Customer Sues Walmart Because Cashiers Shouldn't Rip Up Two $100 Bills Without Making Sure They Are Real

Anyone who has paid for a purchase with a $100 bill is probably familiar with the various methods that stores have for validating the authenticity of the note. But one Texas woman says she was publicly humiliated at her local Walmart when a cashier ripped up two of her C-notes — and then detained her on allegations of trying to pass counterfeit bills — without properly checking to see if the money was the real deal.

According to the suit, filed earlier this month in Bexar County Court in San Antonio, the mom had been doing some late-night holiday shopping at Walmart when she attempted to pay for her approximately $150 purchase with one $100 bill and a $50 bill.

“The cashier inspected the $100 bill, turned to another cashier and had a brief discussion, and returned to her register telling the plaintiff her money was ‘fake,’” reads the complain. “The cashier proceeded to rip the $100 bill in half without performing any counterfeit detection tests. The metallic strip in the $100 bill was clearly visible.”

The plaintiff claims that it wasn’t until after the bill was ripped up that the cashier attempted to use a counterfeit detection pen, which the customer says showed the now-shredded cash was authentic.

And yet, the cashier called a manager and told him the money was fake. She claims the manager made no attempt to verify the money for himself.

She took out a second $100 bill from her purse to show to the manager, says the complaint, but he allegedly “took this bill from her, told her it was also counterfeit, ripped it in half and again told plaintiff she had to wait for police.”

The plaintiff says she was detained for at least two hours in full view of other customers.

Police eventually arrived and verified that the ripped-up Benjamins were indeed the real thing. According to the complaint, the manager then attempted to give the remains of the $100 bills back to the woman, who refused. After all, if she’d had enough hassle trying to pay with legitimate, whole bills, imagine trying to explain why you’re money is all taped together to the next retailer.

The police officer instructed the manager to pay her back with un-ripped cash.

Her lawsuit seeks punitive damages for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Furious Customer Sues Wal-Mart [CourthouseNews.com]

Comments

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  1. VegasGuy says:

    I’m sure Wal-Mart is taking this issue very seriously..

    • cactus jack says:

      The police didn’t since they took 2 hours to get there.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        Hmm, yeah, rapists, murderers, muggers… Someone ripping up a C-note just can’t be that high on the priority list for the police. Also, I don’t think the article specifies when the police were called and when they arrived, just “eventually”.

        • cactus jack says:

          The call was most likely someone passing counterfeit bills, not a ripped up C-note. That’s a potential federal crime and seems pretty damn serious to me.

          It’d be quite an assumption to say every available cop was probably dealing with rapists, murderers, or muggers rather than this (unless you live in Baltimore).

          • Chuft-Captain says:

            What? The crime would be destruction of property, if anything. How do you figure ripping up money is a federal crime?

            • cactus jack says:

              Because Wal-Mart called the cops over potentially counterfeit bills. Not “hey, we’re Wal-Mart and we ripped up these bills. Just thought we’d call and let you know.”

              Also, passing counterfeit notes is a federal crime. While this was completely incorrect in this case, that would have been the call they most likely made to the police.

            • rambo76098 says:

              Perhaps because it is:

              United States Code
              ** TITLE 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
              *** PART I – CRIMES
              **** CHAPTER 17 – COINS AND CURRENCY
              U.S. Code as of: 01/19/04
              Section 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations
              Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or
              unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank
              bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national
              banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal
              Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note,
              or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined
              under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

            • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

              You really should do your research before spouting. You must be young as I’ve known this since I was a kid. (hint Long Time Ago)

            • Not Given says:

              It’s a federal crime to destroy or deface money.

            • JEDIDIAH says:

              The alleged crime that the cops were called for was COUNTERFEITING.

          • msbaskx2 says:

            It’s not a federal crime to rip money.

            • axhandler1 says:

              Destroying American currency, in some cases, is a federal crime.

              http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_it_illegal_to_destroy_US_currency

              • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

                And you……relying on answers.com…….seriously? You remind me of the girl in the commercial who thinks everything on the internet is true or they wouldn’t put it there.

                rambo76098 below has the forethought to actually get the US Code regarding such.

                Guess you should use that ax to handle your brain a little better.

            • rambo76098 says:

              Wrong:

              United States Code
              ** TITLE 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
              *** PART I – CRIMES
              **** CHAPTER 17 – COINS AND CURRENCY
              U.S. Code as of: 01/19/04
              Section 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations
              Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or
              unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank
              bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national
              banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal
              Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note,
              or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined
              under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

              • euph_22 says:

                Except there was no intent to mutilate the bills, since these idiots didn’t think they WERE currency.

                • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

                  The intent was there because they didn’t check or verify the currency which they are supposed to do. Ripping it up was a malicious act.

                  • euph_22 says:

                    The intended action, destroying counterfeit currency, was not criminal. It was malicious, mean spirited and idiotic. but Not criminal.

