Walmart is a magical place where shoppers can find basically anything they'd ever want or need at an obscenely low price. Unfortunately, it can bring in some... interesting characters. Because of these interesting people, Walmart employees have seen, well, everything. Here are real stories from Walmart employees about the worst things they've seen while on the job. Some stories are edited for clarification purposes.
Late Night Stocker
“So I used to stock the crafts section on overnights. I’m kinda an awkward person so no human contact was great for me. This old guy on a scooter insisted upon sitting in my aisle for like, hours. Just staring at the needles. I let it happen because I didn’t really have a choice.
Ok….whatever. I stocked everything I could. But finally I needed him to move and honestly I was a little creeped out at this point. I mentioned it to my manager on the way to lunch and then made my to the break room.
After lunch he was gone, nowhere to be seen. It turns out he had died there like 5 hours ago and when my manager checked in on him, he was unresponsive without a pulse. He had been dead for almost the entire time I was working…”
“It was my first job out of high school (2009) and I moved cross country to be with my girlfriend, ended up working at a Walmart as a janitor overnight in the worst part of town in Tulsa.
This place had everything it could under lock. High theft, and a few people had died there so the workers nicknamed it ‘Kill Mart.’
One night, a guy is in the sporting goods area and wants to buy something. He takes his wallet out, sets it on the counter for a second.
Thief walks up and grabs it, runs off.
The victim proceeds to grab a golf club, chase the man down and violently beat him in an aisle. Blood, broken neck (I’m like 95% positive the guy died), destroyed aisle.
Everyone in the store flipped, a bunch were calling people to view it in the CCTV room.
My manager waved me down and asked me to clean up the aisle so the store would look nice for the morning. You know. The crime scene.
I clocked out for lunch, quit the next day.”
Sorry, Wrong Number
“I was a photo lab tech, back when Walmart had an actual photo lab. I hear a lady shouting and huffing over the wall in fabrics. She’s ringing the bell constantly. The 1 person scheduled there is on lunch. I’m in the middle of changing the paper in our print processor and would ruin a several hundred dollar roll of paper if I stop–so I take 2-3 more minutes to finish and start walking over to the fabric area. Back before Walmart switched from Avaya to Cisco phones, they were dumb enough to list extensions and paging codes at every phone. By the time I got over there, the customer had helped herself to the PA system and is screaming like a banshee for help.
I walk over, press the switch hook on the phone to disconnect her from the PA, take the receiver from her, and calmly told her that the phones are not for customer use. She isn’t pleasant but not necessarily nasty. I help her get her fabric, print her ticket, and send her on her way. She seemed fine. No big deal.
Five minutes later the customer and a CSM (front-end manager) walk back to the photo lab. The customer is fake-crying, telling the CSM I cursed at her and how horrible I was. I ask the CSM to step away so we can talk privately for a minute and explained what happened. The CSM even acknowledged that she heard the customer on the PA system. CSM seems satisfied, and she and the customer walk back to the front.
Later that day, HR calls me in and lets me know I’ve been written up for poor treatment of a customer.
After all of the stuff I had to deal with in the previous weeks, this was the last straw. I quit.”
“Do You Know Who I Am?”
“I was working electronics. Since we were explicitly told we couldn’t turn away customers from checking out at our tiny register in the back during rush time, my line got backed up with my total 3 square feet of space.
I had a customer rudely start tossing their stuff up on the register. Once a toilet roll bounced off me since they clearly had no sense of personal space, I stopped, and asked them to check out up front. They clearly became upset, asking ‘Do you know how I AM?’ (don’t care) and then started throwing a fit.
I paged the CSM, told them to come to electronics and then watched them apologize to the customer, give them a discount and to that I just walked off to the back. The store manager at the time came back to the break room to speak with me, and after determining that they felt I handled the situation incorrectly, I informed them that if they had no interest in supporting their employees then I’m quitting on the spot. I think they put me in as fired at that point, but it didn’t matter and I found another job pretty quickly anyway.”
“Here It Comes!”
“I worked at Walmart about 20 years ago, being the manager of the photo lab before digital took over. So my department was right next to the electronics department. I’m chatting with the manager of the electronics department, and all of a sudden we hear a woman yell, ‘Here it comes!’ and we all looked over.
We then see a middle aged woman frantically scuttling down the aisle, holding her shorts near the back. She ran to the restroom, leaving a trail of liquid poop behind her. It looked like when a dog is sick and you’re trying to get them out the door before they make a mess all over your carpet, and they keep stopping to poop every few seconds.
An employee went in with a pair of pants off the shelf to help out. She put them on and made a beeline toward the exit without paying for them, leaving her soiled shorts in the stall on the floor.”
A Toad’s Tale
“Years ago, the Walmart in our town was selling fire bellied toads. I had some of my own at home, and was horrified to see these terribly starving toads at Walmart. My seventh grade SJW heart couldn’t take it. The toad looked like a twig in it’s midsection, where my healthy ones were fat in the same place. I bought one, took it home and got pictures of it, and took pictures of my own toads. It ended up dying the next day with a cricket in its mouth, think I was just too late.
I wrote a letter about my experience, asking Walmart to feed their animals or stop selling them, and sent copies of it with the photos to our local newspaper, the SPCA, and Walmart. Walmart immediately wrote us all back and said they were pulling the fire bellied toads and newts out of all the stores. The newspaper ran a story on it, and I got to give a speech to my middle school about it. I know it sounds like I’m lying, but my parents still have the newspaper article. Definitely one of the things I’m most proud of, even if it doesn’t seem like much!”
“Undoubtedly the worst thing I have seen happened tonight. Two women came into the store, one was pregnant and had her 3 year old son with her, they tried to steal about $1,000 worth of baby formula (addicts will sell it to buy more substances).
After we catch them and take them back to the security room, the little boy has to go to the bathroom so we allow his mom to take him, and she just start screaming at him for no reason at the top of her lungs. Once the police arrive, we discovered that she actually had 2 more kids, a 2 year old and a 4 year old that she had left in the car (the car was off the whole time) in the summer heat. We find the car and see these 2 kids aren’t even in car seats, just buckled up. The mom refuses to give us the keys to get them out so we had to call in the fire department to get them out and an ambulance to make sure they were okay.
This whole time, we can tell the women are strung out on some kind of illegal substance because they are both just laughing the whole time and don’t seem to grasp what is going on, keep in mind one of them was quite obviously pregnant at the time. Meanwhile the kids are all terrified and crying because they have no idea what is going on and don’t understand why they are being taken from their mom. Needless to say, child protective services was called in to take the kids after they got the all clear from the EMTs.
The women were hauled off in a police cruiser and the kids were taken away in a van by CPS. I’m not sure what happened to the kids but I sure hope they never end up back with those awful women again.”
“Other than the people freaking out and throwing stuff, and one junkie who continuously stole cans of compressed air for dusting computers to do whippets in the handicapped bathroom (how that didn’t kill him I still don’t know), one story stands out.
This elderly obese woman came in with her ‘service dog’ – a little chihuahua or something, probably for anxiety. Gets one of the electric scooters, puts the dog with its leash into the basket. During the course of her shopping, the leash goes through the grate of the basket onto the floor and gets run over by the wheels of the scooter. The leash gets twisted up in the motor of the scooter. Eventually, the leash gets yanked tight and begins to strangle the dog. The dog uses what little air it has to panic, but quickly falls silent. The woman does nothing about this.
Once she gets to the front of the store, she decides to check on the dog – strangled to death 6 inches in front of her. She flips out and screams at every employee she can find, telling them to do something, save her dog (I guess she didn’t know it was dead), it was their fault, blah blah. The dog had been dead for almost 20 minutes before she decided to check on it. Dog urine and feces all over the inside of the cart that she didn’t manage to notice or smell for 20 WHOLE minutes.
I no longer work at Walmart. I unfortunately have no idea whether she sued or not, or what really came of it afterwards.”
“We Were Supposed To Be A Hands Off Store”
“I was an overnight manager at the time. The store is located in the worst area of a major city at a 24 hour store. At around 2 am, the overnight loss prevention associate had just caught a guy shoplifting on the cameras and I had been called up to help him. Things go smoothly. The guy had stolen less the $50 worth of stuff and complied so it went pretty easy.
