Customer Finds Racial Slur On Receipt After Returning Some Shoes

KMBC in Kansas City, MO says that a local man found a racial slur on his receipt after returning a pair of shoes at a store called Journeys. He got his money back without a problem, but found a nasty surprise waiting on the receipt.

By the time the Slaters noticed the racial slur printed on the receipt, the store was already closed for the day.
Hoping to get answers about how the words got on the receipt, the Slaters returned to the store the next day. But they said they never got a full explanation, only that the employee entered a generic code.
“And it pulled up six or seven different choices, and the choice that she (the employee) chose was the very last choice,” said Slater’s father, Keith.
“I really don’t doubt that this is the first time it happened. I’m sure it’s happened before, but this is probably the first time that somebody noticed their receipt and came back and asked about it,” Linda Slater said.

The store has fired the employee in question and issued the following statement:

“While we are continuing to investigate this incident, it now appears that an employee in one of our stores entered highly inappropriate statements in a form used to process a merchandise return. Needless to say, such an act was not authorized by Journeys, and will not be tolerated. This employee has been terminated.
“At Journeys, we pride ourselves on valuing and respecting every customer. We are shocked and sickened that a former associate could be responsible for an act so out of keeping with our culture and our values. We profoundly regret this incident.”

Man Finds Racial Slur Printed On Receipt [KMBC] (Thanks, Taryn!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. TecmoTech says:

    Wow that is terrible!

  2. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Sounds like they took care of it. Maybe a free pair of shoes for the guy wouldn’t hurt, but they fired the asshole responsible and sent out a we’re sorry. Problem solved, example made, done.

  3. summerbee says:

    Ouch! That hurts. I wonder how many people have had similar things printed on their Journeys receipts but never noticed.

  4. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    Should read: Employee:Dumb Nitwit

  5. sassbrown74 says:

    It is terrible that it happened, but kudos to Journeys for the prompt action.

  6. mariospants says:

    Smart enough to reprogram the system, dumb enough to use it.

    • Toof_75_75 says:

      @mariospants: If I remember from having worked in retail, when someone returns things you get a list of “reasons” they are returning the item to choose from and then you have to enter the customer’s identification info to prevent fraud. Perhaps when the register asked for identification info, the employee just typed those words as the name. Pretty basic, if that is the case.

      How could the employee not have known someone would see this, and worse, how could they assume it wouldn’t be tied back to them if someone caught it?!

      • Sugarless says:

        @Toof_75_75: There’s nothing “pretty basic” about using a racial slur for the very people that ensure you have a job and a paycheck.

        I’m happy the company responded quickly. I do take issue with saying it was, “inappropriate” because it was also offensive.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          @CreoleSugar: I think he meant the process to stick one’s foot in one’s mouth in such a spectacular fashion was simple, not the decision to do so.

  7. jscott73 says:

    Journeys response was very reasonable, much better then the automated “We take racial slurs very serious” that many other companies might have issues.

  8. midwestkel says:

    How do we know what it really says, its blurred out. Nincompoop?

    Journeys is so goth now, I don’t shop there anymore.

    • GrandizerGo says:

      If you really need help with what it says…
      Look at the keyboard in front of you, press the ANY key repeatedly…

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @midwestkel: I find it unlikely that the newspaper would run this story and that the company would fire the employee if it didn’t actually say what the customer says it did.

      Still, they should have let their viewers see what it said uncensored.

      • midwestkel says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: Thats all I am asking for. I just find it hard that you can do a Google search and find worse things than that word or they can say it on TV but it has to be blurred out to put on a news website.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @midwestkel: Journeys? Goth? We must go to very different malls then, because our Journeys have been immersed in white kid hip hop culture for years.

    • shepd says:

      Does it matter what the “N” word was? About the only acceptable thing you could put after DUMB would be “NOWAY” or “NOT” (even then you’re asking for trouble), and I’m very certain it doesn’t say that.

