CVS and Walgreens Will Finally Stop Locking Up This One Product

The two national drug store giants have responded to complaints that this practice was discriminatory.

Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, America has been experiencing a national reckoning on race. While some major changes have been made on legislative and judicial levels, major companies are also looking to rectify wrongs they've been perpetuating, too. Now, on the heels of Walmart's decision to no longer keep beauty products aimed at Black customers behind locked cases, national drug store giants CVS and Walgreens are also following suit.

"We are currently ensuring multicultural hair care and beauty products are not stored behind locked cases at any of our stores," Walgreens said in an emailed statement to the Associated Press late Thursday.

The AP notes that retailers are rethinking their merchandising strategies by trying to undo discriminatory policies, while also realizing "they can't afford to turn off multicultural customers who are big spenders of beauty products." According to the AP's reporting, "CVS noted that it's grown its textured hair and cosmetics area by 35 percent over the past year, and many of those brands are Black-owned businesses."

shampoo on shelves at drug store

Walgreens' and CVS's decisions to end this discriminatory practice come after a similar announcement made by Walmart on Wednesday. In an emailed statement, a Walmart spokesman said: "As a retailer serving millions of customers every day from diverse backgrounds, Walmart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind." The spokesman noted that, like other retailers, Walmart locked up certain items at a limited number of locations to "deter shoplifters from some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics, and other personal care products."

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Walmart's announcement came just days after Lauren Epps, a Black customer in Colorado, made headlines when she noticed her Walmart in Denver only locked up multicultural hair products behind glass. "If I want Suave or Tresemme or Pantene, it's out. The multicultural hair care is all locked behind the glass," Epps told her local CBS News affiliate. "People don't realize what we have to go through on a daily basis."

Two years ago, Essie Grundy, a Black woman in California, sued Walmart in federal court for discrimination over the practice. She said she felt humiliated after having to ask a store employee to unlock the beauty products case on three separate visits, including to buy a comb that cost $0.48. "I would like the glass to go down, and for things to go back to the way it was, where it's not segregated and everything is where everyone can get what they need," she said at a press conference in 2018.

Walgreens and CVS following Walmart on ending this practice may signal other retail outlets to follow as well. And for more action that's been taken, check out 6 Celebrities Who Were Fired After Being Accused of Racism.


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