To Mr. Finley and our online and NYC communities -
I am sorry for what happened this past week. I am the owner of Laina Jane Lingerie. We are a local business and owe our livelihood to all members of our community - regardless of their race. The clerk at the store when this incident occurred feels terrible and has been let go. I myself am a minority and have had first-hand experiences with the horrible stain of racism.
I've already messaged with Mr. Finley and we are trying to find a time to speak. Even now his generosity in time and attention is above and beyond what is necessary for what happened at our location.
For those of you still reading, below is some additional detail around what happened:
We are a small shop. Normally I am in the store from open until close and am the only full-time employee. Occasionally, during the holidays, we take on seasonal help. The clerk had no retail experience and is new to this country.
A few days prior to Mr. Finley's visit I had been with the clerk in the store when a group of young men came in and began to engage in behavior we've been told can be considered "casing" the location for possible theft. When we did not have sufficient cash to break a very large bill for very small purchase, the young men became verbally aggressive, one even muttering "Let's just take it" and finally once they were on their way out "We'll be back".
On the 29th I took a few hours off after the busy holiday season and left the clerk alone. Women and couples tend to be the great majority of store visitors. Individual men certainly come in, but usually before the holidays. Groups of men rarely visit together. When an individual man reappeared at the door, the clerk alone, after the holidays and the earlier unsettling incident, she became scared. From there you know the rest of the story.
All except for her absolute heartache at what was actually taking place and own continual reconsideration of the situation - even before she had been let go.
Needless to say, any future employee will be receiving adding additional training and scenario testing around what to do in situations such as these. As well, if we're ever in doubt as to the ability of an employee to deliver only the best results we'll take steps to ensure a situation like this doesn't present itself again.
As always, our doors and phones are open to any community members that would like to speak with us directly on this matter.
Laina Hon, Owner of Laina Jane Lingerie