What To Do If You Ever Hear A 'Code Brown' At Walmart

When you go to Walmart, chances are that the most exciting thing to happen would be seeing someone dressed in an outfit wildly inappropriate for grocery shopping — and even then, that's a pretty rare occurrence. Most trips to Walmart are usually the same old song and dance, selecting your items while enjoying the music playing over the intercom, only interrupted by employees making the same cut-and-dry announcements. Nothing really noteworthy — most of the time.

But what would happen if the din of pop music and employee chatter suddenly stopped? Instead of hearing the sounds of today's hits, you'd instead hear the dry, stern voice of an unseen employee announcing that there's a "Code Brown" happening in the store. What does that mean? Are you in danger? Was there some kind of accident?

Walmart has a varied list of "intercom codes," according to The Sun, which are used as a kind of "employee lingo" used to alert employees to different events or direct employees to different parts of the store. A majority of these codes, explains Common Cents Mom, are used for basic day-to-day tasks. But if you were to hear a Code Brown, it could mean your life was at risk.

'Code Brown' refers to an act of violence

"They just called a code brown, what's your next move? (wrong answers only)."

This was a question on the subreddit r/Walmart, with the explanation that "Code Brown" refers to an in-store act of violence. While most of the Reddit comments were purposefully comedic or absurd, such as "guarding a spill," what happens if you're grocery shopping in Walmart and there's a Code Brown?

According to Interview Area, the procedures for a Code Brown situation are based on what employees and staff command you to do. KXAN News reports that Walmart, in conjunction with Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, released a video detailing what to do in the event a store is targeted by a threat such as an active shooter. The video instructs staff to be aware of their surroundings and keep doors locked to protect themselves and others inside rooms.

There are other serious intercom codes, too

Walmart also has codes for critical events that may happen in-store. One such phrase is "code Adam," named after Adam Walsh, who was abducted from a Sears in Florida in 1994, according to Missing Kids. A Walmart "Code Adam" outlines the protocols for employees to follow in the event of a missing or abducted child.

Fortunately, there's a very good chance that you're more likely to hear a code for something as innocuous as a spilled drink than a code for a dangerous or life-threatening event. A Walmart "Code Spark," for instance, means that more employees are needed at the cash registers, according to Query Spout. And the outlet says a "Code White" at Walmart means there's been an "accident or other incident" that needs attending. 

"Code C," meanwhile, is more vague — the "C" is short for the additional customer service that's needed.