Circuit City Customer Arrested After Refusing To Show Receipt

Michael Righi got in trouble this Saturday for refusing to voluntarily show his receipt when exiting a Ohio Circuit City. According to his account, the manager and security guard followed him into the parking lot and prevented the car door from being shut or the car from moving. When Michael called 911, the cop ended up arresting him for not providing his driver’s license.

Under Ohio’s “stop and identify” law, citizens are only required to give name, address, and date of birth.

Some people in positions of authority seem to be so unused to people actually exercising their rights that they assume the person is a threat and should be stopped and contained until they can figure out what’s going on.

Michael writes, “I’ve always taken the stance that retail stores shouldn’t treat their loyal customers as criminals and that customers shouldn’t so willingly give up their rights along with their money.”

[michaelrighi via BoingBoing] (Thanks to Tampabackup!)
RELATED: TigerDirect Apologizes For Unlawfully Detaining Customer For Refusing To Show Receipt
(Photo: FastFords)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dbeahn says:

    Yup, this whole thing was pretty messed up from start to finish. There NEED to start being some arrests for unlawful detention in these cases. The idea of some store manager or security peon preventing me from going about my business when I haven’t done anything wrong gets under my skin…

  2. Falconfire says:

    can you say lawsuit.

    The best part is though, the cop agreed with the customer and told Circuit City they had no right to detain him (after they jumped in front of the car he was the passenger of after failing to prevent him from exiting the store through force) only to arrest him because he refused to show his license since he was not the driver of the car in question anyway and as you mentioned Ohio has a state law saying cops CAN NOT force someone to give up their license regardless of the crime, only their name address and age.

  3. 2Legit2Quit says:

    everyone should start refusing to show receipt. I know i have

  4. Yourhero88 says:

    It’s a shame that the person being placed under arrest here was the only one aware of their rights.

    The manager and employee I’m sure, thought they were fully justified in stopping him from leaving, and the cop must have thought that any sort of failure to obey anything a police officer says is an arrestable offense (which becomes glaringly apparent when you see the generic “gloss over” article that he uses to justify the arrest.)

    But this is what happens when people with inferiority complexes are handed a small amount of power, like a store manager, or a local police officer.

  5. ancientsociety says:

    Ugh, this idiot was on BoingBoing last week. Good to know he’s milking this for all it’s worth.

    It’s one thing to whine about having to show a receipt (and it’s a worthwhile argument/discussion to have) and the store was certainly in the wrong for detaining him but the fact is that he called the police and then refused to identify himself. He escalated the situation but wouldn’t comply with the “help’ he sought, making an already bad situation worse.

  6. Freedomboy says:

    An awful lot of this is due to store staff really BELIEVING they are in charge of other citizens and those citizen’s rights and yes, the best fix is a massive judgement against a maajor retailer. Think Denny’s.

    My rights are not subject to measure by some $8.47/hour dude or dudette with a poor memory of what was said in the 15 minute section the first day about lost prevention.

  7. bonzombiekitty says:

    Alright, I really don’t get what the heck the big deal is about showing your receipt to the person at the door. What rational reason do you have NOT to show it when requested by the store? It just seems silly to me to refuse to do so. Let them look at the receipt, mark it off, and do whatever deterring to shoplifting that they manage to do. Why be an jerk and refuse to show the receipt? It’s just as bad as the people that get all huffy when asked for ID when buying alcohol or to verify the identity of a credit card holder.

    • Anonymous says:

      @bonzombiekitty: to compare it to being ID’ed at a liquor store, if i show my identification at the cash when i purchase my liquor, should i have to show it once again upon leaving the store? it doesn’t make any sense.

  8. 82300sd says:

    Circuit City employees should take Home Depot’s advice on stopping the thief, and fire the employee

  9. EvilSquirrel says:

    Well I figure that if they are detaining you without probable cause using force, that would constitute assault. Since most states allow for some sort of self defense in such cases, what is to stop a person from legally subduing the security guard and retreating to safety? No unnecessary force is involved of course.

  10. InThrees says:

    @ancientsociety: I believe you are mistaken. He did identify himself, and promptly, without guile or falsehood.

  11. kylere says:

    ANCIENTSOCIETY – I think that READING the article would alleviate your issue with it.

    He DID identify himself, and IAW Ohio law.

  12. Buran says:

    @bonzombiekitty: simple: because they can ask you to show it but you don’t have to.

    I really don’t get what the heck the big deal is about exercising your rights and expecting them to be respected.

  13. EvilSquirrel says:

    @bonzombiekitty: So I am assumed to be a criminal until I prove otherwise? I think I will do my shopping from home if stores get that kind of attitude.

  14. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    He *did* identify himself to the fullest required extent of the law. Seeing as it happened *Saturday* I & The Consumerist was “closed” for the holiday, I don’t see the problem in reporting this now.

    Some of you guys just like to bitch to hear yourself type.

  15. scoobydoo says:

    This country is really going down the shitter.

  16. RandomHookup says:

    Where’s all the *blame the victim* bile we are so proud of here at Consumerist?

  17. enm4r says:

    @ancientsociety: Actually he did identify himself, he just didn’t show his drivers license, which isn’t legally required. I don’t see what the problem is. I’ve declined to show my driver’s license a few times before when it wasn’t necessary, nor had any bearing to what I was discussing with the individual.

  18. Why be an jerk and refuse to show the receipt?

    @bonzombiekitty: How does not showing it make someone a jerk? There’s a law requiring people to be of age to purchase alcohol so that isn’t the same thing.

  19. OKH says:

    I think this probably went awry when, sitting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, the person in question refused to hand over his license to the cop who was probbly writing up an incident report. Did the cop NEED to see a license? Probably not but I’ll bet the person in question became a dick to the cop and it went on from there.