After letting the shoplifter go, the loss prevention associate had some paperwork to do so I jumped on the cameras to see what’s going on in the store.
I soon find a shady looking individual lurking around the electronics department. He’s clearly making sure no one is in the vicinity watching him. He sneaks into an aisle and grabs an all-in-one monitor/desktop combo wrapped in spider wrap (I still don’t know why a $1,000+ computer wasn’t locked behind a cage).
He quickly takes it to a different aisle, easily works the spider wrap off the box, takes the computer out and shoves it into his sweatpants.
Slinking over into the clothing racks in apparel, he hides the computer in some pants and sneaks around for the next 15 to 30 minutes trying to watch the employees up front by the registers. (At this time of night only our smoking aisle is open.)
All of a sudden while watching a blonde lady in our only open register line and crouched behind a rack of shirts, he pulls out his schlong and starts wanking it. Then he wiped himself clean on a shirt that was hanging in front of him.
At this point we know we don’t want to deal with him at all so we call the cops. Well. . . as soon as he finished cleaning off he heads back to where he hid the computer, puts it back in his pants, and starts to head our way.
We realized he was going to get to us before the cops so as soon as he passes out last point of sale, we head out of the monitoring room and confront him.
It is here that I should mention that we were supposed to be a hands off store. As in if we confront a shoplifter we’re supposed to stop them with words. But at this location in the middle of the night everybody’s a runner.
Obviously this guy decides to run. We tackle him and pin him to the ground. Luckily soon after the police show up and we let them handle him from there.”
“He Was Acting A Lil Sus”
“Was an electronics associate a little after black Friday (my old store was a high theft area so A LOT was locked up) and guy asks to see a TV that was on a stack base, I show him it and tell him some specs about it and he seemed interested and said he wanted it, so I told him I was gonna go to the back to get the one he wanted but he said, ‘No I want this one right here,’ so I went ahead and unlocked the spider wrap around it and I was originally going to bring it to the counter to ring him up but he helped me pick it up (65 inch) and proceeds to tug it and put it in his cart and slowly began walking away.
I tell him that I have to ring it up at the electronics counter (AP manager at the time was on our butts saying that if you needed to unlock it then take it to the register and don’t hand them it) and he proceeds to tell me that he didn’t want to ring it up back here and walks away. Immediately I knew he probably was gonna try to steal it so I walk up to him and tell him again but he says I’m being racist (usually when they say something along this line, I already know whats about to go down), so I go tell my manager to tell AP that the customer does not want to pay at the counter and he was acting a little sus.
My manager and I walk back up to him and tell him once again that AP was coming and that he needed to pay at the counter and he then looks dead into my soul and tells me he has a Glock and if I keep holding him up, he will pull it out and hit me. I’ve seen my fair share of crazy stuff happen at Walmart but being threatened like that was my first.
The manager that was with me was speechless but immediately told AP the situation so they were posted up at every single exits and police is called, guy then attempts to make a dash at the grocery doors but gang of Walmart workers are already there and grab the TV and guy is trying to fight everyone but runs out the door when he realizes that he ain’t getting that TV. We see him jump into a white truck that was posted up right in front of the doors and we never see him again. It safe to say that he probably didn’t have a weapon with him that day but nevertheless a crazy day.”
A Complete Mess
“I remember having to go to the restroom while on the clock and the janitor asked me to make sure no one was inside, so when I came out she would be able to clean it. I went inside and kind of scanned the stalls, hearing someone. I go tell the janitor someone is inside so she kinda just leaves and does something else.
I go back in and I keep hearing rattling coming from the stall. A LOT of vigorous movement and a lot of hard, labored breathing. I figured it was someone just having a bad time. Too many $1 spicy bean and beef chimichangas.
After a moment I hear them leave…then after a minute after they left, another person leaving from the same stall. I was quick to realize that they were just banging in the stall…for whatever reason.
I, for WHATEVER stupid reason, go and open the stall door they were in and there was poop… poop everywhere. Literal feces, spattered across the walls, hand prints dragged, pretty sure there was spunk on the toilet. After a pause of just pure shock and disgust I took a step back and noticed that one of them left their name tag on the back of the toilet.
