Video shows reported racial harassment at Capitol Hill QFC

Here is the video of a confrontation between a manager and two black customers inside Capitol Hill’s Harvard Market QFC that, the Seattle Times reports, resulted in the employee’s suspension and an apology from the company.

The posted video begins with the men at the Pike and Broadway store’s self-checkout as they are being told to leave the grocery by the manager and security.

“You’re harassing me. I’m paying for this shit and you’re harassing us,” complains one man in the video. The manager, with the name “Brian” on his employee tag, responds to accusations of racism, telling the men,  “I don’t want you back in my store. It’s private property.”

The Seattle Times reports that QFC President Suzy Monford apologized for Tuesday’s incident — “As president of QFC, I apologize on behalf of our entire team to the customers involved” — and that the manager was being suspended “until we have all the facts.”

The incident comes amid increased efforts around bias training for big companies following Seattle-based Starbucks’s decision to close its thousands of stores for a day of training last month after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia location of the coffee chain.

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71 thoughts on “Video shows reported racial harassment at Capitol Hill QFC

  1. This is not racism….that QFC has to deal with so many drunk, high A.holes out clubbing. I think that store should just close its doors at 6pm Friday and Saturday nights. Probably would save them from a ton of harassment.

  2. I’ve worked my fair share of service industry jobs, and I made it about 90 seconds through that video before I had to turn it off. The guys filming the video sound absolutely insufferable. You want to know why you’re being asked to never return to the store? Because you’re being a bunch of assholes, that’s why. And if there was something that happened before the vid started rolling that caused you to be so angry, just leave. Causing a scene then playing the race card is grade A BS.

  3. My experience with this manager was bad as well. When I asked him why they only open a small handful of the self-check out stations even when the store is busy, he blamed it on the employees union. When I asked him why they closed off the Harvard Street entrance, he blamed the City of Seattle, SPD, and the homeless. My impression was that he shouldn’t be working in this area and wasn’t able to meet the challenges. I actually emailed QFC about my interaction with Brian, but only got a form letter response. Not surprising from a company with a lot of Trump supporters at the helm in their corporate office (and store managers as well, it appears).

    • Why is he an asshole? Homeless pressure on the property is crazy high. Constant shoplifters, constant aggression the homeless. A month ago someone fired a couple rounds INSIDE the store. I feel for the guy. Not an asshole.

    • I work at another unionized grocery store on Capitol Hill and we deal with angry, drunk customers too. It is hard to tell if Brian was doing this primarily because of race or because of their refusal to follow the store’s policy about paying at the deli raised a loss prevention red flag. Brian might have been able to approach this differently and not have it escalate. But there are practices around how many self check out lines you can open based on how many people are working, so Brian isn’t exactly wrong on that. (They could schedule more people or hire more people, but they don’t have to.) However, my store has definitely had an increase in theft and violent/threatening behavior in the past 3 years. Even when we have security and more workers, it can be really scary, especially late at night. The police can’t patrol our store all the time, and we have closed entrances and made other changes at my store too. Honestly, it sucks and I feel torn. I feel super empathetic toward people experiencing homelessness and dealing with drug addiction and mental health issues. But I should feel reasonably safe at work too.

      • I’ve never ever ever ever had to pay for anything at the deli at that QFC or any other QFC. In fact I didn’t even think they had registers at the deli anymore. I have no doubt they were asked to pay at the deli because they were black. The two QFC’s on Broadway have become police states. If you can’t come up with more clever solutions to pilferage than inconveniencing the heck out of your paying customers and making them uncomfortable with uniformed rent-a-cops every 10 feet then you probably just don’t need to be operating a business in an urban center. This guy was clearly a power tripping racist.

      • In 10 years of shopping at this QFC I have NEVER been asked to pay at the point of service for deli items. In fact, there have been at least a couple of times when the deli clerk was visibly irritated when I ASKED to pay there rather than waiting in the main checkout line. This really does appear to be a case of racial profiling, regardless of how those customers behaved after-the-fact. Some Starbucks-style unconscious-bias training is clearly called for here.

    • @Pete…..why do you think the manager’s explanations were untrue? They are entirely believeable. The Broadway Market QFC also had to close off the NW entrance because of theft through that door, and homeless camping/panhandling there.

