I feel that the actions and conduct of Summerland Mayor Toni Boot was unprofessional, uncalled for and incredibly inappropriate on Saturday, July 18 at approximately 12:35 p.m.
Toni and friends entered my store and requested to see me. I was on my 30-minute lunch break and physically not in the store. Toni bullied one of my staff to call me to insist that I return to the store immediately.
When I returned to the store I was blindsided by Toni, two friends and the media. A professional representative of council would have called in advance for a meeting.
I felt her goal was to embarrass and lecture me on the sales floor in front of customers and staff. I managed to have the group move to our storage room.
I was accused by Toni and then in the media of perpetuating racism.
It is not illegal to sell these bandanas and I was frazzled by this incident. I did not appropriately explain how these particular bandanas were in the store. In April and May we sold over 2,500 bandanas of various patterns and designs. They were being used for making masks due to a shortage of personal protective equipment. They were not specifically ordered.
I asked my supplier to send every bandana available in his inventory, which included the ones in discussion. The Confederate bandanas were not even available for sale when Toni entered the store on Saturday. They were pulled from our inventory once the incident happened on Thursday, July 16.
The mayor was given the bandanas at her request. I thought she just wanted to be sure they were taken out of circulation. However, she sat outside our store and started to cut up the bandanas. She and her friends each had scissors, an item not normally carried in a purse.
Toni did not politely tell me that “Confederate bandanas are inappropriate in Summerland.” They were an item for sale, although in reflection, a poor decision.
Toni had no problem accusing me of racism, exposing and disclosing my name and business to negative publicity.
I am requesting a public apology from the mayor for bullying my staff and her very inappropriate actions at my store. I expect Toni to return to the store with the same media personnel that she ambushed me with.
To Toni, this issue is not about racism. This issue is about your lack of respect, professional conduct, abuse of power, bullying and poor judgment towards a local business and staff that strongly supports our community.
Your Dollar Store With More
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