Should I report being followed in a grocery store? (TW: Stalking/Following)

posted 1 year ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
4759 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I don’t know if the store would’ve done anything, but it’s never a bad idea to tell someone if you feel unsafe due to another person’s actions. He might do it again to your or another person, and if it was reported, the store might recognize him & the pattern and either report him to the police or ban him from the store.

Likewise, if for some odd reason he were able to find you again and follow you somewhere else, you could go to the police and report it as a repeated offense – and tell them that you reported it at the store previously. Not sure if that would help, but it couldn’t hurt.

I’m sorry you had that frightening experience! Glad you got home safely. 

 

Post # 3
Member
7403 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Yes, I would have 100% approached an employee/manager and asked filled someone in and asked to be walked out to my car. I would potentially go back into the store and speak with a manager about it, have them pull the secruity footage and at least they can keep an eye out for the guy. 

Post # 5
Member
8381 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Yes, I would have 100% reported it. 

2 ideas – 1 it was a security officer (who often dress in plain clothes) following you to see if you were stealing. Many are NOT subtle about this. You can report because a) they aren’t doing a good job and b) it makes you feel uncomfortable which effects the stores bottom line (ie wouldn’t return). 

2 – it was a super creepy dude, possibly with ill intent. Store should know so they can have their security watch him or call the cops and get him out of the store. 

I would still call and let them know what happened.

Post # 9
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

I hate to ask this question. But are you a minority… or do you in any way look ethnic? I ask cause I’m very obviously ethnic (not white) and when I was in high school I used to go into clothing stores and I was ALWAYS followed by plain clothes officers. It was very obvious. At first I didn’t know why this person was following me. Until someone pointed it out and I went back and saw the same guy there and found out he was security. 

Sad experience to have as a young kid. You grow up quickly when those things happen. Not saying that is for sure what happened to you but that was the first thing I thought when I read your post. 

Post # 11
Member
8902 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: Dorset, UK

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CloverBells :  I would report it. Better late than never.

Post # 12
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

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CloverBells :  Thanks for sharing more info. I would 100% report it. It would be awful to see later that something bad happened. Maybe you can stop something before it starts.

Post # 13
Member
7166 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

View original reply
CloverBells :  Agree to report it. Even after the fact.

Also, predators will use women’s training to be “nice” and not make scenes against them. The way you describe your response sounds a lot like prey, just fyi. Having to surreptitiously track where he was, moving away from him around the store, saying “hi” back to him but not confronting him. I know not everyone is comfortable with confrontation but it can make a big difference to directly say “Are you following me? Because it seems like you’re following me and it’s making me uncomfortable. You need to stop.” and if you aren’t comfortable doing that, then hollering (in the store) “STOP FOLLOWING ME! I DO NOT KNOW THIS MAN AND HE KEEPS FOLLOWING ME.”

Going and speaking to someone in the store can help, too, but just getting direct and/or loud in the moment are also options for you.

A willingness to make a scene can keep you safe, OP. Staying quiet means no one knew you didn’t feel safe and if he had chosen to follow you out of the store and try something, you were more isolated.

Also, it’s really not okay that this is the next day and you’re still rattled by it. That’s frustrating and not fair for you that what what just supposed to be a trip to the grocery store ended up being this uncomfortable and stressful situation.

Post # 15
Member
7166 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

View original reply
CloverBells :  I’m so sorry, Bee. That’s super upsetting and frustrating. And I completely understand that feeling of thinking you would do one thing in the moment and then finding yourself doing something different and second guessing yourself through it all. (My version tends to be attack first, though. I spent years treating everything with a dick as a potential threat and it did keep me physically safe but internally, I was constantly feeling like I needed to be ready for war- that’s no way to live, either).

It’s entirely possible to come up with all kinds of different scenarios and responses for next time. I always have to remind myself that what is most true is that it’s fucked up that we have to figure out what we might do in this situation. It’s not normal behavior for women to have to gird themselves for battle to go get goddamn groceries. You weren’t out hunting in the wild or facing down claws or teeth. You went to your own local grocery store and ended up in (what felt like) a survival situation.

I don’t mean to make you feel badly and I don’t think you need to castigate yourself for what you did or didn’t do in this situation. If there’s a gentle way that you can just acknowledge for yourself, “Hmmmm. Maybe what I think I should do isn’t what I’ll do in the future and so I need another option.”

It also makes me angry on your (all of our) behalf that changing y/our clothes and changing y/our behavior is so often the go to here.

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