Philly Man Files Racial Discrimination Suit Against Popeye’s Over $10

Says his civil rights were violated at the Gallery.

We’ve all had bad customer service experiences at fast food restaurants. But one man has decided to take Georgia-based Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen to Federal Court over a bad customer service experience he had at the Popeye’s at the Gallery Mall in Philadelphia.

Seven Speller (yes, his name is Seven, not Steven), a 42-year-old African-American man, has sued Popeye’s for racial discrimination stemming from an incident that occurred back in March.

Speller, who lives on 16th Street near Fitzwater, visited the Popeye’s at the Gallery for lunch. In his lawsuit, he explains that he didn’t have much time, because he needed to get back to his job as a SEPTA Paratransit driver. He had left his work vehicle parked across from the Greyhound bus station around the corner.

The hungry driver ordered a “tender combo” with red beans (the best side at Popeye’s), a biscuit (leaps and bounds better than Kentucky Fried Chicken’s) and a medium Coke. His total was $7.55, and he paid with cash.

After receiving his change, Speller stepped back from the counter. It was then that he realized he had been shortchanged. Speller says that he paid with a $20 bill (and his receipt indicates the same, according to the suit), but the cashier only gave him change for $10.

I bet you’re wondering where the racial discrimination comes in to play.

Well, Speller naturally pointed out this monetary discrepancy to the cashier and a manager, both of whom were, according to the suit, “non-African-American.” The cashier said she didn’t remember Speller giving her a $20, so the manager came over to count the drawer.

“Why are you treating me like this?” Speller remembers asking. “Ignoring the receipt when you can miscount the register at will?”

He says the manager responded, “This is how we are dealing with you. The receipt means nothing. If the drawer count is over, you will get your money back. If it is under, you will get nothing back.”

What happens next, according to the suit, is that the manager tried to “snatch” the receipt from Speller’s hands, Speller said “this is unfair and this is racist,” and a male employee (also “non-African-American”) told Speller that the police were coming. The male employee told Speller, “Get away from here, and never come back again.”

Mall security and a police officer showed up, a report was taken, and, well, that was the end of that. Or so it seemed. Six months later, Speller decided to take a shot at the chain in Federal Court.

Speller’s lawyer has not yet responded to a request for comment.