                    Carelessly neglecting to perform the tests on the bills first was not criminal. Again, idiotic but not criminal.

                    Nothing the employees intended to do was criminal (except for possibly the false imprisonment thing, but that isn’t relevant for this particular discussion). Thus there was none of the necessary CRIMINAL INTENT behind the destruction of the bills to make this a crime under the appropriate US code.

                    • Difdi says:

                      Seized counterfeit bills are evidence of the crime of passing counterfeit currency. Tampering with evidence is a felony in Texas.

                  • RenegadePlatypus says:

                    No, that is not “intent”, … that is like saying you intended to be run over because you didn’t look both ways when crossing the street.

                • ChuckECheese says:

                  There’s no requirement under the law to immediately destroy currency you deem (in your inimitiable Walmart-trained mind) is counterfeit.

                  You seem to think intent to deliberately commit a crime is the only important factor. People commit crimes from time to time due to ignorance.

                  It would have been completely reasonable for Walmart to have called the police and let them sort it out, without destroying the evidence first.

                  Interesting, too, how Walmart’s manager chose to ignore the police instruction to return undamaged currency to the customer. Kinda shows how arrogant these people were to begin with.

                  • euph_22 says:

                    You seem to ignore the fact that intent is a specifically specified in this law (unlike many other laws). Some laws don’t require intent, this one does. It says it right there.

                    • Difdi says:

                      Walmart employees called the police. Knowing the police had been called to investigate, Walmart employees destroyed evidence of the crime they believed had been committed.

                      Destruction of/tampering with evidence you reasonably believe is subject to a pending investigation is a felony in the state of Texas.

                  • euph_22 says:

                    You seem to ignore the fact that intent is a specifically specified in this law (unlike many other laws). Some laws don’t require intent, this one does. It says it right there.

                • cyberpenguin says:

                  It clearly was intent to mutilate the bill.

                  If you hit someone with your fist and accidentally kill them you are still guilty of homicide whether you intended to kill or not.

                  You intended to hit.

                  The only question is what degree of homicide you are guilty of.

                  • euph_22 says:

                    There are many things wrong with your example. 1) the laws that govern assaulting and murdering somebody are quite different from the laws that govern destroying currency.
                    2) you intended to commit a criminal act and as a result of that criminal act the victim died. The intent for the first criminal act transfers to the homicide (which is called Transferred Intent). The key here is that intended action MUST BE CRIMINAL.
                    If I shredded an envelope without knowing there was a $5 bill inside, my intent to destroy the envelope (a legal act) does not transfer to intent to destroy the bill.

                    This is assuming that the punch was criminal. If you were boxing, using appropriate safety precautions and the person died, that would not be criminal. It would be an accident.

                    Their intent was to perform a mean spirited, but legal act of destroying the supposed counterfeit money. There is no criminal intent to transfer to the destruction of the bills.

                    Besides, this would create obvious reasonable doubt. No jury would convict based on this, no judge would let the jury hear the case, and if they did no appellate court would let the verdict stand.

                    • Difdi says:

                      Destruction of evidence is a felony in Texas.

                      The standard in the law is the reasonable belief that the evidence being destroyed is the subject of a pending investigation.

                      The store employees called the police to come arrest someone for passing counterfeit money. The counterfeit money is evidence of that crime.

                    • euph_22 says:

                      Difdi, that doesn’t work either. (I’m only going to respond here, instead of all 3 places. Also, It won’t let me respond to your post for some reason).

                      First point. Since the crime in question is in the Federal Jurisdiction, destruction of evidence in the case would also fall under the federal statute (18 U.S.C. 1519).

                      1) that statute ALSO requires intent. Specifically the “intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation/…” That wasn’t their intent. Their obvious intent was to be jackasses (sadly not illegal yet) and to remove counterfeit currency from circulation.

                      2) this wasn’t evidence in any federal investigation. They thought it was (and are idiots) but it wasn’t. The law is “destruction of evidence”, not “destruction of what MIGHT be evidence”. And even if there was an “attempt to destroy evidence” law, that wouldn’t apply since it’s not evidence.

                      3) There was no federal investigation to impede and there never will be one.

                      4) There is no possible way a federal judge would let a jury hear how “intent to destroy counterfeit bills” magically transforms into “intent to destroy real bills”, when they are completely and utterly contradictory. No jury would convict if they did hear it, what with the inescapable reasonable doubt here. And no appellate court would let the conviction stand.

                      If nothing else, that last one is the kicker. even if you think what these dumbasses did was a crime, it’s not one you could ever prosecute.

                  • RenegadePlatypus says:

                    I’m glad euph_22 took care of that because I was all like “aaaah geez, now I gotta set this penguin straight”, but I didn’t have the ambition.

          • euph_22 says:

            You are right that counterfeiting money (and passing counterfeit money) is a serious FEDERAL crime. The police enough state and local crime, thus it would be a low priority for them.