    Yeahyeahyeah…blame the victim, yaddayaddayadda…

  20. I’d be filing multiple lawsuits in this situation. One against the Police Department, one against the Store, and one against the security company Circuit City contracts, all for the same reasons: Violation of rights as expressed in Ohio State Law and false imprisonment.

  21. Freedomboy says:


    A: Alcohol is a different issue and he apparently did show the correct item, money, to get the goods he bought so screw that and B: if there was an issue with a crdit card THAT happened at the cahier, the place where the sale was COMPLETED,had in fact the aforementioned sale had some issue, THEN is when anyone should be questioning the comsumer about

  22. enm4r says:

    @OKH: RTFA. He wasn’t driving, and was sitting the in the rear passenger seat.

    It’s articles like this which really illustrate how often people read summaries and are experts.

  23. Falconfire says:

    @OKH: nope he was the passenger not the driver.

  24. scoobydoo says:


    Well, normally I’d blame him for being a dick by not showing his bag.

    But that is where it ends. Being followed outside, being blocked at his own car AND being arrested on false charges really goes too far.

  25. supra606 says:

    This is a great example of a situation where a lawsuit may do a lot of good. Not only would a judgment against Circuit City compensate this man for the situation he had to endure as a result of those employees ignoring his rights, it would put stores on notice that this sort of behavior is not ok and that there are consequences to be had for it.

  26. Hawkeye1659 says:

    I’m glad people are standing up for their rights and hopefully this will soon end this receipt checking garbage. I completely resent being treated like a shoplifter after I spend money in a store. Good for this guy.

    @bonzomiekitty, you can feel free to comply and give away any/all rights and freedoms you are entitled to in our Constitution but you are the biggest part of the problem in enabling these stores and law enforcement to BELIEVE they have the right to do this stuff. Where does it end?

  27. ElPresidente408 says:

    The real focus of this article should not be on Circuit City, but on the cop. If the detained him for not showing an ID, but that violates Ohio law, then yes that is a violation of rights and an issue worth debating.

    If Circuit City wants to check your receipt on the way out then they should be free to do so. They have every right to do so. You are on their property, its a private entity, and you consented to their polices as soon as you made that purchase. Don’t like it? Shop online, you’ll save money anyways.

  28. ElPresidente408 says:

    Also forgot to say that I don’t agree with how CC handled the situation, but I agree with their policy.

  29. …the cop must have thought that any sort of failure to obey anything a police officer says is an arrestable offense…

    @Yourhero88: I want to know why the cop felt the need to come up with some reason to arrest the guy after saying he agreed with him!

    Is it too much to ask that the police know the law?

  30. homerjay says:

    I would LOVE to see someone like Dateline make a REALLY big deal of this…

  31. JWL3 says:

    The same people who see nothing wrong with being forced to show their receipts are the same people who are OK with warrantless wiretapping. Some people are OK giving up their rights. They are the people that should be feared.

  32. spinachdip says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Ah yes, the ol’ “You wouldn’t have a problem if you had nothing to hide”. And as we all know,
    1. Glance at receipt.
    2. ???
    3. Loss prevention!

  33. Starfury says:

    On the rare occasion I shop at Fry’s/BB/CC I never show my receipt. If there is a line of sheep I’ll walk right past and out. If there isn’t a line I’ll say “no thank you” and walk out. I’m in California and know that they do not have the right to stop me unless they’re going to accuse me of shoplifting.

    Bonzombiekitty: The whole point is you DO NOT have to show your receipt. The moment you pay for the items they are yours and the store has no right to ask you to prove it UNLESS they accuse you of shoplifting. It may be easier to just show the receipt but it’s not right.

  34. Falconfire says:

    @ElPresidente408: Private property, public access. As a store you have no right whatsoever to create policies that break state and federal laws unless the customer signs his right away through a contract with said store (IE a club store where they legally DO have the right). As long as your allow unrestricted public access you can NOT unlawfully detain someone unless you have evidence of a crime. A receipt check violates Bill of Rights amendment 4 as it violates probable cause with the assumption EVERYONE is breaking the law and stealing.

  35. ncboxer says:

    @ElPresidente408: You would think CC has a right, but from what I’ve read on the subject that isn’t necessarily true. They are a private entity, but they are open to the public, which requires them to follow certain laws. Such as they cannot discriminate who they serve- they can’t say we have a new policy against serving Asian people (just an example). They might be shielded if say when you entered the store, they had you agree to something that said we can check your bags when you leave. I don’t belong to a membership club type of store, but I hear they have this written into their contracts that you sign when you become a member.

    Once you buy something (and you haven’t previously contracted to let them check)- you own the merchandise and you don’t have to let anyone check it. The only way they can lawfully detain you is if they have a reasonable suspicion that you stole something- which includes seeing you taking something.

  36. Egakino says:

    @ElPresidente408: Thats the thing, they do not have the right to detain you and make you show the receipt. At least look at ANY other comments before posting. According to the law the only time they can stop you and make you show receipts or detain you for police is if they have direct evidence of shoplifting. These are basic rights against being unlawfully detained, please get to know them.

  37. Hawkeye1659 says:

    @OKH, RTFA before you post completely wrong information and expose your ignorance on the situation. He was NOT driving and even asked the officer what would happen if he never got his license or learned to drive.

  38. If Circuit City wants to check your receipt on the way out then they should be free to do so.

    @ElPresidente408: They are also free to post said policy on its doors if they expect people to consent to it.

    @Rectilinear Propagation: My bad, it said he disagreed.

  39. Egakino says:

    @ncboxer: It is written into the contract but they really can’t enforce it, even then it is still unlawful. The only thing they can do is take away your membership (which i guess is about as good as enforcement as they need). Even then I think a lawsuit could come around and fix that little loophole.

