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Black Woman Tells Unbelievable Story of Being Reported for Theft by Customer Who Wanted Items in Her Cart

Avatar • Sep 28, 2016

When Ashley Owens took to Facebook to tell a story of ‘shopping while black’ it started like any other — a clueless individual making intrusive comments about black hair, followed by polite and awkward conversation. But the story took a completely unexpected turn when Owens was then reported for theft. From Owens now-viral Facebook post;

The store manager emerges from some secluded door and asks me to step out of line. I gave him 3 good blinks, then I refused and asked why. The lady of the hour is tucked closely behind him with her arms crossed. He said “I just want to allow this customer to purchase the items she had in her cart that were removed by you.”

Luckily a store associate stood up for Owens and she was able to purchase her items in peace. But the story is a reminder that criminalizing blacks is a tactic used in everyday life.

Check out the full story below…

I was in a high-end store yesterday, and picked up several ramekins and other home wares that were on a serious sale. Like 90% off sale. This story isn’t really about ramekins, but I will get to why the ramekins are of GREAT pertinence later. As I was in line, the lady behind me complimented my hair, and attempted to strike up a conversation about the “rioting” happening in uptown. I thanked her for the compliment, but hesitated any further banter with her because I DID NOT want an isolated incident to support any perpetuated beliefs about people that look like me. I let her slide with a “It looks so soft and shiny, not coarse at all…” comment ‑__- I kindly stated that was a misconception most people have about “black hair” and continued to “fake examine” my items. She went on… “Oh I just love “black hair!” I would love to have some. I would be so happy if my hair would do that.” Again, I swallowed the lump in my throat, smiled at her, and said “Well, you can always get extensions! Then you too can have “black hair.” I turned around swiftly, and my eyes could SERIOUSLY not roll any further in the back of my head. Why me, Lord? Why? I prayed that was the end of her attempts to engage. And it was…until she inquired about some of the items I was purchasing. “Are those ramekins? How great are those colors! I didn’t see those back there.” She went on, and asked me how much they were. This time, I fully engaged with her. Sure! Ramekins! No way that this can go south. I let her know the price, and she stated, “Oh that’s a good price for those- let me go get some.” I politely let her know that I took all of the stock on the shelf (10 of them) but there were others back there, however they were not like the ones I selected. It was my intention to let her know up front, as not to waste her time. I even suggested she ask an associate to see if they could be ordered, found at another store, see if there were some more in the back, etc. Her face immediately changed. She looked confused…Then sad.…Then angry. Homegirl didn’t want those other ramekins; She wanted MY ramekins. She then asked me “Well what are you going to do with all of them? Do Black people cook with ramekins? I’m sure yall aren’t using them properly… How many is in your family? Do you actually need all 10? I just need 5.…” I stopped dead in my tracks. My ears were on fire. I could see myself as that cartoon character who’s head was about to blow and ears had steam coming out of them. All of these things were rolling thru my head…Should I curse her out? Let her know that black peoples ramekins matter? Punch her in her God-forsaken trachea so that she would never be able to utter another insatiably racially-charged syllable? NO. She wanted them, and I had them. End of story. There was nothing that she could do to change that. Her desire for something that she wanted so badly allowed her TRUE self emerge for all to see. Here’s where the ramekins play such an interesting part: Ramekins are used for various baking purposes, pastries, casseroles, breads, mixing cups, etc. Ramekins are a culinary staple for anyone who cooks. This lady was convinced that a person of my background would not know what in the hell a ramekin is! So instead of going off, or being belligerent, I played the game! “Oh, I’ll probably only use 1 or 2 at the most. I may plant some flowers in them, store my lipsticks in them, use them as cookie cutters, use them as change holders, sip soup like Belle and the Beast did for dinner one night, or probably just let them sit in the box in my cabinets collecting dust. SHE WAS PISSED. There were laughs, chuckles, and giggles coming from all sides of the store, as I continued to ponder what I would do with the world class ramekins. The other customers were quite amused by my responses, as it was clear that everyone expected me to react quite differently than I had. The lady stepped out of line, and honestly, I thought she was leaving. The gentleman behind her gently tapped me on the shoulder and confirmed my feelings with a side-mouthed “She’s so rude…What a nutcase.” I nodded, and rolled my eyes in agreement. By this time, I’m at the cash wrap, and the associate is gently trying to express his sympathy for the lady’s comments, and dipping into some conversation about what is happening uptown. The store manager emerges from some secluded door and asks me to step out of line. I gave him 3 good blinks, then I refused and asked why. The lady of the hour is tucked closely behind him with her arms crossed. He said “I just want to allow this customer to purchase the items she had in her cart that were removed by you.” Before I could say a word, the associate shouts, “I CANT TAKE THIS ANYMORE! This lady is just trying to purchase items that she has selected, and not be questioned, or accused! This lady has caused nothing but grief for this poor lady the whole time she has been in line. She has done nothing wrong, so please do not question her about anything.” The manager looked so confused, and didn’t know what to do. There was an awkward moment of silence which was broken by homegirl saying “I just want a fair chance to buy some ramekins, and that Black girl doesn’t even want them.” I looked at the SM with a long, slow side eye as he apologized for any confusion. He walked over to the lady, said something to her inaudibly, and she walked out of the store saying “That Black girl doesn’t even know what to use them for…” I paid for my items, thanked the associate for his role, and exited the store. As I was leaving, an older gentleman asked me if he could escort me to the car and carry my bags. At first, I thought that this was a set up, and that he was going to jump me for my ramekins. In my head, I’m thinking, Buddy got me messed up! I will tag you over these good ramekins…they have lids! But then I looked in his eyes, and he had tears. Big ole, shirt staining, cry into your grandmother’s apron tears. He said, “I’m so sorry. I just stood there. We all heard her, and we all just stood there. We knew it was wrong, we knew it wasn’t about the ramekins, but we couldn’t find the words to tell her to stop.” He cried a while. I stood there, silent. He held my hand, and squeezed it from time to time. At first I thought this may have been for show, but what did he have to gain? After a while, he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket, wiped his eyes, and kissed me on the hand. Nothing else was said. As soon as I got in my car, I was numb. I was upset, and yet comforted by the kiss on the hand from a stranger. I knew what he meant, but wondered if this would actually cross over in his daily life. As I have shared this story with a few friends and family members, the responses have been VASTLY different. Some agreed with my behavior, and some thought I reacted a little too eloquently. BUT the best part is that everyone is touched by the associate, and the gentleman that made an effort. An effort to stand up for what is right, show kindness, ask for forgiveness, and move forward. All of this over a ramekin…”

