Racism Alarm: Manipur woman only one frisked at IKEA Hyderabad

Akoijam was one of the many who bought from IKEA today but perhaps she's the only one whose purchased items were checked one by one.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  28 Aug 2022 12:53 PM GMT
Racism Alarm: Manipur woman only one frisked at IKEA Hyderabad

When Akoijam Sunita from Manipur landed in Hyderabad, she was very excited to visit IKEA on Sunday. She was a tourist and picked up small vases, cutlery, and a few other small items.

Akoijam was one of the many who bought from IKEA today but perhaps she's the only one whose purchased items were checked one by one.

Akoijam and her husband began self-scanning all the items and billed them. Before exiting the billing counter, Akoijam handed over the bill to an IKEA staff member like everyone else.

Their much-enjoyable IKEA visit came to an end when the IKEA staff began specifically checking all the items in her shopping bag after billing.

"Each and every item was pulled out of the shopping bag and checked if everything was in tandem with the bill," Akoijam told NewsMeter.

"It was quite humiliating. There were multiple people ahead of us and at other counters and I don't think that they were also being checked the same way," she said.

When Akoijam's husband asked the staff why only she was being 'frisked for the items she bought', the staff rudely answered that they check everyone.

"They said that this checking each item one by one was something they do every time," Akoijam said.

Akoijam explained that the senior staff was not helpful at all. "When we requested to see the CCTV footage of others being checked at billing the same way I was, they used some jargon and said that it wasn't possible," she said.

Akoijam said that she never expected to receive racist treatment from an 'international store'. "The supervisors came forth only to defend the racism with a rather grim attitude. No sort of apology was given to me either," she said.

"The whole incident has ruffled us and it was quite distressing. Distressing because this is what our people face often and hope to not suffer this not-so-subtle racism in the country," Akoijam's husband said. "The person who checked my wife's shopping bags, even sniggered that we had bought everything, didn't even care to reply why we were singled put. And the supervisors said, yeah call police if you want, we will deal. And it didnt end there," he added.

IKEA further responded to Akoijam's tweets that went viral on Twitter. "As a process, customers who self-checkout are requested for a final check before leaving the store to ensure the billing is correct and customers do not face any problems regarding double charging, repeat scanning of products etc," an IKEA spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that they are committed to creating a better everyday life for the many people.

"At IKEA, we believe that equality is a human right, and we condemn all forms of racism and prejudice. We regret the inconvenience caused to the customer while following the mandatory billing protocol," the IKEA spokesperson said.

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