A friend of mine and I went to Office Max the other day to pick up some hanging postage scales (The kind often used for weighing drugs). My friend is black, and happens to wear his hair (or at least was that day) in a large afro. Immediately upon entering the store, we were intercepted by a manager.
“Can I help you?” She directed the question toward me. (the skinny, nerdy white guy with unkempt hair and a penguin on his shirt)
I told her we were fine, and parted company.
When we reached the scale section, the same manager met us there by a different route. My friend started to ask, “Do you carry those–”
“Postage scales?” She cut him off. “They’re up front, under the counter.”
So we proceed to the front to purchase the scales, to find that the cashier already has them out. No one has told her what we were here for, so my buddy is kind of shocked to find that she already has them ready for us.
On the way out to the car, I told him how I thought they just assumed that a black man coming into Office Max must be a drug dealer, and is looking for scales. He refused to believe it (he’s a great guy, but he seems to think racism no longer exists–wishful thinking I guess) saying that the manager must have called up to the front, telling the clerk what we needed.
Upon arriving home, I realized that the entire thing had been caught on my digital recorder (like a micro-cassette recorder, but digital), so, do I have a case against Office Max? Does my friend (assuming I convince him of what actually happened)? Considering that we actually got faster service than usual, is it okay for them to make such assumptions?