I mean.…

via GIPHY

Owens has since been accused of fabricating the story, and had to add a note to the original post stating that she is not an author. SMH!

See the original post on Facebook here.

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lis
lis
4 years ago

Lord…what are ramekins?

Elaine
Elaine
4 years ago
Reply to  lis

??? They’re ceramic dishes used most frequently to bake things in. They range in size from single serve (1/2 cup) to quite large (full pie/tart) and are usually round but I’ve seen heart and leaf shapes as well. You need some now? Lol

lis
lis
3 years ago
Reply to  Elaine

Yeah…I think I do.

VoiceofReason
VoiceofReason
3 years ago
Reply to  lis

A ramekin is a small dish where one can bake an individual portion.

Bumper1959
Bumper1959
3 years ago
Reply to  lis

I had to look it up 🙂

Telise85
Telise85
4 years ago

Wow just wow.

Guest
Guest
4 years ago

Wow! Nothing is new under the sun. I would have done the same thing this lady did, except less “eloquently”.

Claudette UK
Claudette UK
4 years ago

OMD!!! That situation beggars belief. Well I am a black woman who also owns ramekins. More than 10, and I know what to use for too! Just when you think that the level of ignorance cannot dip any lower, a story like this is told and you are astounded all over again.

Misty Corrales
Misty Corrales
4 years ago

wow.… and thank you for sharing the story. I’m so sorry about the audacity of that .… well, it rhymes with hitch.

yikty
yikty
4 years ago

story sounds totally made up. but if it isn’t, a couple things bother me: 1) the blk lady’s mode of defense was to remain submissive (act unbothered by the racist remarks and even attempt to help the customer figure out a solution to getting her own ramekins); and 2) white bystanders only expressed their displeasure with the racist lady outside of her presence. silence is consent.

ebonydiva06
ebonydiva06
4 years ago
Reply to  yikty

The story is totally real. She posted about it on facebook. I read the orginal post myself and was shocked to see it here but I guess it went viral

kalexa1
kalexa1
4 years ago
Reply to  yikty

You’ve saved me the trouble of writing exactly that. So far fetched sounding it’s beyond remote. Lol. Agree with your other obs’ too!

