retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that New Jersey authorities have arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly using a phone connected to a Walmart public address system to order all black people to leave the store last Sunday. He had been identified through the use of the store’s security camera system.

According to the story, “The boy, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was charged with bias and intimidation and harassment in connection with the episode last Sunday. If convicted, he could face up to a year in a juvenile detention center, officials said.”

Walmart has apologized for the incident and said that it is making the phones less accessible to the public.

“We’re pleased this matter is resolved,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We again apologize to all of our customers and associates who had to listen to something so offensive.”
KC's View:
I hope this kid’s parents were appalled when they found out what their son did. (If they weren’t ... and if they are more angry at Walmart and authorities than they are at their son ... then we begin to understand what the problem is.)

He’s 16. I hope that Walmart and the authorities use this as a teachable moment. A year in detention strikes me as an absurd sentence for what I agree was a stupid and reprehensible thing to do. There’s got to be a more sophisticated way to deal with this.