A vintage-clothing store in Savannah, Georgia, has come under fire for a promotion they posted on Facebook in which they stated they would require white customers to pay a $20 refundable deposit to book an appointment to browse the store while waiving the fee for people of color.
Civvies on Broughton wrote, “As a mostly white staff with white ownership, we do not feel comfortable upholding a digital and financial barrier which could prevent BIPOC from shopping at our store at this time on top of the limitations already made by online booking.”
The store later apologized on Facebook.
“The store, which sells ‘new and recycled’ clothing, told potential white patrons that they could decline to pay the deposit on the booking form and a manager would reach out to discuss other options. Civvies went on to say, however, that they would not accept appointments with any white customers who are simply refusing to pay the fee because they believe it’s ‘unethical,’” The Daily Mail reported.
“Civvies explained with a mostly white staff, they don’t feel comfortable upholding a digital and financial barrier which could keep black, indigenous or other people of color from shopping at their store. Also in that post, the store said if a customer is white and unable to come up with the $20 for an appointment, to select ‘they don’t agree’ on the booking form so the booking manager can reach out and come up with other options,” WTOC reported.
The store’s manager, Raine Blunk, was interviewed by WJCL; he stated:
Most of the feedback about our decision to waive this refundable deposit is racist because it favors Black people, indigenous people, and people of color … Obviously it is unfortunate to have thousands of people commenting and messaging us saying that they are going to sue us and have contacted the department of labor because this is a violation of their rights. We believe that what we are doing is within the confines of the law.
“They are at this time the most likely to be affected by the poverty,” Blunk stated of people of color. “This is not based on a racial preference on Black people, indigenous people, people of color, it is based on a fact that that group of people are most likely to be affected by a loss of historical equity, and we are taking a small step towards that as a business to choose to wave this fee temporarily.”
Some comments after the store’s apology included, ‘“I’m sorry you interpreted what I did negatively’ is not an apology. You have only demonstrated that you have learned nothing from this.”
Another: “FYI, some of us who have purchased and sold you our vintage won’t be back. There are other vintage locations in Savannah that don’t insult their customers.”