An Australian store has been forced to apologize for a sign that warned staff to sound an alert if an African customer entered the store.
An IGA store in Melbourne was pilloried on social media because of a sign behind the counter that read, “If an African customer comes to the bottle shop, presses [sic] the button for assistant immediately! Minimum two staffs in front while we serve Africans,” the sign read, according to Australia’s News.com.au.
In its reporting on the sign, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said the sign had been in place for three years before it was noticed by anyone and became a social media furor.
“Sure they’re independently owned but the African community should be allowed to feel safe and comfortable at their local supermarket,” a TikTok comment read.
‘Completely unacceptable’: IGA supermarket under fire for sign racially profiling African customers https://t.co/83nMJg7SgU
— Natalie Spencer (@natscloset) December 2, 2021
The ABC report quoted the store manager, who it did not name, as offering apologies for any offense.
“We don’t really mean for this, we apologize for what we’ve done. I’m sorry it will never happen again like that,” he said. “I’ve done the wrong thing for the public, we should not do like this.”
The manager said he should have told employees to hit the button if they saw a group of strangers in the store.
Was there anything wrong with this note?
Yes: 38% (291 Votes)
No: 62% (481 Votes)
“It is my mistake. Big mistake,” he said.
“Im store manager iGA sunshine west, we got robbed by 5 African men, one of the staff had a gun put to our head, we were scared, Im sorry for that i done,i told the ABC news all the reason behind this, But i don’t see any main point been reported, this is unfair, unfair news,” he tweeted.
Im store manager iGA sunshine west, we got robbed by 5 African men, one of the staff had a gun put to our head, we were scared, Im sorry for that i done,i told the ABC news all the reason behind this, But i don’t see any main point been reported, this is unfair, unfair news pic.twitter.com/W3HrcH3uM5
— Jack he (@Jackhe97599128) November 29, 2021
ABC reported that a spokesperson for wholesaler Metcash, which operates the IGAs, said the company had the offending sign removed.
“This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any IGA store across the country,” a spokesman said.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting local communities across Australia, we will ensure ALL IGA employees continue to create a shopping environment where all are welcome and equal,” the spokesman said.
The store now has a new note.
“We would like to apologies [sic] to anyone that got offended by the note we had … it was not our intention to offend,” the note says.
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