Though the chain certainly has its detractors, there is no question Walmart has built itself into the nation’s largest retailer based on its low prices on virtually any product imaginable. In fact, the corporation has emphasized this attribute with a promise to match any other business’ price on an identical product.
Disabled former wrestler Joe Cantrell, a regular Walmart shopper, was excited to put the new program to the test when he scoured competitor ads ahead of a recent trip to the store. He was looking for Christmas tree ornaments at a location in San Tan Valley, Ariz., when a cashier failed to provide him with a matching price.
“When I left, he turned around and called the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office,” Cantrell recalled, “and said he felt intimidated and threatened.”
Though he is a man of substantial mass, he explained that he in no way acted inappropriately toward the employee.
“I was upset,” he conceded, “but never once did I say anything to the gentleman.” A few days later, he said he returned to the same location and was met by three deputies.
“I was handcuffed, humiliated, and embarrassed in front of everybody at Walmart,” he said.
Cantrell, who said he regularly shops at Walmart multiple times per day, has since been permanently banned from any of the chain’s establishments.
“I just love Walmart and that’s why I go,” he said, lamenting that, as a result of this experience, he feels “shamed.”
Though authorities ultimately released him after investigating the nature of the complaint against him, Cantrell said he is still facing potential charges, including disorderly conduct.
“I felt like I was the bad guy,” he said. “And I know I’m not a bad guy.”
Walmart employs more than a million Americans in thousands of stores, so situations such as this are bound to occasionally occur. It is, however, a questionable business move for the retail giant to enforce a ban against one of its most loyal customers because of the report of one staff member.
The corporation issued a statement indicating that authorities were called because “the associate felt unsafe,” though different individuals have disparate views regarding what constitutes a threat. Though the investigation continues into this incident, what many perceive as an outrageous overreaction on Walmart’s part could result in yet another public relations nightmare for the chain.
–B. Christopher Agee
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