When going out to the store, people just want to get their purchases and go home. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Shoppers on Quora share the odd things they’ve seen in stores. Content has been edited for clarity.
The Store Was Ruined For Her
“When I was in my early 20’s, I was shopping with my oldest girl and visibly pregnant with my son.
We were just leisurely browsing through a well-known toy store, shopping for a birthday present, when my daughter noticed a middle-aged lady behaving erratically.
‘Mama! Lady!’ was all she could articulate, while pointing in her direction.
‘Lady’ didn’t notice my daughter had singled her out, but she was behaving suspiciously, shifty-eyed, and looking over her shoulder while holding onto merchandise that I was expecting her to pants (she was dressed in huge garments). I couldn’t see what she was holding close to her at first, but eventually saw it was a can of powdered baby formula. Instead of shoving it into her pants, she opens the can of baby formula (safety seal and all), literally grabs a clamped fingerful, and glommed it into her mouth!
I was now standing there in open-mouthed disbelief as she closed it and replaced it on the shelf before casually walking away, dusting herself off as she goes. I grabbed the can and chased down an employee and tell him what just happened. This is before there were cameras all over the ceiling and, instead, they had the convex mirrors. I point her out in the next aisle with the rest of the baby food, and we both see she’s opening various jars of infant purée and shooting them back before replacing them on the shelf.
The employee bolted to customer service and I heard a specific announcement over the loudspeaker. ‘Code green in aisle 11.’ Something to that effect. The lady also heard the same announcement and she springs into action (I have now moved to checkout, but the lady was still in sight), and she ran to the mini-fridges near the front with all of the brands of soda pop, opens the nearest half-liter pop and starts chugging it down. She now has the attention of multiple customers, employees, children, dust-bunnies, etc.
A manager-type man and crew came barreling out of aisle 11 and spied the lady who was now reaching for her second bottle. He released an angry-sounding ‘HUFF!’ before storming in her direction, but she is ready. Still clutching the pop bottle, she zipped down the front of the store, sprinting for the exit. As she passed by me, I could heard many jingling, thudding and crashing sounds coming from her pants and then realized why she didn’t steal the formula – she had no more room.
The manager and security caught up to her just about four paces into the parking lot and detained her. She was now screaming, fighting, and cursing a blue streak, and my little girl was clinging to me because she is now terrified of this shrieking loon.
When I left the store (via a different exit – staff was diverting other patrons), the police were just pulling into the parking lot and the lady was a lump on the ground, still hollering her head off.
My daughter still doesn’t really like that toy store, to this day.”
She Was Trying To Cause A Distraction
“In high school, I found myself needing more cash than I could readily scare up with other means available to me. Which meant I required a job, and the one readily available to me was in one of the two local supermarkets. I use that term advisedly – each was about 4000 square feet, with only two checkout lines. Big enough, but not ‘super’ by any stretch of the word except as compared to the Pure Ice, which was just a shack.
Anyway, I was working there and saw this woman, who was a known shoplifter, come into the store. I let the manager know and he had someone follow her around as usual.
Apparently, she’d up’d her game since the last time she was in, and about ten minutes later, there was a giant crash, and when I went to check, the baby food display had been knocked over and several hundred of those horrible little glass bottles of Gerber baby food were rolling around the floor, many of which had shattered.
I ran to get supplies to cordon off the area and start cleanup, and as I came out of the back, I saw this woman waddling towards the door. Setting the picture a little more clearly, she was seriously overweight, so ‘sprightly’ wasn’t exactly an accurate descriptor on the best day, but she’d moved from that slightly pained gait of the chronically obese to something qualitatively different.
I kept an eye on her as I turned to the giant mess, and as I turned back once I’d dropped off the supplies, heard a wet heavy ‘schlump thunk’ sound.
Looking at her, I saw a very large frozen turkey between her feet, wrapped in her panties.
As I headed toward her, she stepped out of her panties and started moving much faster towards the door, and once out the door jumped into a running car. Alas, the driver managed to back out, hitting the car of an arriving customer and stalling. The manager got up in the driver’s face, preventing any further attempts at leaving.
When the sheriff arrived, the story came out. She’d used the diversion to slip a frozen turkey up her loose-fitting flowing dress into her underwear, whereupon she cradled it like she would a very late-term pregnancy and made her way to the door. She hadn’t counted on it being increasingly slippery as it thawed from the heat, and she lost control – and with it, her underwear.
