A Hobby Lobby in the Trussville suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, called the police on a man returning a Cricut cutter. According to The Root, Brian Spurlock was returning the item to the store for his girlfriend. The receipt and original packaging in hand, he was asked to wait while the employee went to speak with the manager, who in turn said they needed to speak with corporate. Spurlock waited.
The cashier returned to Spurlock and told him the manager was calling the store’s corporate office, as if Hobby Lobby has a staff of operators on standby waiting to approve trinket returns. The manager asked Spurlock to step aside and wait while she called Hobby Lobby’s Cricut Emergency Return Squad.
The manager called the police instead. According to the police, the manager thought Spurlock looked like someone who had been returning stolen items to their store.
Spurlock says he still didn’t think anything was wrong, even when a local law enforcement officer entered the store, walked up to him and asked for his identification. As customers looked on, Spurlock handed over his ID to the cop and asked what was the reason for this embarrassment.
“He said: ‘You’re about to be trespassing,’” Spurlock explained. “I still didn’t know what was going on. I figured, ‘OK, some stores do ask for ID when you return things.’”
The cop ran Spurlock’s ID out in his squad car, found nothing (which is why Spurlock says he wasn’t “worried”), and then came back and told Spurlock he should get his refund and promptly leave so that he wouldn’t be arrested for trespassing. That’s fucking insane. It’s bad enough that Mr. Spurlock had to suffer the indignity of being treated poorly for the crime of being black in a Hobby Lobby store, but now that it’s been grossly verified that he is just a person, he’s being run out of the store because of their racist ignorant “mistake?” The Root has a Facebook video that the couple posted showing the aftermath, with Spurlock trying to get satisfaction for why this happened. There’s a young, grade-school age girl, who just wants to go home (possibly Spurlock’s girlfriend’s daughter). The reminder of how this affects children is important to see here.
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