Why Do Supermarkets Sometimes Barricade One Of The Doors At Night?

Over the years there have been a number of instances where I have visited a supermarket late in the evening, and when I attempted to leave through the same doors I entered, I have found a bunch of crap piled in front of them in some sort of makeshift barricade, forcing me to use the doors on the other side of the building.

Why do they do this? What do they think would happen if they left both sets of doors unbarricaded up until closing time??


I have mostly only seen this in 24 hours stores, but the reasoning (as far as I can tell) is that there are fewer employees, and therefore fewer people to watch for shoplifting. If the only exit is the one closer to the registers, then it’s easier for the one person on the register to make sure nothing is stolen.

Of course, what I can’t figure out is the Price Chopper in Troy, NY, as it seemed which door was locked at night changed every six months. :confused:

Easy, they are short staffed at night and can’t watch more than one door at a time. They leagally have to allow access to the exits from the inside, but they can lock the doors in a manner which prevents access from the outside.
Barricading the east entrance and leaving the west entrance is another thing I’ll see, as long as there is another exit nearby that can be used in an emergency (like a north or south exit). You get the point.

At the stores around here, they barricade the entrance around closing time, allowing customers already in the store to exit (through the exit doors), but not allowing new customers to come in the entrance.

My WAG is that it’s for security; one door is easier to watch than two. I’m always parking by the wrong door at night.

They often will do it with the doors on the side of the store closest to the booze. Not only does it make it easier for a smaller staff to watch just one entrance, it also makes it difficult for someone to grab a sixpack or the like and then run out the door.

I’ve seen the opposite – it’s the non-grocery section that has the doors closed, and the grocery section is where the booze are.

I’m thinking that we might have had a thread for this already, but I’m not sure what to use for search criteria.

When I worked at Circle K, we called that locked door the “beer door,” and it did cut back on beer runs a bit. Picture a kid with two armloads of 6 picks making a mad dash to the door, then realizing that the expected door (the “push” door) is locked. Sometimes they’d drop both six packs to leave their hands free to find the right door.

Not if they were cool, though.

The funniest I remember seeing is one kid literally bouncing off the door he expected to be open. Good times.

“6 picks” = “6 packs”

I wonder with these stores if this operation is occurring in States where the law requires all doors normally open during business hours to remain open? One might take issue with this approach.

I asked the same thing a couple of years ago.

The barriers I recall seeing (At the HEB near where I live) tend to be shopping-cart based in nature. In the event of a fire, you could easily shove them out of the way and then force the doors open (the automatic doors they use at grocery stores are designed so you can man-handle them open if they are turned off). You could make an argument for people mobbing at the door, preventing someone from being able to open it, but I’ve never seen nearly enough people in a grocery store at night for that to be an issue.

At the HEB here, they block off the entrances nearest the pharmacy and the fresh produce (you never know what someone might do with a cucumber late at night). This leaves two entrances right in front of the registers, with the tobacco products in between them, and a security guard drinking a cup of coffee milling about outside around those doors (where he can also make some attempt at watching the parking lot)

When i worked at a grocery store it was because of beer runs as explained above.

Nothing better than seeing some idiot with his arms full of beer run into a locked door.

At a Ralph’s late one night, I was going through the check out and saw this guy with two cases of beer run past and out one of the entrances. A security guard was chasing him.

Sure enough the next time I was there at night they had blocked the doors nearest the booze with a chain of carts.