Guy Switches Price Tag On Walmart Plasma TV, Tries To Buy It For $4.88

The dumb scams people try to pull never cease to amaze us. Take Chandon L. Simms, 23, of Monroe, LA. He walked into his local Walmart, grabbed a 42″ Sanyo Plasma TV, removed its price tag and affixed one that would scan for only $4.88.

He then proceeded to the self-check out where he paid $4.88 for the TV. When he was stopped at the door, he produced a receipt for a TV he had purchased earlier that day. His plan was to then return the TV he purchased earlier and keep the one he paid $4.88 for.

Except it didn’t work. Simms was arrested and now resides at the Ouachita Correctional Center. Hope it was worth it!

Man Pays $4.88 for Plasma TV at Wal-Mart [Sentinal]
(Photo: Walmart.com)

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  1. homerjay says:

    Well….. I was about to say that was a REALLY stupid thing to try but the fact that he made it through the register paying $4 for a huge TV is just fucked up. They DESERVE to have it stolen at that point.

  2. enm4r says:

    I like his style. He probably just waited too long to buy the second TV. Or the guy flagging at the exit recognized him. He should have had someone else buy the first TV, then immediately finish his transaction.

    But that’s beside the point, how does the worker who is supposed to be watching over the self checkout lanes not get suspicious about someone self checking out a plasma TV?

  3. yg17 says:

    @enm4r: They work at Wal-Mart, is there much else to be said? They’re probably not playing with a full deck if you know what I mean.

  4. Havok154 says:

    I’m actually surprised that didn’t work.

  5. bbbici says:

    @yg17:

    what do you mean? he got caught.

  6. yg17 says:

    @bbbici: I was replying to “how does the worker who is supposed to be watching over the self checkout lanes not get suspicious about someone self checking out a plasma TV?”

  7. Crazytree says:

    a brilliant protest against the Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow manufacturers to set minimum prices… he was obviously setting his own minimum price!

  8. mopar_man says:

    @yg17:
    I agree. You’ve got to have quite the education and be pretty sharp to work at Wal-Mart. I bet this type of thing doesn’t get past them too often.

  9. quagmire0 says:

    Actually, his mistake was this: He should have bought the tv’s at separate Walmarts within minutes of each other. He could have bought the first, driven to the next closest Walmart and bought the second for 4.88, showing the receipt from the other Walmart. I’m sure the door guy probably would have just checked the date/time – and if they were within a resonable period, it would have worked.

  10. mefinney says:

    It went wrong when he chose Sanyo, it could only go downhill from there.

  11. shades_of_blue says:

    For thinking that the door attendant would not notice $4.88 as the price of a thousand dollar TV, this guy earns the title of ‘jackass of the week’. All he had to do is swipe the price tag of a 200 dollar range TV and he probably would have got away scott free, because the attendant would have read ‘TV’ or ‘Monitor’ the receipt and thought there was a clearance special or discontinued model sale. Instead, this jackass had a receipt which probably read ‘Tombstone Pizza’.

    I bet he openly admitted to switching prices too, like any idiot would. The real question is, did the store have him on film switching prices. Because if he denied it, and they don’t have it on film, I’m fairly sure he can sue them for wrongful arrest. Even more so, if they stopped him before he actually walked into the parking lot.

  12. Melov says:

    That’s hilarious. I’ve actually done this before to a grill cover. Meijer wanted $30 more for a grill cover that was only a few inches bigger than the one $30 less. I switched the packages and went on my way.

  13. faust1200 says:

    @quagmire0: That is actually what he tried to do.

  14. Chicago7 says:

    I saw a guy in line at Filene’s talking on his cell phone, but it just seemed odd that he would be continuously talking. There was something funny and the cashier thought so, too. When he presented his credit card, she asked to see ID, something that has NEVER happened to me at Filene’s.

    He brought out ID, while still talking continuously on the phone and nervously looking around. It didn’t match the credit card and she denied him. I thought he was going to run out of the store.

    I wonder how many people get away with that?

  15. FLConsumer says:

    I think he had a good idea…but should have gone with a TV barcode rather than the $4 bananas.