  40. Nelsormensch says:

    @ElPresidente408: “You are on their property, its a private entity, and you consented to their polices as soon as you made that purchase.”

    If their “policies” included a strip search, would that be acceptable as well? Being a private entity does not put any retailer beyond the scope of the law. If they detain you without cause, that’s illegal. Period.

  41. nickripley says:

    @bonzombiekitty: You are not EVER required to show ID when using a Visa or Mastercard. People who write “see ID” on the sig line should have their cards taken away, as that is not proper.

  42. Hoss says:

    Parents should give their children more attendtion. This is ridiculous. I can imagine the crap he gave the police to get them to the point they want to spend a few hours with this nut

  43. jamar0303 says:

    If there’s only ONE thing the US needs to learn from China, this is it. Customers have basic rights, and they can not be violated. Over here in Shanghai I’ve never been asked to hand over my receipt except at a German Costco-style store with membership. Not even at the Best Buy here (this is one thing that they’ve done right in China- instead of importing the American practice and angering their customers, they go with the local flow, and I applaud them for it). Shop-pay-go, that’s how it should be. I should not be detained for any reason unless I have been suspected of theft. I certainly won’t be doing so when I get back to America.

  44. pine22 says:

    the circuit city’s in Columbus, Ohio never ask for receipts when you leave. maybe its just cleveland.

    i think when the cop was asking for a driver’s licence because he needed to verify what the person identified himself as. i know you can say “im john doe” but unless the cop can verify from your licence that you are in fact john doe, you could be lying for all he knows. he just wants to know who you are saying you are.

  45. bravo369 says:

    @nickripley: People write SEE ID on their credit cards for their own protection. That way, Johnny Schmuck doesn’t find a credit card issued to Gloria Noname and use it. Of course cashiers never check signatures anymore so it doesn’t matter. It would also be stupid to write SEE ID on the card and then deny giving it to the cashier when asked…if you were in fact the one that wrote it on there.

  46. Jesus On A Pogo Stick says:

    Just show you’re fucking receipt. Are you really that much of an asshole? If you’re not stealing, show your receipt. Why is this such a problem?

  47. Frostberg says:

    Everyone who doesn’t show their receipt is a crybaby. It’s not hard. Itensures you don’t get charged for something twice and it keeps the cost low for retail stores.
    Think about all the theft if they just let people walk in and walk out with a cart of computers or something else and nobody was there to stop them. I’m sure all of our costs would go up.

  48. rbb says:

    I wonder how fast the “check your receipt” policy would last if each customer upon being asked for their receipt, promptly headed for the return desk and returned the item on the spot…

  49. FreemanB says:

    @nickripley: The merchant can’t require it. However, I wrote “See ID” on the back of my card in the futile hope that the cashier would check a valid ID against the name on the credit card. I think it has actually happened once in the years that I’ve been doing it. The signature on the back is usually meaningless these days.

  50. nickripley says:

    @bravo369: That is in violation with the terms of your credit card agreement. Antything other than a sig on the sig line invalidates the card.

  51. nickripley says:

    @Frostberg: So, was Rosa Parks a crybaby for standing up for her rights?

  52. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @pine22: Waah, wahh. he can want Cindy Crawford with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry, but the law doesn’t require that I give him that if I have it, either.

  53. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @FreemanB: They ask all the time when they say “Please check picture ID” on the back of mine. I appreciate it and I tell them so.

  54. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Jesus On A Pogo Stick: Just shut your frigging yap. Are you really that much of a patsy? If you’re a free man and not guilty of a crime and you resent the implication that you might have stolen something, act like it. Why is this so hard for lie-down-and-show-your-rear-end advocates like you?

  55. nickripley says:

    @FreemanB: In Washington State, a merchant can require your ID with a credit card purchase, if the card is not signed or signed improperly. Who knew?

  56. JustAGuy2 says:


    Technically, writing anything other than your signature on the back of the credit card invalidates it, and the store should confiscate the card. Also, if you write See ID on the card, and it’s stolen and used, and the credit card company finds out it wasn’t signed, your protection against unauthorized charges goes out the window, since you haven’t complied with the cardholder agreement.

  57. JustAGuy2 says:


    That’s what I do – I decline to show the receipt. If challenged, I ask if they think I’m stealing something. If they say no, I say I’ll be leaving then. If they insist, I just say “I’m happy to show you the receipt, just walk with me over to the returns counter.” I’ve only had to go that far once (Best Buy store).

  58. Charles Duffy says:

    @ElPresidente408: You only agreed to their policies with your purchase if they made you aware that those policies were part of the otherwise-implied sale contract prior to money changing hands. I doubt that such was the case here.

  59. supra606 says:

    I hope that all the people who are saying that not showing your receipt makes you an asshole or whiny won’t complain when their constitutional rights are completely eradicated.

    Do yourself and your fellow citizens a favor: stand up for your rights or the government will think you don’t want them and will take them away.

  60. Itensures you don’t get charged for something twice

    @Frostberg: How does letting someone mark up my receipt with a highlighter prevent me from getting charged for something twice? That doesn’t even begin to make sense.

  61. HalOfBorg says:

    Been there myself. New CC opened in our area, so we go check it out. The door scanner was messed up and went off whenever anyone went in or out. Annoying, but hey – 1st day open. Nobody was getting checked at all.

    We shopped, bought something, left. BEEEEEEP. Mr Newmanager comes running up telling me I have to come back inside so he can check our bag & receipt. I tell him no the alarm goes off for everyone.

    “It’s our policy.” or words like that.

    “I don’t give a DAMN about your policy.” and we got in our car and left. I just wish he had tried to stop me or accused me of theft.

