Photo Creds L-R:( Trayon Christian)NY Daily News, Barneys.com, (Juelz Santana “AY!”) SplashySpash.com
The Cliff’s Notes: In a recent article, a 19 year-old African American college freshman, Trayon Christian, was arrested for purchasing a $350 belt from Barneys- under (the cashier’s) suspicion that he could not afford it. The clerk asked for ID, believed it was false, then called the police. Trayon was then taken to the local precinct. Despite producing all the identifying documentation in his wallet, the cops called Chase Bank to further prove that the card belonged to Trayon. Once Chase confirmed, he was released. Trayon returned he belt out of disgust for his treatment and vows never to shop there again. He is suing NYPD and Barneys for unspecified damages. The article also mentions that Trayon saved up several paychecks to buy the belt that he saw worn by rapper Juelz Santana.
Let’s talk about it: Judgement and Values
Shame on the Barney’s associate for prejudging the young man AND calling the police even when he showed proper identification. Where does it say in the employee handbook that even when a customer shows a government issued ID, call the cops? The clerk took it upon him/herself to accuse this young man of fraud- WAY out of line. They made a judgement on the young man, primarily because of his ethnicity. Everyone knows if a young white man did the same thing, it would not have involved the police. That’s the ugly truth.
Shame on the young man trying to keep up with the joneses and splurging. I’m sorry that he experienced this treatment but there’s still a lesson here. He was inspired by a rapper- a rapper who doesn’t have to “save up” for luxurious items. What’s the difference between the Gap belt, the Ferragamo belt in Barneys? The label, the endorsement and about $325. He was chasing the dream that many of our youth chase- which usually involves something a celebrity did, wore, said in a song, etc. Trayon is a bright young man with a bright future ahead of him, but he needs to reevaluate his values- particularly around money. I bet that $350 could help pay for some college books, no?
The takeaway: Shop where your patronage is appreciated. One bad seed does not reflect the whole (both ways). Realign your values to fit your actual lifestyle. Or conversely, create a lifestyle that matches your values. Teach young people how, where and why to spend their money- which means leading by example.