  16. Melov says:

    @Chicago7:
    A lot. If a credit card isn’t reported lost/stolen and doesn’t have a check id flag on it, then you will most likely get away with is since there are no flags on the card. Act like a normal shopper. If they catch you just say it’s your girlfriend/boyfriend’s and walk away.

  17. laborer says:

    guys, let’s not be so harsh…

    i’m sure this guy is good at throwing a ball through a hoop… i’m sure he’s also good at abandoning all reason when it comes to spinning rims on a car.

    “wow – i throw this ball, and it lands in that hoop over there. and wow, i’m articulate in my thoughts – the world is mine!”

  18. cde says:

    @shades_of_blue: Ahh, another victim of “I didn’t even read the f-ing description”itis. He bought another tv at full price and switched the receipt at the door.

  19. alhypo says:

    It has been a long while since I’ve been in Wal-Mart, but the self-service checkouts in Fred Meyer require that you place all items on a scale. If the weight on the scale doesn’t match the recorded weight of items you scan it won’t let the transaction proceed.

    I’m guessing the $4.88 item didn’t weight as much as the TV, so apparently Wal-Mart has not taken similar precautions. I certainly don’t approve of what this guy did, but if they don’t have some theft deterrent on the self-serve checkouts, they are just asking for stuff to be stolen. I guess vigilant employees are their only resource. But that won’t help if one of them decides to collude with a thief.

  20. mopar_man says:

    @alhypo:

    That’s a good idea but Wal-Mart doesn’t have any of those. It would also require spending money to beef up security measures. Also out of the question. They need to save all they can to give it to the CEO at the end of the year.

  21. cudthecrud says:

    They mark my receipt at the Walmart I go to when I leave with a marker. That might have been the “tip off” that this guy neglected to account for. Outside of that, this is actually a decently thought-through scam.

  22. Bay State Darren says:

    Do you think wal-mart is blogging about this as another consumer-related horror story and that this a reason for them to trust us?

  23. MrEvil says:

    When I worked at Lowe’s people did this all the time, and the kicker was the cashier’s would NEVER pay attention to the readout of items on the register’s screen. I worked in the Electrical department when Lowe’s carried Casablanca Ceiling fans. Cashiers were ringing up $900 ceiling fans as $5 plastic buckets.

    The switchers would then return to the store and get store credit for the $900 price of the fan.

  24. AcidReign says:

    .
    .
    &nbsp &nbsp There is a scale, and it’s made into the window for the scanner. If you buy produce, you pick what you bought on the menus, and the scale kicks in and weighs it. You certainly don’t have to put every item on the scale, at least not at the Wally on Lakeshore Parkway in Birmingham!

    &nbsp &nbsp On the other hand, every time I’ve spent more than a hundred bucks in the self checkout line, the transaction was flagged, and the attendant had to come over, look at my card and ID, and key in her code. Walking out with a plasma TV with NO check called up by the machine would be real suspicious, I would think.

  25. Trick says:

    @mopar_man:

    That’s a good idea but Wal-Mart doesn’t have any of those. It would also require spending money to beef up security measures. Also out of the question. They need to save all they can to give it to the CEO at the end of the year.

    Its one thing to just bag on Wal*Mart because you think it is the hip thing to do… but it is pretty lame when you make stuff up to bag on Wal*Mart.

    The self-service Wal*Marts in my area weigh your items. However, they do allow you to “skip” the bagging/weighing part for large items.

  26. lonelymaytagguy says:

    @AcidReign: Yes, there is a scale for bananas and such, but the anti-theft scale is under the bag.

  27. hco22boy says:

    I work at Hollister, one day a lady came up and showed me a price tag on an item that had a remaining piece of a clearance sticker on it. Associates will often mark prices wrong and tear the price stickers off. Although this piece of sticker did not have any writing on it, just a small bit. The lady complained that i should give her a discount on the regular priced item because “obviously it was supposed to be on sale”. I have worked there for quite a while, I know how the pricing system and policies work. Also, Occasionally things actually cost more on “clearance” than they were originally. you may be able to use that to your advantage. In my experience, many retailers raise prices in this fashion on a regular basis. But this lady’s demand was just ridiculous.

