One would think that Walmart would have had enough of the drama that results from receipt checking — but according to reader Eric, that’s just not the case. He says he politely declined to show his receipt to the Walmart employee who asked to see it because, unlike with Sam’s Club, he had not signed an agreement obligating him to show it. Walmart didn’t see it that way.
Eric writes (to Walmart):
Mr. Duke/Mr. Menzer,
I’m writing you today to fill you in on unfortunately yet another receipt issue at one of your stores. In addition I will be forwarding this email and complaint to “TheConsumerist.com”, Consumer Reports, the FTC and the Baltimore City Police Department (as my own complaint to them).
Today (July 19th 2009 @ 10:30am), I was scrambling around to find a local store that had large coffee brewing urns. I found the closest location was the “Port Covington” location located in Baltimore City. I fully expected to drop and drop out after picking up the two urns for a event I’ll be hosting in the Baltimore area this weekend.
Upon being asked for my receipt and politely declining, I was asked to wait for another employee then ultimately the assistant manager [redacted]. I was asked again to show my receipt at which time I politely declined. When asked why, I replied that it was not in Wal-Mart’s legal rights to ask me to show a receipt after I had already made my purchase. There is no legally binding contract I must sign, or is posted prior to walking into the store that alerts me that I will be giving up my rights as a consumer (and constitutional right) to decline unlawful search and seizure of my own property. I am a member at Sam’s club which I fully understand under my contract I am obligated to show my receipt, and I do.
This was then relayed to the manager of the Port Covington location [redacted]. I explained my situation to [redacted], who didn’t understand why I was wasting their time and my own for such a simple request. I let [redacted],, who claimed to be an 8 year veteran of the US Army, know that of all people he should understand the importance of standing up for one’s rights regardless of how remedial or wasteful it might seem to do so.
I alerted the manager to the fact that, I have given plenty of my time (at this point about 10 mins) as a consideration of their job and that I would be walking my vehicle at this point. At which time the assistant manager [redacted], intercepted a Baltimore City Police offer that was apparently doing loss management detail or security and expressed his concern at why I wasn’t showing my receipt. I explained the same thing to [redacted], of the Baltimore city police and that I was no legally obligated to show anything once I have made my purchase. She began to bait the manager into feeling suspicious about my legitimate purchase. “Do you feel this customer did not pay or walked out of the store and took the items”. At which he replied “I can’t say, we didn’t see him”. At this point Officer [redacted], had no legal basis to request my receipt. She began to ask the manager a second time, I interjected and mentioned, “She is baiting you into saying you feel I stole these items so she has a basis to search me”. After denying the fact Officer [redacted], then claimed she had a suspicion I had stolen the product and that I needed to show my receipt.
At this point I was unsure of my legal rights and stopping short of being arrested, I gladly gave up my right to walk away by showing the receipt to the officer (see attached receipt).
I find it very unfortunate that an Ex Army Veteran of 8 years and two officers know less about my consumer/constitutional rights than I do. I will say that once [redacted],understood my position and got past the assumption that I was automatically a thief even though I wasn’t seen nor suspected to be one, he was very nice gentleman, just in need of some education on American Law vs. Wal-Mart “policies”.
Mr. Duke, Mr. Menzer, I don’t want anything in return for this email. I don’t want free swag or even a claimed heartfelt apology along with the typical corporate slang that you’re “taking my issue very seriously”. Because we all know that in the world of business and the reality of true thieves you will continue to ask paying legal customers to give up their rights at the door in order to check and see if they in fact paid for their item, because most people will do so without question. There is one thing I do expect from you however. I expect you to educate your door personnel, managers and assistant managers that in the event someone with a clue comes through your doors, and declines to show them their receipt your staff understand the legal ramifications and not pursue the wasting of anyone’s time. Because I will continue to stand up for my rights as a consumer.
After all the negative press that has become of your receipt practice, I can’t imagine why this is still an issue. My only regret was that I didn’t have the fore thought to record the conversation so you could in-fact see how far off your employees are, in treating LAW ABIDING GOOD CUSTOMERS.
Here we go again! Try to behave yourselves in the comments, please.