A woman in Arkansas was forced to look elsewhere after Walmart refused to sell her a class ring that she ordered with a Confederate flag symbol on it, instead telling her that it would be melted down.
Elaine Glidewell, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, said she went to the Walmart to order the ring for her nephew.
“I went to Walmart, ordered his ring just like he wanted it,” she said. “I got the mascot on the ring, the Rebel, and I guess what you would say the Confederate flag. I ordered the ring, they said it would take four to six weeks for the ring to come in.”
Glidewell ordered the ring in May and went to pick it up, only to be denied by staff.
“They wouldn’t let me have the ring. It had a note on it, was in a plastic bag, it said do not sell. It was signed by the store manager,” she said. “I wanted to cry. I stood there with tears in my eyes.”
Glidewell was ultimately able to get the $320 she spent on the ring refunded. When asked what would happen to the ring, a Walmart employee told her it would be melted.
“I said ‘you are going to melt my ring?’ And he said ‘we can’t sell it,’” Glidewell told reporters.
Brian Nick, Walmart’s director of national media relations, said the refusal was simply a matter of policy that was implemented late last month.
“Walmart announced several weeks ago that we would no longer be able to provide merchandise promoting the Confederate flag,” Nick said. “So, in this instance a customer wanted to complete the purchase of a ring with a Confederate flag on it so we refunded the customers money.”
Nick told reporters that Walmart is working with Glidewell to connect her to the third-party distributor they use to make class rings.
“I would give anything to have that ring. Anything,” Glidewell said. “Just because it means so much to him.”