          • The Colonel says:

            It is serious, but not urgent. So, it goes into a queue for the next available officer. They don’t flip on the sirens and lights for something like this.

            If it was found to be counterfeit, then either the Secret Service or the Treasury Department would have been called in to investigate.

      • nybiker says:

        Isn’t it the Secret Service’s job to protect our currency? From the police’s perspective, you had a non-emergency situation.

        You want to talk emergency, well, go see the guy who paid his fine with 137 one-dollar bills made into origami pigs and stored in a donut box.
        /s

        • bluline says:

          I that case, how long can the store detain the shopper? Or can the store detain her at all?

          • cactus jack says:

            Did they detain her or did they tell her she would have to wait for the police to handle the situation? Wal-Mart was certainly wrong in every respect here, but was she actually detained?

            Not that I would leave without my money or goods, but saying I was being held against my will VS I was stuck waiting for the cops to get there to get my money/good seems entirely different.

            • Difdi says:

              The standard for whether a detention has occurred is whether the person reasonably believes they would be physically prevented from leaving if they were to attempt to do so.

          • msbaskx2 says:

            Was she detained? Or would the store just not give her back her money? I can’t tell from the article.

            • bluline says:

              From the article: “The plaintiff says she was detained for at least two hours in full view of other customers.”

      • Hoss says:

        If that’s the two hour part that she wants money for – Walmart isn’t to blame

        • spartan says:

          Oh yes it is. When they are detaining her they are placing her under some sort of citizens arrest.

          And with thte power to arrest her, they have the responsibility for making sure the arrest is valid.

          This isn’t a question of whether Wal-Mart was wrong. The issue is how much is the case worth? My guess somewhere about 5 to 10 grand.

        • Snowblind says:

          Yes they are.

          They initiated the action, and are responsible for the delay.

          Had they not been jackasses, there would have been no delay, no inconvenience.

        • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

          Her only hope to recoup her $200 was to wait for the police. If she left the store she’d still be out the $200.

          • Jack T Ripper says:

            She wasn’t hanging around to get her money back. They were detaining her and claiming she was trying to use counterfeit money. It wasn’t till the police came that they finally told WalMart that the money was real and to give her unripped bills. This

            Since the bills were proven to be real before police were called, then this is definitely a false imprisonment issue and she definitely has a case. There aren’t really any actual damages, since she got her money back, but when a big company like WalMart chooses to humiliate people in front of other shoppers, they better be ready to write a damn big check. Some people are going to get fired over this one for sure.

        • Difdi says:

          The risk that adheres to making a citizen’s arrest is that a citizen lacks qualified immunity. A police officer is shielded if they make an honest mistake, but a citizen making a citizen’s arrest has no such protection.

          Anyone making a citizen’s arrest (which is what an exercise of shopkeeper’s privilege is) had best be VERY certain they have every i dotted and every t crossed, and that they are correct in their interpretation of the law, because if they are not, then they have a problem.

          Most improper citizen’s arrests involve at least an unlawful detention. Quite a few also include assault and/or battery. Some even rise to the level of kidnapping (not calling the police right away, for example).

          In the OP’s case, there’s unlawful detention (being told she can’t go coupled to a reasonable belief they’d stop her if she tried), theft (taking her money without giving merchandise in return) and destruction of evidence (believing the bills were fakes and tearing them up). Arguably that theft would be robbery, since she was present when they destroyed her money.

        • semidazed says:

          When I worked retail, we were trained to identify counterfeits. Large bills were tilted to check for watermarks, held up to light to spot the magnetic strip, and then the counterfeit pen. We did this for all bills over $20. If there was ever a question as to the validity of a bill, a manager was to be immediately called, the transaction suspended, and the customer was asked politely to step aside because there may be an issue with a bill. We were never to accuse a customer of trying to pass off a fake bill. The one time I did have a counterfeit $50, I believe the customer truly didn’t know.

          The cashier and the manager were clearly inadequately trained on counterfeit identification and the proper procedures for handling such a situation (I doubt this sort of behavior is Walmart’s official policy). They stole this woman’s money without verifying that the currency was legal, instead opting to destroy it and detain her in full view of other customers. They owe her at least the two hours- a court will probably give her more.

      • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

        Especially at 2 am. Most places aren’t that busy that close to winter because it’s cold, and that tends to keep people indoors.

  2. nybiker says:

    Not blaming the OP, and I say this completely in jest, next time use a credit or debit card. But seriously, they didn’t do any testing, just ripped ‘em in half. I commend the OP for not elevating the situation whereby she gets into trouble by hitting them or otherwise making contact with the clerk or manager.
    At least the police officer agreed that the cash was good and that Walmart had to give her intact bills.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      Or don’t shop while having brown skin. /s

    • longfeltwant says:

      In a similar situation, I’d pull out my cell phone, call 911, and report a theft in progress. I would physically describe the WalMart manager and explain that the perpetrator stole $200 from me with the help of an accomplice, at which point I would physically describe the cashier. I would tell the 911 operator that I am detaining the perpetrator(s) and would officers respond immediately to this emergency. I’d throw in that I fear for my life because I can’t be sure how crazy the thief is. After the police show up I would insist on pressing charges, just to see the manager sweat, even knowing that would never happen. Finally, I would most certainly sue. If the manager moved you more than 10 feet from the point where you first exchanged words with him (the checkout line), that’s kidnapping.

      • Sneeje says:

        And you would have some seriously pissed-off police officers on your hands once they untangled everything. Making the police (or anyone, really) feel manipulated is never a good idea.

        • wynterbourne says:

          Not necessarily. I know a number of police officers that’d laugh their asses off.

          • JEDIDIAH says:

            …then that’s who you call. Skip the 911 nonsense.

            If you are well connected, that’s exactly what you do. You call the cop you know to come and rescue you from the idiots at Walmart.

            You don’t have to be the wrong color to get caught up in the Walmart Dragnet.

          • Sneeje says:

            Well, by all means, I’m sure that 1 in a hundred chance would be worth the risk. I’m sure you can call those officers from jail to give them a larf.

        • mulch says:

          I got yelled at for asking for a wellness check for disabled veteran who was threatening to kill civilians in a wal mart on the eve of 9-11. So I can’t imagine how they feel about being called out for something like this.

      • euph_22 says:

        Yes. What you say here is exactly what to do if you want to be arrested.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      She was probably dropping C notes because her husband works in construction or a small business and they’re committing tax evasion. Deport her. /s

    • hoi-polloi says:

      I realize you said this in jest, but there are legitimate reasons to pay cash. I recently bought my wife a birthday present. She’s at home more than I am, and does all of our online banking. I got cash and went to a brick and mortar store so that she wouldn’t be able to figure out what she was getting in advance. If I had gone to the bank rather than the ATM, I could have had $100 bills.

    • Difdi says:

      And what if they decide a credit card looks fake, and tear that up?

  3. TheUncleBob says:

    lol. Silly Walmart Cashiers.

    But, for what it’s worth, those counterfeit pens aren’t worth the $2 they cost to buy.

    • spartan says:

      But they are good to piss off people. I happened to have on on me, when I was in a supermarket and the cashier used her pen to check my $100.00

      She got quite annoyed when I pulled out my own pen to verify my change.

      • AzCatz07 says:

        So you were an asshole to a cashier who was just doing her job. Congratulations.

        • longfeltwant says:

          It’s pretty hard to spin a situation such that returning someone’s behavior back to them counts as you being an asshole. Goose/gander.

          For instance, let me try:

          “So you were an asshole to a person on the internet who was just relating an innocuous and slightly comedic anecdote. Congratulations.”

          • AzCatz07 says:

            The poster said they do it to piss people off. How is that not being an asshole?

            • longfeltwant says:

              Oh, I didn’t see that angle before. Okay, I disagree that it makes you an asshole to piss off unreasonable people. It is unreasonable to become pissed off when someone treats you the way you threat them. A reasonable person accepts the lesson as a growth opportunity.

          • RogueStomper says:

            Seems you’re missing the point and have helped blow it further out of proportion. Congratulations, you win 1 internet.

        • bluline says:

          What’s wrong with that? The cashier didn’t trust the customer. Why should the customer trust the cashier?

          • AzCatz07 says:

            I was reacting more to the intent than the action. If it was done because of a trust issue, I get it. But if it’s done just to piss someone off, I don’t. Maybe asshole is too harsh a word, so I apologize for that. But I don’t like the idea of trying to ruin some lowly cashier’s day.

          • MrMongerty says:

            No, the cashier likely has to check all bills over $20. Not really a trust issue.

          • regis-s says:

            Because the customer was passing a $100 bill which are often counterfeit. I think most businesses will check a $100 bill if they accept them at all. She wasn’t doing it to be a jerk.

            He was probably getting ones, fives, tens, or twenties back which usually aren’t fake. Plus, he was doing it to be a jerk.

        • dolemite says:

          Why is it an asshole thing to check if they are giving you counterfeit money? Whomever holds it last is out of the $.

        • mewyn dyner says:

          So making sure you don’t get counterfeit bills is being an asshole? If you happen to get a counterfeit bill and it’s detected, you’re out that money. I’ve been thinking of carrying one of these around myself just as a modest line of protection against obvious fakes; I’d rather not be out $100 because a bank didn’t do a good job checking for a forgery.

        • OttersArePlentiful says:

          A recent Consumerist story tells of a woman who received a counterfeit $100 from Walmart, and many of the comments were admonishing her for not checking the bill before leaving the store. So no, I don’t think spartan is an asshole for checking his bills – his reasons for doing so, however, do seem mischievous.

      • cspschofield says:

        Good one. For the record, if you had done that with me while I was a retail clerk, I would have applauded (provided you limited yourself to, say, tens and above. Let’s be real here).

      • rambo76098 says:

        LMFAO – If you did this back in the day when I worked with cash, I would have found it rather amusing.

      • Invader Zim says:

        I like that :o)

      • FredKlein says:

        Unfortunately, all those ‘counterfeit detector’ pens do is react to starch. Real money is printed on ‘paper’ (its really cloth, but never mind) that contains no starch. Counterfeit bills (the cheaper ones) are printed on paper that does contain starch. However, it’s quite possible that better quality fakes would be made to pass such a test, and it’s possible for a real bill to get contaminated with starch so it would fail.

        There’s an anecdote that {insert celebrity here} would get a bunch of new $100 bills from the bank, lay them out, and spray them with spray starch, then return them. For the luls, I guess.

        TL;DR: Those pens are worthless for detecting fake bills.

  4. MikeF74 says:

    If she really just produced the second bill as proof of what a bill should look like (and was not presenting it for payment), then I think a theft charge against the manager wouldn’t be out of line.

    • StarKillerX says:

      The problem is if they were given a bill, even if just to show them, and they believed it to be fake they are required by law to retain hold the bill so you can’t charge them with theft for doing what the law requires.

      With that being said I’m not sure what the purpose of ripping the bill in half, I mean it’s not like they were going to stick them in the register and turn them in at the end of their shift or anything.

      • AzCatz07 says:

        I read the story elsewhere yesterday, and there were more details. I don’t know how credible the source is, but this is where I got that information:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204067/Julia-Garcia-WalMart-employees-ripped-womans-100-bills-thought-fake.html

      • racermd says:

        Very much true. When I last worked retail more than a decade ago, I remember instructions from our LP staff to keep suspected counterfeit currency in as pristine condition as possible in the event they’re needed for an official investigation. We did wind up having a few counterfeit bills pass through our store but wasn’t noticed until later. They were put in plastic bags and saved as evidence in case the police wanted to escalate their investigation.

        In the end, thanks to some digging in the transaction logs and our video surveillance, we found out that one instance was some kid that printed some decent looking fakes on his color laser/inkjet at home. However, nothing ever came of the incident though we had his picture up indicating to refuse service to him.

      • Difdi says:

        Either way, they committed a crime. Whether it be theft ($200 torn up) or destruction of evidence of the crime they made a citizen’s arrest for, they screwed up no matter how you look at it.

  5. MutantMonkey says:

    I thought all minimum wage employees were trained to spot counterfeits with 99% accuracy with only their eyes.

    Damn.

    • Cider Eider says:

      Well, yeah, but this was just one of those 1% times.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      I read this story to my sister yesterday. She’s a manager for Walmart. Anyway, she sad the cashier and the manager are both idiots, and the procedure would never be to rip up money. She said they’re not supposed to detain anyone, either. If she suspects someone is using counterfeit money, they note the description of the person and try to get a license plate when the person leaves. They never keep anyone until police arrive.

      I know you’re trying to make a snarky comment about minimum-wage employees, but most Walmarts actually do pay more than minimum wage. They pay what the market in which they operate will bear. My sister started as a stocker and has worked her way up to a well-paying managerial position. My parents also worked there for a few years after they retired and enjoyed it because they mostly worked with other retired seniors. Walmart gets a bad rep, but everyone I know who has worked there doesn’t demonize the company and doesn’t seem to think it’s any better/worse than any other retail position.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Well from the story I’m not sure if she was actually detained or simply wasn’t allowed to take her purchases, as from the store’s view they hadn’t been paid for, such that she stayed to either get her goods or the money.

        I would think that if she was actually detained it wouldn’t be in the front of the store at the register/counter as the OP implies.

        • AzCatz07 says:

          My comment above was meant to go under this post; sorry for the confusion.

          Here’s the link to the story I read yesterday, which indicates she was detained at the front of the store.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204067/Julia-Garcia-WalMart-employees-ripped-womans-100-bills-thought-fake.html

        • Difdi says:

          Except that taking the law into your own hands like that is really risky from a legal standpoint.

          If they accepted her money (and they’d have to in order to tear it up) and the money is real, then that’s no longer the store’s merchandise, it belongs to the customer. Not letting her leave with it is a crime. Exactly how severe a crime varies by state, but it’s at least as severe a crime as shoplifting those items would be. For example, in Washington state, it would be second degree robbery (a felony).

          If the money is indeed fake, then the merchandise remains the property of the store. But destruction of evidence is a felony in Texas, and that’s exactly what tearing up suspected counterfeit bills is.

      • shepd says:

        Wait a second, people in the USA told me that US Walmarts regularly torture their employees and basically treat them like they aren’t humans.

        I say this because when I post about how Canadian Walmarts do exactly like yours (and offer health benefits) there’s always someone from the states claiming in the US the Walmarts are different beasts and that basically the employees are made into personal slaves for the amusement of Sam Walton.

