That Entrance is Locked

I'd like to call attention to a problem & make some recommendations for a solution.

The problem - Most supermarkets have two entrances, but after nightfall, they lock one.

For some reason, they do not give any indication which set of doors is locked. On occasion, the employees will leave some red baskets stacked in front of the locked door, but rarely is the "door locked" signal visible from inside your car, before you park.


There is a 50% chance that you will park close to the locked door, pull on it fruitlessly and have to walk over to the other one to get inside.

Why do they do this? Is it really so costly to get a sign which indicates that one door is locked? Does it take too much time to erect a sign each evening?


My recommendation: Use a cheap visual device to indicate that one set of doors is locked: A pair of shopping carts, nose-to-nose, blocking the locked entrance.


    Name: Brian L.

Seriously. They do that in San Diego all the time. They must take bets for how many times someone comes and yanks on the locked doors.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 2:53 am

    Name: Molly

We have laws banning this sort of thing in Arizona.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 4:03 am

    Name: Nate

I always thought it was to prevent beer runs. I think the locked door is always on the side where the alcohol is in the supermarket. Haven't tested this theory.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 4:10 am

    Name: Kate

When I lived in Fort Wayne, IN they actually had a sign outside one of the Walmarts there that told when they closed the one entrance and when it would reopen, and still people would walk over towards that way...

Thursday 06th of August 2009 4:38 am

    Name: AJ

You put those carts in front of the unlocked doors, didn't you, Rob. Tell the truth.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 5:01 am

    Name: Laura Ling

In North Korea, not only do they lock the doors, but if you try to go into the locked doors, they arrest you, accuse you of being a spy, and hold you hostage until Bill Clinton comes over to trade his daughter for you.

Korea, North
Thursday 06th of August 2009 5:24 am

    Name: KK

The market I go to closes one door at night, but it's always the same door so if you go there semi-regularly, you would know. It would drive me mad if they changed it up all the time.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 6:08 am

    Name: MatthewT

Here in TX the local neighborhood walmart does that. They lock the door closet to the grocery stuff and leave the one by the beer open for some reason.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 6:13 am

    Name: Jessie Birks

I suspect that the skeleton crew operating the store at night cannot maintain security if there are too many open doors. And, the people that are working at night tend to be stocking shelves. Rob, the reason they haven't addressed this: they just don't care. You could buy aluminum foil for wrapping your car at 3 a.m., or you could think the place closed and go home empty handed. It wouldn't make any difference to the night crew.

The Netherlands
Thursday 06th of August 2009 6:24 am

    Name: Stephanie

Here in St. Louis it's always the same door that is locked every time. They have it noted on the signs "This entrance locked 11pm - 6am" or whatever the hours are. So you always know which one will be open during the night.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 6:28 am

    Name: Hussein

Think a locked grocery store entrance is fishy? Snitch on them by emailing

Thursday 06th of August 2009 6:47 am

    Name: Kate

A sign would be a good idea. They probably can't block the exit with shopping carts because of fire evacuation laws. The doors might still be opened from the inside in case of fire or other emergency. And yeah, they probably just don't care.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 7:33 am

    Name: Sheik

THey don't actually need to BLOCK the doors with the shopping carts, but just put the carts in a visible position in front of the doors. A line of them perpendicular to the doors would be very visible from the parking lot, and would not block any emergency exit.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 7:53 am

    Name: Swayze

Good idea, but you're asking the grocery store's night crew to care. Ain't happening! Anyone who DOES care enough is obviously bound for bigger and better things, and they'll be promoted to day shift assistant manager before long.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 7:57 am

    Name: Thomas

They do the same thing in Upstate New York just to annoy the crap out of people.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 8:46 am

    Name: Steve

I used to work at a 24 hour WalMart that locked one entrance at 11pm. They used to put a row of carts in front of the door to indicate such; however, we got fined for it. Apparently, they local fire marshal felt it'd impede people leaving the store if there was a fire, so we had to stop putting carts there. The doors remained locked at night, though.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 9:26 am

    Name: Brad Carter

You should put a couple carts in front of the unlocked doors and watch the confusion.

Marshall Islands
Thursday 06th of August 2009 9:27 am

    Name: Caitlyn

I've seen that here in PA - it certainly isn't about the beer runs, since grocery stores can't carry alcohol. (PA alcohol laws are a whole 'nother story.) I think it's just annoying.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 9:35 am

    Name: Avogadro\'s Numeral

Shopping at night is weird.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 9:42 am

    Name: Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf

In my country we plant explosives in front of the locked doors.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 9:48 am

    Name: Tiles

You know what else impedes the exit from the building? The LOCKED DOORS.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 10:09 am

    Name: Nobody Nose

Isn't locking one of the entrances probably a fire code violation in most jurisdictions?

