Racist as

NZH: Shopper claims she wasn’t allowed to try ring on because of her race

Moe Lewin, a 39-year-old senior product manager at iHeartRadio, was shocked when a shop assistant at Walker & Hall at the NorthWest Shopping Mall last month told her it was against shop policy to let people try on high-end rings.

The mother-of-three has spoken out about her treatment at a jewellery store following Taika Waititi’s comment that New Zealand was “racist as f***”.

Lewin popped down to the shops last month, leaving her three children at home with her husband, to buy a $450 Meadowlark ring.

As an afterthought she asked about trying on a replacement engagement ring, having lost hers a few months earlier.

Lewin says the assistant told her she had to pay for her Meadowlark ring first and asked Lewin to provide ID before showing her a large diamond ring valued at about $10,000.

But when Lewin asked for a closer look, she says the assistant pulled the ring out and put it on her own finger. She then held it up to her chest to show her.

“I was like I would like to try the ring on and she said, ‘Well you can’t, it’s store policy. Any high-end rings can’t be tried on’.”

Lewin then turned to another assistant to ask if it was correct, who responded “sometimes”.

She asked to speak to a store manager but was told there was not one on site that Saturday. As she went to leave she turned to the assistant and said, “It’s not because I’m a Maori is it?”.

She said the shop assistant stumbled and tripped over her words, before saying, “Oh, don’t say that”.

Lewin said she left the store feeling upset and returned on the Sunday to complain.

The store manager called Lewin on Monday morning to apologise and gave her the distinct impression it was not store policy.

This is once side of a story, and one shop assistant, and it is a perception of racism, not proof of racism.

But it is an obviously disgruntled customer – that’s not good for business.