Advice needed: how to handle a Kroger stalker

Hi, my name is Caree and I’m a senior in high school. One weekend, I got off work late (maybe 11 pm or 12 am) and stopped by Kroger, a grocery store, on my way home.

After about 15 minutes of shopping, I realized that I kept seeing the same guy around, everywhere I went. I would turn around and there he would be, staring right at me. When I made eye contact with him, he looked away and acted like he was shopping. So I keep shopping, and this happens again about 3 or 4 more times.

After 10 minutes of shopping around, I see that he has nothing in his shopping cart which I thought was proof: he was NOT shopping, and it was NOT just a coincidence that he was always shopping in the same area as me. He was following me around the freaking store and watching my every move.

This was before I had heard of this site, otherwise I would have walked right up to him and taken a photo of his face. Instead of doing that, I just turned around and looked straight at him. When we made eye contact, he looked away as usual, but eventually would look back my way thinking that I had moved on. I stared at him for about 60 seconds before he finally walked away. I wanted to let him know that I saw him and knew what he was doing. Men like him need to know that they will not get away with it, not with me anyway.

Even though he left me alone after that, I was scared. When I got out of the store I walked to my car quickly with my cell phone and keys in my hand. I was terrified that he was going to follow me out in the parking lot.

I’m not sure what I should have/could have done about the stalker. Telling the Kroger employees seemed useless. Confronting him seemed dangerous. And calling the police? It didn’t seem like he had committed any kind of tangible crime that I could accuse him of. I felt trapped and helpless. And now I feel like all I can do is hope it doesn’t happen again.

Submitted by Caree

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5 Responses

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  1. Erik K. says:

    This is a example of either the Predatory Stalker or Predatory Testor. The mostly likely the Charmer Wannabe would have approached you when you looked at him.

    In this case, you gave him a long look to signal that you were aware of his presence. This method is part of deterrence. Deterrence is used to actively prevent bad things from happening. Your goal is to DETER this guy from following and possibly attacking you.

    Since you had previously confirmed that the man had a bad intention, I suggest that “a look is not enough”. What may have seemed like a 60 second icy stare to you, might have been viewed a 5 second look by him. Your goal is to unequivocally demonstrate that you are “NOT HIS VICTIM”.

    It is better that you demonstrate this posture in the store where it is relatively safe, than out in the parking lot.

    There reality is that your cell phone and keys in hand are of little use in an actual attack, unless you have the conviction to throw your keys into his face, and then smash the end of your phone onto the bridge of his nose, those items mostly provide you with false comfort.

    Fear and anger are mutually exclusive emotions. If you truly feel you are being stalked, then your best option is to drive away your fear with anger. Predatory Testors do not attack people because they are angry, they attack people because they are fearful.

    How exactly you choose to demonstrate that you will not be a victim is your personal choice. But, you need to take control of the situation and force whatever is to happen to happen on your terms not his.

    I hope my comments were helpful.

  2. deeba says:

    Staring at him like that was a good first step- if nothing else, he knows that you’ll remember his face and be able to give a description to the police if necessary. If it happens again, you should ask a store employee to walk you to your car. Just tell them that this guy has been following you around the store and is creeping you out. That’s a very reasonable request and most people will gladly comply.

  3. Erica says:

    I think you did the right thing by staring at him like you did and not being intimidated by him but next time I would ask a male manager or security to walk you out to your car because he may be waiting for you outside also, better safe than sorry.

  4. neveragain says:

    what you witnessed was a Kroger Secret shopper. These people are hired to follow shoppers around and make sure they aren’t stealing anything. I have been in this situation a couple of times but tonight was the last straw, I actually had people stopping me to tell me some guy was following me around and staring at me, when i found the guy talking to one of the employees i confronted him and then talked to the manager….she was unapologetic an told me that this is common and people only noticed because it was slow. I told her I’d never be back to that store and I won’t. This is the kind of customer treatment that ruined Kmart’s business and reputation and Kroger is next!

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