An incident happened to me on Friday. It made me realize what is wrong with the city.
I was at the Dollar Tree Store on Portage Ave. I was looking for cat food and other food items to buy.
I walked around the store for a few minutes to make sure I could get every thing that I needed. I did notice the security guy watching and even following me. My mind was on my shopping not on the security guard.
The items that I needed were not in the store, so I decided to try the store across the street.
As I approached the front entrance of the store, I saw the security guard heading towards me. He approached me and asked to see my bag.
I have been conditioned by my past experiences to obey authority. So I did as he requested and tentatively gave him my bag.
There was money and my debit card inside the bag. Along with other valuables.
He stuck his hand inside my bag and pulled out a bottle of Ensure. The security guard called over the manager to ask him if they had the bottles inside the store.
The manager, who came over and was standing next to us, told him they didn’t carry Ensure in the store. The security guard tossed the bottle into the garbage.
I was surprised that he would do that because the bottle was expensive to buy. I noticed people looking at us. The abrupt search by the security guard didn’t allow me to feel any emotions, but as I saw people watching me. I began to feel angry. Real angry.
After the security guard gave my bag back, I left the store. I did a quick check of the contents of my bag to make sure nothing else was thrown out.
A range of emotions began to overwhelm. Anger and hurt feelings. No apologies were given by the manager or the security guard for their behaviour.
I was treated like a thief in front of everybody. I didn’t see other people get stopped and their belongings searched. I didn’t see any signs posted in the store that bags would be searched.
I live and work in the downtown area. On my pay days, I enjoy shopping downtown and try to buy local.
I was in Transcona earlier and was treated well by the store owners. The customer service that I was treated to had me buying more than I intended to.
I was offered loyalty cards for the all shopping that I did there. It was my cash and debit card that the store owners saw, not my brown face.
It was a different shopping experience that I had at the Dollar Store with the security guard. He saw my brown face and assumed that I was a thief and made sure that I was treated as such. It was a store that I won’t be shopping at any time soon. My brown face will be shopping at other stores.