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 10:11 am

    Name: Saed

Simple solution: blow it up.

Palestinian State*
Thursday 06th of August 2009 10:25 am

    Name: PIrnie

Locking entrances is a violation of fire codes when the business is open.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 10:38 am

    Name: Debt Sucks

All you really have to do is look at what side of the parking lot most of the cars are parked on.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 10:44 am

    Name: Mike J

Good idea. But unfortunately I doubt it will ever happen.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 11:07 am

    Name: Fat Jim

These doors get locked for access from the outside, but are still operable from the inside. No violation of fire codes. Stacking carts in front of an egress is a violation, though. Us lazy Americans should just take the walk to the other entrance in stride and thank the store for encouraging the extra exercise...

Thursday 06th of August 2009 11:43 am

    Name: Rob Cockerham

Looking at the parked cars is a good idea, but look at the top photo, are there more cars on the unlocked side? Also, there are often other businesses around, such as a blockbuster video or bank w/ATM machine, which make the car distribution a muddled factor. And Fat Jim, are you telling me that these locked doors can be opened from the inside by customers fleeing a fire?

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 11:53 am

    Name: Ristipiste

Why do you have to park that near to the door? Doors are not that far apart. Sure it'll be irritating to notice that the door you've tried is locked and simple sign "use the other door" would be easy. You specially mentioned parking your car near the door. No one's that lazy. I park further away from the entrance so other cars are not near my paintjob.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 11:59 am

    Name: erak

An easy solution is to just walk the 50 feet to the unlocked door you lazy lug you.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 12:11 pm

    Name: mr fish

anything the grocery store can do to get people walking alone at night is a positive thing.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 12:14 pm

    Name: Emma

How strange. Here in the UK there's never more than one entrance to a supermarket - though often a second exit which is locked outside normal hours.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 12:22 pm

    Name: Gav

I can honestly say I have never even seen a supermarket with two entrances. Well, not a purpose built one. What's the point?

United Kingdom
Thursday 06th of August 2009 12:46 pm

    Name: Anthony Cathey

The Wal-Mart in West Sacramento does this too! Not only to they prevent an entrance, but also an exit. It's a million times worse if you park on the wrong side of the building at this Wal-Mart because you have to walk 1/4 mile to the other side. Gav, Not uncommon at all in the US because most grocery stores are quite large in comparison to other countries, especially where real estate is at a premium. Wal-Mart for example, has a store in West Sacramento,California that is 237,000 square feet in size - It actually has 4 entrances. This particular Safeway Grocery store is probably around the 19,000 square foot size. Which about average. -Ant

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 1:30 pm

    Name: Pat

I used to work at a Safeway. One door was locked at night because there were very few employees there at night and only one door had a security camera on the outside. Also, the locked door was closer to the alcohol. I had to redirect dozens of customers to the unlocked door every night I was there.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 1:35 pm

    Name: David

I'm handicapped. The last store I visited like this decided to lock the doors closest to the handicapped parking spots without indications. I now shop at a different store.

Thursday 06th of August 2009 3:18 pm

    Name: Barack Hussein Obama

Hello, my name is Barack Hussein Obama, I was born in Kenya... no wait, Hawaii!

Thursday 06th of August 2009 8:14 pm

    Name: Jennifer

Rob, as for doors being able to open from the inside but not the outside, I worked at a store with automatic doors. The doors had three settings: off, one way, and two-way. Once closing hit, we switched the doors to one-way (people could leave but not enter). Once all the customers were gone, the doors were switched off, but the physical lock wasn't engaged until we were leaving, or if there was an overnight crew, they flipped the lock once the regulars were gone. And Arizona may have laws, but every grocery store I've gone to late at night, that has two entrances, locks one after dark.

United States
Thursday 06th of August 2009 11:10 pm

    Name: AJ

THE ANSWER: Trust local wisdom. Park on the side of the store where all of the other cars are congregating.

Friday 07th of August 2009 12:02 am

    Name: Leperflesh

A corollary: why do many stores with double-doors leave one side locked? You know, so you can run into it or jerk on it fruitlessly and look like an idiot, before you step over to the other one to open it instead? If you are very lucky there might be a sticker indicating that they've done this, but never any actual reason why. Why even have a double-door if it's always half-disabled?