  4. This is STRAIGHT UP SILLY. All kinds of people shop and work at Capitol Hill QFC. Lots of black employees and black security people work there. I followed the link to read the entire Seattle Times article and it says the issue was that they ordered deli made sandwiches and refused to pay for them at the counter. Lots of store have this rule of paying seperately right at the counter for deli stuff. When I shop at Whole Foods and Safeway same thing happens. Certainly uncomfortable or annoying for those customers but makes sense that store manager would start checking on them after they refused to pay. If I have a big backpack or rolling cart to carry heavy items I get a lot of looks from security when I’m at the Capitol Hill QFC and I don’t like it either. But I definitely don’t think this is about skin color.

    • I have shopped at this QFC’s deli many times and have never been asked to pay at the counter (I am not black) and neither have a couple white friends I just spoke to. The fact that there are black employees and security people who work at QFC does not mean that the employees in this video were not acting in a way that is racially biased. Why don’t you think that racism was a primary reason that these young men were followed around? Why else would they be told not to return to the store when they didn’t do anything wrong? People of color know when they are experiencing racism. Believe black folks when they describe their own experiences.

      • “Why don’t you think that racism was a primary reason that these young men were followed around? Why else would they be told not to return to the store when they didn’t do anything wrong?”

        Why are you so sure it was? Why are you so sure you know the whole story based on this video? How do you know they didn’t do anything wrong? Just because of what you see on the video? Everybody’s making pronouncements that it was or wasn’t racism, when you don’t know if there was or wasn’t other bahavior before what’s recorded here, or before refusing to pay at the deli (whatever kind of excuse that is). Were they being loud and disruptive and drunk and crude before the deli? Is that why they were asked to pay at the deli, when it’s not even a store policy? I just don’t get why people insist on making pronouncements one way or the other when they weren’t there to see what else may have happened (if anything).

      • Yeah, let’s just believe everyone’s “lived experience.” Well, not everyone’s. Just people of colors. Oh, and women. Especially women of colors. But let’s end the belief right there.

  5. I totally believe that black people are discriminated against in our society. That being said, this clearly wasn’t a case of discrimination. I shop at the QFC all the time and people are always getting thrown out for being disruptive. It’s not a public property. It’s a private establishment. If you went to a nice restaurant and were cursing and causing a scene and making others uncomfortable, they would ask you to calmly leave. There’s no video leading up to this incident, but clearly they already refused to pay with one employee. The journalist was also extremely manipulative right off the bat, trying to compare this to the Starbucks incident, which was clearly discrimination. The guy from the incident also has a past of disruptive and destructive behavior. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/garbagetruck-joyfride/

    • But its not a nice restaurant, its a grocery store. And the causing a scene is what? them swearing? filming the manager? asking why they were being followed? Sounds like “causing a scene and making others uncomfortable” just means sticking up for themselves when they were experiencing racial profiling. When young black men realize they’re being treated differently than white customers (who are never asked to pay at the counter for sandwiches), are they just not supposed to react?I also think what this young person did 2 years ago with the garbage truck is not really relevant to this situation.

      • I shop at that store and see white men asked to leave just like that all the time. Every single week. There are always employees watching people at the u-scan check out. The video confronts the manager asking why he was watching him check out. Because it’s their job at the store to watch people check out. The manager didn’t call the cops. He only asked him to leave once he started cursing and filming him. How is that racism? Also, a private property is a private property. You have to not be disruptive. If you are disruptive you will be asked to leave. He asked someone being disruptive to leave. I have never seen him ask a black person to leave his store, but have seen him ask at least 25 white people over the last 2 years to leave.

  6. NOT racism. This video is painful to watch, since the customers are insufferable. The bigger issue is this detracts from true racism and dilutes ourconversation. please jseattle, filter these race baiting stories out.

  7. Reading these comments really upsets me. Seattleites are so quick to assume racism isn’t real, or doesn’t happen here. Why don’t white folks trust Black people’s experiences? Yes, the young men in this video are upset. That is because it upsetting to be followed around a store, or asked to pay at a deli counter when no one else has to. This is real, everyday Seattle racism and it pains me that it seems to be invisible to my neighbors.

    • If only people of color are asked to pay for sandwiches at the deli counter, that would be a HUGE story. You seem to state that this practice is a fact. What’s your basis for that? Might be so, but unlikely.

      A story about belligerent drunk people being thrown out of a Capitol Hill grocery is not much of a story.

      Just voicing a different perspective.

