. I was dressed in wedge mary janes, skinny jeans and a peacoat. When I enetered the store on the the employees immediately started walking to the back of the store and didn't even acknowledge I had enetered the store. She DID stand in the back of the store near me and watch me make my first 2 shoe selections, when I noticed her staring another store associate walked up to me and asked me if I needed help. I told her no I didn't but that if I did need help I would be sure to let her know. She walked away and I looked up the first store associate was STILL watching me like a HAWK. I became very uncomfortable and annoyed...I handed her the first two boxes and asked her to hold them at the register because I was going to be buying more shoes. I then went to make the rest of the shoe selections but as I did so I became very aware that I was being watching in the store, and also "harrassed" by being asked WOW how many kids do you have? You're sure buying a lot of shoes.

Needless to say the hope I had that I was just being paranoid and wasn't really being watched was came to close when I went to pay for all of the shoes.

The clerk greeted me by saying "The reason I was watching you is because you look like someone who comes in here and steals". I was shocked that she was so open about following me. More importantly I felt like I had been targeted to watch because of the color of my skin. I arrived at this conclusion because #1- I have NEVER stolen a THING in my life!
#2 There was nowhere on my person I could have stolen ANYTHING! I was carrying a small wallet! Had I been carrying a large purse or wearing a bubble coat I would have understood. But a peacoat?!
#3 The last time I had been in that store was at the beginning of the school year when I was bought 7 pair of back to school shoes for my children.

Any comments on this?
I can be contacted at jtaylor816@gmail.com

Mariela said...

Journeys is really a finest store to get shoes at affordable prices.

Mr. Star said...

Was the employee not aware that his or her Employee Number would also be printed on the receipt? The receipt must have misprinted...it should have stated "Dumb Employee".

Tyler Goetz said...

Mrs. Taylor,

It sounds to me as if you are reading racism into a situation where it doesn't necessarily exist.

I've worked in retail, and if a manager said to me, "Hey, there's a young white guy with a goatee who we think has been shoplifting," I'd keep an eye on any young white guy with a goatee. And if the person in question was a slim black woman, I'd do the same thing. As for the employee walking to the back of the store and not acknowledging you ... that's just poor customer service skills. I'm white and I've experienced the same thing. It doesn't mean the person is racist; it just means they suck at their job.

CAM said...

Obviously this has to go! Why must we battle predjucice people, when anyone that can talk has been taught in school at least, that racism of any kind is wrong. Our energies should be put into helping our neighbors through the tough times ahead of us, helping the elderly who are constantly forgotten, and anyone in the "richest nation in the world" who has to live with or without their children in their vehicles. Move on people. We are AMERICANS PERIOD! No one is denying a heritage by saying that either. Let us all move on from Hispanic-American, Chinese-American, etc. If you were born here, or became a citizen here, you are an American. Now that being said, take down the southern flag, it is NOT American. In the grand scheme of things, isn't there enough to worry about these days without having to deal with this type of ignorance? After all, if you do not like it, there are many other countries to go live in. Me, I am just proud to be an American....however, I would like to become proud of AMERICA again!

TK said...

@ Sisterdoc:

Having worked in retail on a similar register system, I can tell you that fictitious and sometimes idiotic customer records are routinely added to the system by employees so a customer can take advantage of a coupon or process a return without providing their personal contact information. Most likely, Journey's management realized this trend and so decided to set-up a "John Doe" account under a particular generic telephone number. They then informed the employees that if a person refused to provide their information when processing a coupon or return, to simply enter that generic number and select the "John Doe" record from the list that would pop up, then proceed with the order. Since that record would be the only one listed under that telephone number, employees rushing to process orders quickly could shortcut by simply typing the generic telephone number on the numeric keypad and hitting ENTER twice.

Now such a system works well enough, but only so long as nobody creates another account under that same telephone number. In this case, I am willing to bet that a different employee maliciously added a "Dumb N*****" customer account to the system, using the generic telephone number from the John Doe account. It would be his or her intention to make that pop up as an option when using that telephone number... and since "Dumb N****" comes before "John Doe" alphabetically, anyone using the "type the number and hit ENTER twice" shortcut would inadvertently make that show up on the receipt.

Anyway, that's how I believe this happened, based on my experience on these antiquated register systems. I actually feel bad for employee #355, because if my hypothetical rundown of events is correct, she has suffered plenty anguish simply because she was rushing to accommodate orders.

@ Mrs. J. Renai Taylor:

Certainly, you did not still purchase the shoes from them after they gave you such a negative and demeaning shopping experience. Doing so only reinforces their behavior as acceptable. I would have plainly told them that I was prepared to make the purchases, but that their horrific customer service and nasty lack of tact ensured that I would go elsewhere. I then would have demanded the district manager's contact information and called him right on the spot to let him know what his employees were doing. There is absolutely NO reason to patronize a store that treats you wrong. Plus, I find better deals at zappos.com, LOL....

@ Tyler Goetz

As a Black man who's been in similar situations, I must refute your arguments. It's easy to claim the store suffered only "poor customer service" in Mrs. Taylor's situation, but unless you were there, you simply cannot dismiss the racism she claims to have received. I worked in retail establishments for over 10 years, and I know how employees would treat different demographics in nearly opposite manners, rudely accosting young Black kids when they have stolen nothing but letting an elderly white woman go "because she probably needed the stuff" when she's obviously just stolen a purse and socks. Bottom line, if Mrs. Taylor felt she endured racism, it should not be downplayed or dismissed. The ONLY way we are going to combat it is by facing it full-force.

Sisterdoc said...

Tk: Thanks for providing additional insight into how something like this can happen. I encourage people to not think of this as simply a "Black" issue, or as an isolated incident. I have heard other reports of sexist and homophobic slurs finding their way on receipts (from other stores) as well. So, your theory has some merit. And, I have to agree with you in your assessment of Ms. Taylor's experience. I have had it happen, you've had it happen. It's racial profiling...pure and simple.

Anonymous said...

What the hell are they whining about. Every third word in every rap song is 'nigger'.

I guess that's why they call this sort of thing 'Typical Nigger Behavior'.

Anonymous said...

As a white man, I believe that if the store chooses to have an option stating, "Dumb Nigger", then they are completely entitled. In the same respect, Maurice Bessinger has the right to fly a Confederate Flag above his barbecue establishments. It's America people - Freedom of Speech. If FUBU wants to proclaim, "For US By US", as a white man, I feel that's racist. Am I not good enough for YOUR clothes? And if I were to make a return, I'm sure I would find on my receipt something that said, "Stupid Cracker". If so, it's their prerogative. That's the price you pay living in the land of the free.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Brother Anonymous. I couldn't have said it better. My President is black...and WHITE. If he was fully black, he would not have succeeded. That's what being raised by a WHITE woman does for you, it can make even a biracial man president. Don't you ever forget it.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I agree completely. How could ANYONE think it is okay to label someone like that?! We must all stick together in these tough times. I mean, it's bad enough that we have to deal with limited watermelon supply, grape soda running short and the KKK trying to hang us. Heaven forbid our monkey asses can't buy shoes without a more educated, cleaner white person referring to us as the animals that we so often act like. Now, let's all go drink some 40's and pop a cap in some hoes or something. (White Power, coons.)

Anonymous said...

It's a little funny.

If I got "Dumb Cracker" on a KFC receipt it would go unnoticed.

Lighten up.

Anonymous said...

you dumb nigger, it says CUSTOMER # 555!!!!