Friday 07th of August 2009 1:23 am

    Name: LG

Oh hell, my local Home Depot has taken to doing this during the day! They used to have three entrances but they've closed it down to one entrance, two exit-only. A good number of customers simply pry the exit doors open with their hands.

Friday 07th of August 2009 6:22 am

    Name: Fat Jim

To Rob- Yes, the doors are part of the required egress for the store. As long as the store is occupied, they must be operable from the inside even when locked from the outside.

Friday 07th of August 2009 6:48 am

    Name: steveo

Is this really that big of a problem? Each store always locks the same doors, so if is your neighborhood store you should know, unless you smoked so much pot you can't remember.

Vatican City
Friday 07th of August 2009 6:56 am

    Name: Chuck Salt

Whenever I'm in a WalMart parking lot, I make the assumption that ALL the doors are locked, even during regular business hours. Then, with a clearer conscience, I drive off and conduct my business somewhere else.

New Zealand
Friday 07th of August 2009 7:53 am

    Name: Robert Cockerham

Here is what I don't need: A shoppers card Here is what I need: A fucking "LOCKED" sign that I can see from the parking lot.

United States
Friday 07th of August 2009 8:47 am

    Name: Ivan

In Soviet Russia, both doors locked always.

Friday 07th of August 2009 10:19 am

    Name: Mike

I'm a cart pusher at my local 24hr grocery store and it annoys me and the other cart pushers when customers ask us why the door is lock when there is clearly a large sign in front of it that says "please use the other entrance after 10pm." The people who shop at night are stupid.

United States
Friday 07th of August 2009 11:40 am

    Name: Winona Ryder

The doors are locked for people like me who tend to forget to pay for certain items that somehow end up in my purse. It is especially prevalent at night, since my sleeping meds don't really seem to work anymore. Hee!

United States
Friday 07th of August 2009 12:31 pm

    Name: amanjo

We have this goin' on at our local grocery store in St. Paul, but they do put up a sign because we're Minnesota Nice like that.

United States
Friday 07th of August 2009 2:26 pm

    Name: Josh

here in the midwest we have a chain of superstores called Meijer, I used to work for one. One night someone walked out with a thousand dollars worth of ipods, shortly after that they started locking the doors on the non-grocery side at 11pm, and they put up signs that cover the whole doors with big red letters saying they're closed, you can see them as soon as you enter the parking lot.

United States
Friday 07th of August 2009 8:43 pm

    Name: Ukraine

Here we simply irradiate the locked door, using design elements similar to Chernobyl coolant towers. It really works!

Friday 07th of August 2009 10:42 pm

    Name: Germany

Of course the first one is open, since they still have watermelons outside.

Sunday 09th of August 2009 6:40 am

    Name: Eddie Money

I agree that watermelon or other fruit stands outside the entrance would be the most reliable predictor of the open door. Whereas fruit in front of a locked door would be ripe for the taking, fruit near an open door will be easier for the clerks (probably positioned near the open door) to watch for, and hypothetically apprehend the shoplifter.

Sunday 09th of August 2009 2:39 pm

    Name: Rita

For everyone complaining about a latched door being a fire hazard? About a year before one of the grocery stores in my town went out of buisness they locked one entrance permanently and stacked cases of beer to create a wall in front of it. There's your fire hazard.

United States
Sunday 09th of August 2009 5:51 pm

    Name: Kingsley

Why, I be from Jamaica mon. 'Ere in Zion the market is puffin' 25 hours a day.

Sunday 09th of August 2009 6:58 pm

    Name: Vlad

In Soviet Russia entrance locks you.

Monday 10th of August 2009 8:48 am

    Name: Walter Johnson

Many of the late night stores around here (twin cities) stack a long row of carts in front of one entrance at night. I think as long as they're far enough away from the entrance as to not actually block a quick exit, it wouldn't violate fire codes. Either that or Minnesota fire marshalls are just less anal about people burning to death.

United States
Monday 10th of August 2009 11:23 am

    Name: Michael Moore

It is Bush's fault this is happening. I am thinking about filming a documentary on how entrances should be blocked unlike the borders of the USA.

Monday 10th of August 2009 1:51 pm


Molly 0. Jennifer 1. Contrary to Molly's statement, locking one grocery store door at night is not only legal but it is illegal NOT to have one entrance set as exit-only. As per the Expressing After Dark Homophobia of Arizonans Through Silly Legislation Act of 2005. Our sheriff attempted to sponsor the legislation before realizing he didn't have the authority too.

