Thursday, February 10, 2011

Um, Perhaps They Actually *ARE* Evil...

The Big Guy and Tango sent me links to this story.


(image courtesy of Robb Allen)

4 Walmart employees fired after disarming gunman caught shoplifting
LAYTON -- The shoplifter smashed Gabriel Stewart up against a wall. It didn't take him long to realize that pressure against his lower back was from a loaded gun held by a desperate man who didn't want to go to jail.

The gunman had a firm grip on Stewart's shoulder, telling him and three of his Walmart co-workers, "Don't make me do this."

So, here's the story. Loss prevention spots Steve Scumbag taking a netbook out of the box and stuffing it into his shirt. Following procedure, they meet him at the door and confront him. He pulls a gun on them, using one of them as a shield. Thinking quickly, they disarm him and hold him for the police.

Job well done, right? Well, not according to WalMart. The company's response?

They fired all four.

You see, WalMart company policy is to release and disengage any shoplifter who produces a weapon. Since these four employees did not disengage, they violated policy and were terminated. This is a direct consequence of living in a litigation-happy, zero tolerance world. There's no distinction between hassling someone who had a Swiss Army knife keychain and someone actively pressing a gun into your co-worker's back.

The policy itself is questionable, but understandable - you don't want Loss Prevention thinking they have to confront armed criminals over a $20 pair of sneakers. However, that there is no latitude for folks taking measure to save their own lives - and the lives of everyone else in the store - is just insanely stupid. These folks had precious little room to negotiate - he had one of their employees in his grasp with a gun in their back. That employee had no choice...

And, once again, we feel the need to point out that Steve Scumbag was a violent felon who was forbidden to own guns, and yet was still carrying a concealed firearm. Once again, criminals do not obey the rules. Gun-free zones are meaningless. Gun control in this instance was a complete failure. Not only that, but someone so wildly unstable as to be ready to kill someone over a $300 electronic device? He's out on the street? That's the truly frightening part...

WalMart really screwed the pooch on this one...

That is all.


Butch Cassidy said...

No comment on the stupidity that is un-armed security/losswhateveryouwannacallit personnel?

Chris Maynard said...

Disengaging from someone that pulls a weapon is one thing... Taking action once that person has taken a hostage is a whole different ballgame.

Justin Buist said...

I'd be shocked if these guys don't all have job offers rolling in right now.

Mike W. said...

People who take initative for their own safety and the safety of their co-workers sound like just the sort I'd want to hire.

I hope all 4 have job offers soon enough.

JimmyT said...

My young son works for a major food market chain as a Loss Prevention specialist (Store Detective) and he not too long ago confronted someone walking out of a store with $1000 of merchandise in a shopping cart. This guy was working with another person who was acting as a lookout. My son was recently fully employed by the USMC and spent time in Helmand Province where he learned the fine art of interpreting body language among other things. When he confronted them they jumped him however, despite height and weight advantage over my Son he was able to immobilize one of them and the other ran for his life after a “thumping” (not sure what that was but the Son says that the perps attitude changed after delivering it and he ran for cover).

The Police arrived on the scene and took the bad guy to jail on both felony retail theft but assault as well. It seems there are organized shoplifting gangs operating in the area.

The company he works for has a similar policy as Wal-Mart except each incident is subject to corporate review. They reviewed this incident, it was all on video and they sent the son a company letter of appreciation.

I am not sure whey Wal-Mart is so stuffed up on this but they should engage some common sense before they act. Just saying.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Anonymous said...

I'd boycott Walmart over this if I weren't already boycotting Walmart because their customer service sucks.

Veeshir said...

"Don't make me do this" is code for, "I'm about to blow you away".

But it would have been better for Wal Mart if they all died because that's company policy.

Broken Andy said...

+1 for Gator.

Maura said...

Another company that has this strict policy? Barnes & Noble. I was urged by my District Manager to terminate an employee who wrestled books away from a shoplifter. He was slightly injured when the shoplifter knocked him to the ground with some sort of baton/metal stick. I negotiated it down to a "stern warning" that I had him sign and then I promptly filed it in the circular file.

Robert McDonald said...

I worked for Walmart for over three years. It's run by a huge micro-managing bureaucracy that is almost entirely made up of 'yes men,' and burdened by such an overabundance of policies that if you were to actually follow you would never get anything done.

Kind of reminds me of the Federal government...

Ross said...

My comment to WalMart on their website feedback form:

Dear Walmart,
With the outrageous action that you have taken in firing the four employees from the Layton, UT Walmart for disarming an armed shoplifter, you have crossed the line. I will no longer support your company. This will be a definite hardship for me, as I purchase medicines, clothes and ammunition at your XXXXXXX, MA store.

However, I feel that you as a company are showing incredible insensitivity and yes, stupidity. They were reacting to a situation that your corporate playbook could not cover. Instead of your management team actually evaluating the situation as a singular occurrence, you instead fell back on the "zero tolerance" (which really means "zero INTELLIGENCE"!) option.

I will be voting with my dollars. Ammunition I will purchase at my local gun stores, even though it will be a fair bit more expensive. Omeprazole and my jeans I will now purchase at Target, even though they probably don't carry the brand of jeans that I've grown to like. I feel very strongly that you are in the wrong here, and I'm showing my disagreement with you in the only way I feel that you'll get my message: I'll no longer shop there.

Should you decide to reverse your poor decision, please let me know - I'll be happy to become a customer again.

Ross xxxxxxxxx
NRA Instructor

WV: foessess - The poor schlub who tried to rip off the Layton Walmart ran into four foessess, yesss, Precioussss!

Unknown said...

I have also written a comment on their "ethics violation" portion of their website. I have been already considering boycotting them on general principle as I feel "dirty" when I leave there knowing what I am doing to the local economy. My wife is boycotting the Subway in the Walmart over rudeness. This was the last straw. Fortunately within the same radius we have a Giant Eagle grocery and Target. We are also not using our Sam's Club membership and will begin using Costco even though its a few more miles away.

Anonymous said...

If I'm hands on someone and they attempt to produce a weapon, the very last thing I am going to do is let them gain separation to deploy that weapon.


SpeakerTweaker said...

I can't boycott Wal-Mart any harder than I already do.

What I can do is point out that Jay's Rage-O-Meter is fuctup. It doesn't go high enough.

Fuck Wal-Mart.