        • AzCatz07 says:

          The people who are so self-righteous about the way Walmart treats employees are generally people who’ve never worked at one. The last time I checked, no one holds a gun to your head and forces you to work at a company. If they were as horrible as these folks claim, why on earth would anyone work there?

          • LadyTL says:

            Because not everyone has the luxury of being able to ignore bills until they get qa good job so they take a bad one to pay the bills.

            I worked at Wal-mart for 2 years. They do treat their employees in an awful way, including implying we should work off the clock and never use sick days.

            But when you need money to pay for bills you take what you can get particularly in this bad economy.

            • shepd says:

              So, when employment wasn’t easy you lowered your standards and accepted employment you otherwise wouldn’t have.

              This is like how when I didn’t have a lot of money, but needed a vehicle, I bought one from the auction and fixed it myself instead of buying a brand new one.

              It’s also like how when I just couldn’t bear to go to college any longer, I dropped out, and, with no employment prospects, started my own business where I worked 18 hour days for $400 a month until I got better prospects and moved on.

              Amirite?

      • LadyTL says:

        It’s nice that your family works for a good Wal-mart but not all Wal-marts have the same management. Some are nasty about how they treat their workers and only pay minimum wage.

        • JEDIDIAH says:

          One of my relatives recently quit Walmart and was very happy to leave. He’s not the sort that has a lot of job options to begin with. He’s also got a pretty decent bullsh*t tolerance so they must have really treated him like crap.

    • Hoss says:

      If that’s the science part, then two employees would be 99×99 percent accurate. Damn, this lady scammed the police

      • RandomHookup says:

        Just as Click & Clack have asked:

        Does one person who doesn’t know what he’s talking about know more or less than two people who don’t know what they are talking about? (paraphrased)

  6. bluline says:

    I’d be suing, too. Big time.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      When I first caught this article yesterday, my initial reaction from the headline was that she shouldn’t get any more than $200. Than I actually read the article, and I think she should have sued for more. It’s horrible that she was detained and treated like a freaking criminal. I have no doubt that her outward appearance had something to do with it, too.

      • spartan says:

        So to paraphrase what Azcarz07 is saying; “Wal-Mart should be able to detain any customer, for any reason, at any time and never ever be held accountable, for the public humiliation, inconvenience and other intended consequences of their actions.”

        Did I get that correct azCatz? Because, as i see it, when W-M screws up, the courts are the only legal venue to redress a grievance. But I guess you are more of a “fuck the customer” type of person.

        • AzCatz07 says:

          No; you didn’t get that correct at all. You clearly didn’t read what I wrote. I said when I first saw the headline I mistakenly thought she was only out the money. I’m not referring to the headline here; I’m referring to the actual news story. Once I read the story and realized she was detained, I think she should sue for more.

          But don’t let the truth get in the way of whatever beef you seem to have with me.

        • euph_22 says:

          Did you even read what he posted?

        • shepd says:

          I think he’s saying that if WM rips up two of your $100 bills and then the manager comes over and gives you two fresh $100 bills (that are legitimate) your complaint ends there (although you can still post it to consumerist).

          However, in this story the offer of new notes didn’t come until she had been held against her will in the store for 2 hours and it didn’t come without various people in the store telling her and the police that she passes fake money.

  7. Cider Eider says:

    As a former cashier, I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell possessed that cashier to do such a thing, especially without even testing it first. Assuming this story is true, of course. Mark it with the pen, if it doesn’t do anything just roll with it and accept the bill. If it does something, hang on to the bill but for goodness sake wait for the police to get there before you do anything to the bill. Or, you know, let your manager handle it and let him/her get the flack if they do something like rip it up. One of the joys of being a low-level employee is you can pass off stuff like that to your manager.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      The cashier only ripped up the first $100 bill. The manager ripped up the second. So it’s no wonder as to who trained the cashier to do that.

    • Difdi says:

      Destroying real $100 bills is punishable by up to 6 months in federal prison. Destroying evidence of a crime is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison, under Texas law. Stealing $200 worth of money or property from someone in person is robbery, which adds more years to the tally.

      No matter how you look at it, that cashier and manager broke the law.

      • euph_22 says:

        1) the manager and cashier didn’t believe the bills were real, so there actions lack the necessary intent for the first charge.

        2) these bills aren’t evidence of a crime or any investigation by any level of government. The fact that the employees thought they were is completely immaterial to that fact.
        The also lack the necessary intent to hamper an investigation require by both the state and federal statutes.
        (besides if they were counterfeit bills, they’d go to FEDERAL prison for destroying them as evidence not state, since the case is in the Feds jurisdiction).

        3) they were holding suspected counterfeit bills pending the arrival of law enforcement. After the bills were verified, they were returned (well equivalent bills). Not only is this legal, this is what they are OBLIGATED TO DO under US law (though they really should have done a less moronic job checking them).