United States
Monday 10th of August 2009 3:23 pm

    Name: james

wow. lots of trolls on here today!

Monday 10th of August 2009 5:17 pm

    Name: Arvig

It depends on the store it seems, my local Wal-Mart locks the doors closer to the pharmacy, the other set leads right into the grocery isle. I guess they figure most people shopping at midnight have the munchies. Safeway here it does seem to be on the side opposite of the beer and wine. One thing I have noticed (but no idea if this is consistant), usually the bakery and produce sections are on the opposite side of the booze, and thus is the open side. SO...maybe if you can see the bakery and/or produce section through the door, it's most likely the unlocked one?

United States
Monday 10th of August 2009 9:30 pm

    Name: Sarfeway door locker employee

I purposely lock random sides. Then when people have it figured out I just lock one door on either side. You know: just to keep things lively!

United States
Tuesday 11th of August 2009 8:26 am

    Name: Dingo

Typically they keep the doors near the registers open at night. Unless you live in some backwater part of the world and they can't afford to properly lay out a building's entrances and exits.

Tuesday 11th of August 2009 12:15 pm

    Name: Supermarket Door

I am a supermarket door. Your insignificant open door identification issues mean nothing. Go and do something useful.

Thursday 13th of August 2009 6:18 am

    Name: sporky

I just quit working at the neighborhood grocery store, but when we locked the door, we would put carts in front as you suggested. Then when people would come up to that door, they would grab the carts, move them out of the way, try the doors, then get frustrated they'd chosen the wrong one, and take a cart with them to use once they walked round the other side. But locking one set is definitely for security purposes, as we'd lock the one we didn't face.

United States
Thursday 13th of August 2009 8:10 pm

    Name: You Von\'t Get Inn!

We place mercenaries INSIDE the locked doors. Only once in a while do we get to shoot at 'trespassers' as they attempt to gain access through locked doors. Our manager told us that on every new moon we can take 'pot shots' at people entering on the other side. Unite all grocery rebels!

Thursday 13th of August 2009 8:21 pm

    Name: Happynoj

1) Why does a supermarket need more than one entrance? 2) Why is walking to the other door such a major problem? It's not that far. OK sure, disabled people might have more of a problem, but for the average citizen?

United Kingdom
Friday 14th of August 2009 12:57 pm

    Name: Alex

It not that walking is a problem. Its the principle of the matter. If you have doors for your business that allow access and they mysteriously get locked for no apparent reason it is extremely annoying when you are trying to quickly get what you need. As for all you store wisenheimer's complaining about people asking about locked doors, you fail to answer the question of WHY are the doors locked. Since they allow egress they certainly don't lock the doors to prevent shoplifting. So why irritate people by forcing them to change direction for no good reason.

Saturday 15th of August 2009 7:33 pm

    Name: wnccfa

ieSzqg jglrvqbuzvng, [url=]utxseiixffeb[/url], [link=]aarttozupanb[/link],

United Arab Emirates
Monday 17th of August 2009 10:17 pm

    Name: Lonnie

Use a proximity app: When you're in Wal-Mart #4214 parking lot and it's between 10:30PM and 6:00AM then buzz the phone to let them know which door

United States
Tuesday 18th of August 2009 8:38 pm

    Name: Brent

I hate when they lock the bathrooms at night. If you don't know the store well and you see a restroom sign in the distance and get there then there is a note on the door. You would never see it unless you are near it.

Wednesday 19th of August 2009 11:56 pm

    Name: nelson

anyway, I close to china. I have not read other man comment. I say set door on fire. No one enter.

Friday 21st of August 2009 8:36 pm

    Name: nelson

anyway, I close to china. I have not read other man comment. I say set door on fire. No one enter.

Friday 21st of August 2009 8:38 pm

    Name: Liz

Here in NYC our supermarkets only have one entrance, so it's never a problem. Of course, 14 of our supermarkets could fit into a typical sized store elsewhere.

United States
Saturday 22nd of August 2009 6:49 pm

    Name: David

Easy to figure out. Look for where cars in the back of the lot are parked. Those will be the employee's cars, and they will typically park near the entrance/exit that is always open.

Thursday 27th of August 2009 2:04 pm

    Name: John

It's usually on the grocery side of a super wal-mart.

United States
Monday 31st of August 2009 10:36 am

    Name: Hovercraft


Thursday 03rd of September 2009 10:17 am

    Name: nlpnt

All the registers usually face the same way. The locked door is the one behind the cashiers' backs.

Monday 07th of September 2009 2:54 pm

How much is inside a shopping cart?

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