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Milwaukee bishop says he was refused business at Best Buy after trying to buy iPads for church

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FOX POINT, Wis. (CBS 58)-- A Milwaukee bishop says he was refused business when he tried to buy more than a dozen iPads for his church at a Best Buy in Fox Point.

Bishop Daniels wanted to buy 21 iPads at the Best Buy in June to incorporate technology into church related programs. Amazon had iPads on sale, and he hoped to take advantage of Best Buy’s price match system.

Bishop Daniels says he thought it was smooth sailing until one associate interfered.

“One person said ‘yes we’ll get them, someone bring the key back and let’s open the box so we can sell you the iPads,’ but then another person came and said ‘we’re not selling you the iPads, you can’t purchase 21 of them,’” said Bishop Sedgwick Daniels with Holy Redeemer Church.

Bishop Daniels said the situation began to take a turn.

“I said 'well may I speak with a manager?' He said ‘well we contacted the manager, we don’t know what you’re going to do with these iPads, and so we’ve decided we’re not selling to you, and we have a right to refuse business to anyone that we choose,’” Daniels said.  

The bishop says he felt discriminated against. He was only able to get two iPads that day.

”It was evident, and I identified and said, ‘do you realize that what you are now doing and the way you are talking is profiling and discriminatory?’” adds Daniels.

Best Buy says this was not a case of profiling, but instead a misunderstanding of company policy. The policy says each customer gets only one price matched item.

In a statement Best Buy says, “We were happy to work with Bishop Daniels and his associates to sell them the iPads individually in accordance with our policy. We apologize to Bishop Daniels for any inconvenience and if he felt disrespected in any way.”

After Bishop Daniels spoke to Best Buy’s customer service line, he was advised to speak to the manager the next day. The manager offered to sell each person from the church one price matched iPad, as long as they had their own individual forms of payment.

The next day Bishop Daniels brought more than 20 people into the store cash in hand, and got the iPads he needed for the church.

“When you have a mission and you have a task that you’re given, don’t allow barriers to hinder you from achieving those goals,” said Daniels.

Bishop Daniels says Best Buy has not reached out to him personally.

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Christianaparker 6 days ago
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Nilebreeze1 27 days ago
It saddens me that the Bishop Daniels had to experience what many people that live in the area of his church and most of the male students of the Church's HighSchool experience quite often ... It's good that he's bringing technology into the church hopefully the school will receive an updated computer system and books instead of worksheets to better educate the students... This is a teachable and humble moment...
JeffreyMack 27 days ago
The information was inferior, communicated by the Best Buy associate. The Best Buy policy should've been explained clearly to the Bishop on purchasing of the 21 Ipads. However, when the Best Buy representative mentions we have a right to refuse business to anyone that we choose", then it becomes a discriminator by the company.
AmyTruchan900 27 days ago
From the view of someone who's worked years and years in customer service, I used to have to say the exact same phrase to many, many people (in my case, mostly white) because what would happen is people would buy dozens and dozens of the same item on sale, go to resell those items at a premium, then return whatever they didn't resell - all the while reaping the benefits of the company reward program for dollars spent. 100% I believe this gentlemen was not doing that - but because there ARE people who would, companies have to do what they can to limit this happening. I can guarantee if he tried to buy the same amount at any other company, the result would've been the same. Sounds like the first person he dealt with didn't know their particular policy. Unfortunately, in customer service, I've seen dozens upon dozens upon dozens attempts at blatant fraud and/or theft (again, white people in my case), and it ruins the experience for the honest buyers out there.

Not! to say this wasn't a case of racism, because it very well may have been - and it's well within his right to call out racism if that's the case - but I'll play devil's advocate for the service people being locked into company policy - because I've had to point blank tell someone "WE WILL NOT SELL TO YOU" based on very little the customer has done other than try and force past a policy I couldn't change - because those policies exist from people taking advantage of the system.

If I was in the position of the salesperson, and I had been forced to do this - yes, it would have sucked to be called racist. But, at the same time, I understand we live in a society where institutional and systematic racism exists, and a white person like me has faced no discrimination on the color of my skin, so while I'm understanding of the company on this one - I also understand that I have no idea what it's like going into stores and being followed for no reason or automatic assumptions that I'm going to steal something, etc.

In the end, we can't know what happened here (truly) without having been there. I hope to give the POV of a customer service person, but I also hope we recognize the differences in experiences some face purely due to the color of their skin. I hope it wasn't racism, but there are so many instances where it is that it makes situations like this difficult.
Viola_LaTrice 27 days ago
I understand he needed them for the church. But after the way he was talked to they were not suppose to get his business. There are other places to buy iPads. The statement from the salesperson was discriminatory.
Amber414 27 days ago
Seriously why would it even matter what he wanted to do with the freakin things after he purchased them that's his right as a human being he doesn't have to answer to anyone the best buy associate should be ashamed of themselves for even implying anything of that sort ridiculous that a church a church was denied some IPAD'S in 2019 really c'mon people when we get cut no matter the color of are skin we all bleed red this racism needs to stop. GOD PLEASE HELP US ALL
Jerry 27 days ago
I think a reasonable person would understand the statement by the salesperson to mean it appears you might be purchasing them to re-sell at a higher price. The policy is clear enough to me and a white person would have been told the same thing.
Viola_LaTrice Jerry 27 days ago
I don't see how he was being unreasonable. He heard him and asked for a manager. If that is what he meant, the salesperson, then he should of said it. A manager should of been the one to intervene and reiterated the company policy. The policy was not told to him until he spoke with a Best Buy representative.
MikeFischer 27 days ago
This article is utter clickbait. A simple case of a poorly communicated company policy is spun as a racist refusal of business. Why must you work to sow dissent? Help our community come together instead.
Terrance MikeFischer 27 days ago
Well I can see why you believe that this is just an incident poorly communicated company policy BUT as soon as the associate said, "we don’t know what you’re going to do with these iPads, and so we’ve decided we’re not selling to you, and we have a right to refuse business to anyone that we choose", it became discriminatory by the basic definition of the word.
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