A Grocery Coupon Changed MY EDC Plans

Several times a week, I get digital coupons on my e-mail from a local grocery store. The other morning I was glad to see one for $1 off any package of meat. That appealed with meat prices at all-time highs now.

So off to the store, I went with a short list in hand. I did my shopping, choosing a nice package of bacon-wrapped boneless pork ribeyes. There were only two checkout lines open and I struck up my usual conversation with the clerk, whom I’ve known for years. I showed him the digital coupon on my phone, as instructed in the e-mail. Despite several tries, the computer system did not recognize the code on the coupon. A call to the front office resulted in more delay. I could see several folks behind me in line, including an obviously disgruntled guy, so I told the clerk to cash me out and I’d settle up later at the office.

"No," he said, "We gotta get it figured out." Another minute passed, and the office said to just use a general grocery coupon for the discount. I paid the bill and headed with the cart to my car. I always return the cart to the store as carts are sanitized for the next customer. As I left for the parking lot, the disgruntled fellow behind me in line walked out ahead of me, turned around, and informed me, “You are a f****** a******. All that for a dollar.”

At that point, he was getting in my face, and I told him if he had a problem, "Take it up with the store, not me." He Author Mike Sampson has a grocery store coupon that changed his EDC plans forever.replied, "I'm taking it up with you a******," followed by "Throw the first punch f*****."

I calmly informed him that I had no plans to do that and face an assault charge.

He then said, “I’m going to ‘whup’ you right now,” as he got closer.

With that threat, my Jeff Cooper situational awareness (SA) color changed from orange to red. CLICK HERE for one of many sources of info. I’ve taught SA for several years for my local emergency-preparedness team. Red condition means ready to use lethal force.

I then informed the guy that would be a bad decision, and he needed to expect defensive action from me. “You got a gun on ya?" he replied. I told him I did, and he said, "I'm gonna take it away from you."

“Try it,” I said as I reached to my Wilderness Tactical Products Safepacker holster with my Detective Special on board. I also moved to create more distance from him. He continued to approach.

Apparently, and fortunately, the lights then came on for him. He called me an additional four-letter name and got in his pickup and left, as did I.

So, here are some bullet-pointed (no pun intended) lessons learned from this unexpected encounter, but aren’t most unfortunate and sometimes deadly encounters unexpected and often spontaneous?

  • I carry a defensive firearm, and even if you don’t, always be in Cooper’s condition yellow now with COVID-19. Tempers and patience are short and will get shorter. And in today’s unsettled times, condition yellow probably is a given for daily life.
  • Realize you cannot fix stupid in other people.
  • Know your limitations. The idiot who confronted me easily was 30 years younger and outweighed me by at least 50 pounds. I could not risk him attacking me.
  • Know your state laws.  Arkansas does not have a "stand your ground" law, so retreat is the best option. So what if one cannot retreat? Do you turn your back on a threat or let that threat continue to aggress you? Split-second decisions, and if you are running a bluff as I was, be ready to back it up. Do try to create distance by retreating from the threat as I did. Sometimes retreat will work, sometimes not.
  • For info on state laws, CLICK HERE.
  • In the heat of the situation, we lose perspective. What I could have done was retreat, backward, to the store where there were witnesses, but second-guessing begs the question if that would have been enough. I determined the threat, already in condition red, was imminent based on the guy’s tone of voice, anger, age/weight disparity, and his body language.
  • Call law enforcement? Not going to happen in my rural area. I know from experience I’m at least 30-40 minutes away from the response, and a deputy never may appear.
  • I thought about getting the guy’s license-plate number, but I’ve called county dispatch repeatedly over five years to report plates of speeders, scofflaws, verbal threats, and two cases of road rage I experienced, plus being shot at twice while walking my dog. Zero response each time.  Reasons enough to carry every day.
  • Using your phone can distract you from the potential threat. Do some research on your area for typical response times to help decide what or if to do. I’ve had multiple sheriffs in rural areas where I’ve lived tell me, “We can’t get there. You deal with it, and we’ll sort it out later.” That may be your only option, based on the circumstances.
  • The lights came on when I realized if I drew my revolver immediately from the Safepacker, I could not do so in the face of such a threat.
  • When I got home, I remedied my awakening by switching to an open-top Sidekick OWB holster with a retaining strap I’ve had for years. Don’t most of us have multiple holsters? That also necessitated wearing a shirt that would cover the holster without printing. That is what I did the next outing and will continue to do.
  • Safely practice your draw and dry fire routinely. Different holster, different techniques.
  • Consider upgrading your firepower if you want to or can. My Glock 30 in .45ACP with two extra mags on my belt certainly is in my plans now.
  • Maintain SA.
  • Stay safe, be prepared!

Mike Sampson
Mike now calls Northwestern Arkansas home, but has lived and worked in several states. He has been an independent contractor and consultant since 2006, specializing in risk management, emergency management, and training. In addition to work as a law-enforcement planner and technical writer with the Boise, Idaho, Police Department, he has experience in journalism, crop and animal agriculture, dryland farming for 20 years in western Kansas, plant and animal diseases, pandemic influenza, agroterrorism, bioterrorism, food safety, and healthcare marketing.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and has newspaper and agency writing and editing experience. At Washington State University in Pullman, he earned a master's degree emphasizing adult education and communications, with minors in mourning dove, chukar partridge, pheasant, and mountain quail on the breaks of the Snake River.

While living in Lander, WY, Mike provided photographic coverage of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt for three years and got to meet and accompany folks such as Chuck Yeager, Carroll Shelby, Buzz Aldrin, Dale Robertson and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf on their hunts. 

In addition, Mike is a Federal Emergency Management Agency certified instructor and has worked and taught for state and federal agencies. He has responded to seven presidentially declared disasters, including Hurricanes Irma and Maria when they struck Puerto Rico in 2017. He also has worked and taught in Africa and Southeast Asia. Check his website at www.sampsonrisk.com.