      Racial slur or not, the customer had a valid complaint on the first word, never mind the second.

  9. highmodulus says:

    Wow, epic fail. This is one where the company did the right thing once they found out what that lowlife had done.

  10. smokinfoo says:

    We at least they aren’t “taking this very seriously”.

  11. MerlynNY says:

    The company did the right thing in firing that schmuck out the door. Seriously, what was he thinking? I check my receipts all the time. That, in additon with the follow up apology is good enough for me.

  12. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I’m impressed with Journey’s response to this.

  13. El_Fez says:

    So whats the slur? All I see is an N. Nitwit? Nerd? Nobody?

  14. Caprica Six says:

    kudos to Journey’s for terminating the employee. What I’m surprised about (may cuz I live in the left coast and in the SF Bay Area) is that this sh*t still happens. But hey, it was in one of the flyover states, eh?

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @big keytee: Another satisfied Palin voter?
      I kid. I kid!

    • Thrashy says:

      @big keytee: one of the flyover states, eh?

      The residents of the Midwest thank you for your close-minded stereotyping. Have a nice day!

      • lulfas says:

        @Thrashy, grumpy young curmudgeon: Don’t worry, the real states will eventually sink your states and fill you with water, so we have EVEN MORE coasts.

        Your tax dollars at work.

        • dweebster says:

          @lulfas: AH…so THAT’s the real reason that your idiot “flat earth” politicians continue to oppose anything resembling mitigation of global warming:

          Step 1: Create havoc with the climate

          Step 2: Sink the “fake” (per Palin) American states (such as New York, home of “911”)

          Step 3: Sea rises eventually engulf lower lying coastal areas

          Step 4: Coastline miraculously stops (thanks, Jebus!) erosion at geographic boundaries of “red” states (hey there, commie!) and becomes highly desirable.

          Step 5: Your land had long ago been foreclosed on by China, so it really doesn’t matter to you anyway.

  15. blackmage439 says:

    Pat: “Ok, Mr. Marsh. The category is… People that annoy you…”

    Ok, in all seriousness. Yay for log keeping. If their point of sales system was really crappy, they may never have found the person responsible. I’m glad this company took appropriate action.

  16. OldJohnRobinson says:

    Don’t stop believin’ – there are a few good companies left after all.

  17. kittenfoo says:

    I got a gas receipt once that said “Golden Panty” instead of “Golden Pantry.”

    Not the same thing I know. I’m glad they fired the person who did this, and I hope she has a really hard time finding a new job.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @kittenfoo: If you buy Land O’ Lakes butter at Giant Eagle stores, your receipt shows you as purchasing LOLBUTTER.
      The boyfriend and I discovered this last Thanksgiving, and it’s still awesome.

    • lalaland13 says:

      @kittenfoo: I got some loaded potato bites at Arby’s and the receipt said “Pot Bites.” But Golden Panty is better.

      • dweebster says:

        @lalaland13: “Golden Panty” sounds like the “prize” people would need to find in order to enter the secret lingerie factory in the porn version of Willie Wonka, “Willie Wanka.”

        (Yeah, too much free time today).

    • BumpinUgglas says:

      @kittenfoo: When I was in college the local Edward’s Supermarket sold the “Finast” brand of generics, so when you bought saltine crackers they came through as “FINAST CRACK”.

      Of course none of this tops “SHAW’S HOMO MILK”.

  18. blockbustarhymes says:

    talk about your all time backfires. hope that employee learns something from this, though i doubt it.

    • Bye says:

      @blockbustarhymes: I would be willing to wager that for the rest of his life, the employee who did this will tell anybody who will listen how a “dumb n*****” cost him his job.

