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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Nice! Yeah it sounds like the enforcement varies from store to store based on some earlier responses in this thread.

I would never shop at a store with a policy that assumes I'm a thief, as Tony more artfully explained earlier in this thread.  For the same reason, I don't let stores check my bag when I leave.  If they want to ban me from their store, that's certainly their prerogative.


I should add that I've never been called on "violating" either policy.  Part of the reason could be that I typically grab a cart immediately and put my bag inside, making it fairly indistinguishable from a pile of empty grocery bags.  Another reason could be because I am white.  Discretionary enforcement of any rule can result in racist enforcement.

Why would you think they assume you're a thief? I'm sure they do not consider you  personally at all. 

Well, considering this isn't an across the board policy, and is something being done at a handful of Pete's, it's pretty clear that it is in response to a theft problem.  That leaves Pete's with two options---(1) ban backpacks, which while inconvenient, can be applied without having to make assumptions as to who looks like a thief; or (2) increase security in the store, which does lead to staff making assumptions about who looks like a thief (and all the racial-stereotyping problems that often come with such programs).  

People are free to not shop there if they view the ban as too inconvenient, but personally I feel something like this actually prevents much worse store policies from coming about.  So, in the end, I'll check my bag.    

Thanks for your feedback. Mariano's treats backpacks as grocery bags. They even ask me which bag zippers to use to pack my groceries. So where do you think I'll be shopping?

Have we forgotten to the old days that any bags you bring in had to be kept with a cashier or bag check up front?

Every now and then I'd offer a store to keep my backpack up front with them. Most will give me a tag for the backpack, and some will let me keep it with me.

I don't think it's discrimination. It's just how each store operates.

The "old days"? Iv'e been alive for a pretty long time and I don't recall any such period of history. 

I do recall the old days when we thought it was ok to burn fossil fuels and I've read about a time when it was ok to keep slaves and beat your spouse. Fortunately we've moved forward as a culture.

Given that we are literally wreaking our planet with human-instigated climate change, another thing we need to move forward from is allowing retailers to discriminate against non-drivers.

Nowhere did I allege it was.

I've gone into thrift stores and was asked to check in my bag at the front. I've gone into department stores where I've had to check my bag, etc.

And yes, it is not discrimination against cyclists nor non-drivers. On occasions, I wouldn't leave my laptop in the trunk of my car, thus I'd have to bring it in with me. Yes, I'd check it in with them if I had to.

The stores are entitled to enforce such restrictions as you are also entitled to not go there and get a petition going to banish the restrictions.

I have read the comments and have to agree that Pete's is entitled to combat theft with this policy. They are willing to take your bag and take responsibility for it. They are not telling you not to bring it in but leaving you with no option.  Sometimes I think we need to look outside our window in a world of cyclists and put ourselves in context with the rest of the world.  This is not discrimination against cyclists and non-drivers. This is a policy against theft with a minor impact on cyclists and non-drivers.  To demand more reeks of entitlement in my opinion. If it is easier to shop elsewhere do so. Do so because it is easier and makes your day flow better not because you think you are standing up for some right that is allegedly being infringed.  If anything, I think the entitlement I see in this thread can detract from the issues I see with drive up windows where cyclists and pedestrians are truly being discriminated because some corporate genius finds cars less risky at such a window. If  Pete's didn't check your bag I would be on your side but that does not appear to be the case.

Hear, here. Check your entitlement.




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