  62. Buran says:

    @RandomHookup: There’s plenty of it, in the form of “if you have nothing to hide why don’t you just ignore your rights and allow yourself to be bent over by people who have no right to demand these things of you”.

  63. HalOfBorg says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    Sounds like Sam’s Club. I don’t mind it there because EVERYBODY has their receipt checked and a quick count of items.

  64. I wrote the mayor of the city and asked his assistance in getting the charges dropped. I CCed the Consumerist and BCCed some friends so they could also write a letter if they left moved like many of you seem to be. The contact information for the mayor is:

    Mayor Kenneth E. Patton
    (216) 351-2133

  65. Buran says:

    @speedwell: Thank you.

  66. stubblyhead says:

    @Frostberg: prevents double charges? are you high?

    @nickripley: I’ve been writing ‘ask for photo id’ on my credit cards for years, and only once did a cashier take issue with it. The one time was at the liquor store in my town (in Washington state, no less), and he wouldn’t take my card because it didn’t have my sig. But he did say I could sign it right there, and then it would be valid. I don’t remember if he compared that sig to the one on my receipt, though.
    The next day I called my bank and asked them to send me a new card, which I wrote ‘ask for photo id’ on.

  67. ThyGuy says:

    God, why can’t the government just make it law that the company has the right to see your receipt so you people will shut the fuck up?

  68. acambras says:

    FWIW, I was in a Circuit City in CT yesterday, and nobody asked to see my receipt as I left the store. That said, it was hard to find anyone who could be bothered to even ring me up.

    Funny, just last week I posted a comment saying that I don’t go to CC or Best Buy, but there I was yesterday, buying a $20 2GB Sony flash drive. I take comfort in knowing I purchased a loss leader and nothing else, at least. As my mom says, “Life is a diet of eating [one’s] words…”

  69. @ThyGuy: Because that would be stupid.

  70. spinachdip says:

    @ElPresidente408: Oh dear, not the “it’s their property” argument again.

    Believe it or not, laws apply even on private property.* And stores can set all the policies they want, but they can’t detain customers to enforce those policies. They can ask the customers to get out and never come back, because it is their property, but detainment without evidence (and not suspicion) of theft is illegal.

    Anyway, their policies don’t apply after the transaction. Your relationship with the store ends when the cashier hands you the receipt (unless you’re returning or exchanging, of course).

    *Except embassies and consulate, where you can, I assume, sacrifice virgins or cook crystal meth or whatever French people like to do.

  71. nickripley says:

    @stubblyhead: Please make sure to tell your bank you write that on your card, that way, if there is ever fraudulent activity, you will be held liable for the charges, as you did not sign your card.

  72. rjflyn says:

    The CC people were lucky they were not in the Gunshine state of Florida with its stand your ground law. I’m more than sure sure someone here would have gladly assisted them in changing that detaining someone at their car policy.

  73. star_ says:

    “Everyone who doesn’t show their receipt is a crybaby. It’s not hard. Itensures you don’t get charged for something twice and it keeps the cost low for retail stores.”

    You obviously don’t understand the principle of the matter. If you really think I stole something, then go ahead and say so and we’ll take it from there. Otherwise, quit wasting my time.

    I shop at Bestbuy and Frys often. I have always just kept on walking. A time or two I’ve said “no thanks” and kept on walking. Maybe it’s the way I carry myself but I’ve never been questioned, let alone had anyone attempt to detain me.

    I also don’t need some security guard to check my receipt to make sure I wasn’t overcharged. I am very capable of doing that myself and do it before I authorize payment and then again once I receive the receipt.

  74. Erskine says:

    Maybe they can pass a law to make morons like you illegal, too…

  75. Falconfire says:

    @ThyGuy: because it would be ruled unconstitutional which would shut YOU up asshole.

  76. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Oh look, another person who expects the government to fix everything for them. That attitude is on a major part of what’s wrong with this country.

  77. Falconfire says:

    @Jaysyn: That attitude is why crap like this even happens. Im sure the cop thought “there had to be a law about his refusing me”

  78. ron704 says:

    @ThyGuy: For the same reason the government can’t write a law telling you to shut the fuck up for telling others to shut the fuck up.

  79. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Yeah, I sincerly hope the cop in question loses his badge, gets demoted to the mounted police stables or something similar. Unfortunately, he’ll probably only get paid leave if anything at all.

  80. ncboxer says:

    Why is it a bad thing to exercise your rights? If you don’t care if the govt or private companies take your rights away- fine, just don’t put down people who are willing to. If you are more than willing to stand in line waiting for the guard to check your receipt, don’t get mad at the person that walks right by. I actually have admiration for people willing to do so (I am one of the sheep who wait in line).

    If the people that love all the rules (no matter if they are wrong or right) and want more rules added on, please move to a country built for that like China.

  81. MeOhMy says:

    I’m more worried about the power-tripping cop than the power-tripping retail manager. I’m just an armchair attorney, but the posted law just says you have to DISCLOSE to the officer your name/address/DOB. It doesn’t say you have to provide documentation – and this makes sense, as I’m sure it’s already illegal to give fake information. If the guy’s story is accurate, he was never directly asked for this information, just his driver’s license. What if he didn’t have a driver’s license? Does Ohio require all citizens to carry gov’t ID?

    Anyway, kudos to this guy for standing up. I know many of us think these policies are BS, but few of us would risk getting arrested over it – myself included.

  82. joeblevins says:

    Umm.. I am all for not showing reciept at all the non-club stores. But not showing your DL to the cop? WTF?!? That just seems stupid. There was NO reason not to show your DL. You have called the cops, you need to be able to reasonably identify yourself to the responding officer.

    Circuit City sucks, but this butt-hole had a whole lot to do with his own arrest.

