In another example of heavy-handed security tactics a Melbourne supermarket has been accused of profiling a group of teenagers after suggesting they “might steal something.”
This latest furore comes after a group of students of African descent from Melbourne’s western suburbs were asked to leave an Apple store “because they might steal something.”
The Coles supermarket in Thomastown was thrust into the media spotlight as the group of teenagers, aged in their teens, were asked by several people who work at the store to leave.
Supermarkets are known as easy targets for thieves. Most commonly stolen items are chewing gum, batteries, and razor blades. Recently, pet care treatments have also been a growing target.
The supermarket’s store manager, Ivan Plumpton, said the students, who were wearing “backpacks,” were hanging around in high-risk areas and one employee claimed she saw one of the group put an energy drink can down his pants.
The Seagull spoke to the students involved. “We did nuffin’ and they kicked us out,” said one schoolkid. “I was going to buy a loaf of bread for my family but I’ll never shop there again. I’m goin’ to Aldi.”
The Seagull also spoke to the students’ principal, who did not want to be named. “Yeah, they steal. They’re not allowed in Woolworths’ stores for that reason. They’re on a list there.”
The Seagull spoke to the students again. “We’re on that list because we are from a lower socio-economic class,” said one student. “We buy clothes from K-Mart and eat Home Brand foods. The stores target us because of what we look like.”
Another student added: “I have to shave, so of course I’m gonna look at the razor blades. But I never once stolen anyfing.”