I think this happened in January of 2011, but it could have been 2010. News story here.
I remember reading about it in the newspapers… when four Wal-Mart employees had a thief in a back room, accused of stealing something.
Right after the dude took the laptop out of his pants, he took out a gun, and put it in the back of one of them.
They went into self-protection zone, without a moment to even think about it, and eventually got the gun away, and had the guy pinned down until the cops came.
Heroes? Yes, to one another for sure, and to all shoppers who would have been in danger as the crook tried to flee.
Against store policy? Yes.
Rewarded? Only by being FIRED.
This, in my mind, is a huge failure on Wal-Mart’s part. I get that it was against corporate policy. I don’t get the impression any of these people were out to be Chuck Norris in Texas Rangers. No one was out to be a hero and take down this bad guy.
But there’s a gun pointing in your back, or your coworker’s back, and it is a highly volatile situation – what do you do??
Do you try and talk the guy out of it? You probably aren’t trained in hostage negotiations (of course, you probably aren’t “trained” in wrestling a gun away from a guy).
What if you talk the guy out of it, then what? Hope he gives you the gun, and waits for the cops?
Or do you let him go, and hope he doesn’t shoot or kill anyone on the way back?
Regardless, corporate policy is, well, policy. You can’t have a precedence set that will encourage others to act this way, right?
I get where Wal-Mart is coming from, but I still think this is a huge failure.
Want more failure out of this? How about this: The local news (KSL) tried to get the surveillance video, and had to request it FOUR TIMES through “government records requests.” FOUR TIMES? Seriously.
Check out the Wal-Fail, though:
When KSL News persevered in getting the video, Walmart even threatened Layton City to try to keep them from releasing it. In a letter last week, Walmart attorneys wrote: “If Layton City intends to release Walmart’s video tape to KSL, Walmart will move forward in district court, seeking an injunction to prevent Layton City from doing so under GRAMA.”
That’s a good idea, Wal-Mart. Cover it up by not letting the video out.
Who am I to say, though. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know what GRAMA is.
If I were Wal-Mart, though, I’d try to make this go away, and fighting and fighting, just to protect a policy, doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. Heaven forbid their employees are empowered to make decisions.
If my family where at that Wal-Mart I’d want to know that the security people tried everything they could to not let a gunman run through the store… kudos to the heroes.
GRAMA is the basically Utah’s state level freedom of information act.
Firing these employees seems like the worst possible thing that Wal-Mart could have done in this case.
It certainly wasn’t a good start… but they continue to #fail by the way the are pursuing it… threatening the city, not settling quickly so it goes away…