What would you do: Someone following your family in the grocery store?

What would you do if a stranger is following you and your kids in the grocery store?


Make eye contact with that person. Criminals do NOT like awareness.


During my daughter’s freshman year at college I would drive into town and eat with her almost every Thursday night, just to make sure everything was going smoothly. After one of these dinners I was driving home and noticed I was driving by a small town that had a Wal-Mart, I could do my Friday night shopping trip a day early and save a trip, seemed like a good idea. So I go into the store and notice two guys at the entrance who are talking, I get my cart and start my rounds through the store. I first notice one of the guys at the entrance while I am in the toothpaste isle. I see him again in the dog food isle, and yet again in the lawn and garden section. This guy has no cart no items, so I am sure he is following me. I continue on my rounds and he is popping up in electronics, and then in all the food isles. Well I am done shopping and wondering what I should do. I am unarmed (I just came from a university :roll_eyes: ). So I double back from the front of the store to the chip isle and turn around with my phone out. Sure enough here comes the guy around the corner, almost running into me. I take his picture with my phone, and tell him to quit following me. Without saying a word the guy turns around and walks off and I don’t see him again ( for a while). I quickly sent the picture to my “starred” contact list which is mainly family with a note that this person is following me in the Wal-Mart. I go to the check-out and tell the cashier what happened and ask to see the Mgr who she calls. I tell the Mgr what happened and that I want someone to go into the parking lot with me since I don’t know how many people are with the guy (remember there were two talking when I walked in). The Mgr isn’t taking the situation seriously enough telling me not to worry about it. So there I am figuring out what my next move should be (i.e. is this 911 worthy or should I find the local number for the police). My phone starts ringing and I am getting calls from family who live close by telling me to stay in the store they are on they way. In about 20 mins I have 4 family members at the store two in the parking lot and two have come in, there are two more still on the way. At this point the “follower” pops up again close to the entrance and a cousin who has his photo spots him. I wasn’t there for the start of their conversation but it wasn’t very polite, and the guy pulls an ID… he is an off duty police officer who was hired by the store to catch shoplifters. The store Mgr is located and confirms the guy is an officer and the local police arrive as well. I wish I could say we all had a good laugh about it, but not so much. The store Mgr should have come clean about it (I had already paid for everything so I wasn’t stealing).


This is my worry as well. Some places have undercover security. I, too, would try to contact the manager… although now-a-days, I don’t trust many managers to give a hoot, but if you do what’s right, it’s harder for someone to say you were in the wrong. It’s nice to know that your family were there for you and that the situation was settled in a civil manner.


I would be really worried for whoever was following us. My son can be a lot less tactful than I am. And my daughter would start yelling at them calling them names. There would definitely be a scene!


:rofl: Well like I said I was visiting my daughter at school… they would raise the tuition price if I didn’t look homeless.


In today’s society you can only count on yourself, close family and trusted friends and of course good guys with guns!
Who was the second guy? Did they real need to follow you?
In situations as described in the video, I make sure I can positively identify the perp right down to the color of his socks to any identifying marks ie: tattoos, scars etc. I might even turn the tables and surveillance him. Call store security. Not a store manager.
I also don’t have a problem calling the non emergency local police department at which time you can pass along a really good description and photo and remain at the front of the store. That is where all the cameras are, watching the money they could care less about you or your safety. Concealed carry permit, BEST defense!


When I would go to the store wearing a concert t shirt or something similar I would point out store security following us and start messing with them running parallels or busting an emergency bat turn 180 and bee line right toward them.

I used to work store security, and in CA they started to transition into “spooking” rather than stopping for arrest and prosecution in the early 90’s. So their tailing tactics are still the same.

If they see you walk in with a “mission”, bypass grabbing a cart, bee line to a specific department, promptly pull an item off the shelf/display, then bee line towards the exits they’ll mark you and make sure you don’t head to a restroom/try to bypass or avoid a cashier and then be ready to pounce.

These days I’ll usually don’t wear a concert shirt, it’s a comic book character or political satire novelty, grunt style, polo style or plain button up shirt. Haven’t seen a guard following us in about 5 years.


I am kind of direct. I stop turn around and take their picture. Ask them if they are following me?
I then contact the manager. Specifically asking if they are security? If so, they are really lousy at their job. If not then have they dealt with them before. I am not about calling the local police and asking for an officer. Particularly, if this is one of those rare days that for some reason my weapon is left at home.


Poor work by the off duty cop. He should have been subtle enough not to be spotted following you.


That’s not cool. The manager should have told you that it was store security. Imagine what would have happened if he had been following someone who was armed and not as discerning as you are, @Greg1…

@MikeBKY, my kids would be the same as yours - especially if my granddaughter was with them. No one messes with the granddaughter (niece/daughter) without getting it handed back to them and then some.

@KenM, their not following you has nothing to do with you being 5 years older :innocent:


Think I would do the same thing! I usually look around me since times have changed so much. Also when I leave I look around me constantly!!

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The other guy was a off duty officer also. I was about the only one in the store at that time of night so I was the only game in town. I wasn’t going outside alone even if I would have been armed, it was avoidable by staying inside.


My Mom was a Jr. High high school teacher, so I have had “situational awareness” since kindergarten, it wasn’t uncommon for some jock who didn’t make grades to come looking for me.


Wow Greg!!
And let me tell you young friend, in the 1960’s and late 50’s Boys fought often on the way to or from school but only bare knuckles. When it was over usually shake hands and forget about it at least in Chicago south side. There was no threats to someone’s Mom or anything


I bump into some of those guys now and then and it is water under the bridge. When a 3rd grader and a high schooler get sent to the Principal for fighting the High School kid is never going to talk his way out of it :slight_smile:


I am not tactful. My employees rarely let me answer the phones anymore (a Godsend) . I am religious about my grocery shopping time. give or take 10 minutes. On occasion I thought someone might have been following me so I doubled back and proved they were not as I followed them out. Pretty sure just staring them down there is enough to deter them. I know the regulars and we nod and say hi most Sunday mornings.
8 am Sunday morning is pretty quiet.


Stores don’t like to reveal their “undercover” security. Kind of defeats their purpose. Manager could have said, “I know the person and you are not in danger”.


I am not typical by any means. I would talk to them, politely of course. I wouldn’t ask if they were following me, but they would know I noticed them. Hey, how you doing, what’s up type of thing, for a second there I thought you were an old friend of mine. If I got the impression they were a problem, I would mention something to management and keep an eye out for them. Having said that, I am a male, six foot three and 250 pounds. Even though I am turning grey, that size is an advantage most people do not have.


I would at least make eye contact and speak to them so they know that I am aware they are there. I do that most all of the time anyway, especially if someone kind of gives me an uneasy feeling to begin with.