Up until last week, Victoria Smith was a Customer Service Manager with at a Wal-Mart in New York. Then she intercepted a shoplifter, released her to the wild (as is legally required), and then got punched in the face when the shoplifter snapped and ran back into the store. Three days later, she was fired for touching the customer.
After another customer alerted Smith to the potential shoplifter, she began checking receipts at the exit. When the suspect came out of the in-store McDonald’s and headed for the exit, Smith intercepted her and pointed out that the receipt didn’t match what was in the cart. The suspect ran out of the store, then had a change of heart and came back in:
Then the irate shopper rushed back into Wal-Mart, screaming at Smith and wielding a Mickey D’s cup of soda, police said. They say she smashed the drink over Smith’s shoulder and landed a hard hook to her cheek. Police said she slugged another associate in the eye, spit in the face of a loss-prevention employee and pummeled another manager who grabbed her shopping cart. No one was seriously injured.
So far, local Wal-Mart officials have neglected to comment on the incident. Smith, a 16-year veteran of customer service, said, “This is so embarrassing. I was just defending myself and this store. I need this job. I have kids to feed. Now, I don’t know if I even want to work in retail anymore.”
Surely there’s more to the story than what the article is reporting, but even if you have a no-touching-customers rule, shouldn’t allowances be made for self defense?