A Houston-area woman says a teenage cashier at a Kroger supermarket in Spring, Texas, stepped away from the cash register and refused to check out her groceries last week because she was offended by the message on the customer’s T-shirt. It read: “Police Lives Matter / All Lives Matter.”
The incident occurred just a week after a similar situation in Alexandria, La., when a police officer in uniform said a cashier declined to check out her groceries.
In Texas, the woman, who says her husband is a police officer and gave only her first name — Meredith — told KTRK Eyewitness News:
"She was stating that the shirt I had on was basically a slap in the face to her and she was doing everything she could not to cry. She made me feel ashamed to have the shirt on, and I don’t appreciate that.”
The incident has led the Blue Bow foundation, which works to support police officers and their families, to sever ties with the grocery chain.
"She's trying to go about her daily life and when she got turned away just to simply buy groceries, I knew we had to do something immediately," said Blue Bow's executive director Kimberly Colley, who, like Meredith, is the wife of a police officer.
"Our husbands risk their lives every single time they put on those uniforms. They're walking targets and this is the least we can do to show there is support out there….
"We don't want to do business with them if that's how our citizens are going to be treated."
Meredith said another cashier stepped in to ring up her groceries and that she doesn’t want the first cashier to lose her job, but she would like to hear back from Kroger’s about the multiple complaints she’s made.
In Alexandria, Police Department Pfc. Sabrina Farace said a checkout clerk at a Kroger’s refused to check out her items last month because she was wearing a police shirt, Blue Lives Matter reported.
Farace, who was shopping with her daughter, alleged that a female cashier refused to check out her items and said it was because "she had problems with the police."
"I have been a customer there for more than 15 years but this is unacceptable to be treated that way no matter what your profession may be nor should it be acceptable to be asked what you do based on their opinions of that profession," Farace recounted to Blue Lives Matter.
As news of the incident broke, several people have posted on Blue Lives Matter's official Facebook page, calling on the chain to fire the employees.
Kroger has since released a statement regarding both incidents:
“Please know that we are disappointed and sorry to hear about the incidents in Alexandria, Louisiana and Spring, Texas. We’re especially saddened by how this incident reflects on the 431,000 Kroger associates who work hard to serve every customer in communities all across America
“We’ve taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again—and we are reminding associates that is our responsibility to honor our company values of Diversity and Inclusion and treating our customers with Integrity and Respect in every interaction, every day. Our goal is always to create a welcoming, hospitable environment for all customers.”
The Kroger Company was not immediately available for comment.