Posted in Blog

My complaint to Superdrug:

If you remember, I originally posted the following complaint to Superdrug’s Twitter account on 1st October:

Hi,

On Monday 21st September 2017 I visited Superdrug on 201 Camden High St. It was raining and I had my hood up. A member of staff followed me through the store but didn’t say anything to me. I then got to the second isle of the store where the member of staff stood behind me and then asked me to put my hood down. He didn’t explain why. I did put my hood down but then put it back upon. The member of staff came back and said “excuse me, I told you to put your hood down.” I replied “yes, but you didn’t say why,” to which he replied: “well the security camera can’t see what you’re doing and it needs to see your face.” This upset me – particularly the beginning part of the sentence, so I said: “what do you mean it needs to see what I’m doing? I’m not doing anything wrong? I’m a grown woman, buying things, I’m not going to steal anything, I have money!” Some people were standing nearby and agreed with me and suggested that if the camera needs to see my face that I should turn to the camera which is what I did and then carried on shopping. The member of staff however became angry, once again told me to take off my hood and said if I didn’t I wouldn’t get served. Members of the public standing around told him that was unfair and that he should leave me alone and I again told him that I wasn’t going to steal anything. I then took my things to the checkout and was served. The member of staff turned out to be the Assistant Manager of the store and when I spoke to him before I left the store, I told him that I felt that I had been racially profiled by him, because he saw a black woman walking into the store with a hood on, who to him looked like a teenager and assumed that she was going to steal something, so followed her. He then asked me to put my hood down and was very rude about it, instead of explaining that it company policy – again, because he was under the assumption that I was there to steal something and that I was going to get aggressive. Instead of saying sorry for making me feel that way, he said sorry but he was just following company policy, which to me is NOT an apology. And if racially profiling really IS a Superdrug policy, then I’ll have to take my money elsewhere, which is a shame because I am 31 years old and I’ve been shopping at Superdrug since I was a teenager.

Thank you for taking the time to read my complaint, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Cece.

After some back and forth, I finally received this reply:

Hi Cece We really appreciate you letting us know what happened and we can completely see how you must have felt. I want to assure you that we have spoken to the area manage[sic] about this and they have advised that they will be addressing this with the store team today and taking additional appropriate action to ensure that this does not happen again. As a thank you for your feedback we would like to send you a gift voucher which you can spend in any of our stores so could you please email me back with your address so I can get this in the post for you? Alternatively, if you have a Health & Beautycard, let me know the card number and I’ll add the equivalent in points so you can use them in store or online. Thanks again for taking the time to write to us, and I’m sorry that your experience was so disappointing. If you have any questions, please get back to me or call us on 03456 710 709 and we’ll be happy to help. 

After setting up a Beautycard, I then received this final message:

I’ve added £10 worth of points to your card, these will be showing on your account no later than the 10th October. I’m sorry for all of the problems caused, if you need anything else please let me know.

I’m extremely pleased with this outcome.

When speaking to one of my best friend about the incident, who is of Pakistani descent, wasn’t surprised and reason why was because she has suffered racial profiling in the SAME store. She went to the checkout to pay for her body cream and the guy at the checkout said to her:

“how does you husband feel about you spending his money on things like this?”

She was so horrified she didn’t respond, yet simultaneously she didn’t feel like she could complain afterwards, and this is why I felt that I had to about what happened to me.

As people of colour, we are always made to feel ashamed when people ridicule us. White people – especially British people – are so quick to put in complaints when they are wronged, yet when the same thing happens to us – especially when it’s to do with our skin colour or culture – we are made to feel so ashamed (remember what I said in a previous post about microaggressions), that we don’t want to complain because the bully shames us from drawing attention to their wrongdoing.

Yesterday, I  submitted my formal complaint to my GP surgery about the Practice Nurse. I’ll keep you posted.

Now I’m off to spend my £10 worth of points! Adios! And black power!

XOXO

 

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

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