The Kroger Co. has “taken steps” to avoid future incidents like those in Texas and Louisiana, where customers wearing pro-law enforcement T-shirts were reportedly refused service by cashiers who said the garb offended them.
According to local media reports, the customer in Spring, the wife of a police officer, was wearing a “Police Lives Matter/All Lives Matter” shirt when a cashier refused to ring up her groceries, saying she was offended by the shirt. A similar incident in Louisiana involved an off-duty officer wearing a pro-police T-shirt.
“We’ve taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again – and we are reminding associates that is our responsibility to honor our company values of diversity and inclusion and treating our customers with integrity and respect in every interaction, every day. Our goal is always to create a welcoming, hospitable environment for all customers,” Kroger said in a statement.
The Blue Bow Foundation, a Houston-area nonprofit police support group, dropped its link to Kroger’s rewards program after the incidents, CBJ reported. “We do not condone and cannot support an organization that refuses to immediately and unequivocally stand up for officers, their families or anyone who supports them,” the foundation said on its website.
Kroger Honors Police
It its statement, Kroger said it was “disappointed and sorry to hear about the incidents” and was “especially saddened by how this incident reflects on the 431,000 Kroger associates who work hard to serve every customer in communities all across America. We want our customers, associates and the law enforcement community to know how deeply we appreciate and honor our police officers and the other first responders who put their lives on the line to keep us safe every day.”
Kroger, which reports having “great working relationships” with local police departments, noted that its stores “have a history of supporting police charitable and community events, including programs such as Kids Night Out and Shop with a Cop. And when tragedy strikes a local department, our associates and stores stand ready to assist with in-kind support and comfort. At the national level, we’ve supported the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Our family of companies gives more than $50,000 annually to support local police organizations in these various ways.”
Noting that the company does not discuss personnel matters, Kroger did not disclose whether the associates involved has been fired or disciplined.
Cincinnati-based Kroger operates 2,781 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia.