Down on Dillard's

Eye-opener: Yes, you are a tabloid, with all the negativity that supposedly connotes, but thank you for printing a newsworthy story ["A Closer Look at Dillard's," by Margaret Downing, January 8] that the mainstream press has been economically intimidated from publicizing.

I was horrified to learn of Dillard's systematic discrimination of minority job applicants and shoppers. I am a 41-year-old, clean-cut, white male professional who has never had -- and probably never would have -- an unpleasant experience there.

However, I will not set foot in another Dillard's store until I am convinced this bigoted retailer has truly evidenced a radical change of its corporate heart and racist ways.

Jeff Lawton Henry

No more truckin': I was shocked and horrified by what seems to be well-investigated and well-written work.

Not only will I not shop at Dillard's until the company publicly atones for its blatant racism, but as owner of trucks that have occasion to transport garment loads over the road, I will instruct my truck brokers that until the aforementioned happens, they are not to put a Dillard's load on my equipment.

Thanks for the good work.

Thomas P. Jordan

Comfort zone: I commend you for printing such a great, yet sad but true, article. I am a former employee of Dillard's Parkdale Mall in Beaumont and can attest to every encounter listed in the story as being something that Dillard's management did promote to us as employees.

You are to be commended for your efforts in getting a much-needed public notice out on how we as minorities are treated not only in Dillard's, but in other "upper-class" department stores as well. I'd like to assist in bringing justice for all who desire to shop somewhere where they -- we -- can feel comfortable.

Travis L. Collins

Shoplifters' paradise: That was a fantastic story on Dillard's; I worked at the store in First Colony in '96, so I know firsthand of their stuck-up and racially oriented practices. My friend who was there told me that they didn't use sensors on their clothes because they didn't think "undesirables" (sounds like "minorities," doesn't it?) would come all the way out to Sugar Land to steal clothes.

Well, that's just what they did. If you're dumb enough to have Nautica leather jackets right next to the door, with Hilfiger merchandise directly opposite it with no locks or sensors, you deserve to have it stolen. The off-duty police officers weren't as bad as some of the cases in your story, but still bad nonetheless. When the rapper Notorious B.I.G. died, one of the officers stated, "Good, one less of them."

I ended up getting fired; they said they had me on tape stealing a bunch of shirts. This was a lie. When I asked to see the tape, they told me they were saving it for court. A manager told me I really got fired for "guilt by association" because two of my friends had gotten fired for theft.

It would be really interesting to get many blacks, Hispanics and Asians together and go into Dillard's all at once, and watch management and security shit on themselves while trying to come up with a valid excuse for having them thrown out. It's about time this organization went out of business; it seems they are headed in that direction.

Brandon L. Chanslor

Out the door: I found your story compelling and right on target.

I was an employee for Dillard's. I went from a sales position into management. Then, I was disposed of after six years of service. My career ended at the anchor store, on Post Oak.

Yes, I have much to say of how I was harassed and discriminated against.

I thank you for exposing Dillard's!

Name withheld by request

CITGO's Record

Venezuelan connection: Interesting article ["Moving Target," by Sarah Fenske, January 15]. I was not aware of Lyondell-CITGO's labor relations record.

But I want to correct a misleading impression from the article. I grew up in Venezuela and still have family there. In addition, several friends in Houston and elsewhere work for companies doing work for PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company that owns CITGO.

I know it's hard for a U.S.-centric observer to understand, but the parent company is PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela). CITGO is its subsidiary. So the 16,000 "brusquely terminated" Venezuelan employees referred to in the article worked for PDVSA, not CITGO.

For the most part, CITGO has been run as a completely independent subsidiary, but it definitely reports to Caracas and not the other way around.

Other than this glitch, I am really glad there is a Houston Press. It's where I go for movie reviews, the music scene and local politics.

Steven Marzuola

Galleria Bottleneck

Give Greenspoint a go: At least we can get to the Wyndham Hotel at Greenspoint ["Hotel Envy," Hair Balls, January 15]. It's pretty nice and there's no crime. Most people don't go to the mall; it's the other stores and hotels around there, like Hotel Sofitel, the Marriott or the Doubletree.

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