By Trissean McDonald
The Painted Brain Academy has reached its last day March 25, 2016. The Academy decided to close out with a trip to a Ralph’s grocery store. However, it wasn’t the type of field trip that was expected. The actual atmosphere at Ralph’s, located at 670 South Western Avenue Los Angeles, California 90005, seemed rather hostilely defensive.
Hostile in the sense that, the store manager and security actually called authorities in front of me, without giving an actual reason as to why. Several employees made an attempt to stop me from collecting information related towards the homeless and mentally ill individuals that traffic throughout store, and how it actually affects the store and its employees.
However, I managed to speak with one anonymous employee, who was actually serving food at a cart vender. The employee stated that there’s not many encounters the she has had with homeless people or individuals she deems as mentally ill; nevertheless, she’s adamant about “treating people as myself.” Furthermore, she utilizes wisdom and “tries to discern” everyone’s potential dangerous quality she encounters.
It may be rather advisable for several of Ralph’s employees to start “treating others as themselves.” I haven’t violated any laws, but was continuously harassed both by the store’s security and manager. Unfortunately, the store manager removed his name from his nametag, making him seem rather anonymous. The store manager even went to extreme measures threatening to have me arrested, by calling local authorities that didn’t even show up.
The manager alleged that I was “harassing the customers” to authorities; nevertheless, not one customer was interviewed by me. Additionally, if an employee declined an interview, or was even busy, I kindly moved on to the next potential individual that was ok with being interviewed. Then, I realized if I was dismissed without question by the store manger, being a mentally ill individual myself, how are some individuals that are mentally ill or homeless treated when trying to hold a mutual conversation with another customer or employee?
Asking and probing for public information that’s not detrimental towards the store or employees, shouldn’t be dismissed without any given explanation as to why.
The Painted Brain Academy is a program that focuses on the tactics of photojournalism, journalism, and social media literacy.
Ralph’s Contact: 670 S Western Ave.
Los Angeles, California 90005