A police officer’s daughter walked into Walmart and ordered a cake with a simple message on it. When the Walmart bakery workers saw what the message said, they told the woman that it was offensive and refused to make the cake. See what the cake looked like, and decide for yourselves if there was anything wrong with it.
In McDonough, Georgia, Jordan Harkins went to Walmart to have a cake made for her father who was retiring from law enforcement. She asked the bakery employees to make a “thin blue line” cake to commemorate his extensive and honorable service as a dedicated police officer. But, they refused to honor her request, alleging it was racist. “I was so shocked,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do or say or anything. I was trying not to lose my temper or make a scene.”
Jordan tried to order a cake with the American flag in black and white with a blue stripe added. It was for her father’s retirement party after 25-years on the job. She showed the bakers a photograph of what she wanted. “One of the bakers told me the design could be perceived as racist and nobody feels comfortable decorating the cake,” the police officer’s daughter said.
As a simpler alternative, Jordan Harkins asked if they would make a chocolate-frosted cake with a horizontal, frosted blue line, but that design was also swiftly rejected. “She said, ‘I don’t feel comfortable doing this,’” Jordan said. “I asked her, ‘Is there something wrong with cops?’” After being rejected for the third time, she told the bakers, “I’ll find another bakery, thank you.”
After the frustrating ordeal, the family went to Kroger to have the cake made instead. Jordan was much more polite than most people would’ve been in that situation. “I was disappointed,” she said. “I go to Walmart all the time — at least once a week spend hundreds of dollars. I just wanted to make my dad a cake to show how much I appreciated him.”
After the incident gained attention on social media, it wasn’t long before the Walmart store manager called the police officer’s family. So, how did Walmart right their wrong? The manager apologized and offered to make the cake, which had already been taken care of by Kroger. He also said that Walmart fully supports law enforcement, but the experience with the cake leaves doubt as to the veracity of that statement.
“He said he was so sorry,” Jordan Harkins said. “He offered to make the cake free of charge and he gave me a $50 gift card. This doesn’t make up for the fact that it shouldn’t ever have happened in the first place,” added Jordan, who took the Walmart manager up on the late offer to make the cake, but the result “looked terrible.”
A Walmart corporate spokesperson confirmed most of the story. “Our goal is to always take care of customers,” the spokesperson said. “But, sometimes we misstep … We have addressed this issue with everyone involved and are taking steps to make sure no other customers have this kind of experience in our stores. We’re glad we were able to connect with the family to apologize and make this right.”
While a company can choose to run their business however they see fit, Walmart seems to be saying their employee doesn’t represent their values. However, actions speak louder than words, and Jordan believes the cake decorators should be terminated. “I work in retail,” she said. “If I didn’t want to deal with a customer — and said ‘No’ — I would get fired.”