I've always had a fantasy of jumping on a store intercom. There's something distinctly alluring about grabbing a phone and commanding the attention of an entire store... but what would I say? Definitely not "Code Green".

You may be surprised to learn that many stores use special "codes" when making announcements. Walmart locations, for instance, reportedly use colors to convey certain situations or emergencies. Here's what they all mean.

Walmart Location in Fishkill, NY (Google)
Walmart Location in Fishkill, NY (Google)

"Color Codes" at New York Walmart Stores

The codes, which have not been officially confirmed by Walmart, give a small look inside the top priorities of the retail giant. From classic spills to more serious threats like severe weather or even an active shooter, the colors are meant to convey messages quickly.

Walmart in Newburgh, NY (Google)
Walmart in Newburgh, NY (Google)

What Do Intercom Codes Mean at Local Walmart Stores?

Some codes are more interesting than others. Code orange, for example, allegedly refers to a spill somewhere in the store, whereas code black reportedly warns other store employees about incoming severe weather. There are also codes for potentially deadly situations.

Codes Blue, Brown, and Green

Sources say that codes blue, brown, and green refer to dangerous situations relating to a third party. Code blue allegedly refers to a bomb threat, code green reportedly refers to a hostage situation, and code brown is said to alert employees of an active shooter on the premises.

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While it's not completely clear why codes would be used in place of clearly stating the emergency over the loudspeakers, the mostly likely reason (other than not needing everybody to know about a pasta sauce spill) is to let employees begin emergency procedures as soon as possible before alerting the general public.

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The codes give a sobering look at the system that I've held in such high regard for so long. While I had aspired to say "clean up on aisle 4" over the tinny speaker, I neglected the fact that often, very real and very serious situations also require the use of the intercom

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