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Thread: Encounter at New Wal-Mart

  1. #1
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    So they built a new Wal-Mart in town here, and today was their opening day. I wandered over there today after lunch, despite the pouring rain. I was surprised at the lack of shoppers. Everyone had assumed they'd be packed on opening day, but the rain might have kept a lot of people away. They were overly-staffed, and it almost seemed like there were more employees than customers there today.

    I honestly didn't expect any trouble, as I've visited the other two wal-marts in this area numerous times since I've started to carry, and have had no problems. A while ago an employee had actually walked up to me and told me that she called the Manager when she initially saw my gun, asking if it was legal. The Manager immediately told her it was perfectly legal, and she didn't have to worry.

    Anyway for anyone who cares, I was wearing jeans and a red polo with my SW99 on my hip. I wandered around for a bit, admiring the new lower-height shelves they're using now, and slowly but surely gravitated towards the sporting goods section. I eventually got to the counter with the ammunition, and was planning on seeing if they had any store-opening discounts on anything. No such luck . I had an entertaining conversation with the two girls at the counter as we laughed about the fact that the ammunition shelf was poorly labeled, making it difficult to figure out which price was for which ammo.

    I continued to shop, at this point holding a grill-cover in my hand that I planned on purchasing. After about 5 minutes, a younger man, Matt, in a shirt, tie, and Asst. Manager tag approached, asking if I was a law enforcement officer. Here's how the conversation played out (emoticons used to show facial expressions/tone of voice):

    Matt: Excuse me sir, are you a police officer? :?

    Me: Hi No I'm not.

    Matt: Ok, sir, well store policy says that only police officers can have guns in the store. Can you take it out to your car?

    Me: (looked at name tag) Matt, right? I'm Justin . Ya know I had a friend in Virginia who was stopped in a Wal-Mart up there for the same reason. After they took the time to talk to corporate about the policy, corporate essentially told them "If it's legal in the state, it's allowed in the store."

    Matt: Ok, well this is actually our local store policy. I can show you it if you'd like, but I can't give you a copy.

    Me: Absolutely, that'd be great . I would be very interested to see that.

    Matt: Oh! ummm ok well, lets go over hear.

    At this point, Matt led me over to the back customer service area, which we were only about 20 feet away from to begin with. He said I could wait there while he went into the back. I sat down on the bench and made note of the time. I called and chatted with my g/f for a little bit, and in 15 minutes Matt came out from the back:

    Matt: Hi! Ok, so I spoke with the Store Manager. He said that there is no policy directly banning guns, however just like if someone was..say..swearing and using profanity and offending other customers, we could ask them to leave. And so if someone were to say something and be offended by..that, well then we reserve the right to ask you to take it to your car, as well.

    Me: Well of course! Heck, you could ask me to leave because you didn't like my red shirt. That's your right as a private business. But let me ask you this, Matt. Was someone concerned, or offended?

    Matt: Well yes, a customer approached an employee at the gun counter saying it made her uncomfortable.

    Me: Ok, so are you asking me to leave?

    Matt: No! No, it's ok. It's just that if people do get concerned, we'll have to ask you to leave.

    Me: Ok I understand. The reason I asked if someone was offended, is because I'm a member of a group that, among other things, is concerned with helping the general public be more comfortable about people like myself carrying. I have a concealed handgun permit, and could very easily throw my jacket on and cover it up, but I want people to see that I'm a normal, friendly guy that they don't need to be worried about!

    Matt: Yeah that makes sense..

    Me: So please, in the future if someone does express some concern, would you be able to help them understand as well that it's legal here in NC, and they really have nothing to be worried about?

    Matt: Yeah, of course, I know you weren't causing any problems...

    Me: Ok good. Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me and find out what the policy is. Is there someone I could talk to or send a letter toso I can thank them for your professionalism?

    Matt: Oh that's not necessary, but I mean you could just ask to speak to the store manager if you called.

    Me: All right, Matt. Thanks again, have a good day.

    We shook hands, and I spent about 10 more minutes checking out the rest of the store before I checked out.

    At the end of the conversation, Matt kinda seemed like he was just smiling and nodding so the conversation could end, but regardless he listened to what I had to say and was very professional the whole time. I kinda wished I had an audio recorder with me, but luckily it wasn't necessary in the long run .

  2. #2
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    Great story, thanks for sharing!

    It's all about preception.

    I bet if you had been wearing khaki pants with a white polo, nice black shoes with your weapon in a nice black leather holster... the "concerned shopper" would have never given you a second thought.



  3. #3
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    lol But nice jeans, a red polo, nice shoes and a niceblack safariland holster warrants concern? :P I was dressed very presentably, and I'm sure the "concerned customer" noticed me whileI was laughing and joking with the girls at the counter with the ammo. For a moment I considered wandering back to that counter and asking who was being whiney, but that good ol' maturity is starting to catch up to me a little bit and I thought better .

    I really need to get more people in this immediate area carrying openly though. In the "old" wal-mart, I'm already known to some as "that guy with the gun" .

  4. #4
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    So ... what if a 'group' of shady looking [insert ethnic group of choice here] or perhaps a biker wearing his leathers and looking 'tough' happened to scare/offend a customer by their appearance alone. Would they be asked to leave?

    How about a teenager who just bought a baseball bat and is carring it through the store? "He scares me, please ask him to leave!"

    There are a LOT of perfectly innocent, harmless and legal things that freak out some of the wimpier folks in our society. Should eveyone have to suffer because one person doesn't like something another is doing?


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  5. #5
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    Well keep in mind though, in the long run he didn't ask me to leave! I'm sure he felt it necessary to "reserve" that right because he was expecting people to run in terror at the sight of me . As long as that doesn't happen, it seems that there wont be any problems there.

  6. #6
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    Interesting encoutner. I wonder what corporate would say about thier stores making their own local policys?

    Good think you were able to edumacate someone.

  7. #7
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    jeepinbanditrider wrote:
    Interesting encoutner. I wonder what corporate would say about thier stores making their own local policys?

    Good think you were able to edumacate someone.
    Well I see no problem with an Assistant Manager taking some initiative and making decisions w/o bugging the Store Manager. He attempted to solve a problem (concerned customer) and ended up learning something in the process. Hopefully he's mature enough to accept that he made a mistake and learn from it.

  8. #8
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    Agreed.

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