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Thread: Odd experience at Wal-mart

  1. #1
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    This happened a couple of weeks ago, but I've been traveling and just haven't gotten around to posting about it.

    I went into Wal-mart in Riverdale on Saturday afternoon (May 10th). I normally avoid doing that, with or without a gun, because the store is just too busy. This time, though, I didn't have a choice. It made me a little nervous because it was the first time I'd OC'd in a really crowded place.

    As I was walking in, the greeter stopped me. I've talked to this particular greeter once before. She didn't hassle me, but she was clearly nervous about my firearm, asking the usual "Are you a police officer?", etc. Non-event.

    This time, though, she said that she "couldn't let me go in", that I'd have to talk with a manager. I said that was fine and she called an assistant manager over. The assistant manager asked me if I had a permit and I told her that I did, though it wasn't necessary because a permit allows you to conceal and I wasn't concealing. She just nodded and told me that because people with guns make some of the customers nervous, it's store policy that anyone entering with a gun has to talk to a member of management so they know what's going on in case they get a complaint. I said "Okay", waiting for something more. When it was clear that was that, I thanked her (Not sure what for! Just polite habit, I guess), and went on in to do my shopping.

    I was confused. The manager didn't tell me I couldn't carry, didn't ask me any questions other than the one about the permit, and seemed to accept my point that it didn't matter whether I had a permit or not. Next time I get the permit question, I'm just going to respond that I don't need one to carry openly.

    So, is the idea maybe to discourage OC by making it annoying? I didn't have to wait long for the manager -- only about 30 seconds -- but I can see it working if I have a delay every time I enter the store. It's possible that the approach even falls within Wal-mart guidelines; the argument being that it doesn't disallow OC, but just ensures that the on-duty managers are aware.

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    Someone here has the name and number of the district manager, call and have them clarify this "policy." I am guessing that this "policy" is merely a store manager taking initiative contrary to company policy.

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    I OC'ed in a Wal-Mart in Fredericksburg, VA this weekend. The greeter didn't say anything, although she probably didn't notice. I was on an aisle with a manager (vest and a tie) for a few minutes while he was checking on an item, no issues. I know the checkout clerk noticed, but if anything she seemed glad to see it. My father and I had a friendly conversation with her, which seemed to be an exception to the rest of her evening.

    I've also OC'ed in Wal-Mart in Blacksburg, VA many times...no issues.

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    This seems to me to be a relatively minor annoyance though, compared to being ejected or the police called.

    Also, if you OC somewhat discreetly, it is far less likely that the WalMart greeter, if any (sometimes there are none at my nearby WalMart), will even see your gun. The general idea behind open carry in public is you go about your daily business and show that this does NOT cause any problem, alarm, etc.

    What is discreetly? Maybe somthing like - Dark gun on dark clothes. Small to medium size gun in holster blending with clothes. General grooming and clothing appearance that does NOT draw attention to yourself. Looking like you just came from the bush wearing hunting or para-military regalia, gun vests, etc. is not discreet.

    Hint: Do try wearing Kakis, or even nice shorts, plus clean collared shirt.

    Don't loiter - go in, shop, pay, leave - keep moving.

    Use a holster - the sticking it in down your pants thing is for bad guys.

    Be calm. I like to keep an object like a cup of coffee or keys in my carry hand - it give me somthing to do with my carry hand and assures me no store camera will ever catch me even remotely touching, or getting my hand nearmy gun for even an instant.

    Smile, but don't flirt or get cute with people or preemptively engage total strangers in conversations about gun rights, politics, etc.

    When possible, bring a friend or family member with you - preempts the "lone gunman" idea.

    If you sit at a booth for lunch, sit gun side to wall. If at a table, sit so gun is discreetly out of view as much as possible. Never linger near or sit at a "bar" like object in a restaurant. Don't order or consume alcohol, even though it's often legal to do so.

    What you want is for folks at the end of their day around the family dinner table to say something like, "Honey? I think I saw a man wearing a handgun near the mall today - he did not look like a police officer or security guard, he was just picking something up at Best Buy, etc." That gives others at the table the chance to chime in, "oh yeah, it's legal - a lot of folks are doing it now according to press reports," etc., or so some research on the topic and find out more.

