Walmart has a huge shoplifting problem. Shoppers are walking off with black hair care products without paying for them. One Los Angeles store is combating the theft problem by locking up black hair care products in a glass cabinet.
But one shopper is crying foul. Essie Grundy says she is being discriminated against based on the color of her skin. She retained celebrity attorney Gloria Allred to represent her in a discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant.
Grundy claims she was discriminated against at a Walmart location in Perris, Calif. on Jan. 12.
The single mother of five says she is offended that only black hair care products are locked behind glass.
"It was something I had to stand up for," she said. "I would like the glass to go down, and for things to go back to the way it was, where it's not segregated and everything is where everyone can get what they need."
Grundy said she inquired about the products and she was told by an employee that she would have to make a purchase before she could have the item.
She said she felt like a "criminal", as other shoppers noticed her being escorted to the cashier to pay for a $0.48 comb before she could hold it.
Grundy said she wondered why she wasn't allowed to hold such an inexpensive item.
Walmart replied to NBC Los Angeles with a statement, saying: "We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store."
The retail giant added:
"We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. While we’ve yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court."