Man Causes Thousands In Fire Damage After Walmart Refuses Return

After Walmart wouldn’t let him make a return, Phillip R. Wright, 41, of Monroe, Louisiana, pictured, left, looking disgruntled and pretty “arsony,” set a men’s clothing rack inside the store on fire.

He fled in a tan pickup truck and was spotted at another Walmart, where he was apprehended by law enforcement. The Walmarts had been alerted to keep an eye out for the arsonist. The fire was said to have damaged thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and caused significant damage to the store. Dang, who even knew the men’s section at Walmart was worth that much.

Jilted customer starts fire in Manatee Wal-Mart [HeraldTribune] (Thanks to Gregory!)


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  1. dohtem says:

    lol, he went straight to another Wal-Mart? To start another fire or to shop there?

    • Shoelace says:

      @dohtem: Maybe to try to return the clothes again. If they said no, he’d ignite another rack then try another Walmart, etc.

      Not too bright, I think.

  2. LegoMan322 says:

    Dang, who even knew the men’s section at Walmart was worth that much.

    Nice call. Obviously not too smart if he was spotted at another (the same day?) WalMart.

  3. IT-Chick says:

    He does look arsony and stinky.

    I’m really wondering what he wasn’t able to return, WalMart will take back anything!

  4. Benny Zhang says:

    That’s why I used credit card, I not going to spend time fighting with the always sucks ass Wal-Mart (ALWAYS!), I just going to spend 5 minutes of my life and filed a charge back. :D

  5. JayXJ says:

    Maybe he was upset that they did not have any smoking hot deals?

  6. Jessica Haas says:

    Am I the only one who finds it funny that the main article’s headline is “Jilted customer starts fire in Manatee Wal-Mart“?

    Yes. Okay.

  7. synergy says:

    I propose that it shows that Walmart carries a lot of cheap clothing made of highly flammable material. Just a thought.

    • ceriphim says:

      @synergy: Yeah I call BS that their entire Men’s section could be worth more than a thousand dollars. At retail, even.

      • jayphat says:


        Haveing worked for ol’ Wally in the past, depending on store size, the average wal-mart carries between 4 and 6 million in inventory. Thats cost mind you. If it was a mens, I would say that thousands of dollar figure is a lowball number.

        • missy070203 says:

          @jayphat: I agree I was the mens apparrel Dept. manager when I was in college… the george mens suit sep. and NFL and NHL trade items have a pretty good impact on the cost as well

    • henwy says:


      Yeah, because god knows most clothing won’t burn when you set it on fire. WTF?

  8. Tristan Smith says:

    Returning something at Wal-mart is something you would find as a punishment in hell. This man was merely trying to complete the imagery.

    Recently I tried to return a comforter set that completely fell apart after only 2 washings. I should have saved my receipt, but linens aren’t something I’d ever really consider returning.

    After calling the store several times with out an answer I finally got a hold of someone in their customer service department only to be told I would need my receipt. I asked if they could get me a duplicate copy based on my credit card information, but they told me they couldn’t. I called their corporate office to see if they could help and spoke with a very nice woman who was more than happy to help. She informed me that they could in fact look up my receipt in store if I paid with a credit card and that Wal-Mart’s headquarters could also provide me with a copy if needed.

    Armed with this information I drove to my local Wal-Mart store to make my return. After talking to several CSRs and 2 Associate managers, I was told that the best they could do would be to offer me store credit at the lowest price it rang up at in their system. It rang up at half of what I paid. I felt this was unacceptable especially considering what their corporate office told me. So I walked out defective product in hand.

    The next day I called back their corporate office and with in 5 minutes I had a copy of the receipt in my email Inbox. Once again I drove to Wal-Mart. once I got up to a CSR I was told that the copy of the receipt I had was not valid for returns or exchanges despite the wording “Please honor as original receipt” written in bold across the top. After talking to 2 more associate managers they finally caved and let me return the item and issued a credit to my credit card.

    Returning something at Wal-mart is something you would find as a punishment in hell. this man was merely trying to complete the imagery

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Tristan Smith: So, you’ll never shop at Wal-Mart again and after telling your friends of your experiences, you’ll urge them to never to either?

    • supercereal says:

      @Tristan Smith:

      Returning something at Wal-mart is something you would find as a punishment in hell.

      Let me fix that for you: “Returning something that has been used multiple times and should instead be returned to the manufacturer at Wal-mart is something you would find as a punishment in hell.

      • Coles_Law says:

        @supercereal: True. I wonder if the reps at the store said this or just denied the return? Corporate seemed happy enough to take it, at any rate.

      • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

        @supercereal: I haven’t been stuck around a MallWart for quite some time, so I have no idea what their return policy states. IANAL but there must be some application of “implied warranty of merchantability.”

