A vintage clothing store in Savannah, Ga., was forced to apologize earlier this week after announcing a refundable $20 fee for white customers to shop at the store’s downtown location while waiving the fee for people of color, reports said.
Raine Blunk, the store’s manager, told WJCL that he believed the store’s earlier move was “within the confines of the law,” and said it was “unfortunate to have thousands of people commenting and messaging us saying they are going to sue us and have contacted the Department of Labor.”
The owners of Civvies on Boughton Street posted a message on Facebook on Tuesday that tried to limit the social media fallout. They said it was not their intention “to act in any way that might be perceived as discriminatory and for that we apologize.”
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WTOC reported that when the store announced the policy, it explained that most of its employees are white and they were uneasy about upholding financial barriers that could keep people of color out of the store. So the fee was waived.
“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 posted.
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The WTOC report said that the store seemed to be sympathetic to white customers who cannot come up with the $20, and informed them to select the “don’t agree” option and they can work on another option.
The store, at the time, did say that it would not allow appointments for whites who refuse to pay the fee simply because they’re opposed to its message. It was unclear if anyone was turned away over the policy.
One Twitter user took the store to task on Friday and posted, “Racism is alive, well, and accepted (so long as its aimed at Whites). So now, white people need to pay a $20 deposit before shopping at the store. Blacks who shop at the same store are exempt from this fee.”