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[IP] K-Mart and Walmart


Your setting off the alarms in K-Mart and Walmart were most interesting.  I
don't doubt what you said, I'm just curious about how this could happen.

It is very unlikely that your pump and/or pacemaker set off the alarms.
People with either or both of these devices go in and out of K-Mart and
Walmart all the time with no alarms going off.  That goes for airport
security, I have traveled by air for six years since I've been pumping and
never set off an alarm.

Are you aware of how the store alarms function?

They could have an airport type alarm that detects a mass of metal; e.g,. a
gun or knife, when it passes through a magnetic field. Pumps and pacemakers
just do not have enough metallic mass to trigger such an alarm (unless the
alarm system is way out of specs).  Certain things, in your purse, a large
set of keys or part of your clothing; e.g,. a belt buckle, or shoes, etc.
could have a metallic object of sufficient size to set off the alarm. That's
why they hand wand people who set off airport alarms.  The wand is just a
small magnetic field generator that detects medal by looking for a
disturbance in the magnetic field.

More likely a store like K-Mart, Walmart, Nordstrom's, Bloomindales, etc.
would have a door alarm of the type that detects a tag placed on an object;
e.g. a dress, or something else of value, so that when someone steals it and
passes through a door the alarm will go off.  These work two different ways,
one usually is a relatively large white plastic tag like is often on
dresses.  The tags contain an antenna that will resonate on a certain
frequency with a radio signal, coming from the door, and set off the alarm.
This is why clerks use a special tool to remove the tag that is firmly
attached to the article.  Also, this way the store can reuse them.

In a similar fashion, bookstores place a small (usually hidden) magnetic
strip in their books that will set off a door alarm.  This is why the clerk
at the register holds a handheld device over the book and triggers it to
demagnetize it.  The strip is inactivated, and can just stay in the book,
and not set off the door alarm

Thus, it is highly unlikely that either a insulin pump or a pacemaker would
set off a door alarm.  That is not to say that it couldn't happen.  There
are always exceptions but they are quite rare.

I'm happy for you that you have the opportunity and money to shop at only
up-scale stores.  Many of us actually enjoy discount stores.  But, if you
don't mind, the next time you are near a different K-Mart or Walmart, please
go in it just to see if you set off the alarm.  Many of us pumpers would
like to know the results of your experiment(s).

Good luck and keep us informed of any other type/brand of store(s) where you
set off the alarms.  By the way, does your MiniMed have a remote control?
Let us know, please.  It could be that the antenna in the pump/remote unit
happens to resonate on the same frequency as the store alarms.  This would
not be a positive feature.

Has anyone else had similiar experiences?  If so, with what type of pump
and/or other medical device and what type of store?


> Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 16:44:27 -0700
> From: email @ redacted
> Subject: [IP] Re: Shopping a KMART and WALMART BEWARE
> Beware whilst shopping at either of these stores.  I have never visited
> one prior to Saturday and needles to say, I shall never visit another
> again!!!
> Upon entering both stores, at different times on Saturday, the door
> alarm went off.  I just explained to the fellow standing there it was my
> son and myself and we had various attached and implanted medical
> devices.  He waved us through.
> On our way out of KMART the alarms went off again and a clerk grabbed me
> by the wrist at the door and demanded I stand there until security
> arrived.  She then demanded that I remove the pump and hand it to her.
>  Fortunately there was a nurse in line and she reprimanded the clerk and
> told her to leave us alone.  She proceeded with further interrogation
> and pulled the pump from my belt.  Of course it came out attached to its
> 43 inch infusion line and dropped to the cement floor.
> Their security came and finally let me go when I showed them my card
> that comes with the pacemaker and my MiniMed card with all the info on
> it.  We had over $300 in Halloween stuff for our annual party.  We
> immediately took it back....alarms going off again and demanded a full
> refund.  Refund given to my credit card even though I gave them cash.
>  No apology just admonished that I might want to shop elsewhere.  I
> agreed whole heartedly never to step foot in that store again.  No
> apology nothing!
> On to Walmart.  Basically the same story except the guard slammed my son
> into the door.  With much apprehension we entered the store.  Shopped
> for the Halloween stuff again.  Same story only the amount was $265.  We
> demanded our money back and the same deal was accomplished.  No cash
> back.  Most interesting experience shopping in America.  I have never
> been so badly or rudely treated anyplace in this world.
> No more stores such as these.  This doesn't happen in Nordstroms or
> Bloomies.  No wonder these stores are going bankrupt.
> Penny
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