Ever been to a Walmart and seen something a bit out of the ordinary? Well, these people sure have!
Walmart goers on Quora share the strangest things they've seen while shopping. Content has been edited for clarity.
She Wasn’t Even Doing Her Job
“One night around nine, I went in to get a few supplies before my daughter had minor surgery in the morning, including Gatorade. At that time of night, our sleepy, local Walmart has one checkout open and three self-checks. There were no lines at the self-checks, but a rather long one of people with full carts at the register with an actual cashier. So to the self-check, I go.
The twenty-something cashier who’s supposed to be watching the various stations there was too busy leaning on a soda pop cooler talking to a couple of guys she obviously knew to pay attention to her station, or what the customers using the self-checks are doing.
I finished up and started to head out when she runs screaming ‘Ma’am!’ towards me, blocking my cart as I try to exit the area to leave the store.
‘You did not pay for that Gatorade,’ she yelled at me, arms flailing. I looked up at her confused since the Gatorade was the first thing I scanned and placed in the bagging area, which would have caused the register to start up its ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area. Remove item and press ‘OK’ to continue’ litany I’ve heard so many times. The scales on the self-check bagging areas are rather wonky at this particular Walmart.
I offered to get the receipt out of my purse while she stood there, repeating over and over, ‘You did NOT pay for that. I watched you. You put it right in your cart,’ as other customers pass on by me.
Wondering how I managed to attract the attention of someone who obviously wanted so badly to catch a shoplifter, I produced my receipt. Which she didn’t actually look at but continued to huff, ‘I don’t see Gatorade anywhere on here,’ as the two men she was talking to snickered off to the side.
I politely told her (although at this point I was embarrassed by her behavior and really wanting to move beyond polite replies into outright rude ones) to look at the top of it as it was the first thing I scanned. In all seriousness, I can’t tell you how long it took to convince her to stop with the hysterics and actually look right at the Gatorade line at the top of my receipt, but I had gotten to the point I offered to call the cops for her to clear this up.
This had descended into madness and my patience was beyond ‘Let me talk to your manager’ levels.
I really was at, ‘Let’s get the police involved and see what they think of your misguided attempts to fight crime, shall we?’
But it worked. Her eyes finally focused on me, then on the receipt. Gatorade. Right there in black and white.
‘Oh. Well, this is just new policy, you understand,’ she told me.
As much as I wanted to rip her to shreds verbally, I simply replied with something along the lines of ‘I doubt it will ever be policy to hold up customers while you yell at them because you were too busy talking with your friends to do your job,’ before gathering what little dignity I had left after being so abjectly humiliated over an honestly purchased small-ticket item.
I was furious by that point, and I don’t remember verbatim what I actually said. She didn’t even have the grace to look embarrassed by her actions. Or to do her job because she went right back to leaning on that cooler and chatting away.
I left a complaint to management and decided to start patronizing the grocery store on the other side of town instead. It’s a longer drive, since we live only about three blocks from the Walmart, making it convenient for quickly getting needed items, but at least I’m treated better. Walmart has yet to get back to me on their cashier’s behavior, even though this happened a little over two weeks ago.”
“We Are Evacuating The Store. Leave Right Now!”
“As my daughter and I were rolling our very full cart through the aisles one evening, a voice came shouting over the loudspeaker, ‘Code yellow! There is a turn in the punch bowl!’
My daughter and I looked at each other thinking — it’s Walmart, but what in the world kind of announcement was that?
My daughter laughed and ran off to pick out some things for her hair. I rolled into the checkout line and told her to hurry up.
The manager walked up to the end of the conveyor belt almost immediately and said sternly to the whole line of us, ‘Leave your carts. We are evacuating the store. You need to leave right now!’
It was a bit chaotic. Food dropped in place. Registers stopped. People filing out quickly. The same message over and over; ‘Leave your shopping. Leave the store. Now.’
I wasn’t leaving without my daughter! What on earth was going on?
We got out safely, thankfully, though a bit shaken up.
Later that evening we drove back by and the store was empty as a ghost town but illuminated by the flashing blue lights of several police cars.
Several days later, I found out what happened. Several young adults had commandeered the PA System and broadcast the silly turd message, all in good fun. What they hadn’t counted on was the ‘Code yellow’ part of the message happened to mean ‘Emergency—Evacuate.’ It caused thousands of dollars of wasted perishable food, thousands in revenue, and could have caused injuries due to panic. The boys were tracked down using debit card receipts for purchases they made after the prank. The insider who filled me in said the kids were college students who were being charged with federal crimes.
