June 29, 2022

A Black man tried to return an item at Hobby Lobby. Then, the white manager picked up the phone (WATCH)

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Despite the overwhelming media coverage of white people calling the police on black people going about their everyday lives, the practice does not seem to be abating– not even a little.


From the Starbucks incident to the Yale incident to the Oakland park barbecue incident, viral videos continue to surface depicting just how difficult it is for Black Americans to go about even the most banal activities in their daily lives without being confronted by police officers.

This newest incident, of course, is no exception.

Yesterday, Brian Spurlock visited Hobby Lobby in Trussville, Alabama to return a Cricut cutting machine for his girlfriend. If there has ever been a less threatening offense, I could not think of it.

Despite the fact that the item was in its original packaging, he had a receipt, and his girlfriend confirmed that it was returnable when she made the purchase, the white employee notified Spurlock that she would have to escalate the request to see if she could go ahead with the return.

“When I gave her [the cashier] the machine, she told me that she needed to check with the manager to see if the item was returnable,” Spurlock told The Root. “The manager said she would have to check with corporate.”

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She picked up the phone, but instead of calling “corporate,” she called the police.

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An officer arrived and asked Spurlock for his ID. He obliged before asking what the purpose of the request was.

“He said: ‘You’re about to be trespassing,’” Spurlock said. “I still didn’t know what was going on. I figured, ‘Okay, some stores do ask for ID when you return things.’”

Of course, the request had nothing to do with the return. The officer then took Spurlock’s ID with him to the patrol car outside.

“I still had no idea what they were doing. But now I realize he was running my name to check for warrants. I still wasn’t worried because I don’t have any,” said Spurlock.

Finding no warrants, the officer returned and suggested Spurlock complete the return and leave the store.

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“I asked the manager how I was trespassing,” Spurlock said. “She said I resembled someone who they had caught returning stolen items.”

I’m assuming the description of the thief was simply “black.”

Ashley Maddox, Spurlock’s girlfriend, eventually arrived and videotaped the moment that her boyfriend was finally granted the refund. When she asked the white employee why she insisted on calling “corporate,” the woman responded, “We were only following orders from our upper management” (video below).

Per Hobby Lobby, it is not policy to call corporate to process returns. How surprising.

Watch the video below:

Brian Tyler Cohen

Managing editor

Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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