The Chainlink

No backpack rule at Pete's fresh market: discriminatory to cyclists?

At the Pete's where I regularly do groceries on Madison by Western, they've started to get more vocal with me about their enforcement of their no backpack rule (the security folks at the door have). I think this discriminates against cyclists (discrimination doesn't have to be targeted, it can be a naturally occurring result). I've yet to take it up with their management, just wondering what the chainlinkers think about this.

Of course it's their store and I understand security concerns. I understand I could not shop there, but I like the convenience and selection and I would think security can just catch shoplifters the same way other stores with less restrictive backpack rules do.

I just think it isn't very nice to not accommodate cyclist shoppers! We tend to have backpacks so we can carry our groceries etc (I also have bike baskets but I like carrying my phone and wallet and any extra groceries that don't otherwise fit - in the backpack). It's not like we can leave the backpack in the car (their suggestion is for me to take it and leave it with customer service- I don't feel safe leaving my stuff with them and I'd have to enter the exit and then go all the way back around to do my shopping and come back and wait to get my backpack before I can check out- not very practical!)

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In my opinion we cyclists should be a protected vehicular class. That's it. Anyone can ride a bicycle if they want to. Would you propose that one could declare oneself a cyclist after one ride, or just thinking about a ride?

In that case, what bathroom would one use in North Carolina!? ;)

Lol! Thus why I said "in some contexts". If a parking lot has 200 parking spaces for 200 cars and 2 racks that can accommodate 4 bikes, the driver doesn't cease to benefit from being a driver once he parks and gets out of his car. The cyclist doesn't cease to be inconvenienced when the rack is full. I think there's some gray areas when it comes to how far "vehicular class" protections might extend.

What does that mean "neighborhood get better" when you dig down into it? That it should be gentrified more quickly? Madison and Western is an area that was previously a food desert, and historically a very poor area that had been suffering since the 1960s. 

Why should they think in terms of a demographic such as cyclists? They think in terms of families, of income levels, cultural tastes in food, etc. 

These policies are not just discriminatory against cyclists, they discriminate against anyone who does not drive a car to a store. Pedestrians and transit riders are just as likely, if not more likely as cyclists to use a backpack.

These policies have the effect of discouraging people from shopping on foot, by transit or bike and should be opposed with as much vigor as any we oppose any other policy that harms our planet.

While it is encouraging that Pete's made the effort to reach out, the response is pretty disappointing. If the fact that nothing has been stolen from a back-pack while it is behind the customer service counter is sufficient for us to trust them, then how isn't the fact that I have not stolen anything from Pete's just as sufficient? 

Wonderful stuff Tony thanks for seeing where I am coming from on this and articulating it better than I could!

Well said!

Will they hold your bag while you are in the store? If so, you could snap a picture of the insides and they would be responsible for what is in there.  

I have mixed feeling on this. In the months following 9/11 a lot of businesses would not allow bags. I recall going to a football game in a driving rain at Northwestern and not being allowed to bring any bag or umbrella into the stadium. Given the events of 9/11 few complained. If shoplifting has been a problem for the store I don't see them discriminating against cyclists but perhaps over reaching in an attempt to stay in business. If they will not  take your bag and take responsibility for it I think the statements here would all ring truer for me.

I rode my bike to Ravinia this Summer and had splurged to stay under the pavillion. My wife and I left our panniers with an usher who really did not take responsibility but just let us put them where he stood. Fortunately, our seats were very close to that spot. Otherwise, I may not have been so comfortable leaving my pannier. I think Ravinia could have easily searched the bag and let us in or had a real bailment established where they were actually responsible for the bags. 

If retail theft is a real issue, and not a pretext  and if the retailer will take a bailment of your bag while you are in the store,I think this makes much more sense and touches on a more complex issue than the nonesense that keeps bikes out of drive through lanes.

All addressed above. I'm not claiming intentional discrimination (thus "pretext" is irrelevant) but rather "disparate impact" discrimination against anyone who doesn't have a car.

Actually, only against people who don't have a car and do have a bag. 

I've never shopped at Pete's.  Thanks for the heads-up;  I'll stay away.

I shop at a bunch of different Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Mariano's stores all over the north side.  I take a backpack into all of them, and sometimes use the backpack to carry my purchases to the checkout.  It's never been a problem.

I really don't mean to sling mud at Pete's, just this one policy which I feel like they haven't fully thought through. I've actually saved a ton of money from switching from Whole Foods to shopping at Pete's. Their prices and selection are great and they seem very well run overall. I can't get some of the premium items that Whole Foods might have but I'm spending a fraction of the money and I'm happy with all that they do have.

Pete's is an excellent grocery chain.  They have great deals on fruits and vegetables in particular.  It's good for that area that Pete's is there.  Let's cut to the chase.  The reason for that policy must be that people are stealing.  If they weren't, I doubt that Pete's would care if somebody brought a knapsack in there.  I've been to even thrift stores in my area where you have to check your knapsack when you come in.  I didn't like it, but I do understand why the rule exists.

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