A tipster has sent in an audio recording of himself being stopped at the Walmart doors for refusing to show them his receipt. He says that it’s in his pocket and he just doesn’t feel like getting it out. According to the reader, two of the men who stop him are sheriff’s deputies. When he asks one of them their name, the man responds, “John Doe.” Our reader, who says he is a cop of 20 years himself, says it took nearly half an hour of asking them whether they are placing him under arrest or if he can be on his way before they let him go.
The deputies say things like:
“Stupid what you’re doing.”
“You wanna play games, we’ll play with you.”
“You put your hands on me, I’ll give you a reason… I wish you would.”
“I’ll let the manager decide what he wants to do with this case, damn idiot.”
Reached for comment, a Walmart spokesman verified that the incident did occur. They said that a greeter asked the customer for his receipt and two police officers who were on the scene overhead him decline to show it and stepped in. That’s about where the audio picks up.
“We’re sorry that the incident occurred the way it did. Certainly it’s not something we want customers to have to experience,” said the spokesman. “It’s not our goal to inconvenience customers, just under certain circumstances we do ask to ensure our merchandise is paid for and it shouldn’t take all that long.”
After the assistant manager came over and asked to see the man’s receipt, which he again declined, he was allowed to leave after pointing out which register he went through.
As we’ve discussed on this site many a time before, stores cannot legally prevent you from leaving if you decide to not show your receipt.
“In general, the store can’t force someone to show their receipt,” Joseph LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for the National Retail Foundation told MSN recently. “The checks at the door are really designed to be a preventative measure and a customer service measure.”
One of the only time is if you’ve signed a contract with them where you agreed to do that, like with membership clubs like Costco.
The other is if the manager has reasonable suspicion that you are actually shoplifting, but you can hear in the audio the customer asking the manager several times if he would like to verify his purchases.
Of course if you make an issue out of it like this guy did, you can expect some hassle.