(I don’t believe those boys intended any of this to happen, sounds like they were just being boys, and well, silly and gross).”
She Had It All Wrong
“I was seventeen. I’d just gotten my driver’s license, and with it came the title Mom’s Little Chauffeur. I’m sure everyone with younger siblings has had this title at one point or another. Anyway, my littlest sister, who was five at the time, had her first school play coming up and she was really excited about it. She wanted to go all out for her costume, including a very specific shade of pink nail polish, which of course, she didn’t already have. Over this, she threw one of her patented Sass Fits. Mom gave me ten bucks and asked me to take her to Walmart to get the nail polish she wanted, and I could keep the change for gas money.
She and I went to Walmart and we went to the Beauty department. She picked out a nail polish and then noticed the Essie brand had the exact color she wanted, only it was nine dollars before tax and I didn’t bring enough money. We had a small argument over the nail polishes, I convinced her to just settle for the cheaper bottle, and we started making our way to the register to check out.
As we walked, hand in hand, an older woman approached us, looking really mad. My sister kind of squashed herself into my side, trying to hide from this woman as she marched right up to us and stopped us in our paths.
‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself,’ she accused me, sticking a disapproving finger in my face.
‘E-Excuse me?’ I stammered.
‘Having a baby when you’re so young. Don’t you care at all about your future?’ she snarled. ‘How old were you when you even had her, you little lady of the night?’
‘What are you talking about?’ I tried to ask, but she launched into a tirade about how ashamed I should be and what an idiot I was, and how I’d messed up my own future and my ‘daughter’s’ future for being a teen mom.
‘Ma’am,’ I cut her off, mid-sentence as I realized what she was accusing me of. ‘This is my sister. I’m not her mom.’
Her lips pursed as she glared at me. I grabbed my sister’s hand and quickly walked off before she could say another word.”
A Solid Plan
“Somewhere around 2003, I was at a big Walmart store in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
It was one of those long weekend mega-sales. Thanksgiving, if I recall.
One of my cousins, who was visiting me, ensured I woke up early and took her to Walmart. It was, of course, crowded and chaotic with people running all over. And the store was all loaded and piled up with stuff.
I saw a woman carrying four DVD players and a man carrying two small TVs with a built-in VCR. I could see the camaraderie among shoppers as they were giving tips to each other on where the best stuff was. My cousin had blended in very well in a matter of minutes.
However, the funniest thing I noticed was this. A big box containing DVDs. The box must have been four feet in height and similar in length and width, full of thousands of DVDs. It was surrounded by people who were scrambling, pushing, and shoving to pick the best DVDs. It was somewhat harder to reach the bottom of the box, as it was four feet deep. Then came a large family who were all excited and they threw one of their teenage kids inside the DVD box so he could swim to the bottom and pull out the best DVDs. He would read out the DVD name, and they would all discuss and add the DVD to their pile of stuff. Most of them were boring movie titles or documentaries, so I am not sure what they would have done with them. But, the excitement around the whole thing was simply hilarious.
I was a bit sleepy and grumpy before reaching Walmart, as I had to wake up early. But once inside, I was wide awake and quite amused.”
At Least They Offered To Share
“My wife and I got laser eye correction at the same time. This was done at an out-of-town facility that did procedures for a wide area. The place had a deal with a local hotel; we checked in to the hotel, were shuttled over to the doctor, had the surgery, and got shuttled back to the hotel, where we were supposed to go to sleep immediately. Do not drive home before the next morning. The reason for the mandatory nap was they made us comfortable with the thought of lasers and sharp blades to the eye by use of a really, superb happy pill administered about 15 minutes before the surgery. You stayed alert and relaxed (and did I mention happy?) for long enough for the surgery, then got really sleepy.
It would be a bad thing to rub your eyes for a few days, and bright lights would be uncomfortable also. The solution for both was tinted ski goggles, secured with surgical tape while sleeping to prevent you from moving them. You can take the tape off while you are awake, but still, wear the goggles in case you forget and try to rub your eyes.
All went as expected, and we slept like logs starting just afternoon. We both woke up sometime in the night, hungry but still really, really happy. We remembered there was a Walmart just down the hill from the hotel; they would have munchies!
Walked over. It’s dark, we’re wearing tinted ski goggles, but who cares! We laughed like crazy most of the way there. Oh! Now we noticed we were still wearing flannel pajamas and bathrobes! We forgot to change! That’s funny!
