I wanted to express my extreme concern and frustration with an event that happened to me tonight at the North Little Rock, AR Supercenter on McCain Blvd. While shopping for yard supplies I went to the Garden Center to look at the plants the store had available.
While I was out in the section, a store employee stepped out the door, glanced around, and went back inside. I thought nothing of it since I was standing in the middle of the plant section and was within a clear line of sight of the door. At least the top half of my body would have been visible over the low plant rack. A couple moments later when I went to reenter the store I discovered the doors had been locked, trapping me in the Garden Center.
I knocked on the glass but there were no employees nearby. I walked around quickly to make sure there was no other way out I had overlooked and then went back to the door within a clear line of sight of the main aisle and knocked and waved hoping an employee would see or hear me. When that failed, I looked up the store number on my phone to call a manager so they could come unlock the door and let me back in. The phone rang for several minutes and went to a "your call is important to us" message.
Over 11 minutes passed with no answer on the phone. Luckily, an employee, I believed the same employee that had stepped in the garden center earlier, saw me waving and finally and slowly walked (stopping to briefly talk to another employee) towards the door and unlocked it for me. I asked if he was the employee that locked me out there and he, a co-manager named Anicet, rudely and immediately said he looked and walked around the center and didn't see me. When I pointed out I was standing right by the plant stands by the door and I clearly saw him (and he didn't walk the space as he said he did), he then curtly asked why I didn't say something to him.
This baffles me. Apparently at the North Little Rock Walmart, you can be trapped out in the garden center for over 15 minutes by a night manager and it's the customer's fault for not yelling at the manager to tell them not to lock the door. I was unaware the doors were being locked, or that he didn't see me, but apparently both of those things were my fault. Only after a few minutes of very rude conversation in which I pointed out that if he'd apologized in the first place I wouldn't have been angry, he said "I'm sorry you were locked out there.", never admitting it was his mistake, instead claiming I should have said something and he was late locking it anyway.
Aside from being angry over being trapped against my will and not being able to even reach help for over 15 minutes, this is very dangerous. What if I had a medical issue while trapped there or other emergency?
The image and potential liability issues with this should definitely warrant a reprimand of this incredibly rude manager, and I just can't imagine how someone so unapologetic, careless, and apparently bad at his job would be promoted to a position where he could cause so much potential harm to customers and his company. I have contacted the corporate office and the situation is ongoing.