Walmart Employee: Don’t Blame Cashiers For Requiring You To Show Your I.D.

In an era of identity theft and growing concerns about privacy, it’s not hard to understand why shoppers are hesitant to provide their photo IDs and phone numbers for something as simple as buying groceries. But one Walmart employee asks that consumers please refrain from taking out their frustration on him and his coworkers.

“I know we’re the proverbial punching bag,” writes Walmart staffer Robert in a letter to Consumerist, “but we have procedures we have to follow.”

Robert gives the example of customers who pay by that old-fashioned method that was once incredibly popular — the check.

He tells Consumerist that when a customer pays by check, “the computer won’t let us go past that spot without [an ID]. Also, when it DOES ask for an I.D., it will also ask for a phone number. Again, we CANNOT go past that field when the system asks for it. It IS our job and nothing we can do about it.”

According to Robert, even the manager can’t skip past this portion of the checkout procedure.

“If you don’t like providing your I.D., then please don’t use a check,” he writes. “A debit card is much easier, faster, and saves a lot of hassle.”

Similarly, Robert says that if you don’t have your receipt when making a return or exchange at the Customer Service desk, you will inevitably be asked to show I.D., and that once again there is nothing the employee can do to get around that requirement.

And if you’re cashing a check or money order at Walmart, you’ll need to show identification.

“This is not to annoy or harass you,” he explains. “It is actually a security procedure. When we ask for your I.D. when you cash a check — it is for YOUR benefit! Imagine that someone has stolen your paycheck. Would you want someone cashing YOUR check without an I.D.? Of course not.”

Another thing that upsets some customers, but which Robert says is for their own good, is when the store refuses to allow a MoneyGram wire transfer or money order for a large sum of money to a foreign country.

As we’ve reported before, employees who handle wire transfers are now trained to spot red flags for possible scams. A big indicator of such a scam, says Robert, is an elderly customer who is wiring a large amount of cash overseas.

“So if we ask for your I.D. or refuse to send money to a ‘relative,’ please don’t gripe at us. We’re just doing our duty to make YOUR shopping safer,” he says.

As always, we want to hear from people on the other side of the checkout line. So if you have on-the-job insights from working retail, banking, food-service or travel/hospitality and feel like sharing them with the readers of Consumerist, write to us at tips@consumerist.com.