It became a blacker Friday than Stephen anticipated when he tried to exit a SoCal Walmart without showing his receipt to the doorman. He says an armed security guard took exception to Stephen’s intentions and shook him down, detaining him until a Walmart manager took Stephen’s bag against his will. He claims he didn’t get the merchandise back until a policeman showed up and retrieved it.
I asked again for the legal reason I was not allowed to leave and was told “Because you didn’t show your receipt.”
I called the police at this point.
While waiting for the police to arrive, the security guard called over a manager. She asked my why I wouldn’t show my receipt and told her that I was not going to answer her questions.
I asked here the same set of questions I asked the security guard. I got the same answers.
At this point she told me that she didn’t have time for this and I was free to leave, but that she was taking my merchandise.
I told her that it was my property and she did not have precision to remove it. She said I don’t care and wheeled my shopping cart away.
I want to point out that she had already told me I was not suspected of shoplifting. So she had no reason to believe that the property I had in possession was stolen. Her attitude was “I’m the manager. I can do what I want to.”
At this point I called the police and reported a robbery. (I later realized that because she was being assisted by a man with a gun I should have reported an armed robbery.)
The police arrived some time later. (They were delayed by a fight that had
broken out somewhere else in the Walmart, or something like that.)
They behaved professionally. I explained my position to them, apologized to them for being so stubborn when it came to my constitutional rights and taking up their time. I showed them my receipt and they took some time explaining why Walmart was doing what they were doing. (I understand it makes it easier for Walmart to control shoplifting, but there’s no law that says I have to make things easy for Walmart.)
While I was waiting for me goods the police did tell me that being hired by Walmart does not give someone special powers to detain people and that I may have a unlawful detention case.
A policeman finally recovered my goods and I was on my way.
If you were in Stephen’s shoes, would you have stuck to your guns or yielded to the power-mad security guard and manager?