Study • 16.11.2017

Racial profiling by retailers creates an unwelcome climate for black shoppers

This is Cassi Pittman, assistant professor of sociology...
This is Cassi Pittman, assistant professor of sociology
Source: Case Western Reserve University

Discrimination endured by black shoppers forces them to downplay their race or shy away from an activity among the most common and celebrated in American culture, according to new research.

The study, "Shopping While Black,"published in the Journal of Consumer Culture, details how African-Americans experience and adapt to an often-uninviting retail landscape.

"Money is portrayed as a great equalizer. This research contests that idea," said Cassi Pittman, study author and an assistant professor of sociology at Case Western Reserve University. "The privileges and entitlements that come with economic resources are often not afforded to African-American shoppers."

Based on interviews with 55 middle-class African-American shoppers in the New York City area:

  • 80 percent reported experiencing racial stigma and stereotypes when shopping;
  • 59 percent reported being perceived as a shoplifter;
  • 52 percent said they received poor or no service;
  • 52 percent reported being perceived as poor.

"These findings are especially useful for people who don't believe these things happen," Pittman said, "and provide evidence for people who go through this and feel they aren't allowed to talk about it."

Common treatment reported by study participants included:

  • Being followed around the store;
  • Told the location of the store's sale section unprompted;
  • Ignored, made to wait and skipped over for non-minority customers;
  • Told the price of expensive clothing items before asking or trying them on.

Stores selling high-end apparel were often mentioned as hot spots of discrimination. These experiences were especially challenging for professionals who shop at high-end stores to buy work clothes, the study found.

Participants also reported similar treatment in grocery stores, drugstores, boutiques and big-box outlets.

Strategies shoppers chose to navigate this landscape, included:

  • Cultivating a relationship with a particular salesperson or store, a strategy complicated by high rates of retail turnover;
  • Making an effort to look affluent or dressing conservatively to avoid attention;
  • Refusing to buy anything if feeling discriminated against;
  • Buying an item they did not originally intend to, just to show they "belonged."

Study participants reported rarely confronting employees about how they were treated, although some said they spoke up. "Many shoppers feel their race undermines their credibility in stores," Pittman said. "They're treated differently, but not wholly denied access. In many ways, this a microcosm of racial exclusions embedded in American society."

Under U.S. law, stores can't deny selling to a customer based on race, but aren't required to provide the same level of service to everyone. And retailers aren't specifically included in civil rights laws that protect a right to service in restaurants, hotels and movie theaters.

 

Source: Case Western University

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Self-service sells
08.02.2019   #touch screens #kiosk terminals

Self-service sells

Kiosks represent an important part of retail’s future

Self-service is growing exponentially in all areas of retail, hotels, restaurants, healthcare and banking environments. Customers increasingly expect self-service technology options and traditional brick-and-mortar stores are no exception. Retailers ...

Thumbnail-Photo: “Carbon” – The future of payment transactions by InterCard...
18.03.2019   #payment systems #Trade fair special EuroCIS 2019

“Carbon” – The future of payment transactions by InterCard

Customer-oriented processes beyond standard market solutions

Thumbnail-Photo: retail trends: focus Retail Technology
12.02.2019   #mobile shopping #digital marketing

retail trends: focus "Retail Technology"

Omnichannel commerce, mobile shopping, seamless checkout – technology trends 2019

Would you like to find out about the latest retail technologies and hold something tangible in your hands at the same time?We'll be happy to send you a copy of our print edition retail trends: with the focus on "Retail Technology" ...

Thumbnail-Photo: First-hand packaging technology
01.02.2019   #event #packaging

First-hand packaging technology

LogiMAT 2019 in Stuttgart

In response to new regulations, packaging industry exhibitors at the 17th LogiMAT are showcasing new developments and innovations in machine technology, methods for reducing the use of traditional materials, and brand-new materials.As people become ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Allgeier’s Retail Solution of the Future
03.01.2019   #video cameras #self-checkout systems

Allgeier’s Retail Solution of the Future

The IoT BoxX - a pop-up store fully integrated into SAP

Like hardly any other industry, the retail sector is being exposed to the challenges of technological change. On the one hand, important market shares were lost to online trading, and on the other hand, the online stores are now blazing their trail ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Interactive networking for true sales success...
06.03.2019   #digital signage #pos marketing

Interactive networking for true sales success

Smart distribution of video content at the POS

Modern retail marketing is all about communicating the right offers to the customers at the right time and in the right place. “In order to ensure the greatest possible efficiency and sales speed, for example during campaigns and special ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Toshiba: artificial intelligence for frictionless shopping...
21.02.2019   #self-checkout systems #Trade fair special EuroCIS 2019

Toshiba: artificial intelligence for frictionless shopping

AI, edge computing and smart shelf technology at the EuroCIS 2019

Thumbnail-Photo: Pioneering spirit in online retail: participation is welcomed...
27.02.2019   #online trading #food delivery service

Pioneering spirit in online retail: participation is welcomed

The startup company myEnso from Bremen shows how an online supermarket can be successful

Modern pioneers: At myEnso, customers have a say in the store’s product selection. The online store continues to evolve with its customers and focuses on quality, sustainability and an innovative spirit.We spoke with Isabella Henrichs and ...

Thumbnail-Photo: EuroCIS 2019: from the trade fair to the points of sale...
27.11.2018   #digitization #POS Solutions

EuroCIS 2019: from the trade fair to the points of sale

Analogue and digital elements merge in physical retail

Many digital tools presented at EuroCIS over the past few years, have become indispensable to retail today. Which in-store media asserted themselves and what is so special about them? And, beyond this, which tools and technologies have great ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Worry-free legal compliance: tips for newcomers to online retail...
18.02.2019   #online trading #e-commerce

Worry-free legal compliance: tips for newcomers to online retail

Interview with Johannes Drijkoningen, Händlerbund e.V. (German online trade association)

It is imperative for all online retailers to be legally compliant. We talked to Johannes Drijkoningen, Association Advisor at the Händlerbund e.V. about support, relevant information and unfounded fear of digitization. ...

Supplier

Delfi Technologies GmbH
Delfi Technologies GmbH
Landgraben 75
24232 Schönkirchen
EUROEXPO Messe- und Kongress-GmbH
EUROEXPO Messe- und Kongress-GmbH
Joseph-Dollinger-Bogen 9
80807 München
AURES Technologies GmbH
AURES Technologies GmbH
Maisacherstr. 118
82256 Fürstenfeldbruck
CCV Deutschland GmbH
CCV Deutschland GmbH
Gewerbering 1
84072 Au i.d.Hallertau
APG Cash Drawer
APG Cash Drawer
4 The Drove
BN9 0LA Newhaven
LANCOM Systems GmbH
LANCOM Systems GmbH
Adenauerstraße 20 / B2
52146 Würselen
Permaplay Media Solutions GmbH
Permaplay Media Solutions GmbH
Aschmattstr. 8
76532 Baden-Baden
Elo Touch Solutions NV
Elo Touch Solutions NV
Kolonel Begaultlaan 1C11
3012 Leuven
Allgeier Enterprise Services
Allgeier Enterprise Services
Westerbachstr. 32
61476 Kronberg im Taunus