  83. wonderlic says:

    The practical application of this is that the store employees will just start saying they have a suspicion that you’ve shoplifted and demand to see your receipt. It’s the same practical application of refusing to show a driver’s license to a cop – ever (that’s really on the less-bright things you can do). There may be a law saying you don’t, but the minute you refuse then they have a reasonable suspicion you may not be telling you the truth and thus the ability to demand to see it cause for all he knows there could a reason you don’t want to show it to him. Does it seem like a catch-22? You bet, but good luck getting a court to side with you. That and the whole article (which I read) – and every report from someone who’s gotten caught up in these disputes – seem terrible selfish. Why put you family through watching you get a arrested to prove a meaningless point? Why waste your time, the officers time and the time of everyone involved? I already know what the response is, so spare me – but think about it for a minute, just show your receipt and prevent the traumatic event for your family – why not?

  84. ron704 says:

    You know, I don’t even like it when the cashier’s at Home Depot use a marker to draw a line through my receipt. They used to have this nasty habit of writing balances on the back of gift cards. After awhile there would be no room to write anything. I just politely tell them I;m the owner of the card and they are not to write anything on it.

  85. glitch44 says:

    There was a digg thread on this incident over the weekend. I was stunned at how many people came down against the guy, especially since he was in the right and Circuit City employees were breaking the law.

    Too often lately we’re being asked to give up our rights because “it’s a post 9/11 world” and “if we’ve done nothing wrong then there’s nothing to fear”. Show your ID, stand in this line, stand in that line, take off your shoes, surrender your water bottle. It starts with security theater, then it becomes loss prevention, then it just becomes everyday life.

    And I don’t like it.
    Not one bit.

    But especially not from people who would make Stanley Milgram proud.

  86. ron704 says:

    @wonderlic: That’s what the Jews said about the Nazis.

  87. ElizabethD says:

    My icon has the hots for your screenname.

    But enough about that. While I agree that the customer in question was totally bent on PROVING A POINT (yes in all caps!), I am also glad that a few brave peeps out there are publicly pushing back against illegal infringements on our privacy.

  88. mjgrady says:

    Why is this such a big deal for seemingly so many people? I’m not talking about the principles of or precedents set by the situation, but the actual act itself. Personally, I always show my receipt if asked. It takes 5-10 seconds, makes my life easier (ie allows me to avoid situations like the one discussed in the post), makes the employee’s life easier – what’s wrong with this?

    Yes, I suppose you can escalate this up to “So you’re alright with wiretapping then?” or “What if Rosa Parks just went along with things?”, but I’d hope people here are more reasonable than that. I’m talking about the reality of the situation, not layers of subtext that most people would never even consider.

    Maybe it’s just because I’m a very easy going kind of guy, but if someone asks me to do something that takes a mere few seconds and has no real impact on my life (again, talking REAL impact here, not in terms of large-scale precedents or anything like that), odds are I’m going to just do it and feel better about not potentially bringing any unnecessary stress into my life.

  89. enm4r says:

    @wonderlic: There may be a law saying you don’t, but the minute you refuse then they have a reasonable suspicion you may not be telling you the truth and thus the ability to demand to see it cause for all he knows there could a reason you don’t want to show it to him. Does it seem like a catch-22? You bet, but good luck getting a court to side with you.

    Actually the entire point is that refusing does NOT constitute a reasonable suspicion of shoplifting, or any other activity. The courts have and will continue to side with individuals on this. I could round up some court cases to prove this, the most recent in my mind involved the Nevada Supreme Court. I’m sure if you do the research or find some other blogs with this story they’re bound to be listed.

    The point is that it has been decided time and time again, and the courts will continue to support individuals on this. Just because Joe Cop who reported to the scene at Circuit City doesn’t agree, doesn’t mean “the law” is on his side.

  90. not_seth_brundle says:

    @mjgrady: Whether or not you think it’s a big deal to show a receipt or driver’s license, don’t you think it’s a big deal to detain someone for (legally) refusing to show a receipt, and to arrest someone for (legally) refusing to present a driver’s license?

  91. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    @HalOfBorg: I’m pretty sure the big club stores like Costco/Sam’s, etc. have it written into their membership documents that checking the receipts at the door is part of your shopping “experience”, and you can’t refute that if you want to be a member. It is what it is.

    Our court system is tied up enough with BS frivolities like this, and it’s a travesty that we’ve got a bunch of you “Human Rights” advocates here yelling up a storm about how those of us who’d blindly show a receipt are the same ones who advocate anything ‘unconstitutional’ and get “bent over” by “the man” or what have you.

    If you’re so concerned with human rights, why don’t you put more of your effort into situations like Darfur. I guarantee you there’s a lot more there worth getting your panties in a ruffle over than some assclown at a Circuit City.

  92. nickripley says:

    @mjgrady: …and so your civil rights will erode, like sand through an hourglass.

  93. Falconfire says:

    @joeblevins: RTFA. Ohio specifically has a law on the book that says cops absolutely have no right to force you to show your license, even if a crime was committed by you. All they can ask for is your name, address, and age.

    Now lie about those, and your in much more serious shit, which is why a law like this can work.

  94. ElPresidente408 says:

    Well there’s been a lot of comments on this page, but no citations of law to back up any arguments either way. As far as I’m aware. The search and seizure laws cover situations where you have a “reasonable expectation of privacy”. This is where the lawyers come in and argue if the contents of your shopping bag are expected to be private. I’d say they are not. Here is the New York State law on the issue of detention which I trimmed for clarity.

