Walmart Clarifies Nonessential Items Policy After Shopper Was Barred From Buying a Baby Car Seat

Walmart is clearing up the confusion surrounding its newly-enacted restrictions on the sales of non-essential items. After a shopper wrote in a Facebook post that she was prevented from purchasing a baby car seat at a Michigan store, the big box retailer released a statement confirming that baby items, such as car seats, are considered essential. The chain also explained that it would be providing clearer instructions for managers.

"Michigan customers are able to purchase baby car seats, baby furniture and other infant products at their local Walmart," a Walmart representative said in a statement, Business Insider reports. "We are reiterating this direction with store management to ensure consistent service to our customers across our Michigan stores. Customers are also welcome to purchase these items from the convenience of their home through Walmart.com."

The statement came just days after Kerri Dennis wrote about her experience at Big Rapids, Michigan, Walmart location. After Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in an April 9 address that large stores such as Costco, Target and Walmart were barred from selling "nonessential” such as furniture, plants, and more, Dennis wrote that she was prevented from purchasing an item that should be considered essential. "Since when is a car seat non-essential? They always say it's illegal and unsafe if you don't have your child in a car seat, but deem them non-essential when you can still buy lottery and cigarettes?" Dennis wrote.

Speaking with Business Insider, who confirmed that baby items were not included Whitmer's order did not ban the sale of baby gear, Dennis opened up about her experience, telling the outlet that portions of the store were blocked off by yellow caution tape. There were also signs informing customers that the store was prohibited by the state from selling "nonessential" items.

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"I went to buy one, and the cashier told me legally she is not allowed to let me leave the store with it because it was in a taped-off area," she told the outlet. An employee at the store, meanwhile, was unable to comment on the incident.

Michigan is just the latest state to bar big box retailers from selling non-essential items, with both Vermont and Indiana announcing similar measures earlier this month. Many big box stores such as Target, Walmart, and Costco are able to remain open as they sell groceries as well as pharmaceutical items. Concern, however, has been sparked over the continued sale of other non-essential items in some locations.