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Are Black Employees the Downfall to Black Businesses?

September 16, 2010

So, I just left the store (had to stock up on Vita-malt, for those of you who know anything about that) while checking out at the register, the cashier whispered to me that if I pay her $45 cash I can leave with my groceries billed at $105.97. I said, “huh?” She went on to say, “The owner ain’t hurting, he got like 2 other business, he skrate.” I looked at her so hurt and stated, “I will be using my debit card…thanks.” As I drove off, this hurt me in so many ways. I felt bad for her, the (black) grocer, and that urban community. Obviously, we not only need more black businesses to become an equitable group, we also need employees who will work for a black business with the same level of excellence as they would for businesses in Corporate America.

The thing is, she’s not alone. Situations like this happen everyday in our communities. It is selfish and shortsighted behaviors like this that destroy our businesses, schools, and community. What she’s doing is wrong in so many ways that I felt an anxiety attack, not knowing what direction to go in with this. So instead, I came to you all. What do you think about what I experienced? Am I overreacting? Is this the norm? You can give me your comments here or on my Facebook page…

With a headache,
Professor Devin Robinson

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Renel Frazer permalink
    September 16, 2010 4:36 pm

    Unfortunately, you are not overreacting and this is the norm. I actually work for a Corporate business and I still see the same behaviors. I have terminated at least 10 employees in the past 6 months for similar practices. I have seen this happen at the airport with TSA employees. They would offer to let you take your liquids (perfumes, colognes etc.) if you met them at a certain location and paid them a certain amount. Not only is it selfish but they also don’t consider the long term effects that decision may have on them or the business. In Georgia it is a felony to steal from your employer and you can be prosecuted by your job. Most companies won’t do it unless it’s over a certain amount but I have seen situations where companies have actually pressed charges. It’s the “hook up” mentality that we can’t seem to get rid of.

  2. shi permalink
    September 16, 2010 6:46 pm

    Cheer up boo this has been happening from before our time. It just happen to you at that time. All I could say we are all humans what might seems wrong in ones eyes might be right in someone else own!!

  3. Mike Shannon permalink
    September 16, 2010 7:21 pm

    Devin, this attitude is not present just among black workers. It is seen in many white people too. At the store where I work, one girl would take $10 or $20, whatever she “needed” at the time, and pay it back when she got her next check. She saw it as borrowing, and could not understand why it was stealing. She was fired, after management discovered the pattern and looked at videotape.

    Retailers have long known that the majority of theft in their store is by employees, not the general public.

    The owner of the store you visited needs to know that this girl is stealing from him. You did right by declining her offer, but one has to wonder how many people have
    accepted it. One major factor in the rise of prices is theft, but this cashier apparently does not even consider that. She thinks she won’t get caught, but it will happen. Then she will go do the same thing somewhere else, and the cycle will continue until somebody decides to prosecute.

    Again, Devon, blacks don’t hold a monopoly on this character flaw.

  4. Brenda Lowery permalink
    September 16, 2010 7:27 pm

    Wow!! It’s sad when people no matter what color they maybe continued to steal from these business as well as each other. I know how you feel due to employees giving away products at a lower price to line their pockets. So when we honest customers go shopping we end up paying higher prices for criminals.

  5. September 17, 2010 3:37 am

    Devin I applaud U for speaking out. The problem with alot of people today is they are not thinking, worrying about conviction. What would God sayor do. Alot of people just don’t have a conscious. They want that quick money no matters who it hurts. I personally think u should go and have a talk with this young lady. Hopefully she will take it as a blessing that she is not in some prison, Doing dumb stuff. I hope U will get to her and make her think about the wrong she is doing. I hope and pray she learn this is just not right.

  6. Murina Jerome permalink
    September 17, 2010 3:14 pm

    Trevina I also agree Devin you should go back and have a deep conversation with this young lady. What happened to you might happen to another ad this time she will not get off, she can and will be behind steel doors. This not only affects her but think if children are involved there goes mo in the slammer. Please speak to her and if she does not listen at least you have done your part. Be blessed.

  7. Sheree Gatling-Alston permalink
    September 17, 2010 6:01 pm

    I understand what the person was saying in regards to that type of thing not being isolated to one race. Okay true. However we are talking about Black Businesses that usually don’t have the same cash flow marketing, owning the real estate and having higher overhead etc as other races do. So let’s focus on us for a second. I believe that culturally we have been programmed to a crab mentality when it comes to business. I am not an expert but just from growing up in our community there are things I have observed and personally experienced. There are some of us that will pay big money drive far away from our community for high end products and services from those of other races but given the opportunity to buy from a Black person or business maybe at a slightly higher price (because of the things like us higher overhead etc) we wont buy from Blacks. Instead some will steal, copy CD’s DVD’s from our own people etc not realizing due to ignorance and most often greed that it keeps us behind economically. It is reassuring to hear how it upset you and yes you should say something. The “getting the hookup” or “I got the hook up” is more than criminal it destroys our character as a people and turns stereotypical behavior that we have been labeled as having into fact and that hurts all of us. Since you asked.

  8. Melissa Horton permalink
    October 13, 2010 6:36 pm

    This is the result of how we are being taught at home as well as educated.

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