    • Aisley says:


      Agree with yo 100% BlockB. I’m not even gonna ask “what was she thinking”, because it’s obvious she wasn’t thinking. But I’m still amazed that there can be people so stupid. If you want to think am an “N” word, go ahead, it’s within your rights. But to put it in a receipt that the customer takes with him? Doesn’t that knucklehead heard of something called identity theft? Because of it people are being more and more careful with papers that have info about them, including register’s recipts.They’re reading them before either throw them away or shredd them. Of course, with her 1900’s mentality, she may not even know what “identity” is.

    • nobodyman says:

      @blockbustarhymes: On a superficial level, I think this individual will learn not to do this again, even if she doesn’t internalize what happened and change the way she feels. I *do* think that the company that hired her has learned a lot about who they pick to be representatives of their company.

  19. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    I’m still not getting how this happened. Customer names are almost always keyed in manually, particularly if it’s a return. As the slur appeared in a customer name field it makes sense that someone would have to manually type it in. Or, if the CSR did a phone number lookup, they would verify the name (“I have you under Bob Smith at 123 Generic Road, is that right?”) before proceeding. I’m not sure I’m buying this “six or seven different choices” business.

    • shepd says:


      Perhaps this person’s last name is Dumass? The system could easily do a lookup as the employee types, giving suggestions along the way. After “DUM” you probably wouldn’t have many choices left, and the cashier got stupid/lazy.

      Okay, likely story, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        Okay, likely story, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
        @shepd: Since the statement from the store says that they fired the person who changed the system to include the slur, I agree that it’s possible that the cashier and the person who made the change aren’t the same person.

        Also: Dumar
        I tried to think of more ‘Dum…’ names but couldn’t.

  20. warf0x0r says:

    Am I reading this right?!? Is that actually an option in their computer system?!?

  21. zibby says:

    @El_Fez: It’s probably “Nilla.”

    • m4ximusprim3 says:

      @zibby: Alright, enough gawker for you.

      And if I EVER see you use Bankster, you know I’m calling you out. Pistols at sunrise.

  22. Ein2015 says:

    Looks like the company did the right thing here.

  23. MarioAquilinus says:

    I work at a LBS, its not a chain, and we track customer info incase there is an issue with the product or payment, and we need to track them down. We use a system where entering a bit of info brings up several options. One we found the other day was Mexican. Thats all it said. If it was used (it was saved so somebody used it) an angrey customer would have had the right to come and unleash hell. Glad they fired that person.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:


      How is that a bad thing? If it said dirty mexican, (opposite of dry)back…etc, sure, outrage away, but just using it as a way of remember a customer isn’t bad…unless I’m misreading your post.

      We try our best greet our first class pax by name onboard, so the ticket counter agents usually make little notes to describe each pax visually to the FA’s… I could see how comments like “Japanese; short; mole on nose” could be taken as offensive…but in reality, it’s outrage over a non-issue.

      • JiminyChristmas says:

        @RedwoodFlyer: Here is how it’s bad: Mexican is a nationality, not a race or ethnicity. Tell me, how do you distinguish a Mexican from a: Honduran, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Panamanian…you get the idea. It’s insulting to people of other nationalities to use Mexican as an ethnic catch-all term. This is especially true when there are inclusive terms one could use, like Latino.

        Likewise, if you’re using “Japanese” when what you mean is Asian, that’s no better. I’m sure Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, etc., wouldn’t appreciate being lumped under the category “Japanese” just because they all share certain physical traits.

        The bottom line is that when you categorize every person in Latin American as a Mexican, or everyone in Asia as Japanese, the message those people hear is “they all look the same to me.”

        • Courteous_Gentleman says:

          @JiminyChristmas: No, actually the bottom line is that “stupid nigger” probably wasn’t one of those tracking phrases, catch all or otherwise.

          Hats off to Journeys for not “taking this seriously” and leaving us to believe that the employee is still happily employed.

      • timbrews says:

        So you’re comfortable typing dirty mexican, but can’t bring yourself to type wetback?

        Go eat a steak, drink a beer, pee standing up and then realize that they’re ONLY WORDS!