Bea
Bea
4 years ago
Reply to  yikty

That’s exactly why the story sounds true to me. I too, have found myself witnessing a situation where my shock overrides any responses, and then muuuch later is when I come up with a dozen ways I could have handled it better. I think she handled it just fine. Calm, not submissive.

marie
marie
4 years ago
Reply to  yikty

1) The black lady is educated; she does not need to act ignorant and knew not to react to society’s stereotypical views about black women. 2) People don’t take the initiative. I am highly perceptive and see this going on daily but this is extreme; the nerve! This white woman due to her skin color is privileged and has a deluded way of thinking. They expressed their displeasure evasively because they are ashamed; systemically we are all to blame. Thank you black woman for your classiness! If you acted a fool, they would not see her wrongness. At the end… Read more »

VoiceofReason
VoiceofReason
3 years ago
Reply to  yikty

It wasn’t submissive. This woman was digging at her from the jump and she did not rise to the bait, which is what a mature, grown ass woman does. Why should she get out of her character to get on the level as a snake?

Kellee
Kellee
3 years ago
Reply to  yikty

She wasn’t submissive at all. Sometimes, a true act of intelligence isn’t to match aggressive with aggressive. She took a move dignified and classy way out which was the complete opposite of her antagonizer. It was very adult and mature to 1. Not put on a loud show in public ( which is what they expect us to do anyway) and 2. Tell the lady where she could get her own items. There are times where you let a fool be a fool. At the end of the day the fool didn’t get her ramekins after all of that fuss.… Read more »

Milos Mom
Milos Mom
3 years ago
Reply to  yikty

It is called “taking the high road”. Everyone’s first inclination is not to lose their mind on someone when faced with this issue. And even if it is, as demonstrated here, some people have self control and try to remain reasonable. I wish more people would act like this in general.

As for your 2nd point, this also happens often. People are often to surprised or scared to get involved when something kooky happens. F*cked up, but true.

Welcome to the real world. Sorry it is not always like people fighting on reality tv. How ironic…

Nope
Nope
3 years ago
Reply to  yikty

Not everybody handles things like a hoodrat.

Minouxx
Minouxx
3 years ago
Reply to  yikty

The story is made up just because she chose to play into the white woman’s emotions instead of going “angry black woman”? It says something about you if that is the most unbelievable part of the story.

kierah
kierah
3 years ago
Reply to  yikty

When they go low, we go high.” — Michelle Obama

Earths_Child
Earths_Child
4 years ago

The fact that the guy was open and honest about acknowledging and recognizing that the issue was indeed deeper than the ramekin itself really was heartfelt. There are still people out here who understand and acknowledge that false senses of superiority and racism is indeed still embedded at the root of america itself.…this story made me sad, mad, and happy all at the same time…if only people understood that the way you treat people is only an extension of how you treat yourself, than maybe they would be more cautious. We are all nothing less than an extension of one… Read more »

Nyna J Nickelson
Nyna J Nickelson
4 years ago

this was crazy! I don’t think I would have reacted the way she did after that lady made that first comment, but I think I am going to start employing her tactics.

duckysmother
duckysmother
4 years ago

That bitch probably wanted them to show off in her new open front cupboards as if she knew what she was doing!

newsrants
newsrants
3 years ago

Can I say, wowza? That racist, trailer-trash nut job should have been arrested and not allowed to walk out of the store.

bee
bee
3 years ago

That manager needs to be fired.

Tami Mcinnis
Tami Mcinnis
3 years ago

I just don’t feel like this was about being racist. I think that lady was just a nut and that she would have been outlandish with anyone who had stuff she wanted or anyone in her way of getting what she wanted. She would have called anyone a mean name or made a nasty comment to anyone. Just because she called her black doesn’t mean that she was being racist. If she thought she didn’t know how to use them, she could have thought that for any reason and thought that of any person. She was just being selfish and… Read more »

MG
MG
3 years ago
Reply to  Tami Mcinnis

You may not *feel* that the woman’s actions were born from racism, but in the incident as described, the woman certainly went out of her way to make race an issue. I’ll go a step further to say that the woman attempted to use race a JUSTIFICATION for her actions, because she felt as a white person she was more entitled to those ramekins than “That Black girl [who] doesn’t even know what to use them for…” Now why even make mention of race if it were not an integral part of her argument? She could have easily asserted arguments… Read more »

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[…] the story about ramekins and racism that was going around a while ago? Well, what I witnessed/was part of […]

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