    I chose this thread to vent a little - John and I get emails from folks explaining that they were "hassled" for OC - but often it turns out they were unnecessarily drawing attention to themselves, like sitting "atthe bar" and their back and gun to a crowded restaurant, etc. or they were wearing shoulder holster and sweeping the public with their barrel(s).

    These "hassle" incidents are failures for us - they force store management and politicians to look at restricting rights to deal with these incidents brought on unnecessarily.

    I have open carried for years in many public venues in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina - including WalMarts (where one time two police officers walked right past me and I only detected ever the small "eye roll" from one officer), grocery stores, malls, etc. And except for one time being asked to leave a restaurant by a legally confused manager, I have never ever been confronted by store management or the police, or even a (visibly) angry anti.

    Only once did a person choose to speak to me and object to me carrying a gun - but as I paid my bill and left I calmly did a little Columbo impersonation - "Ah, well, oh - you know, I just carry for normal self-defense, don't mean any harm." The lady then looked at me and my little daughter going about our business and her frown transitioned to one of perplexed puzzlement. I said "have a good day" and she said "You too."

    Other than that, a few neutral or positive comments or questions and stares now and then, but that's about it.

    Am I lucky - I doubt it. And I doubt most open carriers ever get hassled either.

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    Mike wrote:
    (snip) Am I lucky - I doubt it. And I doubt most open carriers ever get hassled either.
    You're right, Mike. The one and only time I was ever asked to leave a store was when I hadn't shaved for a couple of days, I was wearing a dark gun against light clothing, and I was momentarily separated from my wife while looking for an item. (The lone gunman). I was asked to put my gun in the car by a manager, and I got that confused look from her when my wife showed up in time to hear me being "ejected", and the manager was left with a basketful of expensive items that she had to restock.

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    That sounds almost exactly the same as my incident at a Wal-Mart here in WA. You need to take it to regional and work to resolve the issue, don't just walk away from it.

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    I agree with Mike 100%. I work full-time of the Utah Army National Guard. And we just had a letter come down about how we are to act with all the politcal parties and campaiging going on. They said we can particapate, but we can't wear a uniform or things like that, becuase that then says that the National Gaurd, supports so and so or this or that.

    Same type of principle applies here. Mike mentioned not drinking and what not. That is great advice, and it protrays us as responsible people.

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    Mike wrote:
    Also, if you OC somewhat discreetly, it is far less likely that the WalMart greeter, if any (sometimes there are none at my nearby WalMart), will even see your gun. The general idea behind open carry in public is you go about your daily business and show that this does NOT cause any problem, alarm, etc.
    Certainly. I've carried in this store dozens of times, without any issue, until this one greeter noticed, got nervous and talked to me. I politely reassured her that it was both legal and safe. I then carried past her several times, smiling and saying hello, without any more interaction, until this last incident.

    Mike wrote:
    What is discreetly? Maybe somthing like - Dark gun on dark clothes. Small to medium size gun in holster blending with clothes. General grooming and clothing appearance that does NOT draw attention to yourself. Looking like you just came from the bush wearing hunting or para-military regalia, gun vests, etc. is not discreet.

    I was in a gray t-shirt with the Harvard University logo on it and knee-length khaki shorts, both newish, clean and respectable-looking. Also clean-shaven, short, neat hair, moderately fit, no tattoos or piercings, etc. I think I usually get taken for off-duty LE. The gun is an XDSC, in a CQC Serpa carbon-fiber finish. Not ostentatious.

    I don't think my appearance had anything to do with this situation. I do position my holster at about 2 o'clock where it's a little more visible than if I put it at 4 o'clock, but both are less prominent than 3 o'clock and I feel like I have an improved ability to retain my weapon in the unlikely event of a grab (and I like that I can point this precaution out in the far-more-likely event of a discussion about a gun grab).

    Mike wrote:
    Be calm. I like to keep an object like a cup of coffee or keys in my carry hand - it give me somthing to do with my carry hand and assures me no store camera will ever catch me even remotely touching, or getting my hand nearmy gun for even an instant.

    Another reason I like the 2 o'clock position. In normal movement my hand is never anywhere near the gun; no need to carry something or focus on keeping my hand clear. I don't touch or adjust it, and I don't keep anything in the pocket near it.

    Mike wrote:
    I have open carried for years in many public venues in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina - including WalMarts (where one time two police officers walked right past me and I only detected ever the small "eye roll" from one officer), grocery stores, malls, etc.

