Some Family Dollar stores in the St. Louis area have been experimenting with signs asking customers to take off their hoodies before they enter the stores.
The signs read: “All Customers: Please remove hoods before entering Family Dollar,” according to local CBS affiliate KMOV.
Managers at Family Dollar stores would not reveal the reasoning for the signs. However, the signs seem likely to be a response to an outbreak of shoplifting and armed robbery at St. Louis-area Family Dollar stores.
For example, a man allegedly held an employee at a gunpoint during a recent robbery at a Family Dollar store on South Jefferson in St. Louis.
At another area store — the location on South Grand — someone started shooting a gun.
Some customers think the hoodie ban in discriminatory.
“I would call it discrimination. That’s not right,” Family Dollar shopper Roger Williams told KMOV. “It shouldn’t matter that you’re going in there with your hood on. If you’re not stealing, and you’re buying, purchasing something, what’s the problem?”
Other customers were more supportive of the anti-hoodie signage.
“They want people’s faces to be seen by the cameras,” St. Louis resident Kusloshiai Webb suggested to a KMOV reporter. “And sometimes when you have on a hood, it might block your facial view.”
Bigwigs at the Family Dollar headquarters said they would conduct an internal company investigation after they found out about the signs.
“It is not company policy to ask our customers to remove hoods or sweatshirts before entering our stores,” company spokesman Bryn R. Winburn informed the CBS station.
One St. Louis-area Family Dollar store, at 2700 S. Grand, already removed its sign last week.
Family Dollar is a chain of discount variety stores with 8,100 stores in several states across the country. Most of the stores are located in low-income neighborhoods.
This summer, Dollar Tree, Inc. agreed to purchase Family Dollar Stores Inc. for $8.5 billion in an effort to compete more effectively with rivals Dollar General Corporation and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The deal hasn’t been finalized.
If shareholders refuse to back the deal, it could lead to a hostile $9.1 billion takeover bid from Dollar General.