Enter the Mart. It’s almost empty! Must be later than we thought. On to munchies! Got several bags of Doritos, and saw a display of sunglasses. Realized we could wear non-prescription sunglasses now! Slid the goggles up on our foreheads and tried some! Wow, most of these look so bad it’s funny, especially when you are out of your mind, and also wearing ski goggles! More laughter. HA! Funny! Funny!
Store clerk from about fifteen feet away, and holding a garden fork: ‘Um, can I help you with something?’
‘No, thanks! We’re just looking!’ And that was hilarious!
‘Um. You do know we’re closed, don’t you?’ he asked us
‘What? When? We just got here! And Walmart never closes!’ we replied in shock.
‘Yeah, this one does, at midnight. It’s three AM. We were closed when you walked in,’ he explained.
‘Why didn’t someone say something!’ I questioned.
‘No one wanted to get close to you,’ said the worker.
‘Except you! You’re braver than everyone else!’ my wife commented.
‘Yeah. But I’m fifteen feet away and holding a pitchfork. Would you mind leaving?”
‘Sure! But, we have to pay for these chips. Wait, my wallet is in my pants!’ I explained.
‘No, you can just keep the chips. Are you guys on something? Why the goggles?’ questioned the worker.
‘Yep! We are. Big time! The goggles are to keep our laser-eyes safe. Else they might, well we don’t know, exactly, but something bad!’ I supplied.
It went on like this while we were walked out by Mr. Pitchfork, who stayed a comfortable distance away. He declined our offer to share our free chips.”
He Stayed Completely Silent
“I work at Walmart in the electronics section, wireless (phone) section, fabric department, hardware and paint and the pets department.
This thing happened in the pets department.
I had just got done setting up a family with Verizon and everything had gone great which, when setting up phones on a plan, is a rare occurrence. The family was extremely nice and even offered to tip me when we were done. I of course declined as per Walmart policy and I did not need people to pay me extra since I already get paid to help them. So they donated the money instead to the Riley’s Children’s hospital box we had.
I felt great and it was almost the end of the shift when I got a call over the walkie-talkie. The call was from a little old lady who worked in fabrics, which happens to be right by the pet aisles.
At Walmart, we sell fish. We will bag them up for you and send you on your way with them. I have always felt bad for the fish because they come with no info on how to take care of them, but I digress.
She was basically screaming over the radio saying, ‘Josh to fish right now. Josh to fish right now.’
I was worried because I had never heard her sound quite as she did. So I rushed over there and she was throwing up in the trash can. I asked what her problem was and she points toward fish, so I run over there.
Some man has broken the goldfish tank with a hammer and was now picking the goldfish up all the floor and eating them.
He is not just swallowing them. He is straight-up chewing these alive fish and swallowing them one handful at a time.
I did not know what to do. Because of Walmart policy, I was not allowed to touch him or even tell him to stop, I must recommend he stops what he is doing.
After I did, this man looks at me with a mouthful of goldfish and starts picking them up and throwing them at me. I decided I should break Walmart policy this one time.
I sprinted over to this man who is now standing and tackle him to the ground and on impact, he spits all the half-chewed fish in his mouth out all over me. He started flailing and swinging at me, so I put him in a sleeper hold until my backup arrived.
The cops arrest him for a few things, and then that was that.
Not only was him eating goldfish strange, but what was even stranger is that throughout the entire ordeal, this man never made a single noise. He didn’t talk, yell, I didn’t even hear him chewing the fricking goldfish. He made absolutely no noise.”
So That’s Who She Was Talking To
“My hometown Walmart has had many weird occurrences over the years; the strangest ones took place while I was in high school.
There was this grungy looking woman who was shopping and wandering around the store for 14 hours, she smelled terrible (I will never forget that smell, and the best I can explain it is ‘pickled rotting garbage that had been baking in the sun on hot fresh asphalt’), and she was talking and arguing with someone that was not there. After many complaints from other shoppers, they finally removed her from the retail area and called an ambulance. It was obvious she was unwell and needed psychiatric help. Before they could take her to the hospital, the complaints about a wretched smell in the parking lot were pouring in. When they got to her car, there was garbage and fast food wrappers piled on top of her mother’s dead body.