The sheriff took her and her sons in for mischief and vandalism for the baby food they destroyed, and the panty-clad turkey as evidence.
Pretty sure that’s got to be right on up there on the weird scale, even for a small town in Texas.”
He Handled It Pretty Well
“While I was in school, I worked at a shop as a cashier. One day, a man came in and he looked a bit weird. He was wearing a dungarees with no shirt on. He was there to buy a packet of smokes.
While I was ringing up his purchase, he kept telling me, ‘I know what you’ve done.’
That was rather creepy. It reminded me of the movie ‘Fallen’ and it was definitely making me very uncomfortable. I kept on wondering what he was referring to. I was wondering who he had been talking to and who was talking about me behind my back. I didn’t know him, but it seemed like he knew me, and I’d never seen this guy before this incident. In the end, he took his smokes, he paid and he left. It was great to be rid of him, except I wasn’t.
Later on that same day I was standing at the fridge with my back to the shop entrance. I was packing away the pies for the day. Somebody came into the shop and immediately after that you could hear the security guard, who also doubled as the merchandiser and packer, run away. Something was obviously wrong, so I turned to see what is going on. The guy from earlier was back, but this time he was undressed.
He went in behind the counter and tried to take the cash register. Yes, you heard right, he tried to take the whole cash register and take off with it. I went in behind the counter as well, because he was obviously going to cause trouble and I felt I needed to stop him. I got him to put the cash register down. I got in behind him and took him by his arms and guided him out from behind the counter. He wasn’t violent, he wasn’t armed either. He was undressed, so it wasn’t like he could be hiding a knife or anything, but I was ready for anything at that point. I took him to the door and told him to go. He left without objecting or making a scene. I felt a bit bad about making him walk out of the shop like that, but he came undressed out of his own free will, and I didn’t feel like keeping him around, so it was the only option.
I was pretty calm about the whole thing, but the store was connected to a petrol station, and the petrol attendants panicked when they saw the guy walk into the shop. They pressed the alarm button and the armed response showed up about 20 minutes later. The patrolman gave me a hard time for being so calm about the whole thing, but I thought he was being a bit of an idiot.
The following day, I was called in by management. They asked me about the incident and showed me CCTV footage of what happened the previous night after we locked the shop and left. After we locked up and left, the guy came back, he was undressed again.
After we lock the shop’s door, we further lock the shop by bringing a steel roller door down and locking it as well. The steel roller door covers the entire front of the shop to the extent that you can’t even look into the shop. This man came back and tried to walk through the roller door. He walked into it hard and repeatedly, staggering backward with the force of hitting it. Eventually, the police came and picked him up. They threw him in the back of their police van and off they went.
The following day, the guy came back. This time, thankfully, he was fully clothed. The police obviously let him go. He was very apologetic about what had happened and explained that he was going through a lot of stress. During the incident of the previous day, he had blacked out and he could only remember bits of what had happened. I suppose stress was making him crack. After we chatted for a bit, he left and all seemed well.”
Not The Best Parenting Style
“I was shopping in one of those giant chain stores which carried everything from groceries to home furnishings and appliances. I remembered at the last moment I needed a gift for a child’s birthday, so I drove my cart through the maze of aisles to the children’s section about a mile away.
I was in the toy section, following along behind a woman who had a giant shopping cart completely filled to overflowing with toys and games. She had a child around ten years of age in tow. He had his arms crossed and was scowling at her.
‘Honey, look at this! Wouldn’t you like to play with him? He’s really cool!’ She picked up a large action figure and showed the child the box.
He slapped the toy away and made a small grunt, ‘I don’t want that one, Mommy. He’s stupid.’
The mother returned the box to the shelf and moved her cart further down the aisle. I watched in equal parts horror and wonderment, as the kid went from side to side, grabbing handfuls of toys from their perches off the displays (barely looking at them) and tossed them onto the growing heap in the basket.
‘I want this, I want this, I want this,’ the child chanted casually as he threw the toys into the basket.
The mother didn’t even blink. She paused every once in a while to rearrange the growing mountain in the cart so it wouldn’t spill out, hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise threatening to overflow and spill onto the aisle.
‘Oh, baby! Look at this!’ She exclaimed in excited recognition as she picked up the popular likeness of a well-known cartoon character. ‘You must have him! He’s great! Don’t you think he’s great? You’ll have fun with him!’