      • If you look at the youtube video, you’ll see a comment from a white woman who was at the store at the same time (and can be seen checking out in the background of the video), and she and her friend got deli sandwiches and were not asked to pay there. I am a non-black person of color, and I’ve never been asked to pay at the deli. Neither has my white partner (we live near and shop in this QFC regularly). I believe requiring customers to pay at the deli is a rarely enforced QFC policy, and its fairly common for rarely enforced and facially neutral policies to be unevenly applied, because we live in a world where everyone has biases. I think it seems especially likely in this case, because the young Black men in this video and the white folks also checking out deli sandwiches must have been at the deli within minutes of one another. The white people were given their sandwiches and went to self checkout. The black people were asked to pay at the deli counter, and when they said they would pay at self checkout, they were followed and watched. What other explanation is there for this disparate treatment?

    • Isn’t it possible that they were being loud/disruptive/obnoxious at the deli counter, and that they were asked to pay there because of their behavior and the risk that they would leave the store without paying? Requiring them to pay at the self-checkout kiosk would ensure that they paid for their items, because an employee and/or security and/or the manager would be watching them.

  8. From the video it sounded like until “stoned out of your mind” is considered to be a protected class, there wasn’t discrimination going on there…

  9. I wasn’t there, I don’t know exactly what happened, but odds are this was likely racial bias.

    I’m not surprised I’m in the minority on the comments here, this is the PNW after all.

  10. I just bot back home from buying cherries and wine from Capitol Hill QFC on 15th. The guy stood right behind me the entire time staring at me. Made me feel wierd but not necessarily made me feel like screaming and cussing and getting out my phone to record him. I assume it was him doing his job and not because I was wearing sweatpants today.

    • I shop at qfc on 15th daily and never had any problems – great bunch of people, Broadway seems like a hard place to run a grocery business….

      • I’m sure it’s a hard place to run a grocery business. But let’s remember: no one put a gun to OFC’s head and ordered it to mount a hostile takeover of a retail space that a locally-owned grocery was all set to move into. If this QFC can’t achieve a satisfactory level of security and loss prevention without becoming racially oppressive, maybe they should re-evaluate whether that location is a good fit for them. Just a thought.

  11. I work in a similar job so keeping an eye out for customers who need help with checking out especially if they are being disruptive is part of the managers role. Grocery stores are a family environment and people who are swearing or aggressive usually are encouraged to get their things and go. This customer did everything he could to make this into a situation. It didnt need to be. Manager was not out of line and this store obviously gets this kind of beligerance daily reflected in other posts

  12. I have had similar unfriendly experiences at the Broadway Market QFC with a tall fellow who wheres glasses and you ask wim a question that you think he would have an answer to since he has worked in produce for a long time and he is just very unfriendly and not helpful .

    • That surprises me. I’ve never once seen a QFC (or any other supermarket) manager ask anyone if the dog they’re dragging through the store is a service animal. They certainly ought to, but in my experience it just doesn’t happen.

      • I’m calling BS. I’m in this store at least once a day. I always see a handful of people with their (obviously NOT service) dogs and NEVER have I seen staff or security addressing the issue. In fact, about once a month I see fresh dog crap on the floor. So appetizing to shop for your vegetables and step in fresh poo.

    • Well, is your dog actually a legitimate service animal and not just an “emotional support” animal which does not qualify under the ADA? The vast majority of dogs in grocery stores…especially the Broadway Market QFC….are not real service animals, and the managers just turn a blind eye to the problem.

      • Fun fact: I’ve spoken with one of the managers at the other QFC about the dog-infestation issues, when there are clearly posted signs at every entrance. He apologized and told me that it is actually against the law for them to request proof that a dog is a legitimate service animal (as opposed to a support animal, which you correctly pointed out does not qualify for ADA consideration), so they rely on the common decency and courtesy of their customers to honestly follow store policy. So, that’s why you have dog fur in your produce.

      • John, yes, you are correct that they cannot require proof….but they can legally ask this question: ” Is your dog trained to do a specific task for you?” If the answer is “no” (unlikely, because people lie), then the manager can give them the boot. But managers choose not to confront at all, even though it is their job.

      • The QFC manager John talked to is being disingenuous. There is no law that prevents him from simply asking everyone who brings in a dog “Is that a service animal?” If the customer says yes (truthfully or not), AND the dog is well-behaved in the manner of trained service animals, end of conversation. At least this practice would put liars on the spot in public, and might make some of them think twice before bringing their dog in again. This should be a routine, universal practice.

      • Don’t forget that the owner of any animal that is not well behaved – even if it is an actual trained service animal, may be legally asked to take that animal out of a store.

