... to report this 'stalker' to the supermarket?(13 Posts)
We (DD6, DD9 and I) were followed by a man in the supermarket this evening. I have no doubt it was deliberate and not coincidental: he was everywhere we were, and kept making small talk. When we went back to main entrance area for DD6 to go to the loo (we had already ‘done’ half of the shop by then) I looked round and there he blooming was again, looking at the fruit just beside us! This is when I realised he definitely was following us.
We continued from the halfway point and he caught us up again, despite my tortuous, meandering route to avoid him.
It may sound silly, but because I had just been reading about the case of a man stabbed to death by a stranger in an unprovoked attack Poundland, and of attempted abductions of children I was actually very very frightened. I lost sight of DD9 at one point and totally panicked.
By the end I decided to leave early, not buying half the stuff I had intended. Got to the checkout and he appeared immediately at the adjacent one, not much in his basket after over an hour’s shopping .
I was terrified about going outside with him there. It was lateish and dark (we were out lateish because older DC was at a sports activity).
I took a long time to pack and pay, and decided to make a phone call in the entranceway to give weirdo a chance to get out and away. If he was lurking outside I had decided I would then speak to the security guard on the door.
I didn’t see him outside, ran to car, bundled DDs and shopping in and sped off, looking around to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I was anxious as we waited for older DD in the next carpark.
OK, so it may have been a plain clothes store detective who thought I looked dodgy for some reason (I’m sure I don’t, and have never shoplifted!) but then why be so obvious, even talking to us? And to the extent I felt frightened, harassed and curtailed my shopping? Would a detective even pay for shopping at a checkout?
Should I phone the supermarket tomorrow and tell them? If he's dodgy and anyone else reports him they’ll have more evidence; if he’s their employee I’ll tell them that this is totally unacceptable, it lost them the money I’d have spent on wine and dog food, and that I won’t be coming back.
Or should I just forget about it? WWYD?
I would definitely call the store - do it ASAP before they get rid of the CCTV footage.
I think I'll call them in the morning then, Vim. Wasn't sure if I was overreacting!
Store detective would be very very unlikely to go through the rigmarole of pretending to pay for shopping at a checkout. Sounds like a lonely creepy weirdo that bottled whatever was going through his lonely creepy weirdo head. Definitely call the store, some don't keep CCTV for very long but most of the security offices at any big branches have a 'wall of shame' that they keep people on so they know who to keep an eye on... Our instincts tend to be pretty bang on in these situations: you encounter hundreds if not thousands of people a day (depending what you do) and are subconsciously processing their behaviours, body language, interactions, all of the time. You got a warning sign off this one. Act on it. At least then the store detectives can keep an eye. Glad you're safe. And blerrrghh.
You're right ThisRain, and your experience was pretty scary, too Alas Don't you feel cross that you feel that little bit less safe when out with your child now
I realise now that the first time I noticed my weirdo was next to DD6 as she was putting fruit into a bag and I was a couple of metres away. Blerrrghh indeed.
I think you just know - supermarkets are fairly normal, inoffensive places. People generally aren't there for any other reason apart from to buy some bloody groceries and go home. So if someone IS behaving oddly it sticks out like a sore thumb.
There is the thing that if you had a funny feeling about him you would be more likely to notice him following you around; supermarkets are designed in such a way that most people follow the same route around them, but from what you've said, instincts are still creepy weirdo. Report in the morning - if you can face going in, going to customer services and asking to speak to the security manager (you had kids with you, etc) would probably be more productive than putting a call to someone who gets lots of phone calls all day long and has to parry them against the IRL customers standing at the desk. If you can't go in, phone and ask who you should email, get a name and an email address, and be as specific as you can about time/date/description, and just ask them to keep an eye. It's in the supermarket's best interests to nip these things in the bud, and the best deterrent for oddballs is just to have a member of security follow THEM around for a bit. When I worked in retail we were taught to hover rather than immediately confront, as people start to act very strangely if they think you're onto them... ;-) Most security teams circulate their wall of shame locally as well. Hope this is somewhat reassuring and you can get to sleep without it playing on your mind.
I'd have asked him to stop following me.
If he hadn't I'd have told security and asked them to escort me to my car.
Having worked in an industry that needs to use private security, that's the kind of thing that they're expected to do.
Even if it was a doddering jobsworth, I'm sure they'd have helped and just asking for help would probably have made the weirdo scarper.
edit: escort me to my car when I'd finished shopping! Not flee the shop.
The security will have been trained as to how to deal with this kind of situation - I suspect they'd just have made their presence known (possibly indirectly) to the man and stayed within eye-sight of you and the weirdo.
Report to the store as soon as you can - they often don't keep the cctv footage for long.
If it happens again go straight to the security and let them know. That's their job.
I would issue him with a warning. something like:
Please go away. Leave me alone. I will call security.
If possible, FIND a member of staff before you issue the warning.
Chances are, he will be so shocked he will scuttle off back into the undergrowth (where he belongs!)
If in a public area, always confront, face him down. Unless you are in a dark alley
Yes, I think it is creepy when something like this happens but it is getting more and more common I think.
I know this is always mentioned on these sort of threads but - 'The Gift of Fear' by Gavin de Becker is an incredible help in understanding and dealing with these experiences. You had an instinct about him, which isn't a 'woo' things - it's usually based on experience and observation (conscious or unconscious), but you often don't have the words to articulate it because people - especially women - are discouraged from talking about fear and encouraged to 'be nice'.
You did brilliantly in the circumstances . I too would follow the advice to speak to security and maybe your community PCSO, especially if security are aware of him. Hope you are ok today.
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