Black model says she left Saks ‘in tears’ after a salesman treated her like she was ‘invisible’

A black New York City model says she left Saks Fifth Avenue in tears last week after a sales associate ignored her, had a bad attitude and generally discriminated against her when she went in to buy wedding shoes.

Erica Wiltz shared the “traumatizing and dehumanizing” on TikTok, explaining that she had visited the luxury department store to find a pair of Jimmy Choo heels to wear with her wedding dress.

But instead of rocking the store a few inches higher, Erica feeling small by the time she walked away, accused a sales associate in the shoe department of not acknowledging her presence, making her “invisible,” and refusing to answer her questions.

Speaking: A black New York City model says she left Saks Fifth Avenue in tears last week after a sales associate ignored her and discriminated against her in general

Online: Erica shared the 'dehumanization' on TikTokf

She had been to the luxury department store to find a pair of Jimmy Choo heels to wear with her wedding dress

Online: Erica shared the ‘dehumanization’ on TikTok, explaining that she had visited the luxury department store to find a pair of Jimmy Choo heels to wear with her wedding dress

Erika will be saying “I do” in New Orleans next month and was getting ready for her final wedding dress when she stepped into the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship to buy a pair of heels.

She said she wore a “classic” all-black outfit with a Prada bag for shopping, describing her look as “chic” and “put together.”

She filmed herself waiting in a seemingly empty shoe department while the sole salesperson helped other customers.

“Waiting patiently and watching them help everyone,” she wrote.

But, she said in a viral video that has reached a million viewers, she ended up having to “ask for help” before he helped her, and she “went out in tears” without making a purchase.

Responding to the commentators, Erika didn’t strictly say she believed racism was the root of her treatment, but she said he was “discriminatory” and “condemned” her, leaving her “heartbroken.”

“People have no idea how traumatizing and dehumanizing it is,” she said.

“It’s wrong to discriminate against people, be it classism, racism or whatever,” she added.

In a follow-up video, Erika shared more details of the experience, explaining, “My last adjustment for my wedding dress would be today, so they said please come in with the show you’re wearing for the hem.”

Rude: She said she waited patiently while the sales person helped other customers but never acknowledged she was there

Rude: She said she waited patiently while the sales person helped other customers but never acknowledged she was there

Day: When he finished helping the last customer before he, she said, he just walked away

Day: When he finished helping the last customer before he, she said, he just walked away

When she finally had to get his attention to help her, she said he had an 'attitude'

'He never acknowledged me, never said, "I'll be right there with you" but it was obvious I was waiting.  I left, came back, patiently waiting, all that,' she said

When she finally had to get his attention to help her, she said he had an ‘attitude’

“I decided to go to Saks because I love coming there, I’ve always had great experiences and I wanted a Jimmy Choo wedding shoe. It was my dream to have a Jimmy Choo wedding shoe,” she continued.

“So I show up and I’m totally happy and excited about picking out my wedding shoe. So I’m in the Jimmy Choo section and I’m watching the salesperson help someone else, who happened to be a white woman, but whatever, I wasn’t thinking this at the time.

“So he’s all in her face,” she recalled, “and he was really super attentive and just looked after her so well. It took a while, but I was patient. I didn’t say anything, I just kept looking at my wedding dress on my phone, holding it to shoes… just waiting.

She walked to other shoe departments before returning, to make it clear that she was waiting.

“He never acknowledged me, never said, ‘I’ll be with you in a minute’, but it was clear I was waiting. I left, came back, patiently waiting, all that,’ she said.

“When he’s done with the lady, and she closes and everything, he never acknowledges my existence, I’m completely invisible, and he walks away,” she said.

‘Until you experience that, you cannot say anything about that experience. Because that’s the lowest a person can feel,” she said.

“People have no idea how traumatizing and dehumanizing it is,” she said

“It’s wrong to discriminate against people, be it classism, racism or whatever,” she added.

Even at that point, she assumed the man would come back to help her, but he didn’t. Finally she called to him.

“Excuse me, can I get some help please?” she asked.

Although he eventually helped her, she said he had a lot of “attitude” and was “very dry” and wouldn’t answer any of her questions.

“The opposite of womanhood to me,” she remarked.

“So obviously I wasn’t going to sell it,” she concluded.

A Saks spokesperson told DailyMail.com that the company “deeply regrets” the experience Erika had in its store, adding that it always strives to ensure that every customer experience reflects our commitment to inclusivity, equality and respect for all. .

In a statement, the spokesperson said the store is currently in talks with the model to “better understand and resolve the situation.”

“We strive to ensure that every customer experience reflects our commitment to inclusiveness, equality and respect for all,” the spokesperson said.

“We deeply regret that Ms Wiltz has not felt that she has received the high quality service that we aim to provide, so we are contacting her directly to understand and resolve the situation.

“Our team remains committed to treating everyone with respect and making Saks Fifth Avenue a welcoming environment for all.”

This isn’t the first time Saks has been publicly accused of racism by black customers — and in fact, employees have filed charges, too.

Earlier: In 2018, eight men who had worked on Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City filed a lawsuit against the store

Earlier: In 2018, eight men who had worked on Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City filed a lawsuit against the store

In 2018, eight men who had worked on Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City filed a lawsuit against the store.

Attorney Derek Sells says the four black, two white and two Hispanic men were subjected to a hostile work environment and then fired.

The charges, filed in New York, said the men were “each forced to endure a widespread pattern of discrimination and retaliation” and that “their respective managers deliberately attacked them because of their race and/or age.”

Sells said the men’s managers engaged in a range of actions, including making it difficult to pull customers out of the store, using abusive language, not allowing promotions to take place, and letting younger, white colleagues get away with harassing behavior, all of them. with the intention of moving towards a younger, whiter workforce.

Some claimants said that even if they set sales targets, managers would find other metrics to evaluate them poorly.

Several of the plaintiffs had worked at the store for several years, Sells said, and the atmosphere turned more hostile after Hudson’s Bay Co. Saks in 2013.

One example, he said, was the computer system used to record customer data.

The men in the suit claim that the system was faulty and would generate error messages when they tried to enter information, and they repeatedly filed complaints with their managers with no resolution.

Sells said the men would then be rated poorly for not registering enough customers, while younger, white employees were either helped with solutions to the problem or were not rated in the same way.

Thomas Bisky, then 68, one of the two white prosecutors, said he was told in the fall of 2017 that he had had his best quarter of sales yet.

But Bisky, who had worked for Saks since 2011, still received a warning for not registering enough clients.

He said he received no support to resolve the error message despite repeated complaints, and was terminated in January.

“It was pretty clear to me that they wanted me out of there because I was of a certain age,” he said.

In March of this year, three black men who visited a Saks Fifth Avenue store in San Francisco said they had been racially profiled, and told how police detained them for hours despite doing nothing wrong.

They said KTVU that they had only been in the store for about half an hour when the police arrived, drew their guns, shouted profanity and told them to get on the ground.

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