A vintage clothing store in Georgia is getting backlash online for a promotion blasted as “racist” that waived a $20 fee for non-white shoppers.
In a since-deleted Facebook post, Civvies on Broughton in Savannah said it would now require a $20 refundable deposit to book an appointment at the boutique, while people of color would be exempt from the new policy.
“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 announced last week.
The shop, which sells new and “recycled” clothing, told potential white customers that they could decline to pay the deposit, but would be contacted by a booking manager to “discuss other options,” the post read.
“If you are white and refuse to put down a deposit because you believe our policy is unethical you will not be accepted for an appointment,” the store’s now-deleted post read.
The store defended the $20 fee Sunday, saying it had not denied an appointment request due to someone refusing to pay, WTOC reports.
But the owners of the store did an about-face on Monday, apologizing for the new promotion while confirming that it had deleted all social media posts connected to it.
“It was not our intention to act in any way that might be perceived as discriminatory and for that we apologize,” the store announced on Facebook.
The store’s manager, Raine Blunk, said some people threatened legal action over the new fee and filed complaints with the Department of Labor.
“Most of the feedback about our decision to waive this refundable deposit is racist because it favors black people, indigenous people and people of color,” Blunk told WJGL.
“Obviously it is unfortunate to have thousands of people commenting and messaging us saying that they are going to sue us and have contacted the Department of Labor because this is a violation of their rights. We believe that what we are doing is within the confines of the law.”
The fee was not based on “racial preference,” but was aimed to help those “most likely to be affected by a loss of historical equity,” Blunk said.
More than 1,200 people replied to the shop’s Monday Facebook post apologizing for the fee, including some who said they were unmoved by the statement.
“’I’m sorry you interpreted what I did negatively’ is not an apology,” one comment read. “You have only demonstrated that you have learned nothing from this.”
Another critic said she thought the fee was flatly “racist,” while accusing the store of blaming the public for the online fallout.
“Your shop is run with overwhelming political bias,” one woman wrote. “Your racism toward white people is just another indication that you do not welcome all.”
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