Joe Cantrell, banned for life at Walmart: He says for ad matching, store says he threatened employee
Stephanie Hockridge, KNXV
7:43 AM, Dec 11, 2013
2:52 PM, Dec 11, 2013
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ - Walmart is speaking out after a Valley man said he found out the hard way just how to get banned from their stores for life.
Joe Cantrell loves to ad match.
He goes through circulars to find the biggest discounts, and then goes to Walmart.
According to the company's website, they match the lowest advertised price on identical products, but when Joe tried doing that last week, the unthinkable happened.
What started as a trip to a San Tan Valley Walmart to get ornaments for his family's Christmas tree, turned into the biggest nightmare of Joe's life.
"I was handcuffed, humiliated and embarrassed in front of everybody at Walmart," Joe remembers. Walmart sent ABC15 the following statement Tuesday:
"We make every effort to make sure our customers have a good experience in our stores. As in previous situations, we attempted to work with this customer. However, in this situation, the associate felt unsafe and so we contacted local law enforcement. We are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement on their investigation."
The statement continued, "The safety of our associates and customers is our top priority, and we find threats of violence unacceptable. This customer threatened our associate with bodily harm. Out of abundance of caution, local law enforcement was contacted. Due to continuous threats of violence, the customer is no longer welcome at the store."
But according to Joe, there's a chance he just may be the most loyal Walmart shopper you've ever met. Joe told us he visits the mega-retailer at least twice a day -- once in the morning with his grandmother, and then again in the evening.
"I just love Walmart and that's why I go," he laughs.
Because to Joe, every little dollar counts.
"Sorry I get a little emotional about this because I'm disabled," he said. After eight years in the ring as a professional wrestler and lots of injuries, "I can't do what I used to do for a living anymore," he said.
So four months ago, he started ad matching. But last week when a Walmart employee told him it wasn't allowed, Joe complained to management.
"When I left, he turned around and called the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and said he felt intimidated and threatened. I was upset but never once did I say anything to the gentleman," Joe said of the incident.
He said when he went back to Walmart four days later, three deputies handcuffed him, gave him a court summons and a notice banning him from any Walmart in the world for life. "I felt shamed. I felt like I was the bad guy. And I know I'm not a bad guy," he said.
The deputies apparently agreed. Joe said when they realized the nature of the complaint, they let him go. "They saw a grown man cry like a baby," Joe said. "Probably because I knew I would be able to go home to my family and finish that Christmas tree."
Joe wasn't arrested, but he said he's facing charges of threatening, intimidation and disorderly conduct. He has no attorney and he's still banned from Walmart for life.
Joe said he if knew ad matching was going to cause this, he just would have paid the extra money.