Priceline To “Educate” Its Staff After Open Letter Alleges Racial Profiling

An eloquent open letter alleging staff at a Priceline store in Melbourne racially profiled a customer has sparked an conversation about the apparent prejudices some people still face, even while doing something so harmless as buying make-up.
Hiwot Birhane co-wrote a letter that was posted on her friend’s Twitter account last night. In it, she alleges herself and a group of her friends were subjected to bag checks at Priceline’s Highpoint store last month based solely on their race. 
“We had just watched as not one, not two but three non-black women were allowed to exit from the premises without being searched before a black girl who wasn’t with us was searched…

Calling extra security on a group of black girls for no apparent reason other than the colour of their skin is unjustifiable.”
The letter says not only were they treated differently to other customers by staff, but that Birhane’s complaints about Priceline’s security procedures were met with an inadequate response.
“Head Office and the regional manager failed to investigate the matter at all. CCTV footage was not checked at all which means it is impossible for your company to ascertain what exactly happened…

Is this how Priceline customers with complaints are usually treated?”
It also states Birhane will be boycotting Priceline until the company issues an apology and acts to “atone for their consistent and unofficial racial profiling policies.”

Since being posted last night, the letter has been shared nearly 1000 times, with readers adding their own experiences with racial profiling at Priceline and other retail stores. 

Priceline have issued a response to the letter, calling it a “regrettable series of circumstances” and apologising “for the experience the customers had.”

The company states “our preferred way of dealing with this is to work with our store team to ensure that this wouldn’t occur again,” and mentions it’ll look into “education” instead of punitive action, but stops short of referencing the CCTV footage or any proposed changes to bag-checking policy.

“The experience of these customers is what matters most and a direct apology will be conveyed.”
This incident comes after a video showing a similar case of unwarranted racial profiling in an Aussie shopping centre went viral late last year, indicating this is still the sort of thing far too many of us are still dealing with.

Source: @hxlina / Twitter / Supplied.
Photo: @hxlina / Twitter /  @insincerelyher / Instagram.