  28. r81984 says:

    Walmart used to have their self checkouts weigh everything.
    The problem with that was when people had too many items they could not keep all the bags on the bagging area, and as soon as you took any bags off the the computer would go crazy and make you put the bag back on to continue.
    This would force the person to come over and disable it which wasted a lot of time.

    I guess they figured not forcing every bag to be weighed saved more time to where it was more profitablethen making everything be weighed.

  29. markwm says:

    @Melov: Wow, and you seem proud that you are a thief. Bully on you for stealing from a store.

  30. Squeezer99 says:

    how’s this any different then when someone switches tags on a totenkopf t-shirt to get around walmart’s checkout block, so they can post a pic of the t-shirt w/ receipt on consumerist?

  31. cde says:

    @Squeezer99: In that case, they are paying for something that doesn’t cost anything.

  32. MaximuM_MayheM says:

    Wait, wasn’t the cashier AT ALL suspicious that he/she was ringing up a TV for $4.88? Shouldn’t a manager or someone have been called at that point? It just doesn’t make sense why the cashier would just let this pass, save for them really hating their job.

  33. MaximuM_MayheM says:

    Oops, I didn’t realize he used self-checkout. My bad.

  34. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    As much as I’d like to say “Screw Wal-Mart,” this guy deserves to be in jail. It’s bad enough that he tried to pull a stunt like that, but the fact that he was just going to try to return it for the cash makes him all that much more sleazy.

    Enjoy the jail time, pal.

  35. Designersheets says:

    This guy is tottally wrecking it for all the people who get stuff by honest mistakes – Like my 5 cent pants or My 120 pill refill box of Alli for 13 bucks. Don’t abuse the system and wreck it for the rest of us.

  36. TedSez says:

    Didn’t the Consumerist have a story recently that said you aren’t required to stop and show your receipt at the door?

    Unless they had evidence of shoplifting (or maybe saw him switching the receipts), they’d have no legal right to detain him, right? So this guy might have gotten away with it if he had simply kept going.

  37. TechnoDestructo says:

    @yg17:

    I self check out whenever the lanes are open, no matter what I’m buying. I don’t like the mandatory pleasantries. (Seriously, if they’re REQUIRED to tell me to have a nice day, it inherently seems insincere and therefore is better not said.)

    Anyhow, he clearly thought things through, but he didn’t count on every possibility (was it the time on the receipt that got him?)

    It’s for the best that criminals are dumb, I think. Think how infrequently drug addicted car thieves would be caught if they obeyed traffic laws and made sure they had license plates and brake lights. Why, the prisons would be empty!

  38. acambras says:

    @Designersheets:
    Like my 5 cent pants or My 120 pill refill box of Alli for 13 bucks. Don’t abuse the system and wreck it for the rest of us.

    I hope those 5-cent pants are a dark color. Or that you have an extra pair for when that Alli starts kicking in.

  39. jrdnjstn78 says:

    Are you kidding me? This guy really thought it might work. You have to be a little smoother then that!

    I work in retail. Those self checkouts are monitored by someone. They screen they look at is a split screen which shows every self checkout. While a customer is checking out the order shows up on the screen with every item the customer scanned. I bet when this guy’s transaction was done the person watching the self checkout saw no scan for a tv and alerted someone. They can’t stop someone when they have not finished their purchase because then the customer would say something like “I didn’t scan it yet and yes I am going to buy it”. I also bet that they were watching him closely because with a purchase that big Wal-mart usually makes you pay for it in the electronics department. I bet they were watching him. Wal-mart didn’t arrest him anyways so how they get in trouble if it wasn’t recorded? If he sits there and plays dumb like he didn’t know it rang up at $4.88 do you think they really are going to believe him.

    All you other people that “switch bags” to get something cheaper you just pay for it in the end. Why do you think prices go up? Stores raise prices to recover what they lose due to theft, damaged goods, etc. You’d be amazed at how much money stores really lose because of this.

  40. hoosierdaddy812 says:

    I have got away with returning things at Wal-Mart that have been purchased somewhere else, usually a $50-$60 video game, but this guy it ruining it for the rest of us as designersheets stated earlier. I can understand wanting to cheat Wal-Mart but go for something a little less expensive. Maybe an $80 TV series, a complete season of 24 or something not a huge plasma TV.