    § 218. In any action for false arrest, false imprisonment, unlawful detention, defamation of character, assault, trespass, or invasion of civil rights, brought by any person by reason of having been detained on or in the immediate vicinity of the premises of (a) a retail mercantile establishment for the purpose of investigation or questioning as to criminal possession of an anti-security item … it shall be a defense to such action that the person was detained in a reasonable manner and for not more than a reasonable time to permit such investigation or questioning by a peace officer acting pursuant to his special duties… and that such officer, owner, employee or agent had reasonable grounds to believe that the person so detained was guilty of criminal
    possession of an anti-security item … or was committing or attempting to commit larceny on such premises of such …. As used in this section, “reasonable grounds” shall include, but not be limited to, knowledge that a person (i) has concealed possession of unpurchased merchandise of a retail mercantile establishment, or (ii) has possession of an item designed for the purpose of overcoming detection of security markings attachments placed on merchandise offered for sale at such an

    FYI- At a store I used to work at, security had a list of procedures they had to follow including capturing the incident on tape, the person had to steal x amount of items, and it had to be viewed by someone who was certified.

  95. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @mjgrady: Why is it such a big deal?

    Because if I don’t have to do it, and they can’t make me do it, then I shouldn’t have to do it if I don’t feel like it.

    Yes, BECAUSE I DON’T FEEL LIKE IT. I don’t really think refusing to show your receipt is striking a blow for freedom against the despoilers of the Constitution or blah blah blah, but you know, if I don’t feel like doing something that isn’t required, that ought to be a good enough reason. I also don’t feel like giving the clerk my ZIP code, or donating a dollar to charity, or taking a survey. No, none of that stuff is an egregious violation of my personal rights, but none of it’s required, either, so if I don’t feel like doing it then that’s the end of it. Or it should be, anyway.

    Man, whatever happened to the right to be free from unnecessary bullshit?

  96. Bill Brasky says:

    I always give the person my receipt. And keep walking.

    Confuses the crap outta them.

  97. Will Clarke says:

    I’m outraged that the cop detained the guy for not showing an ID card but I don’t think having to show your receipt is that big of a deal. Theft from stores like Circuit City is very common, and it costs consumers money. I’m not sure the law on having to show your receipt, but I think it ought to be legal for them to ask. When people steal, they’re not stealing from the store, they’re stealing from people like me who pay higher prices to make up for it.

  98. Falconfire says:

    @Will Clarke: The problem is theft from those stores from consumers is actually not very common at all (despite claims)

    Most retail theft from stores like Best Buy or CC comes from internal sources, people who have full access to disarming security devices and the ability to leave the store unseen by security.

  99. glitch44 says:

    Lol. Pinkbunnyskippers is the first person I’ve ever come across which is against “human rights”. Yes, those pesky humans and their rights. They must be stopped!

  100. ron704 says:

    @Will Clarke: Tell me this. When shrinkage goes down at a store do prices drop? I think not. That’s just another BS reason for stores to raise prices. I’m tired of every loss the store suffers being passed on to the consumer. Let the business eat it. If someone rips off the radio out of my car, who do I charge to pay the cost of replacedment?

  101. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Will Clarke: You’re right. It should not be a big deal. The stores should have the free speech right to ask, and the customers the free speech right to say NO.

  102. Jerim says:


    I am with you. Come on, with all that is going on in the world, with all the injustices being perpetuated, this is the one people choose to stand up for? They may think of themselves as some crusader for civil rights, but they just come off as jerks who couldn’t do one simple thing to avoid a situation, and then cry about it afterwards. Go over to Iraq or down to New Orleans and see how many people care about your self-serving one person crusade against the tyranny. Why do these people only care about the injustices done to them, however minor? Here’s an idea, if you don’t want to be hassled then play along. We all do it everyday, to some extent. We all do things we don’t have to do, just to avoid the hassle of refusing to do it. Whether it is home or work, we all do things just to have a hassle free day.

  103. Erskine says:

    “Our court system is tied up enough with BS frivolities like this, and it’s a travesty that we’ve got a bunch of you “Human Rights” advocates here yelling up a storm about how those of us who’d blindly show a receipt are the same ones who advocate anything ‘unconstitutional’ and get “bent over” by “the man” or what have you.”

    Hey, Pink – maybe you should have put it thusly:

    “Shut up, take off your shoes and get in line, ya damn terrorists! You got the rights that I tell you that you have! Don’t tie up the system – the system is for your benefit! Don’t ask what your country can do for you – ask what you can to for it! IngSoc!!!”

  104. Falconfire says:

    @Jerim: I enjoy that in your attempt to sound holier than everyone else, you proved the point everyone is trying to make about why you SHOULD be standing up against this shit. Just going along with it is why Iraq and New Orleans are the messes they are, its the fact that people like you dont believe in the constitution anymore and agree that our governments turn to a dictatorship is ok.

    Dont think do what I say.

    Yep you did a great job proving us right.

  105. Balance_In_Life says:

    The deal is, if you want to shop with best buy, you have to show your receipt. It say it on top of every door in every store.

  106. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Balance_In_Life: There’s a simple answer to that, and it is that walking in a door is not signing a contract, and even signing a contract does not remove your legal rights from you.

  107. Jerim says:


    So you put the right not to show a receipt up there with with what is going on in Iraq and New Orleans? You just proved my point with exaggeration. I am all for defending the constitution but this topic isn’t in there.

  108. RandomHookup says:

    I think I’m going to start carrying an old receipt of something totally unrelated to show them, such as a receipt for a 1967 Mustang or 15 packages of Slim Jims. Let’s see how many catch it.

  109. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Could you please read the related ariticles before you start spouting off?

    From Michaels blog:

    September 1st, 2007 @11:34PM EST Update:I found the detail on Ohio’s “stop and identify” law. I encourage you to read it in its entirety, but I will spell out the important part:

    2921.29 (C) Nothing in this section requires a person to answer any questions beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth. Nothing in this section authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person for not providing any information beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth or for refusing to describe the offense observed.

