(UnitedVoice.com) – All hell broke loose after a vintage clothing store shared its new appointment-only policy on Facebook. Civvies on Broughton Street in Savannah, GA, claimed the program helped people of color, but Facebook users said it targeted white people.
Civvies announced that post-COVID lockdown appointments required a refundable $20 fee. However, the post also stated that Blacks, indigenous people, and persons of color (BIPOC) were exempt from the policy.
On its face, the policy seemed well-intentioned enough with the since-deleted post explaining that the white-owned and “mostly white” staffed company wasn’t comfortable imposing a “financial barrier ” that might “prevent BIPOC” people from shopping at the boutique.
However, that didn’t stop Facebook from exploding in its wake. Local ABC-affiliate WJCL-22 spoke with store manager Raine Eliza Blunk about the ensuing firestorm.
As Blunk related, most of the negative feedback involved complaints that the policy favored non-white patrons. However, Blunk defended the policy saying its goal was to help level the playing field for people of color because they are “the most likely to be affected by poverty.”
Attempts at Damage Control Fail
Within hours of that report, Civvies ownership did an about-face and apologized for the new policy in a subsequent Facebook post. However, this attempt at damage control seemed to fall short, and the post received more than 3,000 comments — most of them hostile.
“Probably one of… the most egregious examples of ignorance, hate, and racism I’ve ever seen,” one comment read. “You have showed [sic] what you are really like.”
Several commenters remarked it was racist to assume people of color were “poor and unable to pay.” In contrast, others complained the original post demonstrated the company’s “racism towards white people.”
Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson (D) weighed in on the incident as well. “Poverty comes in all races, colors, and creeds,” he posted on Facebook, adding that however altruistic the policy may have been, it was “discriminatory and unacceptable.”
He concluded his remarks suggesting Civvies waive the deposit for anyone who couldn’t afford it irrespective of “race, color, or creed.”
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