        Nothing they did was a crime. They are certainly in line for administrative punishment from Walmart, who in term is due for punitive civil damages. But their actions aren’t criminal.
        I also find it offensive to try and twist the law against itself to make it so they ARE criminals just because none of us like what these people did.

        • AcctbyDay says:

          IANAL, however it seems to me that they acted extremely recklessly by not checking the bills extremely thoroughly to see if they were fake before destroying them and calling the police & etc.

          You can act without due diligence enough so that it becomes criminal.

  8. triana says:

    I am betting Walmart’s policy is to test the bill with a counterfeit pen and check the watermarks, and then politely explain to the customer that they can’t accept the bill if it fails those tests. I’ve been in retail management for well over a decade, and NEVER have I heard of a retailer considering it acceptable behavior to tear up a bill and make a scene like that. You always give them the benefit of the doubt, because usual detection methods like a counterfeit pen are not fool proof.

  9. Martha Gail says:

    I had a cashier call me to the front once to inspect what he thought were fake hundred dollar bills. Turns out they were just older bills and this kid was young enough that he didn’t know what older money looked like. Luckily, the customer thought it was hilarious and laughed it off.

    • Chuft-Captain says:

      I had to call my manager on a driver’s license once about 12 years ago when I worked at Toys R Us. This was back when the licenses were still laminated, and you had to show one at the store to use a check. Except my manager didn’t back me on it. Instead, he berated me for doing it. Why did I do it? Well, I’d seen more than a few licenses with overly long names. On every single other one from our state, the name was in the proper typeface and size to match the other text on the license, and any excess name was simply cut off. Suddenly, here was someone with a license where the name’s typeface and size did NOT match all the rest (it was smaller, and a different typeface), but the ENTIRE overly long four-part name was there, carried on to a second line.

      But no, it was my fault for looking out for the store’s interests.

    • kathygnome says:

      I’m not a cashier, but it’s been so long since I used cash for anything, I’m always surprised at how current bills look when I see them.

    • raydeebug says:

      I hear stories like this all the time regarding two-dollar-bills.

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        Here’s another!

        I has a friend who didn’t believe me when I told him there was such a thing as two dollar bills. So, I take him to a branch of my bank and told the teller that I was a customer and I wandered if they had any two dollar bills available. She said sure and left to go to the back and get one for me.

        She comes back with a two dollar bill. My friend was so suspicious that I was tricking him, he refused to believe that the two dollar bill was real, and he thought I put the teller up to it. Bear in mind that we were probably 22 years old at the time. As we were driving away from the branch, he still didn’t believe me. He thought I just rigged the most amazing trick ever with the teller before I took him there.

        I thought I could really blow his mind and tell him there’s such a thing as a half-dollar coin, but I thought that might overplay the two dollar bill experience.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I also witnessed this very scene at Walmart about 6 months ago. It was the guy in front of me in line. I interrupted and told the cashier that the bill was an older one, not a counterfeit one.

    • Kitamura says:

      It’s a pitfall of using really old bills. Most people who plan to use currency that old either turn it into the bank for fancy new bills, or expect to be scrutinized.

  10. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    …the cashier attempted to use a counterfeit detection pen…

    Once again, those pens aren’t accurate. They only detect chemicals which are supposedly in/not in currency paper/regular paper, all of which can be manipulated with basic household chemicals.

  11. Michael Belisle says:

    FYI, she may have been able to get a new bill from the Money Factory.

  12. JohnDeere says:

    hope she wins

  13. dush says:

    “The police officer instructed the manager to pay her back with un-ripped cash.”

    That was nice of the officer.

    • Difdi says:

      If the manager had refused, odds are he would have left the store in handcuffs. Police take a dim view of muggers, after all.

    • Charmander says:

      It certainly was, because the manager wanted to give her bills that he had destroyed, therefore rendering them useless.

      What kind of an idiot does that?

  14. Samuelm456 says:

    Personally, I THANK the two cashiers and the manager for their unbelievably incompetent professional action. Thanks to them, Wal-Mart is now liable for damages for unlawful behavior, and with the right lawyer this could turn into a big case.

    I mean, they’ll just settle under the table the second before this hits the court, probably in about 2-4 years, but seriously this is some BAD PR for Wal-miggety-Mart.

    • AzCatz07 says:

      No, it’s really not. No one is going to read this and say, “I’m never shopping at Walmart again.” Walmart has already lost the crowd that wouldn’t shop at them over something bad that happened in their store.

      The rest of us will say that this happened at one Walmart and is obviously not Walmart’s actual procedure for handling this sort of thing. We know it wouldn’t happen at our Walmart because we’ve been going there for years without incident. And we’ll continue to shop there. FTR, while I have no interest in their clothes, electronics, or shoes, I can’t find my toiletries cheaper anywhere else, including online. So I continue to shop there for the things they price well.

  15. Gman says:

    I am not a lawyer, but I think suing for damages is too much. She got her money back.

