Ralph’s-near Western/Wilshire 

By Trissean McDonald

The Painted Brain Academy has come to its last day on March 25, 2016. The Academy decided to close out with a trip to 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 attempts to stop me from collecting valuable information related to homeless and mentally ill individuals that frequent the store. Do they actually affect the customers shopping experience or the work of employees?

However, I managed to speak with an anonymous employee who was actually serving food at a cart vendor. The employee said that there are not many encounters that she has had with homeless people or individuals she deems as mentally ill. Nevertheless, she’s adamant about treating people like herself. 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 like themselves” as well. I did not violate any laws. However, I harassed both by the store’s security and manager. The store manager did not have on a name tag making him seem rather anonymous. He even went to extreme measures to have me arrested by calling the local authorities who didn’t even show up.

The manager alleged that I was “harassing the customers.” However, no customer was interviewed. If an employee declined to be interviewed or was even busy, I moved on to the next potential individual who was ok with being interviewed. Then I realized, if I was dismissed without question by the store manager, 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.

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