Every week, one in three Americans shops at Walmart, America's largest and busiest mega-discounter. For some, the long lines, bargain-crazed competition, and "dehumanizing" warehouse environment are enough to transform them into monster shoppers. Here, a roundup of otherwise sane consumers who recently succumbed to "Walmart rage":
The bitter batsman
For reasons that are still murky, 24-year old Westley Strellis decided that one suburban Atlanta Wal-mart had too many intact televisions on its shelves. Using an aluminum baseball bat he'd found in the sporting goods section, Strellis went on a rampage in the TV aisle, destroying 29 flat-screen sets. He then sat on the floor and waited quietly for the police to arrive.
The tipsy tantrum lady
When Tampa, FL, shopper Lorraine Drawe opted to crack open a beer, a Walmart staffer promptly asked her not to drink in the store. Bad idea: Drawe, 44, flew into an Incredible Hulk-like rage, howling insults at clerks and, eventually, ripping a phone from the wall before cops arrived to drag her away.
The vengeful redecorator
After one of the massive, ceiling-mounted signs that Walmart uses to promote "falling prices" unexpectedly dropped on his wife in 2005, William Palmer was angered by the store's refusal to remove them. Four years later, Palmer, 46, swiped pliers off the shelf of the local Dunn, NC, store's hardware section, climbed up into the rafters, and began cutting down the threatening signs himself. "It was like therapy," he said, after submitting to police custody.
The conveniently forgetful conspirator
Lisa Hill was accompanying her husband Joseph through a Hamilton, TN, Walmart's exit when he was apprehended for trying to steal $2000 worth of electronics. The resourceful Hill feigned a heart attack and, while "afflicted," told police that she "didn't know" her spouse. A fellow shopper contradicted her claim — triggering a fracas in which the fellow shopper stabbed Hill with a knife.
The apoplectic line-cutter
Schoolteacher Heather Ellis, 24, "went ballistic," after a fellow shopper accused her of cutting a long line at a Kennett, MI, Walmart. The enraged bargain-hunter thrashed out at cops, splitting the lip of one officer. Ellis' sneaky retail maneuvers earned her a year of probation and mandatory anger-management classes.
The highly dissatisfied terrorist
Gena Annette Banks-Bond probably regrets the day she decided to singlehandedly improve “poor customer service” in her Stafford, VA, Walmart with a well-meaning bomb threat: The 25-year-old informed staffers that if they didn't clean up their act promptly, she would "blow up" their store. The would-be terrorist is now behind bars, and banned from Walmart for life.
The "return policy" arsonist
When sales associates at a Manatee, FL, Walmart refused to reimburse Philip Wright for items he attempted to return, the 41-year-old expressed his disappointment by setting three racks of men's clothing ablaze, causing "thousands of dollars" in damage. Though Wright fled the scene, he was arrested two hours later — attempting to wreak similar havoc at another local Walmart.
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