The kid’s face grew red and, like a three-year-old toddler, stomped his feet and went full-blown tantrum, right in the middle of the store, screaming at his mother at the top of his ten-year-old lungs:
‘NO! I DON’T WANT THAT TOY! IF YOU WANT IT SO BAD, YOU PLAY WITH IT YOURSELF!’
And with that, he sat down in the middle of the aisle, put his head in his lap, and started crying. Loudly.
The mother immediately knelt beside her son and tried to soothe him. Saying, ‘Mommy loves you. Mommy wants you to have anything your heart desires. Mommy will buy you ice cream if you be good and quit making a scene. Mommy will take you to the go-cart place if you be a good little boy. Mommy will let you stay up late tonight if you stand up right now.’
I was disgusted.
I found my gift. A gift for a deserving ten-year-old. A painting set, with brushes and a canvas, to inspire creativity. Something I hoped the child appreciated.
I had to wait for the mother to get her child to scoot over enough so that I could get my cart through the aisle towards the checkout counter. I could have taken the ‘scenic detour’ and back-tracked, but the store was gargantuan, and my own cart was filled with groceries; My frozen goods were, by then, having a melt-down of their own. So, I waited patiently. Luckily, it wasn’t long. The kid relented, and scooted his butt over on the floor, with just enough room for me to pass by.
As I moved past the melt-down in the aisle, the mother made eye contact with me, and with a small, apologetic smile said to me, ‘Kids these days.’
I nodded and smiled back, for I didn’t want to be unkind to the poor woman. I’d been there myself. I have witnessed tantrums before, back when my children were toddlers and it was age-appropriate.
Parents these days.”
A Surprise Shopper
“I lived in a rural county in Montana for 20 years. Now, Montana is pretty rural as a whole, but certain areas are really empty. In addition to the livestock being a common sight, even within town limits, seeing wildlife was also a daily occurrence. Depending upon the season, it was not unusual to see bears, moose, elk or mule deer in town, especially in backyards where tasty landscaping and birdfeeders were prevalent. As a rule, we discouraged the feeding of wildlife because it disrupts their health and gets them way too habituated to people. But we also enjoyed them as neighbors.
At any rate, I had gone to town for groceries and to run other errands. It was a nice day and many shop doors were propped open to let in the breezes and fresh air. While in the supermarket shopping, I gradually became aware of a sense of agitation and the murmur of people’s voices. As I rounded a corner to start up another aisle, I spotted a mule deer delicately picking her way down the aisle on the slippery tile floor, coming toward me. Not wishing to startle her, I backed up out of sight. I could see her in the reflection of the cooler glass doors. She was scared, nose sniffing, twitching her big ears all around.
The next thing we know, some idiot fool, comes yelling and waving his arms down the aisle, startling the poor deer. She panicked and tried to climb the shelves, leaping and falling to the floor, merchandise flying everywhere. The idiot was still yelling and running toward her, obviously a misguided attempt to drive her away. Where to, I don’t know, because she was toward the back of the store by then, crashing into the cooler units, breaking the doors.
Someone got the guy to shut up and we (management, staff and customers) backed away from the deer so she could calm down somewhat. She still attempted to leap over the shelves from time to time. We set up a corridor with people and carts to gradually guide the deer down the aisles and out the open doors. Once she was outside, she bounded off across the parking lot, seemingly no worse for wear. The store was a mess though. We all pitched in to help straighten it up.”
That’s Not How To Behave In A Store
“It was a Saturday in a typical grocery store in a typical neighborhood. I was in the first row beyond the produce section (the first thing you come to in this particular store) when I heard her. I dare say people in the next block could have heard her. Normally, I try to not slow down and stare, but this was worth the show. I doubled back to see a woman pushing a cart with her husband standing right behind her.
‘They had better freaking have that item, or I’m going to go postal on those idiots,’ she was screaming.
I could tell the husband who was turning 50 shades of red trying to quiet her and the moms quickly rushing their kids from the area.
‘Don’t tell me to be quiet, you brat. I want what I came here to get!’ she yelled.
I saw no one who worked for the store but was on my way to the front to let the manager know what was going on.
‘The freaking morons here will learn soon enough that he needs to keep the things I want in stock,’ she continued.
At this point, I saw a younger assistant manager come onto the area. ‘You talked to me before. Now where did you put the item I was looking for?’ she raged.
The guy was trying to talk with her, but to no avail.
‘Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. I buy that thing all the time. Now where is it?’
I saw him try again, but still, no dice, even when he tried to ask her to stop swearing.
‘My language is just fine. I’ll use whatever words I want. Those women can cover their little brats’ ears,’ she screeched.