        The warranty of merchantability is implied, unless expressly disclaimed by name, or the sale is identified with the phrase “as is” or “with all faults.” To be “merchantable”, the goods must reasonably conform to an ordinary buyer’s expectations, i.e., they are what they say they are. For example, a fruit that looks and smells good but has hidden defects would violate the implied warranty of merchantability if its quality does not meet the standards for such fruit “as passes ordinarily in the trade”.

        If Walmart sold me a comforter that fell apart after two washings, you can bet your ass I’d be bringing it back to *them* rather than calling their Chinese manufacturers directly for relief.

        If Walmart was an ethical company, they’d *welcome* the return – how else would an ethical company discover that they are selling bad merchandise if people never brought it back or dealt directly with their suppliers?

    • LegoMan322 says:

      @Tristan Smith: Yeah I mean…I understand why you are upset but there are a few ways to go around this.

      First and foremost is not to shop at Walmart.
      Second is do not try to return stuff that is months old…washed multiple times and purchased at Walmart.

      Also for the price you paid for it…what quality did you expect?

    • Jim Helfer says:

      @Tristan Smith:

      That’s why you keep your receipt for a while. Really, they aren’t heavy.

      • Tubal says:

        @Tristan Smith:

        I bought a drill at walmart. Used it for 3 days, and the variable speed quit working. By then, I had lost my receipt. I took it back to Walmart, they told me to go get another one, and I did.

        Probably depends alot on if you’re an ass when you walk into the walmart to return your merchandise.

        • Tristan Smith says:

          @Tristan Smith:after reading everyone’s comments I’d like to clarify a bit. I initially tried to return this to the manufacturer. The only information provided was a 800 number printed on the packaging. I left several messages and never received a call back. I washed this item 2 times with in 30 day I do not feel that this is excessive. The first being when I first received it, the 2nd being almost a month later. As for the price, I paid over $100 while most other sets ranged in the $60-$80. So yes I did expect *slightly* better quality. and yes, I should have kept the reciept

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    Take one part Wal-Mart and add one part customer.
    Hilarity ensues. Arson-tinged, manslaughtery hilarity.

    Stay classy, Wal-Mart customers. Stay classy!

  10. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    He looks kind of stabby, too.

  11. wvFrugan says:

    And the Fashion Police around the world have …

  12. MisterE says:

    What about all the security looking at the Monitors hooked up to the endless cameras in the store? Oh, silly me – they’re checking receipts of honest paying customers trying to leave!

    • Coles_Law says:


      “Hey Mark, look over here. That guy just torched the T-shirt rack!”

      “I’m armed with a two-way radio. What do you want me to do? You grab him”

      “No, you grab him”

      “You know, it is close to lunch.”

      “Good call-let’s go Subway. I could go for something toasted.”

    • ZekeSulastin says:

      @MisterE: Oh, you mean the ones where people still freak out, file lawsuits, and win even if the apprehension was justified, let alone the vitriol heaped upon such security here anyways?

      Besides, it’s not exactly difficult to start a fire such that you have some time to get out before it’s noticed.

  13. H3ion says:

    When he gets out on parole, he’ll get a job as a Walmart greeter.

  14. krispykrink says:

    Only a men’s clothing rack? Jeez man, plan next time and fire bomb the whole store. Go big or go home.

  15. Skin Art Squared says:

    I haven’t set foot in a Walmart in 6 years.

    Feelin’ pretty good about that too.

  16. LordofthePing says:

    This guy is nuts. Aren’t Walmart’s fire sale prices good enough for him?

  17. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    This should be added to the Walmart bingo card that makes its way around the net every so often!

  18. Nick Bornemann says:

    Thousands of dollars in damage eh? I would have thought you would had to burn two Walmarts to the ground to do just one thousand dollars in damage.

  19. plj says:

    Arson, now that’s something to laugh about. Having been in a store that caught fire, with the sprinkler system drenching you and trying to find an exit in the chaos. I’d bet my last dollar you wouldn’t be all chuckles then trying to save your life.

    • OMG! Con Seannery! says:

      @plj: HAHAHAHA! I can’t see for all this smoke off of the cheap plastic crap, but WALMARTS ON FIRE! IT’S SO FUNNY!

  20. INsano says:

    I need to know what “item” was being returned for this story to be funny. Like, “the patron was returning lighter fluid and strike anywhere matches” or “the customer was trying to return a fire exstinguisher”.

  21. fatcop says:

    Breaking windows is much more fun.

    Especially when your throwing a motorcycle battery through one.

    Yes I did.

  22. Fixta Fernback says:

    He failed because he couldn’t find the heart of Walmart (beyond the plasma screen television).

  23. Chris W James says:

    Lol he does look pretty “arsony” in that pic

  24. vladthepaler says:

    “I’m sorry sir, your receipt shows you purchased this item at a different Walmart. You’ll have to return it there.”

    “I can’t.”

    “Er. Why not? It’s not too far away.”

    “I burnt it down.”

    “Well, let me talk to my manager and see if we can make an exception.”