Kroger Accused of Refusing to Serve a Police Officer

Another unverified account of a police officer denied service, this one at a Louisiana Kroger grocery store, has gone viral.

Published Oct 10, 2016

On 9 October 2016, the Blue Lives Matter web site published the following account, reporting that a female police officer had been denied service at a Kroger grocery store in Alexandria, Louisiana, in late September 2016:

On 09-27-16 at approximately 4:00 PM I was in Kroger’s shopping with my 6-year-old daughter. I walked up to the checkout line and placed my items on the counter for the cashier to scan my items. She sat there for a few moments and kept looking at me odd.

When she refused to speak or pick any of my items up, I asked her if I could help her. She replied, “Do you have your Kroger card?” At which I responded, “Yes, I do.”

I handed her my Kroger member card and she reluctantly took it from my hands. After she took [the card] I was waiting for her to continue checking me out. She looked at me and with a rude tone she asked “Are you on the force?” I stated, “Come again?” She asked again, rudely, “Are you on the force, are you a cop?” I stated “Yes, maam I am a cop.” She then looked at me and stated, “I can’t check you out, I have to go get my supervisor.”

I stated, “OK” because I did not know what her reason was for stating that she could not continue to check me out. I assumed maybe it was time for her to get off or some other reason. When she came back to the counter she stated, “My supervisor is tied up right now.” I asked, “What’s the deal?” She replied, “I can not check you out because you are police officer and I can’t check you out because you are a cop and I have issues with the police right now.” At which I replied, “You have to be kidding me right?” She stated “No, I am not.” I then stated “If this is the case I would like to speak to your supervisor myself because this is unacceptable to treat a customer this way.”

She then walked off and shortly later she came back with a white male that I assumed was her supervisor. I told him that the employee (AJ written on her name tag) had refused to check me out because after she asked me if I was on the force, and when I told her I was a cop, she refused to check me out. He looked at her and said “You have to check out all customers.”

I asked him if he would continue to allow her to treat customers like that as she stood there smirking as if nothing would be done. I said, if you condone this kind of behavior and discrimination I’m sure the media would love to know how you allow employees to treat customers this way for wearing a police supporting shirt and being a police officer ... He replied, well that’s not nice to threaten me to call the media and I guess I’ll just call Cooper. I told him that he could call whoever he wanted because I did not work for Cooper. He began telling me that she explained to him that she had problems with the police. I stated to him that apparently I would not be the only person wearing a shirt supporting police or a police officer that came into the store. I stated that she was an embarrassment to the store treat people that way. I also told him that he, as a manager, should be embarrassed for the poor job at making not making an attempt to correct the situation that he, himself, was an embarrassment to Kroger’s. I told him that I refused to come back to the store and left my groceries where they laid after she stated she could not check me out. I then left, and will refuse to ever shop at the store from this point on account of this incident.

As usually happens with such reports, Kroger self-defensively stepped in to offer an apology amidst a tsunami of social media outrage:

For those of you posting about the incident in Alexandria, Louisiana please know we are disappointed and sorry to hear that this happened. We want our customers, associates and the law enforcement community to know how deeply we appreciate and honor our police officers and the other first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day. We've taken steps to ensure this doesn't happen again.

Kroger's public statement didn't include was any information indicating that the report had been verified. We contacted Kroger to determine whether the account is being investigated or whether an apology was simply automatically offered in response to the public outcry, but a representative neither confirmed nor denied the claims:

We were disappointed and sorry to hear about the incident in Alexandria, Louisiana. We’re especially saddened by how it reflects on the 431,000 Kroger associates who work hard to serve every customer in communities all across America.

We want our customers, associates and the law enforcement community to know how deeply we appreciate and honor our police officers and the other first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day. We've taken steps to ensure this doesn't happen again—and we are reminding associates that is our responsibility to honor our company values of Diversity and Inclusion and treating our customers with Integrity and Respect in every interaction, every day. Our goal is always to create a welcoming, hospitable environment for all customers.

Blue Lives Matter has subsequently reported that a woman wearing a "Police Lives Matter" shirt was refused service at a separate Kroger in Texas, but Kroger representative told a local news outlet that they had not verified the claim.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.