Customer Abuse, Profiling, Shoplifting Accusations
HAMMOND, LOUISIANA -- Hammond, LA Walmart has terrible customer service, overall the employee moral is at an all time low and the manager can care less other than about saving money, or making "the almighty dollar" for Walmart.
We have shopped at Walmart for years. I usually go to the Denham Springs, LA Walmart because the Hammond location has such rude managers and associates, other than a few old time employees that have been there a long time. This means going 30 miles out of the way, to go to another Walmart location as Hammond is the local one.
I do believe that Walmart does racial profiling, and I also think they target lone women many times, to harass. I was accused of shoplifting in the Hammond location 4 months ago, even though I have shopped here for years. My husband and I usually shop together. We had made several recent complaints against bad customer service and rudeness in the Hammond location. No one ever seems to know anything about prices, sale items, out of stock items, etc. Since they remodeled the Hammond store back spring 2009 the service, and horrible customer service has worsened.
My husband had to work nights, so he'd suggested I run to Walmart for groceries. I did, and decided I would "browse" around cataloging possible Christmas gift items, writing prices, etc...at my leisure. I got to the store about 7:30 pm, and spent a couple of hours browsing all departments, and gathering our groceries (almost $100 worth) I used my cell phone, or rather tried to several times (horrible service in the store). I wrote down items prices, made list, chewed some Worthers mints I had brought in my pocket as I shopped, and generally took my time that evening.
After checking out with our groceries I was stopped by a guy I knew to be a Walmart employee and a Tangapoha parish sheriff's deputy (working a paid guard detail at Walmart that night). They stopped me right after I left the check out, taking my arms and telling me I needed to go to the back room with them. I smiled and asked them why? They said I must go with them now. I said no I would not go with them, and demanded to know what was going on. The Walmart employee said he was Walmart "loss prevention" and I had some of his merchandise. I said yes, I do, I just bought my groceries. I still at this time did not realize they were accusing me of shoplifting. He said, I had "his merchandise" in my purse. I said "Sir almost everything I have came from Walmart. I bought my clothes I'm wearing here, my shoes, my purse, everything in my purse, my groceries, etc." He said, "No you stole some of my items tonight..." I was stunned, shocked, hurt, angry, and totally caught off guard. I told him no sire I did not.
The cop said if I didn't go to the back room and allow him and the Walmart loss prevention guy to search me he would tackle me and take me down. When I asked the cop what he meant he said he would throw me on the floor, tackle me and search me right there if I didn't go to the back room with them. I went with them. I told them I did not want to go with them as I had done nothing wrong. I hadn't even left Wal-mart when they detained me, barely got out of the register line.
They took me to the "back room" a video room where they have crappy blurry video to "watch" potential shoplifters. The Walmart loss prevention guy ran sacked my purse, taking lipstick, and a small can of off insect repellent. The cop told him that doesn't amount to $25 dollars, and Walmart will not prosecute for less didn't he just want to let me go. The Walmart loss prevention guy said no, he knew I had shoplifted, although he had no proof. I saw the video, all it showed was me looking, browsing, etc items, nothing showing I'd taken anything.
The Walmart loss prevention guy, first name Tom, kept telling the cop what a "rush" and adrenaline "High" he was on. He repeated this 3 times and the cop finally told him it to "hush" as he should not be saying that in front of me. This guy dug in my purse again coming out with one of my two cell phones. He said that phone was "new" and I stole it from that night, it was "his merchandise". I told him well it had been registered in my name for nearly two years, at this he threw the phone back at me and said "That's not my merchandise."
The cop said they should just let me go when I would not confess to shoplifting after an hour and a half, the Walmart loss prevention guy said no. They said I could not call my husband or sister or anyone. I finally got so fed up after being harassed for 2 hours that I said I'm calling my husband, if you are going to tackle me to the floor and take me down just do it, or either leave me the hell alone and let me call my husband.
They finally booked me for $58 dollars so called "thief" after the loss prevention guy took a small flashlight and opened batteries I had in my purse, bringing his so called "merchandise" total to $58 dollars making the amount higher, so he could supposedly prosecute me.
I even offered to pay the $58 dollars for my own previously purchased merchandise, he refused. The Walmart loss prevention nut finally came down off his adrenaline "high" after 2 hours and realized he'd made a mistake, and he was wrong. He even stated and I quote, "It's gone too far, we can't just let you go now, it's gone too far. If we let you go now Wal-mart and I will be liable."
He (Wal-Mart loss prevention guy) wanted to know if I had not shoplifted then why did I have such unusual items in my purse such as a small flashlight, small can of Off insect repellent, and extra flashlight batteries. I told him (as if it was any of his business) because my husband and I have animals on our property 4 miles from where we live and we go there often after dark to check on them, tend, them, check water, etc. He actually then looked foolish. Still he repeated they could not let me go, or they would be "liable".
How can we, as Americans allow this sort of violation of our rights to go on?
I also think that Walmart targets lone women, does racial profiling (although I am a white female) and I also think that had my husband been with me this would never had taken place.
BEWARE as this sort of thing happens all over America at any given time at any given Walmart.
This could happen to you, your wife, child, mother, father, so beware.
We will spend our $10,000 a year, once spend at Walmart, with other merchants now... ones that are polite and actually appreciate our business, and treat us with customer respect and honor, rather than stupid accusations and abuse.
We have hired an attorney to represent me on these bull charges. Since it has happened I have researched Walmart extensively, and found mine is not an isolated incident but a regular occurrence at Walmart across the country and even in other countries. There's even been several deaths of customers wrongly accused of shoplifting at several Walmart locations, because overzealous adrenaline "high" Walmart loss prevention associates have attacked and ultimately killed several people.
How sad. We need to stop this, be outraged by it, and in God's name not let this giant get away with this sort of thing.