A TikTok posted Sunday of a woman allegedly turning the tables on a man she believes was following her at the grocery store has gone viral with 345,000 views and 26,000 likes in one day.
The TikTok, posted by @pay_anderson, is a 9-second video that shows a man walking and touching his face while the TikToker’s grocery cart follows closely behind. It appears to take place in an Austin, Texas-area HEB store.
There is text on-screen followed by the crying laughing emoji that reads, “I felt like this man was following me in the store. So I started following him back!”
The Daily Dot was not able to independently verify whether the man had actually been following her at the grocery store.
Many commenters commended the TikToker for “turning the tables” or pulling an “UNO reverse.” However, some felt that the TikToker’s caption, which mentioned Gabby Petito, was distasteful.
“Listen up, nobody is safe,” the caption reads. “Look at Gabby Petito. You never know! BUT I DO BITCH HELLO.”
One user wrote that @pay_anderson should “have some respect.” Another wrote that people who use Petitio’s name “to make videos and jokes are genuinely unwell.”
Other commenters felt that the TikToker set a bad example by following someone potentially threatening. “So you say ‘be safe out there’ and then encourage them to engage with a potential aggressor?” user @meganhughes041 wrote. “That’s terrible advice.”
Many wrote comments to the contrary, however, stating that they do the same thing or try to act off-putting so that the person following them will leave them alone.
“I’ve read that it’s really the best thing you can do is to confront the person following you,” wrote user @tk81223.
The TikToker may be right. According to Chief Jason Slater of the Fenton Police Department, that is the correct course of action. Slater told the Tri-County Times that if the person being pursued feels brave enough, they should “start walking directly toward the person who is following [them].”
Slater continued to say that the person being followed should go to the front of the store, “where the majority of the people are,” and tell an employee that they are being followed. Several commenters suggested this as well.
Users also commented that @pay_anderson was right to “trust her gut,” which Slater recommends. The commenters noted that the man in the video seems suspicious and was likely following her because he did not have any groceries.
Others suggested that the man may have been an undercover loss prevention employee. Some also wrote that they turn the tables on loss prevention employees by following them back.
“I do this to salespeople that think I’m stealing lmao,” user @notallvirgos wrote.
The Daily Dot reached out to @pay_anderson via TikTok comment. They did not immediately respond to the request.
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