A local teacher hopes this video of her experience in a dollar store can be a teachable moment. Madonna Wilburn posted the video online last week and is now calling for change.
What was supposed to be a quick trip to the dollar store for Madonna Wilburn, ended with this — a Dollar General manager accusing her of what he calls “abusing the system.”
Wilburn, a special education teacher in Buffalo, says she was using digital coupons through the store app while in the location on Genesee in Buffalo a week ago.
“I tried to show him on my dollar general app that I had clipped all of the coupons, so they should’ve came off. He told me that I was trying to beat the system, that I was trying to fraud the system,” said Madonna Wilburn.
Wilburn says even though she felt threatened and afraid she waited at least 30 minutes in the parking lot for police, who ended up telling her to call the corporate offices.
The video of their exchange has since gone viral on social media, even inspiring the hashtag #CouponKen and #CouponingwhileBlack.
“Actually, it’s been really depressing. The racist comments more so that people are making, she must be poor because she’s black or she’s couponing because she’s poor, she’s couponing because she’s black,” said Wilburn.
Dollar General has since fired the manager, saying in a statement Wednesday:
“We always strive to deliver the best possible customer service and are disappointed anytime this doesn’t occur. Based on our investigation we believe that certain aspects of this matter including the involvement of law enforcement were not handled in accordance with our policies and expectations.”
As an educator, Wilburn says she hopes people can learn from this incident to help prevent another one.
“This is definitely a teachable moment. Although it’s coupons it’s still about how you respond to a situation,” said Wilburn.
Wilburn’s lawyer tells News 4 he’s calling for legislation — penalties for people who call police on someone for no reason.
Wilburn says Dollar General offered her a $50 gift card. She didn’t take it and says the money doesn’t make up for the employee’s behavior.
Dollar General says it is using this situation to educate and train all employees.