Jackson County

Piggly Wiggly doesn’t condone discrimination, president says

The Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Moss Point has made headlines since two deli workers refused to serve a uniformed police officer early Sunday night.
The Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Moss Point has made headlines since two deli workers refused to serve a uniformed police officer early Sunday night. Karen Nelson

The Piggly Wiggly here and its corporate office do not support any type of discrimination, a company official said in response to the issue of deli workers refusing to serve a uniformed police officer.

“We are taking the incident seriously and are conducting an investigation into this matter,” Kevin Ladd, president of Food Giant Supermarkets Inc., said Wednesday.

“Piggly Wiggly in Moss Point has been a part of the Moss Point community for over 25 years,” Ladd said. “We welcome anyone to shop in our stores and value our customers, as well as our associates. Food Giant Inc. and Piggly Wiggly in Moss Point do not support any discrimination of our law enforcement, nor does it support discrimination of any kind.”

A store official has confirmed two deli workers, both young women, were suspended after an incident at the Moss Point store.

The incident early Sunday night was brought to light by a Facebook post of a woman who said the officer is her fiancé. She claims one or both deli workers said, “I’m not going to serve him.” Her post went viral, though it was later removed. However, the same post appears on the Piggly Wiggly’s Facebook page under a different woman’s name.

Pascagoula police officer Scott Clayton was in uniform and had just gotten off work when he stopped by the store.

It’s just a shame it happened. Nobody deserves to be ignored when they ask for service.

Pascagoula Police Lt. Doug Adams

Video surveillance shows him standing by the deli section for a couple of minutes, then asking for help, Pascagoula police Lt. Doug Adams said. The women spoke to each other and kept working, but it was apparent they were not going to serve him, Adams said.

“It’s just a shame it happened,” he said. “Nobody deserves to be ignored when they ask for service.

“Were his feelings hurt? Yes. But it’s not the first time his feelings have been hurt and it won’t be the last. Any time a uniformed police officer goes in a room or store, all eyes are on the officer. If you go in a store in plain clothes, only a few people will notice you.”

The deli incident “was a very, very isolated incident,” he said. “Officer Clayton is fine with it and he is willing to accept whatever the corporate office decides. He knows it is no reflection on the corporation, the store and most of its employees.”

Store Manager Barry Carmack gave the Sun Herald the same description of the video as Adams described. Carmack declined to make further comment Wednesday.

It’s business as usual at the store. Shoppers were making purchases Wednesday in preparation for Thanksgiving.

The store’s Facebook page shares Thanksgiving recipes, decorating tips and specials. And it includes comments from some who are calling for a boycott.

“It’s not fair for people to take this out on the Piggly Wiggly,” Adams said. “This does not diminish our relationship with the store and most of its employees.”

Adams said the Pascagoula Police Department has a longstanding relationship with the store.

“We order food there two or three times a year for retirement parties,” he said. “It’s where I shop because it’s on my way home. In fact, I’m heading there right now for some food for Thanksgiving.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

  Comments