    • alexawesome says:

      @RedwoodFlyer: Um, why are we defining customers like that, anyway? It’s just racial profiling for marketing purposes. If I discover that the majority of people of a certain skin color doesn’t buy as much of my product, how do I react to that? Likewise, if they buy MORE of my product than other races, how do I react? In any event, someone isn’t getting served. Do you want to be the customer profiled as being less profitable to the business based on your skin color or gender? I didn’t think so.

  24. aduzik says:

    Note to companies and their PR departments everywhere: this is what you should mean when you say you’re “taking it seriously.”

  25. Duffin (Ain't This Kitty Cute?) says:

    Maybe I’m just skeptical, but when I hear a statement from a company like this, I can’t help but wonder if they actually fired the offending nutsac or are just saying it to save face.

  26. laserjobs says:

    I could see how someone would be pissed off if they saw “Dumb Nagger”

  27. kairi2 says:

    When I worked in a nightclub, we were encouraged to keep track of our open tabs by typing in some descriptive words about the customer so we wouldn’t mix up charges. Maybe Journey’s employees can do the same thing.

  28. darkryd says:

    Wonder if they really fired the employee or just claim they did. That Journeys store in question is just blocks from my house.

    • dweebster says:

      @darkryd: Well, head on over and report back. If they lied about booting the idiot out the door that would be even BIGGER news.

      BTW – ask if the “Bigoted Nimrod” is still working there.

  29. adent1066 says:

    Does anyone think that this receipt could be faked ? It is rather simple to do.

    • humphrmi says:

      @adent1066: I doubt that they would fire an employee if there were any suspicion that this was a fake. Of course we don’t have the whole story here, but their reaction sounds like they checked their system (which I’m sure kept a record of the transaction) and found that, in fact, this was the case, so they took action.

    • little stripes says:

      @adent1066: Joy! Yay! Someone had to blame the victim, and here you are!

      • ideagirl says:

        @little stripes: my thoughts exactly…

        • adent1066 says:

          As I said to little stripes, I wasn’t blaming the victim. I was only questioning whether there was any possibility of the item being faked. Lawsuits are a powerful incentive to create fraud.

      • adent1066 says:

        @little stripes:
        Calm the f*&^ down. I wasn’t blaming the victim. I just wondered if the receipt could be faked. I guess you never heard of fraud. Additionally, there was a day between the incident and when it was reported. Also why the hell would someone do something so stupid as to put something like that in writing when it would no doubt lead to them losing their job.

    • lincolnparadox says:

      @adent1066: Most receipts today are printed with thermal printers. This technology uses thermochromic paper and a heated printing pad to essentially burn the text onto the paper. Now, I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it wouldn’t be “easy” to fake that type of receipt, and unless this store is using registers that are 10+ years old, it probably doesn’t use an old dot matrix ribbon printer.

  30. Shadowfire says:

    Oh man did I laugh.

    I think I’m going to hell.

  31. BeerFox says:

    I’m guessing they meant, “The employee picked the ‘generic’ option, and had to enter some text. They chose poorly.” However, I confess I would love to see a company try to explain away something like this with:
    “It’s not the employee’s fault at all! They accidentally picked the ‘Dumb Nblur’ code from the list of 6 or 7 choices.”

  32. melmoitzen says:

    A few years ago, we took our kids out for dinner and had our names on the waiting list for a table. We went to the hostess stand after a while to check and see how we were progressing to find that the hostess had stepped away for a bit…but her clipboard remained in easy view.

    We were the “old parents.” Doesn’t quite compare to being called a “dumb ne’er-do-well,” but it did get us a round of drinks on the house.

