An Albertsons grocery store cashier allegedly shamed a woman using WIC benefits to buy fruits and vegetables earlier this month.
The incident took place at a store in Gresham, Ore., and was reported on social media by a woman who has since requested to stay anonymous.
In the now-viral Facebook post, the woman alleges her mother was standing behind an African-American woman who was buying fruits and vegetables using WIC assistance – the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children that provides assistance to low-income women who are pregnant or postpartum, and children up to 5 years old.
The USDA website states WIC benefits can include infant cereal, fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, canned fish, whole-wheat bread and other whole foods to help meet nutritional needs.
According to the Facebook post, the WIC benefit coupons did not cover all of the groceries.
“She was over by $12 on some fruits and vegetables,” the woman said on Facebook. “My mom offered to pay the difference.”
“The cashier said, ‘no,’ very abruptly, with a rude tone,” she continued in the post.
According to the woman who reported the incident, the cashier, reportedly named Debbie, went on to shame the customer.
“She got her free stuff from WIC already, she doesn’t need anybody else paying her way,” the woman claimed the white cashier said to her mom, referring to the other customer. The woman claimed the cashier went on to say, “Well, that’s what ‘they’ do, they keep on having kids and getting handouts.”
The woman said she was unsure whether the “they” was intended to have a racial connotation or meant to refer to other people who receive WIC benefits.
In a statement to Fox News, the woman said she and her mother would like an apology to be given to the customer who she said left in shame.
“I do know that the victim hung her head in shame and left the store when this occurred, without her fruits and vegetables,” the woman said to Fox News.
“There really needs to be corrective action. My main concern is that this [shaming] occurs everywhere, Albertsons just happened to be the building this time,” she added.
Albertsons provided a statement to KATU apologizing for the incident. “At Albertsons, we have a policy and a culture of treating our customers, and each other, with courtesy, dignity and respect. It’s at the core of who we are as a company and member of this community,” the statement reads. “We sincerely apologize that, in this incident, it appears we did not deliver the customer service that we pride ourselves on.”
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