    I've also carried in many different venues, and in the presence of police officers, with no incidents.

    I understand that you're just airing some points based on issues that you've seen.

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    Mainsail wrote:
    That sounds almost exactly the same as my incident at a Wal-Mart here in WA. You need to take it to regional and work to resolve the issue, don't just walk away from it.
    Agreed, but I think I'm going to give them another chance first, to see if maybe it's just one nervous greeter, who has now been corrected. Recall that the manager did allow me to enter and shop, without further incident.

    If the situation repeats, then I'm definitely going to get names of the greeter and assistant manager, request to speak with the store general manager and pursue it up to the regional manager if necessary.

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    Regular Member thx997303's Avatar
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    DANG! I only wear wranglers Guess I better not OC anymore. But seriously, I haven't had any troubles with my appearance. Keep in mind all and I mean all of my pants have holes in them. Anybody have $20 they could loan me for some new pants? Oh and I will not wear collared shirts. So there. :P

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    thx997303 wrote:
    DANG! I only wear wranglers Guess I better not OC anymore. But seriously, I haven't had any troubles with my appearance. Keep in mind all and I mean all of my pants have holes in them. Anybody have $20 they could loan me for some new pants? Oh and I will not wear collared shirts. So there. :P
    That's the spirit!

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    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate

    TJ

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    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate
    TJ, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch this particular greeter's face when you walk in.

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    I don't know, maybe I'm getting old but I think this is actually a little progress.

    Time was they had no clue.

    My take is this.

    This way if anyone says anything to management, they can be comfortable about saying that they are aware of you and you are legal.

    As it becomes more common, they will become more comfortable and this too will pass.

    Tarzan

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    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate
    TJ, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch this particular greeter's face when you walk in.
    So instead of the :what::what Double take ) would it be :what::what::what::what Quadruple take, cuz 2 takes per gun) ????

    :celebrate:celebrateROTFLMAO:celebrate:celebrate

    That's funny right there I don't care who you are.

    TJ

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    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate
    TJ, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch this particular greeter's face when you walk in.
    So instead of the :what::what Double take ) would it be :what::what::what::what: ( Quadruple take, cuz 2 takes per gun) ????

    :celebrate:celebrateROTFLMAO:celebrate:celebrate

    That's funny right there I don't care who you are.
    I think it'd be more of a "deer in the headlights" thing -- you know, just frozen shock.



  17. #17
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    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate
    TJ, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch this particular greeter's face when you walk in.
    So instead of the :what::what Double take ) would it be :what::what::what::what: ( Quadruple take, cuz 2 takes per gun) ????

    :celebrate:celebrateROTFLMAO:celebrate:celebrate

    That's funny right there I don't care who you are.
    I think it'd be more of a "deer in the headlights" thing -- you know, just frozen shock.

    I wonder what they would do if Icompleted the outfit,the 2 guns, with a Shotgun ??

    TJ

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    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate
    TJ, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch this particular greeter's face when you walk in.
    So instead of the :what::what Double take ) would it be :what::what::what::what: ( Quadruple take, cuz 2 takes per gun) ????

    :celebrate:celebrateROTFLMAO:celebrate:celebrate

    That's funny right there I don't care who you are.
    I think it'd be more of a "deer in the headlights" thing -- you know, just frozen shock.

    I wonder what they would do if Icompleted the outfit,the 2 guns, with a Shotgun ??

    TJ

    Oh come on, wheres the assult rifle, you need to cover all you bases...


  19. #19
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    And don't forget the long range sniper rifle, you know, for when you need to "Reach Out and Touch Someone".

  20. #20
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    rocknsnow wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    UTOC-45-44 wrote:
    I am SOOOOO discrete that I carry in a shoulder holster when I pass the greeter. I carry 2:what:guns.

    THAT'S what I call STEALTH:celebrate
    TJ, I'd absolutely LOVE to watch this particular greeter's face when you walk in.
    So instead of the :what::what Double take ) would it be :what::what::what::what: ( Quadruple take, cuz 2 takes per gun) ????

    :celebrate:celebrateROTFLMAO:celebrate:celebrate

    That's funny right there I don't care who you are.
    I think it'd be more of a "deer in the headlights" thing -- you know, just frozen shock.