The mother and daughter had been on a ‘road trip’ from their home, they had just been evicted from, in Oklahoma. The reasons are still unknown why they chose to drive almost 1,500 miles through Texas and North Carolina to the east coast of Florida. Receipts showed they stopped at multiple Walmarts along the route shopping for decorations for their new home they didn’t have. At some point along the way, the mother died of natural causes. When they found the body, they said the mother had been dead somewhere between 5-10 days, but probably closer to 10 days. The daughter claimed to have been conversing with her mother the whole trip, and that’s who she was talking to when they found her alone in Walmart.”
He Didn’t Expect That
“A few years ago, I was standing in line to pay for a few items at a local Walmart. The customer in front of me was a man, probably late 50s, paying for a sandwich tray the deli had custom prepared for him. Evidently, the deli had inconvenienced him in some way, by either making him wait longer or by not making the correct sandwiches, etc. The man was irate and had decided to take out his frustrations on the young female cashier, as if she had anything to do with the deli’s mistakes. His language was demeaning, personal, and cruel toward the cashier. She was red-faced, and tears ran down her cheeks. His insults included knocks on her looks, her age, and the fact she was ‘just a cashier’ at Walmart. The cashier offered to call over a manager to assist, but the man declined and kept on insulting her. It was clear the man was more interested in feeling powerful and verbally destroying the young lady than rectifying the situation. Moments later, he stomped away, sandwich tray in his arms. I glanced at the man and noticed he was wearing an employee name tag for the ‘Big and tall’ men’s clothing store located at the mall next door.
I was next in line. I asked the cashier if she was OK, and that I had seen the horrible way she was treated. She apologized for being upset. I told her to take a deep breath and try to have a good day. She half smiled through her tears.
I exited the store, returned to my car, and just felt horrible for the young lady.
So I drove next door to the mall.
I entered the men’s clothing store where the guy worked. He had already been back for several minutes, and I could see another employee holding a section of sandwich from the tray he’d just purchased.
The guy from Walmart greeted me, ‘Can I help you?’
I said no, I’m not interested in shopping today, but I was behind him at Walmart just now. His eyes got big. I told him he should be ashamed of himself for the way he treated that poor cashier, especially as a fellow retail worker. He stuttered and tripped over his words, and seemed genuinely shocked to be called out for his behavior. He insulted the young woman’s appearance again. I stayed calm and did not lower myself to making insults. I merely called attention to what he’d done. In short, I punked him out right in front of his coworkers and other customers. The coworker behind him had the biggest, most satisfied smile on his face, and was nodding his head. I got the impression Mr. Meanie was probably no joy to work with, either.
Then I walked out. Except for the lame soft rock being piped in on the store’s speakers, you could’ve heard a pin drop.”
“Crazy Always Wins”
“I was sitting outside the Walmart where my son works. He works nights, so this was early in the morning.
I’d just gotten my first smartphone and was taking pictures of the sun just coming up over the horizon.
Next thing I know, one of the customers approached me and asked me to delete the pictures because he believed they captured his soul.
I told him ‘No problem,’ and started deleting them.
That really did not satisfy him, he wanted to stand there and argue about it. Just as I was about to point at Walmart’s security cameras and say ‘What are you going to do about those?’ My son showed up. My son is a big guy. The man got paranoid and moved away from us.
I could have told him I can take pics in a public space, but when you use logic in an argument with a crazy person, crazy always wins.”
All Of That For A Pepsi
“I was at a Walmart in the middle of New York state somewhere. Just about the only store in town. I was in town on business, and I just wanted to get a Diet Pepsi. Waited in line (there were no express lanes or self-checkout) behind a woman with a cart full of stuff. She waited until the checker was completely done with scanning the items before it occurred to her, she had to pay, so she digs into this purse the size of a garment bag, and started to rummage for her checkbook. Why she could not do this while the items were scanned is beyond me. The total was 54 bucks and 62 cents (this will be important later).
The checker said, ‘I need your phone number.’
‘Why?’ said the shopper. ‘I never had to do that before, it’s none of your business.’
The checker showed her the screen that says the bank required it for security. Well, that so-and-so husband of mine, blah blah blah. So she finally is convinced to give her phone number, seven digits (no area code). Of course, the computer rejected it again, and another conversation on why it needs the area code. Finally gives up all 10 digits of her phone number.
All done, right? I can now pay for my ONE bottle of Diet Pepsi and get the heck out of the store, right? Oh no. The woman made the check out for 54 bucks and 52 cents! Ten cents short. She now begins to dive back into her bag to make out a new check. And somehow in the minutes of arguing about phone numbers, the checkbook managed to worm itself down to the bottom of this carpetbag!
That is when I slammed a quarter on the counter and told her to leave!”