    I stated my name to the police officer, and if he had asked me for my address and date of birth I would have provided that as well. The officer specifically asked for my driver’s license and this is what I was unwilling to provide. If I’m reading this correctly it would appear that Ohio’s law specifically protects citizens from having to hand over driver’s licenses unless they are operating a motor vehicle. This is what I always believed, but it’s nice to see it in writing.

  110. bravo369 says:

    What is the impact of accusing someone of stealing? I keep reading that if you’re not being accused then you shouldn’t have to show anything. So why can’t the manager say “ok, then if you want to play this game then YES, I am accusing you of stealing”. You then go back inside, show your receipt for your bag, mistake cleared up and everyone goes on their way. Other than a bruised ego (which seems to get bruised for simply asked to show a receipt) what’s the harm?

  111. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Making Rosa Clark stand up wasn’t a big deal either. You’re missing the picture.

  112. john_nyc says:

    Maybe it’s wrong on principle, but my decision to show or not show a receipt on the way out of a store is based soley upon my own convenience.

    If the receipt checker is positioned in a location that doesn’t require me to alter course and he/she is checking with some degree of alacrity, then I show my receipt.

    However, if the checker is out of the way or there’s some hold up, then I run the blockade. No one has ever stopped me or come after me.

    For example, last week I was in the Best Buy in Union, NJ picking up a physically large item I’d purchased on line. I had the receipt still in my hand as I was carrying the box out, but the checker was dicking around with something not relating to my life. So, I just kept walking. I heard, “Sir! I need to see your receipt!”, but no one came after me as I proceeded to my car.

  113. not_seth_brundle says:

    @bravo369: A false accusation could be slander. If you call the manager’s bluff, he’s unlikely to say “yes, I’m accusing you of stealing” because he opens himself up to a lawsuit.

  114. spinachdip says:

    @ElPresidente408: Here’s the key part of the law you cited: “reasonable grounds” shall include, but not be limited to, knowledge that a person (i) has concealed possession of unpurchased merchandise of a retail mercantile establishment, or (ii) has possession of an item designed for the purpose of overcoming detection of security markings attachments placed on merchandise offered for sale at such an establishment

    Now, “include, but not be limited to” leaves a lot of room for discussion, but the operative word in the exerpt above is “knowledge”. We can reasonably infer that for detainment to be legal, the rent-a-cop has to have pretty good reason to believe that crime took place. Which is to say, you can’t randomly search customers, nor can you detain someone for looking suspicious or not consenting to a search or inspection.

    Although the law you cited doesn’t explicitly outlaw detainment for not showing a receipt, it does set a standard, and the reasonable interpretation is that there has to be evidence of a specific crime.

  115. RonDMC says:

    @Will Clarke: Oh, it’s perfectly legal for a store to ask for your receipt. It’s just as legal for you to refuse and walk out. I don’t have the cajones to say no and keep walking, but I applaud those who do.

    Despite refusing to turn over my receipt being my legal right, the reality of the situation is the majority of people are likely misinformed on/unaware of the law thus creating an unnecessary hassle I have no interest in dealing with. The store employees likely don’t know, and I’m not sure if the police do, either. I have no interest in being tackled or detained unnecessarily, but I would gladly sue the pants off of them if they did.

    Maybe I’ll get the nerve one day as the holiday season approaches and I don’t want to wait in a line.

  116. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Will Clarke: I’m not sure the law on having to show your receipt, but I think it ought to be legal for them to ask.

    It IS legal for them to ask. It’s also legal for me to ignore them, or tell them to shove it. It becomes illegal when the store detains you for refusal to show it. Merchants can not detain individuals absent either probable cause or reasonable suspicion (laws vary by State) that a crime has been committed.

    And failure to show your receipt doesn’t meet either standard by any stretch of the imagination.

  117. cde says:

    @ElPresidente408: That stature is in regards to Anti-Theft devices like bolt cutters and specifically intended for MAGIC BAGS, a bag lined with foil to act as a faraday cage, so any rfid or magnetic tags can’t set off the store exit alarm. Not the same thing as plain ol theft.

  118. skrom says:

    I love how all these people who are upset about the stores “assuming they are a thief” are more than happy to patronize gas stations that require you to prepay, which is essentially the same thing. They assume youll steal the gas if you dont pay first. The real reason they are upset is because they love to “stick it to big business” every time they get a chance.

  119. Falconfire says:

    @Jerim: Well since they both are examples of our rights guaranteed by the constitution being slowly eroded away by authority overreaching their legal stance, the fact that two are killing hundreds if not thousands, and the other just annoys the crap out of people are one in the same.

    It shouldnt matter how trivial a right it is, it is YOUR RIGHT. People died to let you have a right your pissing away.

  120. Falconfire says:

    @skrom: I live in Jersey, unlike you heathens I both dont have to pre-pay and force them to pump my gas for me (BY LAW) for a much lower average price than any other state in the country.

  121. supra606 says:

    @skrom: I patronize those gas stations because I get 5% cash back on my purchases at that particular chain. I also don’t have someone standing in front of me detaining me from leaving until I prove that I am not a thief (i.e. guilty until proven innocent).

  122. cde says:


    Personally, I prefer the pump it yourself stations because I rather not wait around for the attendent and feel lazy when I do. And even in Jersey with our “it’s illegal to pump your own gas” (Which is more of a way of insuring jobs), it is only illegal if they press charges, which only happens if you stole the gas (Like tax evasion charges for drug dealers. Remember, the IRS expects their money on all illegal transactions as well). THe thing is though, some stations now require the attendent to use his sign in card even with credit card purchases.