        Store managers/workers absolutely ignore pets in the store all of the time… Just not worth the public freak outs that would ensue, I guess. I see animals that are clearly pets in the Safeway all of the time.. TJ’s must actually ask at the door – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog in there.

    • After getting clotheslined by a pet on a leash and I asked “Why is your pet in here anyways” within earshot of a manager, he said as the dog owner scowled and walked away “The sad thing is we aren’t allowed to say anything to them.”

      Dog people do what they want, to hell with health code. But heaven forbid they aren’t allowed to have their shitbeast go everywhere with them…you won’t hear the end of it.

      • As has been pointed out, store managers are just plain lying when they say that they aren’t allowed to say anything to dog owners. They are just being cowardly.

  13. Usually I think any news coverage that sparks conversations about racisim is good. I agree with the statement that racism is alive and well however this video shows a boy that be acting a fool in our capitol hill community. Personally If I were that store manager I would claim elder abuse and unsafe work space. All he is doing is trying to keep the store peace by asking the beligerent customer to not return. I appreciated reading the article that Teresa posted about the same kid featured in this video which is obviously completely relevant cuz he has a criminal history that includes endangering others and intentionally causing $200,000 in property damage. I’m 100% supportive of recording all events but in his case with his behavior he is dismissive of others that have truly been discriminated against.

  14. The title here is overly inflammatory. The linked article is much more balanced. There isn’t enough here to show racism or lack of racism.

  15. I was at this exact QFC one evening when one of the QFC staff was on the PA system singling out a young African American gentleman who was shopping. He was following him on the cameras and over the PA warning staff to watch him to see if he stole anything. The other staff in the store were laughing and going about their work. Meanwhile the gentleman finished his shopping and paid at the register. The QFC staff’s behavior was unconscionable.

    • This is a completely made up story, there’s no way you could have known the staff was following him on camera, and the idea of using the PA system to tell security to follow someone (instead of their comms link) is laughable.

  16. This has nothing to do with racism, now that manager and qfc look bad, those thief’s just brought racism to where it didn’t even exist. Work in a grocery store, In Seattle, for 1 week and you will encounter many volunteer victims.

  17. SEATTLE ENTITLEMENT, AT ITS BEST. Raise any question? You’re a racist. Or a homophobe. I’m a gay man, in an interrational relationship. My partner is black and agrees this card is being played POORLY. STOP BLAMING RACE ON BEING AN ASSHOLE. WHAT A COP OUT.

      • This comment proves that Seattleites who use the term “white supremacy” are intellectually lazy and sheltered. Want to see the “apparatus (sp.) of white supremacy”? Come with me to where I’m from: eastern Kentucky. I can introduce you to some people.

  18. https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/garbagetruck-joyfride/

    Fair and unbalanced, absurd. The title of the article is slanderous and misleading. If ST included a link to this video from the alleged incident maybe they should have included the above link, it’s their story? Being condemned publicly for racial harrasment while doing your job when the only evendience is being Caucasian is by definition racism. If kids or elders were around listening to curse words being used loosely, you would appreciate a store employee doing his job and politely asking them to depart. It’s sad injustice to need racism and bigotry to drive traffic to your media content, absolutely insufferable. It so sad to watch journalism dying.

  19. Certainly feels like these folks wanted an altercation and got one.

    And I can’t really speak to whether or not the manager is racist, but I can certainly say being the manager of that QFC is an unenviable job.

  20. Are you kidding me! The manager totally did the right thing! Wow just wow that we are rewarding this type of behavior. What is wrong with you QFC!!!

  21. This type of treatment is one of my reasons for no longer wanting to do app service like Uber Eats, Postmates and Amazon Restaurants. I am not bending or kissing up to anyone in order to pickup food and deliver2it to some other non tipping racist butt head. Typos are because of my large fingers. Big black man syndrome, Getting tired also of being asked if my food is to go as soon as I walk in a place because I would like to sit down and enjoy a meal the same as the other diners are doing. This shit is old and getting uglier by the day! No one pulls ” the race card ” it is pulled on me when I walk through the door! 5’11” 275′ 63,5 years old slow moving Black man who enjoys comfortable dining like anyone else, also I have giving over 6000 uber and lyft rides and maintain 4.9 star rating because I simply be myself and treat others as I would like to be treated at first glance. Tired of the B.S. that Donald Trump has fostered brought back to the front page of main stream society world wide, never mind America .

  22. I am saddened by the amount of racist comments demonstrating white privilege and unconscious biases. I am glad to no longer be supporting this QFC or surrounding myself with those that shop/support this store.

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