  33. ratboycom says:

    At the Staples I used to work at, a fellow employee was entering customer info for rewards cards into the computer and replaced the customer’s name with “Asshole Faggotron.” The customer got a few pieces of mail addressed to this name and complained to corporate. Corporate was a bit slow at getting back to him about it so he reported it to my store. My manager, Wanda, made quick work apologizing for the situation and vowed to have the name removed and even gave the guy $100 in “sorry we screwed up” store vouchers.

    • econobiker says:

      @ratboycom: Surprised the customer didn’t get on the 6pm news. Didn’t a cable company CSR rename a customer “Stupid Complaint B*tch” a few years back???

    • dweebster says:

      @ratboycom: I wonder if the manager took that employee into the back for some Gitmo-style “enhanced employee review” with some of their multi-sheet staplers. THAT would be “taking it seriously.”

  34. thrillhoV says:

    I find it interesting that it was one of 6 or 7 codes that all employees had to choose from, and no one ever said anything. how long was that an option, and how many employees saw it and said nothing.

  35. trinidon2k says:

    I agree that this is horrible, and as an african american, I find it very offensive. But why is it blurred out? We all know what it says. You guys never blur out words like “fuck” etc. Censorship is blasphemous.

    • econobiker says:

      @trinidon2k: It looks like the original news report blurred it out.

    • dweebster says:

      @trinidon2k: So we can pretend that we’re being “sensitive” when we’re really avoiding the impact of the issue? It’s OK for the OP to discover the real words on his own receipt, but we must make every damn thing “inoffensive” when reporting it.

      Kind of like it’s perfectly OK to kill and torture and blow people up in the movies and on television, but pity the network that allows a woman’s nipple to be exposed. THAT might “offend.”

  36. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I’m not surprised. Most places that deal with the general public find different ways to amuse themselves. One time my friend called in to order a pizza. Gave the usual info like name, number, address. His name is Rick, by the way. And when the pizza got delivered the name on the printout said “Dick”. Not as offensive as “dumb n—–“, but just an indication that things like this are not uncommon.

    Also knew someone that worked in a tech support call center. Whenever a difficult customer called in, the CSR’s would assign the following code to the trouble ticket.. 1D-10T (idiot).

  37. StandishAnteater says:

    I’ve worked at several places where we could use that field to put in a quick descriptor or customer name, and it doesn’t seem that far-fetched that someone else other than the employee who completed that transaction could have entered that into the system. Such a field practically exists to be abused by disgruntled employees, and “Dumb N**ger” is TAME compared to some of the things I’ve seen it used for.

    • alexawesome says:

      @StandishAnteater: Which addresses another issue – when employees are underpaid, under appreciated and abused either by customers, management or both, this is BOUND to happen. The customer absolutely didn’t deserve it, and the employee was absolutely in the wrong. However, it’s important to figure out WHY it happened in the first place. Happy employees usually mean happy customers. Let’s treat EVERYONE like human beings, not just the most profitable group.

      • Zorantor says:

        @alexawesome: Well stated. Retail often doesn’t treat its employees all that well, unfortunately.

        Having worked retail in the past myself, I can say it’s not always especially easy.

  38. BrianDaBrain says:

    Well, what do you know? A corporate apology that

    1) takes action
    2) actually apologizes
    3) does not take anything “very seriously”

  39. zibby says:

    @m4ximusprim3: Nono, “Bankster” is out of the question. I don’t think that one is going very far.

  40. dweebster says:

    Quite a Journey

  41. animeredith says:

    Ugh, this was probably the work of some dumbass teenage (In mind and/or body) employee who thought it was just so uproariously funny and clever of him.

  42. BumpinUgglas says:

    I used to manage a personal ads service that dealt with about 800 papers across the country. If anyone ever, ever saw the things written on the client’s information screens we all would have been sent to frigging Gitmo.

  43. fett387 says:

    Why isn’t there a riot in KC over this…..oh yeah, it’s the midwest. Not the west coast…or the middle east.

  44. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Eh, the N word. Now had he called him a sally, that’d be a real insult.