    I wonder what they would do if Icompleted the outfit,the 2 guns, with a Shotgun ??

    TJ

    Oh come on, wheres the assult rifle, you need to cover all you bases...
    YOU ARE SOOOOO RIGHT. I now need to go and get a Rock River M4

    TJ

  21. #21
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    And something in 308. Like a Remington Ploice Model 700 I think it is.

  22. #22
    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Mike wrote:
    This seems to me to be a relatively minor annoyance though, compared to being ejected or the police called.

    Also, if you OC somewhat discreetly, it is far less likely that the WalMart greeter, if any (sometimes there are none at my nearby WalMart), will even see your gun. The general idea behind open carry in public is you go about your daily business and show that this does NOT cause any problem, alarm, etc.

    What is discreetly? Maybe somthing like - Dark gun on dark clothes. Small to medium size gun in holster blending with clothes. General grooming and clothing appearance that does NOT draw attention to yourself. Looking like you just came from the bush wearing hunting or para-military regalia, gun vests, etc. is not discreet.

    Hint: Do try wearing Kakis, or even nice shorts, plus clean collared shirt.

    Don't loiter - go in, shop, pay, leave - keep moving.

    Use a holster - the sticking it in down your pants thing is for bad guys.

    Be calm. I like to keep an object like a cup of coffee or keys in my carry hand - it give me somthing to do with my carry hand and assures me no store camera will ever catch me even remotely touching, or getting my hand nearmy gun for even an instant.

    Smile, but don't flirt or get cute with people or preemptively engage total strangers in conversations about gun rights, politics, etc.

    When possible, bring a friend or family member with you - preempts the "lone gunman" idea.

    If you sit at a booth for lunch, sit gun side to wall. If at a table, sit so gun is discreetly out of view as much as possible. Never linger near or sit at a "bar" like object in a restaurant. Don't order or consume alcohol, even though it's often legal to do so.

    What you want is for folks at the end of their day around the family dinner table to say something like, "Honey? I think I saw a man wearing a handgun near the mall today - he did not look like a police officer or security guard, he was just picking something up at Best Buy, etc." That gives others at the table the chance to chime in, "oh yeah, it's legal - a lot of folks are doing it now according to press reports," etc., or so some research on the topic and find out more.

    I chose this thread to vent a little - John and I get emails from folks explaining that they were "hassled" for OC - but often it turns out they were unnecessarily drawing attention to themselves, like sitting "atthe bar" and their back and gun to a crowded restaurant, etc. or they were wearing shoulder holster and sweeping the public with their barrel(s).

    These "hassle" incidents are failures for us - they force store management and politicians to look at restricting rights to deal with these incidents brought on unnecessarily.

    I have open carried for years in many public venues in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, and North Carolina - including WalMarts (where one time two police officers walked right past me and I only detected ever the small "eye roll" from one officer), grocery stores, malls, etc. And except for one time being asked to leave a restaurant by a legally confused manager, I have never ever been confronted by store management or the police, or even a (visibly) angry anti.

    Only once did a person choose to speak to me and object to me carrying a gun - but as I paid my bill and left I calmly did a little Columbo impersonation - "Ah, well, oh - you know, I just carry for normal self-defense, don't mean any harm." The lady then looked at me and my little daughter going about our business and her frown transitioned to one of perplexed puzzlement. I said "have a good day" and she said "You too."

    Other than that, a few neutral or positive comments or questions and stares now and then, but that's about it.

    Am I lucky - I doubt it. And I doubt most open carriers ever get hassled either.
    I question the point of minimizing the visability of OC. If you're doing it to demonstrate your right to do so, you are being a hypocrite. "Well, I'm a little bit for McCain, but don't want to admit it." Then you may as well CC and not worry about 'honest citizens' not liking it. As I've said before, I prefer CC for that reason. However, that being said, if I choose to OC, then I OC and don't worry about matching the blue of my Hi-Power to my wardrobe for the day. If you're so concerned about "discretion," then you shouldn't OC, period. I don't mean you need to wear crossed bandaleros full of .50BMG rounds along with your .32 automatic, but if you want to OC, OC. Don't rationalize it, or don't bother doing it.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

  23. #23
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    Might as well add some kevlar while you're at it. Just try not to look like a member of a foriegn army. I think everyone would crap their pants
    oh yeah and to the above post. Agreed.

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