At this point, the much older and physically larger manager showed up. I moved on, but was still able to hear.
‘I’m a customer and I’ll use whatever language I want. I have a right to be in this store. Now, where is that thing you had last Christmas?’
Apparently, the manager had already called the police because as I came around to the front of the aisle, they could be seen escorting her out. Hubby stayed behind the cart. He and I got to check out at the same time. I only needed a few items. He was apologizing profusely to everyone, offering to buy candy bars for the kids. When I left the store, she was sitting in their car with the door open, still yelling about whatever it was she wanted.”
Maybe He Was Onto Something
“I have four children. Blissfully, this day, I have none of them with me at the Wal-Mart, so I WAS taking it easy, strolling from aisle to aisle. I was in one of the health and beauty aisles – probably shampoo or body wash. As I entered the aisle from one direction, a man entered the aisle from the other side. He had a male child with him, who I would say was six to eight years old – I assumed they were father and son. The man was walking very slowly, scanning the shelves.
The child started whining, very loudly, ‘Where is mommy? When are we going to be done? AAAAWWWEHHEEHHA.’
The man ignored him, continuing to scan the shelves.
The man located something requiring closer inspection and squatted, looking at items on the lower shelves. The tow-headed boy was sort of pacing and turning in circles near him. He went on in a high-pitched whine the likes of which I’m not sure I’ve ever heard (despite being the mother of four children with a ride range of personalities and coping mechanisms). “Where is mommy? When are we gonna leave? AAAAWWEHHHEAAHAHHAW.’
The man said sharply, ‘Drew!’
The kid kept on, “Where’s mommy? AAAAAHHHEEEAWAAWAAA.’
The man said sharply, in the exact same way he did previously, ‘Drew!’ and continued to review the products on the lower shelves.
‘When are we gonna leave? How much longer? AWWAAAHHEEEEWAWAH.’
This exchange goes on maybe 10 times – the child whining incessantly, adult responding with a firm ‘Drew!’
I left the aisle, and I could still hear them. At some point, I no longer heard them – I got far enough away, they found Mommy or they left. Not sure. That had to be one of the strangest parent/child interactions I have ever witnessed. I kept wondering what the dad expected the son to do? He never asked or directed him to change his behavior. He never acknowledged or admonished the behavior. He only said the child’s name over and over and over. I told my kids about this when I got home – how strange I thought it was.
We still bring it up all the time – when my kids (who are now in their teens and twenties) start complaining about something, I just say ‘Drew!’ and that pretty much ends the complaining. So, maybe that dad was on to something after all.”
Interesting Outfits For That Time Of Year
“I worked for Walmart for about two months on the night shift, and there were always interesting characters, but one incident really stands out in my mind. It was about 2:30 am, and two guys wearing jeans and oversized hoodies with their hoods up practically jogged into the store. They immediately caught my attention because this happened in the summer, and even though it was so late, the temperature was still in the 80’s.
They had to be burning up in their hoodies, so I began worrying that they were going to do something stupid. Whatever they had in mind, they ended up doing elsewhere. They were in and out in probably three minutes flat, having only bought a grand total of four items: two sets of pantyhose, and two sets of gloves. I kept track of the news for about a week to see if anyone matching their descriptions was wanted for a robbery.”
What Policy Was This?
“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 had one checkout open and three self-checks. There are 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 ran 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 that 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.
This was an eight-pack of grape Gatorade. Even if I was attempting to steal it, it was hardly the crime of the century. And honestly, I doubt Walmart management would have been happy for her to confront a potential real shoplifter since a real thief might very well be carrying a weapon. I didn’t think it would be good publicity for the store if the news the next morning discussed the stupid cashier who got herself stabbed attempting to prevent someone from stealing five dollars and change worth of sports drink.
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 wanted 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 tried to say.
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 darn 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 for 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.”
That’s A Good Question
“I got out of my car in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Miami and started walking toward the door. Several parking spaces ahead of me, a woman got out of her car and started walking toward the store as well. It took me a few steps to catch on to what I was seeing, but eventually, I realized that she was wearing a pair of panties and a bra. I actually slowed down a bit since I was walking faster and was starting to catch up to her.
I was a bit concerned we were going to get to the door at the same time and it would appear to those in the store that we were together. She walked in and went to the women’s clothing section. I went in another direction but saw her again as I was leaving. She was still in the women’s clothing section and had chosen some clothes. To this day I’ve wondered where she was keeping her money.”