  45. eirrom says:

    I really can’t believe that message printed out on the receipt. Can you believe how shocked the guy must have been to see that? I guess I wonder why the employee thought he would get away with it?

  46. ? graffiksguru says:

    @CreoleSugar: He was quoting a South Park episode, where Stans dad goes on Wheel of Fortune.

  47. lizk says:

    A similar thing happened to a friend of mine when he went to a chain restaurant. The top of his receipt said “FAT GUY” so he asked the server about it when he went to pay. She made up a really lame excuse, so he asked for a manager. He gave a completely different excuse that made absolutely no sense. None of us has been back there since.

    I hope the employee here learns something from this, as well.

  48. SabreDC says:

    They killed the employee? That’s a little harsh. Perhaps they should have said that the employees EMPLOYMENT has been terminated. I sure hope the employee him/herself hasn’t been terminated. That’s just mean.

  49. livelyseason says:

    I work at a Journey’s store. When a person goes in for a return or exchange, you have to get their name, telephone number, and zip code at least. You manually enter in all of this information. What happened is that the person doing the return typed in this information themselves, foolishly thinking that it would not be printed in the receipt (but would be submitted into the computer’s customer logs). You can be certain that Journey’s fired this employee, I’m sure this will be big news in our local branch, should make for interesting conversation.

  50. UniComp says:

    Wow, screen your employees a little better next time.

  51. FrankLucage says:

    I was added to my fiance’s Hollywood Video rental account about six months ago. A few weeks back I was renting a movie and the girl ringing me up mentions that under “relationship”, I was listed as the “booty call”. I’m not amused, to say the least.

  52. Dansc29625 says:

    I wonder how long “Dumb N____” was in the computer and how many other receipts they have given out with that profile.

    Where I used to work it was “Richard Garrison.” Where I currently work a Customer didn’t want to install new headbolts for his escort, so I put in the customer name “Did not install headbolts.”

    Not an uncommon thing, but uncommon to be so blunt about it.

  53. RedwoodFlyer says:


  54. arcticJKL says:

    Why is the customer not satisfied with the employee being fired for improper use of company equipment?

  55. TheKingBoar says:

    Has anyone else but me read the linked article and noticed the line “A representative with the U.S. Department of Justice told KMBC that it will refer the case to the FBI to investigate whether a civil rights violation has occurred”? I’m sorry, it sucks that you were called a racist term, but how is that possibly a civil rights violation? Free speech basically means that you WILL be called names, and while you can be as offended as you want, the person who said it has every right to say it (and also to lose their jobs, as in this case) Thanks DoJ and FBI, for putting our tax dollars to work!

    • boobaloob says:

      @TheKingBoar: It could be seen as a civil rights violation in that The Civil Rights Act states that “All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation.” Civil rights also protect freedom of speech, so you kind of find yourself in a gray area here. There are many arguments that could be made in favor of the customer and others that could be made in favor of the employee. In any case, I don’t think it’s totally out of line to look into whether this qualifies as violation of the customer’s civil rights.

  56. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    What’s really sad is that a friend of one of my friends (whom I dislike just for the following reason) still goes around talking about African Americans using that horrible word. Every time she says it I just want to slap her.

    Seriously its 2008. What’s that sort of sentiment still doing in our society?

  57. Zorantor says:

    I worked at KB Toys many years ago, and when people would return things, rather than take their information I would fill in the name of a movie or cartoon character, or the like.

    The info wasn’t printed on the customer’s receipt, but we kept a copy that did show it, which was kept on file.

    My store got lots of returns from the likes of Luke Skywalker and Super Mario.

  58. stryker1800 says:

    journeys would be an alright store in my book if they carried more then two styles of doc martens.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Hit ’em where it hurts! In the pocket! Sue ’em cause the problem is much deeper than the employee. If the employee was able to chose from a list to include the racial slur, then someone else put it in the system in the first place. Racist PIGS!