I never looked at him the same again and I refused to shake his hand for months. (Then I quit.)”
“All this happens in southwest Virginia, so throw in a cliche southern accent to everything.
We had a woman at the end if my shift smoking a Marlboro. I asked to her to put it out. She gets angry, says it’s a free country and runs off. Another customer comes up to me a few minutes later and says a woman is leaned over and looks sick in the shoes department.
I go check on the problem, smoker lady is there bent over those little seats you sit on to try on shoes. Kneeling in the floor, white powder on her nose. She looks at me, vomits a mix of bile, powder, and what smelt like 3 day old Taco Bell then takes off like a wild animal.
My replacement shows up, I have a mop in hand ready to go and just push it into his and I’m like good luck. On my way out of the store, I see some of the cashiers are freaking out. I go over and the cops come out of the ladies bathroom as I get close. Smoker lady is fighting and cussing between two officers. One of the managers comes out next with a can of compressed air, a six pack of Bud Light, and a pack of wash cloths. I found out later she was jacked up on a few things and luckily did get some much needed help after a good mental health check up.”
Patrick Bateman’s Lookalike
“I was working in the pharmacy at Walmart in the middle of a storm. It wasn’t a bad storm or anything, just very rainy with some thunder, but it was supposed to continue for several days, so of course the store was packed.
In line at the in-store pharmacy there was a man who was clearly mentally disabled, with a helper, in the front of the line. The man behind them must have been a lawyer – did not fit the stereotypical Walmart look at all, wearing an expensive looking suit, perfectly gelled hair, carrying a briefcase and everything. He looked annoyed that he was there at all. He intensely reminded me of Patrick Bateman, just an air of disinterest and arrogance, and was brushing his coat off every time anyone walked too close to him.
Everything’s fine, and the guy and his helper at the front of the line get their prescriptions and start to turn around. Just as they do, there’s a huge thunderclap and suddenly, the power goes out in the store. It’s not pitch black, but it’s pretty dark, and immediately there’s commotion in line. I look up just in time to witness disabled man punch lawyer dude square in the face.
Lights flicker, come back on. Lawyer man is standing there holding his bloody nose looking like he’s ready to murder someone, disabled guy is freaking out, helper is profusely apologizing and trying to help lawyer guy. Lawyer guy waves him off with a glare, walks to the front and calmly says his name+info and throws down some money. Pharmacist hands him prescription, which he snatches wordlessly and turns away, brushing past me still holding his nose, leaving a trail of blood on the linoleum floor.
I don’t know why but the entire thing felt so surreal I still remember it like it just happened. Wildest thing I’ve ever seen in Walmart.”
The “N Word”
“I worked there for a month as a summer gig during prime recession time. Luckily my department was a lot less crazy than some of the others or someone like a janitor. Plenty of weird stuff happened in my short time there but only one thing really scarred me and it isn’t what you’d expect.
One day employees and lower management in departments around mine kept getting pulled in for questioning and I never did so I was on alert. Finally I get called in and all the higher management were in there with concerned faces. Turns out a black employee accused me of racism and harassing him, saying that I called him the ‘N word’ multiple times. Not only did I never do this, but I’d never even had a full conversation with this guy before because something seemed wrong with him so I just avoided him if I could. He reported me first thing in the morning and by late noon it was settled thankfully. I had to stew in a windowless room of emotion the whole time thinking I may be labelled a racist.
This is a big deal for any company and I instantly started having a small panic attack because I’ve never been put into a situation like that and my only defense was that all I could say was ‘No I never did that.’ Luckily one of the managers brought up checking security footage for conclusive evidence in case a lawsuit or something of that nature popped up. In the end they had security go through every minute of security footage of when I was working and saw that not once did I have a single interaction with the guy.
I did not work the rest of my shift, I was so emotionally distraught and sick to my stomach they gave me the rest of the day off. First thing next morning during opening I came in and told them it gave me bad anxiety and didn’t think I could do it. They were very understanding and even paid me in cash for the full day’s worth, which may not be policy but it was nice. The whole thing shook me up and it all just made me feel bad so I never worked there again.”