A new store model introduced by Walgreens as a way to reduce theft has already flunked the racism litmus test.
On Tuesday, Walgreens debuted a new design in one downtown Chicago store with only two aisles where customers can grab for themselves. Everything else requires customers to use a kiosk to place an order that will be waiting for them at the counter.
"This redesigned store will have the latest in e-commerce offerings to increase customer service, mitigate theft, and increase safety for our customers and employees,” the company said in an email to one local resident, according to CWBChicago, which labeled the location an “anti-theft” store.
Chicago Resident Claims New Anti-Theft Walgreens Is “Racial Profiling, Why Don’t You Trust Your Customers”
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— Parker (@ucorio) June 2, 2023
“I don’t understand why they had to move everything to the back at just this store. … There’s crime everywhere,” Gunn said. “It’s racial profiling. Why don’t you trust your customers?”
Some Twitter users also said the store's new design was racist.
Chicago has one of the highest black populations in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A Walgreens Chicago store had been looted during the 2020 riots after the death of George Floyd.
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) August 10, 2020
Customer Sirak Goitom told BlockClub Chicago said the downtown store was “confusing to walk through.”
“The way it was set up before, it was easier to move in and out. I don’t think this is good for business. And security can’t be that much better if there’s self-checkout,” he said.
Mu Ergin, a resident of the South Loop area, where the store is located, said the previous layout produced a store that was “dirty, smelly and not properly organized.”
“I’m pretty amazed at how the store looks more clean now. They’re making it smaller so they can control it better. It’s better for me … but I never felt unsafe to start with,” he said.
The concept and its motivation received mixed reviews on Twitter.
Damn straight it’s racial profiling. And a smart move by Walgreens.
— The ghost of Dean Munson (@sandlewoodideas) June 2, 2023
It's corporate speak.
If they told the truth, Mayor BJ would attack them the way Mayor Lightweight attacked retailers who told the truth.
Walgreens should leave. All retailers should leave. They aren't profitable in Chicago *because* of Chicago.
— whoamI (@Jeffislouie) June 2, 2023
2/2 Walgreens in Chicago has to lock up most merchandise in store b/c theft is being allowed by elected officials
People who don't steal have to be inconvenienced to shop just to get their stuff outta lockup
— WakeUP2022 (@WUp2022) June 2, 2023
Let's be honest. It's not "anti-theft"
And while we're at it...kinda seems like Walgreens is being a bit racist with this store layout, don't cha think? 🤔
— Chicago is Toast (@Chicagos_Toast) May 31, 2023
Walgreens told CWBChicago on Thursday that the company was “testing a new experience at this store with new concepts, technologies, and practices to enhance the experiences of our customers and team members.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.