Big box retailers checking receipts is old news. How about getting the suspected shoplifter treatment at a supermarket instead? Even better, how would you like having a security guard knock on your car window, and tell you that you’re on private property when you tell him you don’t have to show anything?
Tonight after work I went to a Giant grocery store in northern VA to pick up the items needed to bake for Christmas. Armed with my shopping list, I quickly made my way through the store and found a self checkout lane without a line. A very nice women came up to assist, I told her I had my own reusable bags and would not need help. I used to be a Giant cashier in college and can scan and bag items faster and better then the people they have now. The old owners used to put us through a lot of training, doesn’t seem like they do that anymore.
I paid for and bagged my items, with the exception of an 8 pack of Gatorade which had a handle and didn’t need to be bagged. On the way toward the door, I stopped at Customer Service to purchase 2 AMEX gift cards (gift cards bad, I know, long story). During the 10 minutes I was waiting at Customer Service I got hot and took off my jacket. Eventually helped by a very nice gentlemen, I paid for the gift cards and went to leave.
The Customer Service area was busy. We had to enter at the end near the door, opposite way you would go through a checkout line, and the aisle that could have been used to turn around and leave was blocked by equipment. Therefore, I had to go around the Customer Service area which takes you partially back into the store. Behind the Customer Service desk I stopped to put my jacket back on, right in front of a security guard who could see me come around the corner and walk out the door.
Outside the store, I walked to my car, put the groceries in the trunk (along with the receipt), talked to someone for a second, returned the cart and then got in my car to leave. As I was pulling out of the parking space, the security guard knocked on my car window. He said his manager wanted him to check my receipt. Confused beyond belief, but too tired and with too much to do I said no. I told him that the items were paid for, they were already in my car, they were my property and I did not have to show it to him. He said the parking lot was private property, implying that even though MY items were inside MY car they had to right to see them. That a security guard would think they had to right to see anything in my car, truly angered me. Mixed with the insult of being accused of shop lifting, when he asked why I wouldn’t show the receipt I told him, “I just want to get the f*** home.” I told him about the woman who saw me at the checkout, he immediately seemed flustered and confused. So, I said I was leaving. I think he took down my license plate number as I was leaving, but wasn’t really paying any more attention to him.
- Used my own bags, which saves them money.
- Used the self checkout, which saves them money.
- After paying for over $50 worth of groceries (apparently some of which I stole), I stood around for 10 minutes at Customer Service to make a purchase of over $200.
- Paid both times with my credit card, so they have my information.
- Had no choice but to leave by going around behind the Customer Service desk, partly into the store, because THEIR equipment was blocking the other way out.
- Casually walked out, not rushed.
- Security guard wanted to see my receipt, as I was pulling out of the parking space.
- He took so long to come out that, he would have missed most people.
- He tried to tell me that he had to right to see my receipt even though it was in my car.
- Think he took down my license plate as I slowly drove off, not speeding or trying to “get away.”
- If I’m stealing, I’m just the worst thief on the planet.
- Just in case, double checked the receipt when I got home, everything was correct.
Moral of the story, Giant thinks reusable bags + purchase at Customer Service counter = shoplifting.
I may be banned from that store now, which is their right. Either way Giant has just lost the business of a lifelong customer and former employee.