    I know lots of people hate Wal-Mart but don’t be an idiot, if you want to cheat them go for something not so obvious, that’s just common sense.

  41. shades_of_blue says:

    @CDE I’m aware he purchased one, then another and wanted to return the original item, at full price. There was no need to comment on the original purchase, as that is not what got him arrested.

  42. markwm says:

    @hoosierdaddy812:
    Or how about be a law abiding citizen and not ‘cheat’ them at all, which is still either theft or fraud, depending on how it is committed. Really, if you don’t like Wal-Mart, just don’t shop there. Trying to justify criminal behavior by saying it’s to screw over Wal-Mart (or any other business) is childish, especially since it hurts the employees of the local store more than it hurts Wal-Mart corporate.

  43. notebook says:

    And the cashier let this guy walk off with a plasma TV for $4.88?

    Walmart’s asking for it. Or maybe the cashier was just pissed at his/her boss that day…

  44. acambras says:

    @notebook:

    He was in a self checkout. Please RTFP.

  45. andrewsmash says:

    I am confused to what law he broke here. Was it considered fraud or theft? He did pay for a product, and that transaction was accepted by the computer. If he had made the same deal with a human being, it would have been considered legit.

  46. swalve says:

    no, it wouldn’t be legit. the “customer” switched stickers, that is fraud. since when it something OK just because one doesn’t get caught?

    some of the attitudes here are scary.

  47. timmus says:

    Kudos to Consumerist for providing a well-written writeup with actual details. There’s been an avalanche of sloppy journalism in the MEDIA stories on this (as seen in groups.google.com).

  48. pissamist says:

    So much to say about this one. First, it’s not a scam, it’s theft. And that is wrong. Secondly, I have noticed there seem to be alot of people that try to ‘steal’ from Walmart. I do wish I knew why. Of all the stores in the nation, no-one has more cameras, and no-one enjoys prosecuting theft more than Walmart. It’s stupid to steal, but it’s ridiculous to try to steal from Walmart.
    “And then…….”, oh yeah, …and then I gotta agree, it’s really bad that the clerk at the register let it go, but remember there’s yet another “checker” at the exit. WOW. I mean, really. WOW. So, how many people were in on this deal? How many conspirators? Now all that being said, I need a bigger TV, I bid $10.00, and I’ll pay shipping.
    What, aren’t I allowed to be like every other American. I don’t want to see any type of unapproved behavior, but if it can benefit me, I’m interested. Sounds like, a little current event we all might be aware of….”..War in Iraq..”

  49. altoidboy says:

    some of you here on this board really do scare me.

    anybody who sided with justifying switching price stickers (especially when blinded by automatic wal-mart hatred) is pretty much in the same category as this thief. get a life, people.

  50. Rachel says:

    I’ve switched the price tags on organic/non-organic fruit before for kicks.

  51. nelsonj1998 says:

    His only mistake, other than commiting a crime, was to let the guy at the door check his receipt. A polite but firm ‘No you may not see my receipt’ would have saved him.

  52. Shadowman615 says:

    If he switched barcode stickers with a $4.88 item, I’m guessing the receipt would have listed the name of the wrong item as well, right? The guy’s not only walking out with a receipt for a questionable price, but with one for a completely different item.

    How did he expect this to work?

  53. jesirose says:

    “If he switched barcode stickers with a $4.88 item, I’m guessing the receipt would have listed the name of the wrong item as well, right? The guy’s not only walking out with a receipt for a questionable price, but with one for a completely different item.

    How did he expect this to work?”

    RTFA! “When he was stopped at the door, he produced a receipt for a TV he had purchased earlier that day.”

    It’s like 3 paragraphs geez.

  54. ludwigk says:

    @Chicago7: This is a common retail fraud tactic, which is to talk incessantly on a cellphone during checkout so that the cashier will interact minimally with you as ‘not to be rude’. If you’re experienced in retail, this actually sets off flags that they guy is trying to commit credit card fraud. Most cashiers receive training in this specific scenario, as is likely the case with your Filene’s rep.

  55. theblackdog says:

    Woman tried suing a store for being attacked by a goose
    [consumerist.com]

    Hell Ben, didn’t you try using the Bad Consumer tag?