LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Perris mother is taking legal action over what she claims is discrimination against African-Americans by Walmart over their policy of locking up certain products.

Essie Grundy told reporters at a news conference Friday she has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant after asking for assistance to buy a 49-cent comb, which was among several products secured in a glass casing at the Perris store.


“I originally got the product from the Walmart in Riverside…and it was such a good product, I wanted to introduce it to my older children,” said Grundy. “They didn’t have anymore at the original Walmart that I got it from, so I went to my neighborhood one, and that’s when I noticed all of the African-American products was locked up under lock and key.”

According to Grundy, she was “shocked” by the policy and asked a store manager to have it changed, but was refused.

Similar complaints have been made in the past by groups such as Making Change At Walmart, which calls the policy a “discriminatory practice”.

Several videos posted to social media have taken aim at similar policies in other retail stores.

In addition to an apology, Grundy’s attorney Gloria Allred said they’re hoping to have a court injunction to halt Walmart’s practice of locking up products.

Walmart has previously responded to such claims – which they say are “false and offensive” – by pointing out some products are more frequently targeted by shoplifters, including baby formula and razors.

In a statement, Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said while the company does not discriminate, it will review
Grundy’s complaint.

He noted that some products are locked or kept under tighter security, suggesting they
are more at risk of theft.

“We’re sensitive to this situation and also understand, like other retailers, that some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products are subject to additional security,” he said.
“Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting
the need for heightened measures.

“While we’ve yet to review a complaint, we take this situation seriously and look forward to addressing it with the court.”

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

Comments (78)
  1. The offensive black customer is the one who’s racial profiling, not Walmart. They are loss prevention measures. No matter what gets stolen often, the items should be locked up. All this identity politics & self-victimization BS needs to STOP!

  2. She will LOSE. Classic WEAK black activism attempt to change laws that keep people from STEALING those products. STOP stealing, and people won’t be forced to keep the product safe until S O L D !!! Gloria Allred is the WORST. ZERO DAMAGES = Get the Fu*k out of here.

  3. I so agree about the comment about Gloria Allred. Also it’s getting so no one can protect thier products from being ripped off. It has nothing to do with race it’s about theft prevention.

  4. They also lock up baby formula, high end alcohol, condoms, razors and female hygiene products, to name a few.

  5. As a African American this has to be the dumbest story ever. Even certain Ralph’s has started putting liquor in locked cases in some of their stores and not in others.


    Shrinkage is what it is called in the retail business. And ANY store can calculate shrinkage knowing which products are stolen on the shelves more than others. So the lock them up.

    What are they supposed to do? Keep getting those products stolen?

    And then Gloria Nutjob gets involved in this story? This is not discrimination this is ensuring their products don’t get stolen. Maybe Essie should ask the folks at her “neighborhood” store to stop stealing those products.

  6. Tom Brannon says:

    Its because that’s what get stolen the most…you think they should take a loss to protect your fragile feelings? Grow up. They have printer ink locked up…is that racist too?

  7. I am sorry that this women feels it’s again her race, that is not the case at all. If you go into some area’s in LA, OC, San Bernardino so forth you should see what is locked up in stores. Remember they are just protecting their income because of the few who steal, it could be white, black, brown all color. Go to a swap meet and see when they have a raid! They are stealing this stuff somewhere!! Gloria why do you want to continue to start problems where there are none. So sad, when they started to lock up diapers I did think OMG it’s because of a certain race. My mind told me it was a high thief item.

  8. Walmart locks up Advantage flea treatmant too. Should I file a discrimination suit for my cats? FFS. The victim/race/gender etc. etc. etc. card has been OVERPLAYED. STOP already.

  9. Pat Rogers says:

    Ya know, the media should do a little more research, and they should remain silent on stories like this. The woman is obviously a racist, and pulling her Black card, but the media makes it worse.

  10. aafree2 says:

    Fake News!!! Im white and last week at my Wallmart, I had to be assisted by an employee to buy a 2 pack of emery boards; a dollar and change. At this particular wallmart, expensive hair care, skin products, makeup for all skin tones etc. are all locked up. Its a hassle to find an employee but I never took it personal nor thought about complaining. Common sense told why they were the were doing it.

  11. Tom Davis says:

    My local grocery store has started locking up Tide Pods and other pod detergents. Are they discriminating against stupid teenagers or just interfering with Natural Selection?

    Gloria Allred – Queen of Jackpot Justice

  12. Jim Lovett says:

    Will someone please start a suit against this woman?? Count me in.

  13. Everyone knows why this is being done. Only a truly corrupt lawyer like Gloria Allred would get involved.

  14. Chris Palmer says:

    they’s steal anything that ain’ts nailed down!

  15. Jim Davidson says:

    It’s called “theft prevent.” The business, in this case Walmart, evaluates their largest losses secures the products. Nothing racist about it.biggest. If I was Walmart and lost the lawsuit I would pull all black products from the shelf. She can go someplace else to do her shopping.

  16. Arlen Cooper says:

    Please take a stick to her dumb ass & beat some sense into that nappy head. Gloria’s first then the picaninny.

    1. aafree2 says:

      Arlen, You may rethink comments like that. There offensive and not helpful at all.

  17. zombietimeshare says:

    No problem. Chip all the products and actively prosecute all thefts. I expect that will be the next thing to complain about.

  18. And around here in Montana where there are only a few dozen African Americans, but lots of whites, the black products are not locked up and the stuff that the teenagers dare each other to steal ARE. So they’re discriminating against whites? Every year after inventory the store decides which items must be locked up. Employees here do the same thing, walking nicotine products, razors, Plan B, etc. to the register. So many cosmetics were stolen they put all of them in one corner and put a cash register in front of them. Apparently Grundy doesn’t believe retailers have the right to protect themselves against thieves.

  19. Since they can’t lock it up because of THEFT, then STOP selling it, that will fix them !!! Why take the loss because the THEFT is higher than what you sell!!!