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Walmart ad match sign

Remember Joe Cantrell? He’s the Arizona man who made international headlines last December, when a price matching dispute ended with him being banned from Walmart for life. Now a judge has effectively sided with the retail giant, by finding Cantrell guilty of disorderly conduct and threatening and intimidating.

The whole thing started when Cantrell went to his local Walmart, and tried to get the cashier to price match items from an allegedly outdated competitor’s ad. Several employees told local media at the time that Cantrell was well known in the store for often using expired ads for price-matching purposes, and they tended to let the former professional wrestler do it just to avoid any trouble.

This time, though, Cantrell said “the guy behind my cashier told my cashier not to ad match anything for me.” He claimed he shrugged it off and went on his way.

But Walmart employees told quite a different story to police.

Cantrell “became angry and began to yell,” the police incident report read. At one point, police said, he threatened to “mess this mother f****r up,” and wait “outside for (the cashier) in the parking lot” so he could “do him in.”

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Cantrell “threatened our associate with bodily harm,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, local law enforcement was contacted. Due to continuous threats of violence, the customer is no longer welcome at the store.”

Initial reports on the story suggested that Cantrell was banned from Walmart simply for ad matching too often. That’s the impression that Cantrell gave, in an interview with a local TV station – and that’s the version of the story that media around the world ran with. “There’s a chance he just may be the most loyal Walmart shopper you’ve ever met,” the fawning report from Phoenix’s ABC15 stated. “Four months ago, he started ad matching. But last week when a Walmart employee told him it wasn’t allowed, Joe complained to management.” And for that, supposedly, he was arrested.

That characterization of the incident led to an eyebrow-raising public rebuke from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. “ABC15 news felt it was in the public’s best interest to tell only the side of the story provided by Cantrell,” a statement from the sheriff’s office scolded. “It quickly grew to a national story, furthering the inaccuracies and portraying Walmart as the bad guy.”

In actuality, the sheriff’s office said, it was not about ad matching, but about Cantrell’s reaction after he was denied his allegedly fraudulent ad matches. “Cantrell has created disturbances on other occasions in this same Walmart… This time, while standing in the checkout line, he escalated the situation by yelling and threatening to cause physical harm to Walmart employees.” The statement concluded by noting that “every employer, including Walmart, has the right and obligation to protect its employees and trespass customers who are disorderly and clearly threaten the safety of their employees.”

Cantrell insisted he did nothing wrong and that the Walmart employees who called police were not telling the truth. Nevertheless, he was found guilty and sentenced last week to two years of probation, and was ordered to complete anger management classes.

And Walmart shoppers – with the exception of Cantrell himself – are free to ad match again, without fear of being banned for life. And as long as they use current ads, and don’t make a scene, they might not get arrested either.

Image source: Walmart

5 Comments

  1. Jay Prestenback says:

    Wal – mart, that name is enough. They lied when they stated that they would sell only American. Today a Hundred and Fifty BILLION DOLLARS later they continue to be TRUMP LIKE!

  2. Pingback: Walmart Eliminates Ad Matching in 500 Stores. – Penny Pinching Coupon Addicts

  3. I’ve been banned from the Kodiak Alaska Walmart permanent I took a picture with a Samsung smart watch of a person following me constantly. It was the app seems the person had done this to others I wanted proof . took a picture an was policed out of building.

  4. Stephanie Clarkson says:

    while I’m not a fan of so much surveillance of customers, I suspect that in this case, since there is a LOT of that filming going on, Walmart employees were able to prove their case to the judge pretty easily.

    • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

      If that were the case, Wal-mart could have released the video and cleared their name. The fact they didn’t leads me to believe that their story didn’t hold water.

      Why did the judge convict? Because he could. Judges aren’t friend of freedom.

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