Banned for life from Pathmark

Sometimes I’m amazed at some of the stupid things businesses do to drive away customers.  Here’s one for you, I’ve been banned for life from Pathmark, which happened back in 1972.  Pathmark is a regional grocery store chain, with a few stores in northern Delaware as well as up around the New York City area.

It all began with a gal I had a crush on in third grade named Patty Yearsley.

My family moved to a new house and a new school district in 1968, so I never saw this girl I had a crush on again. A few years later, a friend of mine convinced me to look up her phone number and give her a call. Well, being the uber-introverted kid I was back then, I had him place the call.  The good news is, she remembered me and agreed to meet us on Saturday at Pathmark, when her Mom was going to take her grocery shopping.

So I was nervous and rode my bicycle from Pike Creek down to the Kirkwood Highway Pathmark — which still is there today.  I went into the Hallmark store a few doors away in the same strip shopping center and purchased a card for her, and a box of Good-n-Plenty.

I went to stand in front of Pathmark and waited, and waited. Thinking I may have missed her, I did a sweep on the store inside while munching on my box of candy. As I was getting ready to leave, the store manager grabbed me and accused me of stealing the candy.  I told him I had just purchased it up at the Hallmark and I was sure the cashier there would remember me buying it.  He didn’t believe me, and hethen claimed he had observed me breaking open a multi-pack of Good-n-Plenty in the candy aisle and removing one of the boxes.

Well, he was lying because I did no such thing. And really, it’d be stupid of me to steal it and then start eating it right there in the store anyway.   I begged with him to just walk up to the Hallmark store and the cashier would certainly remember a 12 year old buying a card and candy for his crush.  But he refused. Instead he got another employee to detain me while he went down the candy aisle and to see if there were any multi-packs open. He said if he found one, I’d be going to jail.

Now, being a kid, I was terrified at that point. He went down the aisle and came back with a multi-pack missing a box of Good-n-Plenty. That jerk probably opened it himself.

Again I begged him to come up to the Hallmark store.  So he agreed, but as we reached the front door he grabbed me again and said he knew I took the candy but he was going to let me go, but told me I was banned from all Pathmark stores for life and if he ever saw me again, I’d be arrested.

Well by then, I was a mess and forgot all about Patty (so I never know if she eventually showed or not) and went home and told my Mother all about it.  She at least believed me and said she’d never go back to Pathmark either.

And so for the next 30 years I never set foot in Pathmark again. Of course when I got older I realized the guy’s threat was not going to be enforced, but a deal is a deal and there’s plenty of other grocery stores around. So I honored the agreement and stayed away for 30 years. Now a few years ago I did realize it was stupid to inconvenience myself, so if the wife and I are in the same shopping center on other business and need a few things, we’ll go in.  But I still avoid the place as much as possible. It’s very rare we shop there.

So because some jerk of a store manager decided to lie about a theft, illegally detain a minor against his will, and then knowing full well he was lying and I was probably innocent when he most likely didn’t find an opened pack of candy, decided to save his own face and ban me from Pathmark forever, Pathmark has lost probably lost somewhere around $100,000 or more in revenue over a period of almost 40 years while ole Acme got the business instead.

I was also banned for life when I was a kid from a small store named Wassams near where I lived when I had bought a model car and when I opened it, it had a lot of malformed parts, so I took it back for my money back and the manager accused me of trying to rip him off, didn’t refund my money, threw me out, and banned me for life from there too.  (They eventually went out of business.)

What is it about some businesses that don’t realize kids will eventually grow up to be adults?   Sure, a lot of kids are misbehaved and many of them steal. I’m not advocating turning a blind eye, but in both of these cases I was in the right and it was assumed I was in the wrong — and I remembered those cases well and decided to honor my lifetime bans for a few decades after they were imposed.

8 thoughts on “Banned for life from Pathmark”

  1. I’m thinking some things must never change. 😉

    On a side note, I shop at Pathmark as much as possible. A lot of the fruit and vegetables are bad at Acme. I noticed that when I lived near the Acme in Bear as well. Pathmark always seems to have fresher items. I’ve only gone to the Pathmarks in Newark and on Lancaster Ave though. The Shoprite in Stanton and the one in Newark are okay stores too.

  2. Yeah, I’m sure Pathmark corporate heads didn’t all come up with a policy of harassing 12 year olds and banning them for life, and that guy who did it is probably dead by now, but certain actions by employees or companies can change your a shopper’s habits for quite a long time.

    It’s like when Rite-Aid stopped stocking Coke products for a while 15 years ago. I just started going to Happy Harry’s to get my Coke products and just got in the habit of popping in there and never went into a Rite-Aid after that, even though apparently that deal they had with Pepsi to go exclusive didn’t last long.

  3. Have a question. Any chance that I can be banned at photo store chain for
    making a purchase of a large digital frame that I thought this box on clearance but turned out a wrong item I picked and told a manager that “I’m all set” another words it ranged up (as price twice as high as thought-turned out I have set for wrong item) as ended up “void” as it was ready to be bought?

    I realized I made an error because I was a little tired, was a little sick during the day and was rushed, had to get myself home at 6:00 before I got yelled from my family.

    1. I’m betting you can be banned for pretty much anything short of anything that falls under the law against discrimination.

  4. If I were your father, I would have marched up to that Path Mark, dragged that four-flushing manager outside the store, and had that son of a bitch beg you for your forgiveness…..

    but that’s just me I guess…

  5. Great read…know the Pathmark…know thw wassams..(liven in Woodland hieghts `til i was 6…know Patty…probably know you..

    Attended Marshallton, Marbrook & Anna P. Mote elementary shcools.





  7. I live near that Pathmark and it seems ok now. They have better people and managers I’m sure they will let you back in since it’s been 30 + years and they probally wouldnt recognise you unless they did a computer enhancement of what you will look like when your older. They banned a guy in the area I lived at becuase he threaten to kill all the white women that worked there.. I guess one of the ladies turned him down when he asked one out and got pissed off. Now for that banning I can understand. But your’s that was plain stupid shit. The guy was probally bored and needed something to do and you happen to be the person he decided to pick on.

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