Staples is apologizing after a Bay Area man says he was offended by an employee dressed in blackface for a Sharpie Halloween costume.
Harrold Lefall says he went to the Staples in Pleasant Hill to buy a cash register and asked an employee for help.
"I said, 'ma'am, where are the cash registers?' Then she turned around and I saw this white lady in blackface and I kind of froze."
Offended, he turned to another employee.
"I said the lady over there is in blackface, and as a black man I am very offended and I think that's very inappropriate...She said it was a sharpie costume, and I said sharpie or no sharpie as a black man to see a white person in black face is very offensive."
He says that although he left the store, Leffall was still upset and spoke to a manager about what he saw and what he was told.
Public relations staff for Staples and Hewlett-Packard says the woman in the photograph works for a third-party company.
"A representative from HP who was in one of our stores wore a costume for Halloween that they intended to have represent an office product, but didn't realize it could be considered offensive to some of our customers. While it was unintentional, it was still inappropriate and once this was raised to the representative, they immediately removed the costume.
Staples apologizes to any customers that may have viewed a photo of the associate on social media. We respect diversity and try to foster a sense of diversity and inclusion in our stores, as well as provide an atmosphere in which all customers feel comfortable."
Leffall says he doesn't accept the apology and plans to not shop at the chain any more.
"A company that doesn't have a level of sensitivity to a struggle of a people that is a large part of their customer base is not a company that I am going to support."