A Vancouver, Washington woman says she witnessed an African-American woman being shamed for using WIC to pay for her groceries.
Jacki Carroll was in line to check-out at an Albertson’s grocery store in Gresham, Oregon on May 18 when the woman in front of her came up short for her bill by $12.
‘The discussion between she and the clerk were somewhere along the lines of, some of the groceries weren’t covered under her WIC coupon. And the lady said, “But I’ve always paid to get this food on WIC. It’s groceries, like fruits and vegetables and stuff,”‘ Carroll told KOIN.
Jacki Carroll (pictured) witnessed a woman being shamed for using WIC to buy groceries at a Gresham, Oregon grocery store earlier this month
The incident happened May 18 at this Albertson’s. Carroll said the woman in front of her came up $12 short for her grocery bill, and she offered to pay the difference, but the cashier refused to let her
WIC is a government assistance program that helps lower-income pregnant women and mothers with kids under the age of five pay for their groceries.
Carroll said she offered to pay the difference, but the cashier refused to let her help the woman out.
‘[I] said, “I will pay,” and she said, “No!” Very abruptly,’ Carroll told KATU. ‘Literally, she raised her voice and said, “No, you don’t need to do that.”‘
Carroll insisted it was no big deal, but the cashier would not let up.
Eventually, the woman left the store with what she could pay for.
When it came Carroll’s turn to pay for her own food, she asked why the cashier didn’t let her pay for the woman.
After the incident, Carroll’s daughter posted her mom’s receipt to Facebook with a post describing what happened. It’s been shared nearly 7,000 times since then
‘When I got up to the cashier,’ Carroll said. ‘I said, “Well, were you trying to protect me from someone who is a usual customer who abuses the system?” She goes, “No, she gets a free handout. She gets her groceries for free, she doesn’t need anyone else supporting her.”‘
Carroll said she told the woman that she was being judgmental and should show more compassion.
After the incident, Carroll’s daughter Amanda Arnlund wrote about the experience in a post on Facebook, which hsa since been share nearly 7,000 times.
‘My mom and I agree that this is exactly what is wrong with the world. Where is the compassion and basic human decency? Everybody around was in shock when this occurred,’ Arnlund wrote in the post.
Carroll said she later called the manager of the store to complain about what happened.
‘He was very, I think, genuine in his concern and he said he will talk to her. I actually did a follow-up call with him yesterday and he said he did talk with her,’ she said.
She would like to see Albertson’s track the woman down to issue a personal apology to her. She also thinks the cashier needs to be trained on customer service and compassion.
Albertson’s issued a statement apologizing for the incident, which they say they are currently investigating.
‘At Albertsons, we have a policy and a culture of treating our customers, and each other, with courtesy, dignity and respect. It’s at the core of who we are as a company and member of this community.
‘We sincerely apologize that, in this incident, it appears we did not deliver the customer service that we pride ourselves on.
‘While this isolated situation is still under investigation, we are taking this opportunity to remind all of our employees that each and every customer is a welcomed guest in our stores,’ the statement reads.