SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A downtown Savannah clothing store defended its newly adopted appointment policy that waived a refundable fee for non-white customers.
Civvies on Broughton Street posted the new policy a few days ago after opening by appointment-only last Thursday.
A few days ago, the store posted they’re charging a $20 refundable appointment fee for customers wanting to reserve a spot to come to the store and shop.
The store also said they’re waving that fee for black and indigenous customers, as well as other people of color, and explained why. Civvies explained with a mostly white staff, they don’t feel comfortable upholding a digital and financial barrier which could keep black, indigenous or other people of color from shopping at their store.
Also in that post, the store said if a customer is white and unable to come up with the $20 for an appointment, to select “they don’t agree” on the booking form so the booking manager can reach out and come up with other options.
Civvies went on to say they would not accept appointments with white customers simply refusing because of the ethics of the policy.
Store managers posted again Sunday further defending the appointment policy, saying black, indigenous and other people of color are most likely affected by poverty and COVID-19, and that a refundable deposit would be an additional barrier to their shop.
Civvies said at this time they aren’t aware of any legal precedent showing that it’s discriminatory to waive fees for a portion of the demographic based on reason and actual experience, or that the fee adds limitations for white customers based on their race.
As of Sunday, the store said they haven’t denied an appointment request because of someone refusing to pay the refundable fee, and that there’s been no example where a white person has received racially motivated treatment that prevented them from reserving an appointment.
The owners posted a statement to Facebook Monday, saying in part it was not their intention to act in any way that might be perceived as discriminatory and for that, apologized.
WTOC reached out to the store for additional comment and are waiting to hear back.