A New Orleans Family Dollar cashier is in the national spotlight after she refused to serve a lesbian customer on April 22, and the incident was caught on cell phone video. According to Melissa Langford, the reason that the cashier knew about her sexual orientation is because she’d overheard the cashier loudly defaming gay people and eventually spoke up because she “couldn’t take it anymore.”
Melissa posted the entirety of her unbelievable experience with the Family Dollar cashier to her social media account, and the video quickly went viral. In the video, you can see the Family Dollar cashier refusing to ring up Melissa’s purchase. Ultimately, another customer at the store comes to Melissa Langford’s defense, and obscenities are exchanged between male “good Samaritan” and the female cashier. Here is partial, edited, version of the Family Dollar incident. The unedited video can be found in its entirety on YouTube.
The openly-gay Langford says that her Family Dollar experience only got worse after she was brave enough to speak up about her own sexuality in the face of the cashier’s alleged gay bashing diatribe. As WBRZ reports, not only did the Family Dollar cashier refuse to serve Melissa, she also refused to serve the customer that had come to her defense during the exchange of words. In the video, the Family Dollar cashier can be heard saying, “I’m not serving them two.”
“She won’t serve me because I’m gay and because he doesn’t like anti-gay people.”
A shouting match took place between the Family Dollar cashier and Melissa’s defender. Ultimately, another Family Dollar cashier rang up her purchases, but Melissa Langford says that the “damage has been done.” Despite the Family Dollar location being her “go to” shopping destination for knick-knacks and similar items, she’s vowed never to return to the store that allowed its employee to exercise such blatant discrimination with impunity.
According to Langford, she reported the incident of discrimination that she’d been confronted with to the Family Dollar manager, but to no avail.
“I think everybody’s entitled to think what they want, but as a representative of a company, like a national chain, it’s completely inappropriate and a blatant disregard for other people’s feelings.”
Media outlets contact the on-duty manager at the Family Dollar store on Sunday with some questions regarding the anti-gay discrimination Melissa claimed to have experienced. That manager, however, denied any knowledge of the incident.
It was because of the lack of response to her report of discrimination that Langford decided to take her story and video to social media to get the word out.
“Just gets it put out into the air that us gay people are gonna stick together.”
According to the Family Dollar cashier’s victim, as of Sunday, she had yet to receive any kind of a response from Family Dollar corporate. She claims that all she is looking for is a simply apology and for someone “higher up the chain of command [at Family Dollar]” to take responsibility for and acknowledge her experience, which is evidenced by the video that’s being shared all over social media.
@huffpostqueer Did the lesbian serve up some legal advice and a knuckle sandwich for good measure?— Mic (@MykelBeyotch) April 25, 2016
@TheRoot Aweful how would she have felt if someone denied her service?— MyHealthCoach (@myhealthcoach1) April 25, 2016
The Times Picayune reports that Family Dollar corporate finally issued a response to the allegations on Monday, April 25. The chain issued an email detailing its company policy against discrimination and going on to say that the incident is “under investigation.”
“We take incidents like this very seriously. We have a Code of Ethics in place that ensures inclusion for customers and associates and helps to ensure good customer care.
“The code specifically forbids unprofessional conduct and comments on sexual orientation, among other matters. Any activity that goes against this code is simply not how we expect our stores to do business. This situation is currently under investigation.”
Interestingly, Family Dollar is based in North Carolina, a state that recently passed some of the most controversial and extreme anti-LGBT legislation in the United States and which is currently dealing with an ever-growing boycott as a result.
There has been no word from Langford as to whether or not she finds Family Dollar’s canned public relations response to her situation to be a sufficient apology or acknowledgement of what she went through at their establishment. She did, however, take to her Facebook page to announce that she’s organizing a “peaceful protest” to take place on Wednesday outside of the Family Dollar location where she experienced discrimination based on her sexual orientation.
“Everyone is welcome. All I ask is that there is no yelling, or bad energy. We don’t even need signs. We can just blast some Cher and make out.”
What do you think? Does Family Dollar owe Melissa Langford a public apology? Should the cashier who refused to serve her based on her sexual orientation be fired? Or, was the Family Dollar cashier within her rights to refuse to do her job because her customer was openly gay?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]