Near confrontation at Dick’s this morning

At 9:15 this morning I stopped by the Dicks sporting good store at my local mall to pick up a new shirt.  When I arrived, I drove by the front of the store to check to see if the store opened at 9:00 or 10:00.

While I knew the store opened at 9:00, there was a question in my mind because there were two “youts” that looked like thugs milling around outside the door.  They both took notice of my Jeep and watched my drive by (this is normal, so I didn’t think anything of it at the time.)

I parked away from the building and walked in.  As I approached the door I saw  them watching me and assumed that they were going to hit me up for a dollar, so while keeping track of them with my peripheral vision I avoided making eye contact to reduce the opportunity get my attention.  The decision was a mistake.

After making my purchase I left the store and the “youts” were gone.  But there was a mall security guard that happened to be between me and my vehicle, innocently I asked him a question about some cones in the lot and he paced me back to the Jeep talking about them.

About 10yrds from the Jeep I spot the “youts” on the far side (drivers side) and they look surprised to see the security guard with me. At this point I felt pretty sure this wasn’t coincidence and made hard eye contact with each of them and addressed them in a strong tone.  They immediately averted their gaze and began walking away.

If I have handled the initial approach differently they might have chosen a different target.

While it is possible that they just happened to be near my Jeep, based on their quick demeanor change I do not believe that is the case.  I think they saw my reaction to them when I was walking into the store as a sign of weakness and targeted me for a theft (car or money) and then staged themselves to ambush me near my vehicle.

I do not know if the security guard saw this and decided to escort me or if he just happened to be close, but they two “youts” we’re visibly uncomfortable about his presence with me…  although only one of us was armed.

How would you have handled this situation? Would you have done anything differently.

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Comments

  1. Freiheit says

    If someone warrants extra attention, say hello.

    1) Dammit. It’s friendly and the decent thing to do.
    2) If they’re just weird, they’ll say hi back and everyone gets on with their lives
    3) If they’re looking for money, “No” or “Come by my churchs food pantry at 4:00″ is a perfectly reasonable response.
    4) If they’re up to no good, it is now very clear that everyone knows where everyone else is and you’ve gotten a good look at ‘em.
    5) Dammit, it’s just friendly

  2. says

    The goal is to fail the interview process, which eye contact generally does. The trick is to make ‘friendly’ eye contact. A soft smile, followed by being very obvious you are scanning them. I do this so I can get an idea of what they’re wearing, places where things could be hiding, lumps where there shouldn’t be, etc. If saying a nice hello isn’t in the cards, a nod will do just fine.

    The thing is to not be ‘aggressive’. That kind of eye contact is threatening and ‘youts’ tend to take that as challenging them. Instead, be friendly. It lets them know you’re paying attention to them while making eye contact and carrying yourself properly lets them know you’re not a target.

    Personally, this is part of why I think OC has a distinct advantage. You fail the interview processes without any sort of effort.

  3. Mayor Joel Stoner says

    I would have been armed, and would have made eye contact. Situational awareness is key in keeping yourself from becoming a victim. Always Carry.

    • says

      I was aware and I was armed (the security guard wasn’t). I was just “lazy” and didn’t want to be bothered.

      Ironically, if I hadn’t been lazy I wouldn’t have be bothered.

  4. says

    Interesting story! Thanks for sharing.

    I just got put onto this page by Nicholas at Indestructible Training.

    Good read. I am pleasantly surprised to see a good assessment of the encounter and good comments too. There is too much rubbish on the internet! So I liked this nice surprise :)

    I would suggest the same thing. Eye contact on the way in. Nice and pleasant, but a decent look to check for intent and weapons. Just as has been suggested.

    Because there were two of them, a hard and aggressive look could get them offended and then they can work each other up while you are inside and want to teach you a lesson when you get back to your car etc. where as a nice ‘hello’ as said, would suffice.

    Good article and good comments. Thanks.

    Adam

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