Damon and David Harvey , two cousins, went into a Buy Buy Baby retail store in Garden City, N.Y., to purchase some big-ticket items for a relative’s baby shower.
When a cashier totaled up their purchases, which came to $1,173, their money was allegedly refused and deemed counterfeit. Now the men have reported their experience to the Division of Human Rights (DHR), who will argue their case of alleged discrimination before a judge, according to NBC New York.
Damon and David went to the all-things-baby mecca to buy a crib, stroller and car seat for their cousin’s baby girl.When David and Damon approached the register and the amount for their items totaled over $1,100, they decided to pay with cash. Upon handing over the mostly $100 bills to the cashier, she examined them and informed the men that larger denominations have to be inspected by her supervisor.
When the cashier returned to her station, she allegedly told Damon and David that she could not accept their money and asked for another form of payment.
The duo also allege that the cashier and store manager accused them of using counterfeit money to pay for the items. The store manager reportedly told them that their money was “not real” and “didn’t meet certain requirements.” The unnamed supervisor then threatened to call police on David and Damon, who refused to budge from their spot and even welcomed the idea of summoning them.
When police arrived at the store and reviewed the men’s money, they surmised that the cash was valid. However, after the officers left, the supervisor still would not allow the men to purchase the items they had selected.
A store video captured some of the goings-on between the men and store employees. There is an employee who is overheard narrating the video, who also uses the term “counterfeit” when referring to the men’s money.
Even though David and Damon’s case is in the hands of the DHR, the men are still considering hiring an attorney to pursue a civil suit against the baby retailer. “I just don’t want anyone to experience what we did that day — it’s a terrible, terrible feeling,” Damon lamented to NBC New York.
A Buy Buy Baby spokesperson, Jessica Joyce, told NBC New York that the retailer was just exercising caution and that no racist practice was involved at all. Apparently, there were some counterfeit bills being distributed in the area at the time David and Damon had shopped at the store.
“Our associates were following specific company policies which were implemented to detect and deter sophisticated counterfeit currency techniques that pass highlighter tests,” said Joyce. The store’s spokesperson is also certain that once the state inquiry is done, the evidence will prove that prejudice was not involved with regards to the men.
Meanwhile Damon and David, who referred to their shopping experience as “humiliating,” sent another cousin back to Buy Buy Bay with a debit card to make the purchases for them. No matter how their case against the store turns out, the men claim the experience is one that is forever burned into their memories.