How to handle a dispute
I write as a former retail business owner and a current customer of many retail stores. If I have an issue with a store, especially one as serious as the racial profiling that St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin reported, I would not run off to my computer and spread the allegation over so-called social media (of which I believe is neither). Instead, I would request to speak with the manager/owner of the business. I would explain what took place and then allow the management to make the next move. In most cases, as it would have been in any retail store I was ever affiliated with, the manager would take the employee aside and listen to her version. In other words, I would take the situation directly to those who are able to do something about it: educate the employee, fire the employee, change store policy, or simply write the incident off as a disgruntled shopper.
I have no dog in this fight. I am familiar with neither the store nor the deputy mayor, but I do know that running off to tell your tale on Facebook doesn’t get to the root of the issue, whether it was racism or simply a breakdown in communication. What would Ms. Tomalin have done in the days before Facebook?
It could and should have been, initially, handled on site with the management. The result of that meeting would dictate the need of any follow-up. The shortest path to the resolution was the simplest — a one-on-one conversation among people.
Philip Penrose, Gulfport