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‘How is a customer supposed to shop if they can’t browse?’: Ace Hardware worker tells customer she ‘can’t browse’ through the store

'Wait. Aren’t we supposed to browse to get an idea of what we want to buy?'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Aug 24, 2023   Updated on Aug 24, 2023, 11:54 am CDT

An Ace Hardware customer on TikTok claims she was asked to leave the store after being told she couldn’t “browse.”

In a video with over 192,000 views, TikTok user Mija Jimenez (@officiallymija) shows a Phoenix, Arizona-based Ace Hardware employee informing her that she “can’t browse” in the store. When she asks why she cannot browse, the employee responds, “I’m just letting you know.”

@officiallymija I feel like I stood my ground on the situation but they were really denying me access to browse. Is browsing in a store illegal or something??? #RacistsinArizona #racisteverywhereneedtogo #theyrenogoodhere #Iwasaprospectivecustomer #theydidnthavetotreatmelikethat #imputtingthemonblast #acehardwareinphoenix #pleaselikeandshare ♬ original sound – Mija

From here, the situation escalates. The employee repeatedly asks if she needs help with anything, to which Mija says she does not. Once the employee hears this, he asks her to leave the store, calling security as the video cuts out.

“I feel like I stood my ground on the situation but they were really denying me access to browse,” Jimenez wrote in the caption. “Is browsing in a store illegal or something???”

It’s unclear what provoked this situation, though Jimenez added the hashtag #RacistsinArizona to her caption, implying that she believed the encounter had something to do with her race. 

A majority of Black Americans report feeling targeted while shopping.

“A 2018 Gallup poll of black Americans found that nearly two-thirds perceived that blacks are treated less fairly than whites while shopping – a figure that has steadily increased over the past decade,” writes author Cassi Pittman Claytor for the Guardian. “When asked about being treated unfairly due to their race in the last 30 days, more blacks reported unfair treatment while shopping (29%) than in any other circumstance – even interactions with the police (21%).”

Back on TikTok, Jimenez said in a comment that she planned to file a complaint with the corporate office. 

Other commenters were quick to share their thoughts on the situation.

“@Ace Hardware how is a customer supposed to shop if they can’t browse?” questioned a user.

“I would have filled a cart up, had them ring it up then leave lol,” added another.

“What the heck? Browsing is how customers end up buy a bunch of stuff we hadn’t planned on getting,” noted a third.

Ace Hardware told the Daily Dot in a statement: “Each store is independently owned and operated; therefore, each store maintains control of its business. (This includes but is not limited to employment, pricing, services, returns, inventory, and customer issues).”

The Daily Dot reached out to Jimenez via email.

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*First Published: Aug 24, 2023, 11:48 am CDT