Walmart Manager Takes Customer's DVD Away Because He Won't Show Receipt

Yep, it’s another Walmart receipt checker story! At the end of it, the OP asks, “What should I do?” And I sigh. I really don’t know. Don’t shop at Walmart anymore? Try to encourage your friends to not give their business to any company that acts in such a hostile way to honest, albeit uncooperative, customers? Spend a ton of money on a lawsuit that Walmart will use its very deep pockets to fight?

What can you do? Hell, half the people who comment on these posts side with the store when it comes to receipt checking. Even the people who work for Walmart who engage in this behavior are normal people like you and me, only they’ve picked a side, and that side is big business. A lot of customers don’t mind receipt checks, so they’re complacent at best, annoyed by the I-won’t-show-my-receipt crowd at worst.

If you’re serious about not showing your receipt, buy from Amazon from now on. You can’t take a principled stand against Walmart’s receipt-checking policy if you keep shopping there. And to the OP, I’m truly sorry for what happened to you; I just don’t know how you fight Walmart on this policy so long as the vast majority of people are willing to be subjected to it.

I recently went to my local Walmart with a friend to purchase a year planner, a filing case, and a DVD. All of my items totaled about $30.00. When I made my way to the exit, the receipt checker asked to see my receipt. I told them “No, thank you. I’ve payed for my merchandise” and continued heading for the door. The woman blocked my path and told me she wouldn’t let me leave unless I showed my receipt.

I asked if she was accusing me of theft, to which she replied “Yes. You are a thief. I’m detaining you until my manager and the police arrive.” I told her I would wait for her manager. At this point I was upset and wished to clear things up with someone who would understand my rights, being a manager and all. Unfortunately, when the manager met my friend and I, waiting just outside the doors, we were greeted with slews of accusations, reiterations of store policy, and a bold disregard for what I “claimed” were my rights.

I told the manager that he was welcome to conduct an investigation into the matter and that I would wait patiently, so long as that investigation did not involve searching my person without my consent. I tried to explain that my issue was not with their staff, but with the idea of being treated like a thief without any due cause. I went so far as to tell him exactly where I payed for my items and who he could speak to in order to verify that information.

The manager heatedly responded with “I don’t care! You’re a thief until you show me your receipt!”, at which point he grabbed my DVD out of my hands and marched off into a locked office. I immediately protested the theft of my property and had my friend call the police, who were already on their way to investigate the two “shoplifters”.

Shortly before the police arrived some ten minutes later, my belongings were returned with a half-hearted “We saw that you payed for these…” and nothing else delivered by a cashier. The police arrived and told me that if someone were to steal my property outside the store, it was theft. But if it were stolen by the store manager, it was him protecting his property, regardless of wether or not it was actually stolen. I inquired that, if the store policy were to punch each customer in the face, if it would still be considered assault. The police shrugged, told me again and again that there were no charges to be filed, and left. Long story short, I left humiliated and without so much as an apology from the manager.

I’m outraged that someone could treat a customer this way. Given the circumstances, I was very calm and polite in explaining why I would not show my receipt, how he could verify the merchandise was payed for, and that I would wait while he investigated. Instead the manager called me a thief in front of God and everyone, stole my property, and didn’t even have the decency to apologize for the mistake. What should I do?