PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A customer at a local Plaid Pantry claims she was not only discriminated against, but also humiliated in front of customers.
And she says it was all over what she bought with her Oregon Trail Card.
“I am not thrilled to be on food stamps,” the southeast Portland woman told KOIN 6 News. “It’s not like that’s what I want for my family.”
Already humbled by having to depend on taxpayers for food, Michelle Moseley said she was further humiliated by a Plaid Pantry employee Thursday afternoon. That’s when she tried to purchase snacks with her Oregon Trail Card at the Plaid Pantry store at SE 162nd Avenue and Division Street.
“He held the card up like this,” Moseley said, making a motion up with her hand. “And he asked if anybody else if they wanted to use the food stamp card, and to me I felt he was insinuating I was spending his money.”
Moseley said she normally doesn’t purchase energy drinks and candy on food stamps, though these types of purchases are perfectly legal. According to the USDA website, “Energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label are eligible foods” and even “Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items.”
But that’s what she brought up to the counter Thursday afternoon. Even if these items weren’t an exception, she said the store employee should not have humiliated her in front of other customers.
“I don’t experience discrimination — and it hurts,” she said. “I was embarrassed and humiliated.”
In a written statement to KOIN 6 News, Plaid Pantry’s CEO said:
“I would like to apologize for the bad experience our customer had in our store today. It is our desire and goal to treat each customer with friendly, attentive, and courteous service. This philosophy and culture is reinforced continuously at Plaid, and I regret that we did not meet these expectations with this customer at this store today.
“It is particularly important that we treat each customer respectfully, and because of the alleged nature of this incident I have assigned our Director of Human Resources to conduct a formal and complete investigation. The store’s security video has been copied for review, witnesses are being interviewed, and we would welcome the opportunity to review the video with our customer and receive her input, if she would be willing to meet with us. We would also welcome input from the additional customer witnesses who were present and observed this incident.
“When all facts have been determined as accurately as possible we will then make a determination regarding disciplinary action if warranted, and if so, with measures appropriate to our findings.”
Until then, Moseley said she’ll take her business elsewhere.
“I want him to be held accountable for his actions,” Moseley said.
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