Profiling people based on the color of their skin is wrong, and in the case of 29-year-old James Conley III, it was so humiliating.
Conley was shopping at an Old Navy store in West Des Moines, Iowa. As he was checking out a few items, the cashier asked if he wanted to also purchase the jacket that he was wearing. Thinking it was just a bad joke, he started laughing at first but as the store manager got involved he quickly realized they were serious.
The store manager Beau Carter told him “anytime someone wears Old Navy clothing they have to always scan that customers clothing to insure that it was previously purchased”. But Conley saw many “non-black” customers wearing old navy clothing and going through checkout unbothered. Nobody asked them to scan their clothing.
Conley had bought his blue jacket from the same Old Navy store last Christmas so he figured he’ll just let them scan it and they’ll find out it was already paid for but he was in for a surprise. After they scanned it they still tried to make him pay for it. After very unpleasant back and forths he was able to convince the District Manager to check the surveillance tape to prove that “her and her fellow employees were in the wrong”.
To add insult to injury, after the District Manager checked the tape and confirmed Conley did in fact come into the store with his jacket on, she did not come back out of her office to apologize.
At one point in the video recording, Conley can be heard asking the store manager (who is busy behind the counter) if he can finally leave with his jacket on, the store manager did not even stop what he was doing and pretend to be courteous he just says “yeah, that’s fine” in a very disrespectful manner. None of the other Old Navy employees involved in this incident bothered to apologize. One employee even told Conley he was not allowed to record video on his cell phone inside the store.
Conley took to social media to share his story and the videos he recorded. With hundreds of thousands of shares and comments from people all over the country, Old Navy finally took action and release this statement:
Regardless, Conley plans to file a lawsuit for being racially profiled.