A shopping trip to Dollar General went south for a Buffalo, N.Y. woman who says a cashier called police on her for using store coupons, accusing her of “trying to take advantage of the system.”
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, schoolteacher Madonna Burke was trying to buy $30 worth of groceries last Wednesday using digital coupons. That’s when she said the cashier, identified as Ken Dudek, grew frustrated and blew up on her. She captured their tense exchange in a video uploaded to Facebook.
“… The manager at Dollar General on Genesee Street in Buffalo New York felt he needed to call the police on a ‘Black woman’ — ME who was taking advantage of the coupon system,” Wilburn wrote on her page. “I had no coupons in my hand, and they are all digital coupons on their app.”
Wilburn explained that one of the coupons promised $5 back when she spent $30 on Gain Scents products, while the others ranged from $0.50 to $2 off the other items she purchased.
“[Dudek] could not figure it out,” she continued. “Told me he hate people like me, told me to shut up, and more. I eventually pulled out my phone….and started recording to protect myself against his nasty attitude in case anything happened. Now him and his wife inboxing me.”
A 3-minute clip of the incident shows Dudek refusing to honor the woman’s store coupons, saying, “Just trying to take advantage of the system is what you’re doing, and I don’t have to do it if I don’t want to.”
“But you just said you don’t like people like me?,” Wilburn replies.
Dudek denies her statement and grows visibly frustrated with Wilburn. The special education teacher was reportedly trying to “stack” her manufacturer coupons with digital coupons on the app in an effort to maximize her savings.
“You’ve already gotten $15 off of these products, and you’re trying to play games with the digital coupons and it’s not going to work,” he says in the video. “We’re done — I’m giving you my boss’s number. She can fix it from here, OK?”
Dudek frantically scribbles a number on a piece of paper before handing it to Wilburn, saying he was fed up with her “nonsense” and “attitude.” After realizing his antics are being filmed, the cashier tells Wilburn she doesn’t have permission to film him and calls a manager named Felicia to have her call the police.
“I have a customer who is being difficult and taping us without permission,” he says into the phone. “And I’d like you to dispatch the police if possible. Black female, green shirt, blue shirt.”
The encounter is the latest in a string of high-profile instances of police being called on African-Americans by white people. Just last week, a CVS manager dialed the cops on a Black woman falsely accused of using a “fraudulent” paper coupon.
Wilburn waited outside for a police officer, who suggested she call the company’s corporate office, Yahoo Lifestyle reported. No action was taken against her. After the incident, Wilburn said two of Dudek’s relatives reached out to her on Facebook. She also said Dudek threatened to contact his attorney if she didn’t remove video of the incident from Facebook.
Wilburn said the entire ordeal left her feeling “attacked.”
“It’s embarrassing, people are looking at you as if you’re scheming, like you’re some type of thief or something,” she told The Buffalo News. ” … “That attacked so many different parts of me because I’m a female, I’m a black female, I’m a couponer. So, what do you hate?”
Dollar General issued a statement on the matter and said the incident is under investigation:
“Dollar General is committed to helping American families stretch their budgets. As part of that commitment, we encourage customers to utilize both digital and manufacturer coupons to help them save money off our everyday low prices. We always strive to deliver the best possible customer service and we are disappointed when this does not occur. We take matters like this very seriously and are fully investigating the incident.”