It's certainly not uncommon to hear an announcement over the intercom while grocery shopping. Usually an employee is calling for "cleanup on aisle six" or announcing the daily and weekly sales. But if you hear an unfamiliar message coming from the loudspeaker, it can be a bit disarming—and sometimes there's actual cause for concern. At Walmart stores, you may have heard some color-coded messages, which the retailer uses to indicate different situations at the store. As it turns out, some matter more than others. Read on to find out what it means when a "Code Brown" is announced at Walmart, and what you should do if you hear it.
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A "Code Brown" is not something to take lightly.
Not all intercom announcements are cause for concern, as they're mostly used for employees to communicate. If you've ever shopped at Walmart, you know that these stores can be massive, which makes a loudspeaker announcement that much more important if a message needs to be spread quickly.
But if you hear a "Code Brown" while shopping at Walmart, the situation could be serious. An employee calling this means there's an act of violence at the store, Mashed reported, citing a subreddit thread r/Walmart. A current Walmart employee also responded to a Quora post asking about different intercom codes, affirming that a "Code Brown" means there's been a violent act.
With that in mind, if you do hear this code come through the loudspeaker, you'll want to act accordingly.
Here's what you need to do.
An act of violence could mean you and those around you are in danger, which is why you need to follow any instructions from Walmart management or employees, according to Query Sprout. It's important not to immediately run, shout, or cause a commotion when hearing the announcement, as this could escalate the situation and incite panic in fellow shoppers.
This goes for other color-coded warnings, which were developed so as not to immediately scare customers, Query Sprout reported.
If you hear a "Code Orange," for example, this indicates a chemical spill, while a "Code Red" means there is a fire somewhere in the store, per Query Sprout and the current Walmart employee. Hearing a "Code Black" means that there is severe weather outside, which can include a storm or tornado, while a "Code White" means that there has been an accident of some sort in the store. According to both sources, other codes include "Code Blue," which signals a bomb threat, and "Code Green" means there is an active hostage situation.
These aren't the only codes that you might hear.
Intercom announcements aren't limited to just colors, as you could also hear a "Code Adam" while you're shopping. This alert was created in honor of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old child who was abducted at a Sears department store in Florida in 1981. According to Time, Walmart and other large retailers implemented "Code Adam" at stores in 1994 as a way to alert associates to take action if a child is reported missing in-store.
A "Code Spark" is another common announcement, which applies directly to Walmart employees, who are needed to assist at checkout lanes or registers, Query Sprout reported.
Additional codes are numbered and lettered.
Walmart's announcements also include numbered variants, per The U.S. Sun, citing another Quora response from a former Walmart employee. A "Code 300" or "99" calls for extra assistance from security, which will then be followed by a location code that tells them them where to go.
Additionally, the former employee states that Walmart has codes for shoplifting ("Code 1"), a wet spill ("Code 10"), a dry spill ("Code 20"), a call to retrieve carts from the parking lot ("Code 50"), and customer assistance ("Code C").
Best Life reached out to Walmart for confirmation on these codes, but has not yet received a response.