Is Walmart engaging in a loss prevention tactic with a name that sounds like it comes straight out of a post-apocalyptic zombie show?
That’s what TikToker @bigbagspenny616 is claiming in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 361,000 views as of Friday.
The creator states that whenever he shops at Walmart, he’s subjected to the judgmental eyes of “floor walkers” who “discriminate” against him simply because of how he looks. The TikToker rocks a large neck tattoo in his video and in other TikToks, it’s clear that the ink is part of a larger piece that extends to much of his body.
TikToker @bigbagspenny616 delineates his claim behind the “floor walkers” of Walmart, explaining why he thinks this phenomenon is a very real, very concentrated effort on behalf of the chain’s loss prevention department.
“Guys, something I want to talk to you about is loss prevention at Walmart and floor walkers. You ever noticed how when you get to Walmart there’s always a ton of cars there, no matter what time you go there?” he says in the clip. “That’s not ’cause people are in there shopping, even though when you get in there there is a lot of people shopping. They got a bunch of people in there that aren’t even shopping—they’re just following you around to see if you’ll steal.”
The creator says he notices these ‘floor walkers’ “every time” he goes inside the store, “because they follow me around a lot ’cause of tattoos and stuff.”
He claims these “floor walkers” usually adhere to a certain demographic—folks who “look like your dad” who will only have a single item in their cart and will follow people around in the hopes of attempting to capture them stealing.
He highlights specific incidents where he visited a Walmart store and noticed that something was amiss, like when he went buy some Oreos and noticed an older gentleman with a completely empty shopping cart making a beeline to “aisle 16,” where the TikToker was, to shop for cookies.
The TikToker thought this was kind of strange and highly improbable that someone would immediately enter a store and then head right to the same aisle as him at the same exact time, while pushing a completely empty cart around.
Ultimately, this kind of approach could be backfiring against Walmart, the creator suggests as he highlighted another “awkward” incident while he was shopping in the baby aisle and looking at some wipes. He said the same thing happened—an older man was all up in his business when he was just browsing the chain’s offerings.
He states that whenever this happens, it ultimately makes the experience super uncomfortable, making him leave the store earlier than he would have otherwise.
@bigbagspenny616 added that there have been several instances where he’s even purchased items that he probably wouldn’t have gotten, or didn’t feel confident in what he was buying because he didn’t have the time to properly browse since someone was watching his every move.
One commenter claimed that as a former Walmart employee, they could confirm floor walkers were a thing, sharing, “I use to work at Walmart they are called secret shoppers haha.”
Another person said they also come across these ‘floor walkers’ and are quick to give them a message to let them know that they’re on to their surveillance methods.
“I always ask them how the jobs going, and they look shocked and leave me alone,” they said.
In fact, others shared their methods in “dealing” with the floor walkers they come across, with one user saying, “I make direct eye contact and stare because I know.”
“I’ve also noticed if I’m dressed messy I get watched if I’m half decent I get left alone,” a user said.
What’s especially infuriating for some customers is that the resources given to these undercover employees could be better used towards staffing other parts of the store.
“Especially at the check out ! Nobody will be there but as soon as I approach THERES LIKE 4 WORKERS,” one TikTok user wrote.
While one of the aforementioned TikTokers said these “floor walkers” are called secret shoppers, this is an incorrect nomenclature of the term—”secret shoppers” are those hired to moonlight as customers in order to assess the way a company’s business is running from a consumer’s perspective. Walmart expressly states online that it does not employ the services of secret shoppers.
Other users have made posts about being followed around by Walmart’s loss prevention team as well, like this Redditor who says they’re being stalked “non-stop” whenever they shop at the retailer.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Walmart via email about this alleged loss prevention practice, and @bigbagspenny616 via TikTok comment.