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(UPDATE: Be sure to read this followup: “Police Say ‘Banned From Walmart For Life’ Story is All Wrong”)

Ad matching at Walmart can be a great way to save money – unless you end up saving too much. Then Walmart just might ban you for life.

That’s what one man says happened to him. Joe Cantrell of Queen Creek, Arizona says a recent trip to Walmart ended with him being handcuffed, humiliated and banned from every Walmart in the world, forever.

Walmart employees, however, claim it’s for good reason.

It all started, Cantrell claims, when he went shopping for Christmas ornaments at his local Walmart last Monday. “Before I could check out, the guy behind my cashier told my cashier not to ad match anything for me,” he writes on his Facebook page. Cantrell was upset, but in a hurry, so he says he didn’t make too much of a stink.

But four days later, the next time he visited the same Walmart, he writes, “I look up and there’s two Pinal (County) sheriff officers” waiting at the self-checkout. It was only then that Cantrell realized the cashier from the other day had called the cops on him, and that he had been banned from ever coming back to Walmart.

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And this is a guy who says, until now, he was intensely loyal to Walmart – often visiting twice a day. “I just love Walmart and that’s why I go,” he told Phoenix’s KNXV-TV.

Walmart has quite a different story to tell. In a statement to KNXV, Walmart said Cantrell “threatened our associate with bodily harm. Out of abundance of caution, local law enforcement was contacted. Due to continuous threats of violence, the customer is no longer welcome at the store.”

“I was upset but never once did I say anything to the gentleman,” Cantrell contends. But the police incident report, obtained by Coupons in the News, indicates that Cantrell had plenty to say.

Cantrell “became angry and began to yell,” the investigating officer reports. Among his alleged outbursts: “I’m going to mess this mother f****r up,” “I’m not the person to f*** with, next time I come in I will beat his a**,” and threatening to wait “outside for (the cashier) in the parking lot” so he could “do him in.” A woman in line behind Cantrell, small child in tow, “appeared to be frightened by the male,” the report reads. “The mother then calmed the child down and quickly left the store.”

Several Walmart employees told police that they have had run-ins with Cantrell before. One accused him of attempting to “fraudulently ad match items” in the past. KNXV spoke with a former Walmart employee who said Cantrell often used expired ads in an attempt to price match, and that they would often allow him to get away with it to avoid any trouble.

Despite the alleged fraud and profuse profanity on the part of the accused, there appears to be some questionable activity on the part of the Walmart employees as well. The incident report notes that the argument erupted after Cantrell was told that “only eggs and milk were on ad match, due to all the Black Friday ads.” While some Walmart locations have their own interpretation of Walmart’s corporate ad match policy – some don’t ad match store-brand eggs and milk at all – the company made it clear this year that it would match all competitors’ Black Friday offers, in addition to the everyday items it ad matches all year round. So it appears that these particular Walmart employees were either misreading or misunderstanding corporate policy – or making up their own policy, either to avoid the hassle of ad matching during a busy time of year, or to single out Cantrell for special treatment.

So far, Cantrell’s version of the story is the one that’s gaining traction. “Banned from Walmart for ad matching” has proven too tempting a story to resist, for media that haven’t done any digging for details. Cantrell says he’s already been contacted by national news outlets including CNN and Good Morning America. So look for a lot more from him tomorrow. In the meantime, he leaves fellow Walmart shoppers with this piece of advice: “I don’t recommend anybody ad matching, because the same thing could happen to you.”

And if it does, just try not to threaten to “do in” your cashier. Even if he is mistaken about Walmart’s ad match policy.

7 Comments

  1. Fred Seaborne says:

    Hey , Joe — if you’re watching, I’ll be happy to go shopping at Wally World for you, so that you can still get what you need despite the ban 🙂

  2. I don’t put anything past walmart. they are not friendly and customer service sucks.

    • Fred Seaborne says:

      Amen to that, Brother. I tried to return a roll of duct tape that wouldn’t stick to almost anything, and they said I didn’t have any proof that it was from their store, even though they stock that very item. I explained that I hadn’t thought I’d need to save the cello wrapper or receipt because I’d assumed that all duct tape would work, but they still wouldn’t do it. I had to go to the company directly and get a refund. It surprises me that a service desk would jeopardize customer loyalty over a $4.49 roll of duct tape.

      • My only concern with Walmart PHarmacy would be to elmpoy people that enjoy your job. I asked a pharmacy clerk a question about a generic cough medicine suggestion and she rolled her eyes and asked if I took my kid to the doctor already. I stopped and took a deep breath and said, the medicine is for me and I am looking for a suggestion for cough medicine. She said well, why didn’t you say so. Really? Really? Lady, you know you are supposed to stay home if you have an attitude before coming to work. Needless to say, I kindly informed the manager and she said she would handle it. Why must YOUR bad day become MY BAD DAY? I love WAlmart! 🙂

  3. I ad match at Walmart all the time with never any trouble. But then again, I never try to cheat them or use profanity towards their employees. That guy just seems like a trouble maker and a cheat.

  4. I am curious about this too… as I ad match about two items once a week at Walmart. Most often some produce, sometimes a cereal sale, often times 2 liters when Walmart chooses to charge more than $1. I have had them refuse a match or two, and have cashiers who aren’t the best at doing it, and they can’t do bogo sales, as they don’t seem to understand that when it says save as much as $2.99, that then you are getting two for $2.99. The math tends to allude the cashiers, so I don’t even try it anymore.

  5. Jennifer rooney says:

    I would be intetested to know the whole story. .I am wondering if the guy was told no more because he was fraudulently ad matching. Or walmart is just crazy..lol

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