    Me? I would bill Walmart for the two hours of time they detained her. Reasonable amount would be her hourly work rate. Then have them pay reasonable attorney fees and demand that proper action be taken against the cashier and manager in accordance with Wal-Mart policy, with documentation sent to my lawyer [hopefully means throwing them out of the store and telling them they are fired].

    • spartan says:

      And if Wal Mart chooses not to pay; you have two options.—Sue them or go away with nothing.

      She chose to sue. I would have too if it was me.

    • bluline says:

      So what you’re talking about is a lawsuit, just for a minimal amount.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      In legal terms that billing for the time you were detained thing falls under “damages”

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      This story was written BY a lawyer. CourtHouseNews is like a bulletin board where people can write up cases and hope that news agencies will pick them up. Doesn’t mean they are always true, and most likely, important facts that would put the clients in a bad light are left out.

  16. El_Fez says:

    Lets assume for a second that these bills were indeed counterfeit. Why the hell would Walmart rip them up anyway? Isnt that, you know, destroying evidence?

    • MrMongerty says:

      Yes. The Secret Service likes the bills to remain in as good of condition as possible so that they can trace/ study them (that way, they can identify trends like “this bill used x technique, so it must have come from the y batch of fakes we have been seeing).

    • Difdi says:

      Under Texas law, tampering with or destroying evidence you reasonably believe is the subject of a pending investigation is a third degree felony.

      Holding bills you believe to be counterfeit while you wait for the police to arrive certainly qualifies as a reasonable belief!

    • Charmander says:

      Why would the cashiers be instructed to rip up bills – counterfeit or not?

      As many have said, it is evidence, and you don’t want to destroy evidence. I just wonder if there is something written in a training manual somewhere that tells the cashiers to do this.

  17. Mr. Spy says:

    Okay, so you think a bill is fake. Ripping it up wouldn’t even come to my mind slightly. Ripping up a second bill is right out. Making a scene? Well, that’s just bad business.
    Otherwise, I think they did what they were supposed to. Encounter what you think is a fake $100, call the police to authenticate. Now, they are idiots for not trusting the pen. But then, if it really looks fake, would you trust the pen?

    If you aren’t familiar deailng with money, I imagine some small things could seem fake. Kids would probably look at an old $100.00 bill and think it’s fake. Brand new bills seem fake as hell. They don’t even have the same texture. Or it could have been run through the wash a few times. I’ve seen clothes bleed into it making bills red. So I mean, they are obviously in the wrong, but it might just be an honest mistake.

  18. Kestris says:

    Wow. Even if the cash WAS fake, the cashier was not supposed to rip it up, they’re supposed to turn it over to the police to deal with instead.

    Talk about taking the law into your own hands.

  19. sorta savvy consumer says:

    Lets see:

    1. Walmart Cashiers have training on how to detect counterfeit bills.
    2. This training was not followed
    3. Escalation to manger who is also trained did not follow protocol.

    I think this woman has a good case and should get some pretty serious punitive damages and I think there is going to be a Walmart cashier and Manager looking for a new job soon, if not already

    • lvdave says:

      Not only should they be fired by Walmart, but be charged by the feds for destroying currency… THAT ought to make their day.. Yup.. I’m a vindictive bastard and I know it…

      • Difdi says:

        Six months in federal prison for destroying currency, followed by 3-5 years in a Texas state prison for tampering with evidence.

  20. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    Nice.
    Manager and cashier violated federal law by ripping up those bills.

  21. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    People should keep in mind this is “CourtHouseNews.com”. These are stories written by the lawyers, and are usually used to drum up support for their clients. They do NOT have to tell the truth, and can spin the story any way they want to. So again, it’s not an actual “news” source.

  22. mcgyver210 says:

    If Wal-Mart pulled that crap on me & I wasn’t still in jail from beating the idiots that TRIED to hold me against my will with blatantly obvious false charges I wouldn’t be satisfied until all employees were FIRED at minimum. I also would demand a very public apology as well as compensation for the Slander, False Imprisonment etc….

    Wal-Mart really Screwed up & should settle fast on this.

  23. rennyn says:

    Shit, rip up my money and then wait around for the police? Damn right, I’ll consider that theft, possibly vandalism, and arrest the cashier and manager myself.

  24. cmhbob says:

    The customer is not out any cash, btw. She can send the fragments to the US Treasury and they’ll replace them.

  25. spottymax says:

    Afterwards, she went to Taco Bell and used a $2 bill.

  26. Danno23 says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this was a scam attempt by the cashier?
    1. Tear up legit bills
    2. Scare the customer and make them run away
    3. Tape bills back together
    4. Profit!

  27. Moo Strength says:

    Back in ’94 there was a kid in my high school that used a Canon Photocopier to make a couple counterfeit 50′s, and then stupidly tried to pass them off in the cafeteria lunch line. The FBI field office responded to the complaint, not the local city’s police department.