    Second, pre-paying is not like checking receipts. If they had you go inside, pay, then allow you to pump your gas, then require you to show an attendent outside your receipt, or shove a dipstick in your gas tank to make sure you only got the gas you paid for, then it would be the same. Maybe you think pre-paying for food at a Mcdonalds is the same thing.

  123. Hawkeye1659 says:

    And to those of you complaining about exercising our right not to show a receipt and comparing it to Iraq, think of this. We’re supposedly in Iraq to defend freedom and bring it to their country. The same freedom that allows you to NOT show the receipt. If you choose not to exercise the freedoms granted to you, then you don’t deserve them and are spitting in the face of the military out there fighting for it right now. Plus, bringing Iraq and New Orleans into this argument is pointless anyways. Just because something bad happens somewhere else doesn’t mean I need to give away my rights. What sense does that make?

  124. markwm says:

    To say a ‘minor right’ is not worth standing up for because of Darfur or New Orleans is like saying, “You shouldn’t go to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned because there are some people out there who don’t even have access to a dentist!”
    While it is unfortunate that there are people out there who live in horrible situations, that does not mean I have to allow my situation to become worse. And to say “do not waste your time doing this, do that instead”, not everyone has the talent or inclination required to be a peace keeper, foreign aid provider, etc., but they may very well give as best they can, such as through donations.
    I tend to fall on this issue as I do most issues, that is, I side with the rights of the individual. They can ask to see my receipt all they want, and I’ll be polite yet decline, unless there is something in it to benefit me. Theft reduction does not benefit me, as prices do not lower when theft is reduced, so that is not enough of a benefit for me to take the time, even “only 10 seconds”, to show my receipt. If I’m buying an item with a high likelihood of needing to return it, then it is of enough benefit to me to allow them to see the receipt and make their little mark upon it.

  125. HrPingui says:


    It’s called the fourth amendment: protection against unreasonable search and seizure

    Anyway, we don’t need the 10 commandents posted everywhere, we need the bill of rights posted everywhere. Just think, how many problems that would solve.

  126. nctrnlboy says:

    WHat gets me about this whole situation … is the cop using one law to invalidate another. So ANY time a person lawfully refuses a cop’s unlawfull order … the cop can whip out the “obstruction of cop business” law? I find it disturbing that there are so many laws on the books that one law can be used to circumvent another law’s purpose. Its like the citizen cant win (unless he spends a fortune & goes thru the courts at his expense). Truely disturbing. Another thing I find disturbing is that a local DA can refuse to uphold the law at his whim (because he is either too busy or think’s it isnt important “so what that you were illegally detained! I am not going to press charges because someone violated your civil rights!”)… As shown in the previous “wont show reciept at tiger direct” story.

  127. rwakelan says:

    @not_seth_brundle: it would still be a false accusation and therefore slander if said manager did not have reasonable suspicion. If he’s just saying it so he can detain you, it’s still illegal.

  128. Skeptic says:


    …I’m pretty sure the big club stores like Costco/Sam’s, etc. have it written into their membership documents that checking the receipts at the door is part of your shopping “experience”,


    If you’re so concerned with human rights, why don’t you put more of your effort into situations like Darfur. I guarantee you there’s a lot more there worth getting your panties in a ruffle over than some assclown at a Circuit City.

    Ah, yes, the you should be doing something better with your time argument, posted by someone making comments in the same time wasting forum. Or perhaps, Ms Bunnyslippers, you are taking a few brief moments off from your life’s work of saving Darfur?

    We should clear up a little misapprehension. Stores cannot physically force you to submit to the terms of a civil contract or store policy. No store has police powers to enforce store policy by detaining you or to force you to submit to a search. It doesn’t matter if it is a Membership Store you have signed a contract with, like Costco, or a regular store, like Circuit City. In both cases the stores can bar you from shopping there in the future. That is all.

    Stores cannot physically force you to submit to the terms of a civil contract or store policy.

  129. spinachdip says:

    @skrom: Prepay gas stations? Like the ones where you pay before you put the gas in your car? Yeah, like how retail stores make you “prepay” before you put the merchandise in your car?

    Oops, there goes your stupid comparison.

  130. Schmee says:

    Are we seriously having another one of these “I don’t want to show my reciept” posts? If you don’t like the store policy don’t break the store rules, either DON’T SHOP THERE, or complain to somone that can do something about it (i.e. corporate). There is no reason to make a confrontation and/or get the cops involved in this.

  131. bnosach says:

    This is ridiculous. Why not just show the f*#ing receipt? It’s not all about human rights, it’s more about being respectful. I just don’t get it. So, the whole idea is to piss off CC employees who work their asses off to earn those $10 an hour? If you don’t like Circuit City, call their CEO, don’t be a moron when you’re at the store. People are getting so freaking disgusting.

  132. Steel_Pelican says:

    This isn’t an attack, or really a statement, but a question I asked myself while pondering this incident:

    Would my opinion of the situation change if the merchant in question wasn’t Circuit City, but a mom & pop record store? If my local independent record shop started checking receipts to reduce theft, would I be concerned about 4th Amendment rights, or would I say “hope you catch the bastards!”?

  133. markwm says:

    “If you don’t like the store policy don’t break the store rules, either DON’T SHOP THERE, or complain to somone that can do something about it (i.e. corporate).”

    But that’s just it, the store’s policies are its policies, binding only to its employees. I’m not breaking any policies if I walk out without showing my receipt.

  134. Youthier says:

    I think it’s silly if the county justice system actually pursues this. He didn’t break any laws, it’s a waste of taxpayer money.

    This guy has his right to not show the receipt or his ID (although if I had to guess, I bet he was a bit of a douche about it, although he has that right too). Personally, I have no problem showing my receipt because it just makes my life easier. I don’t have a problem showing my ID to the one place that actually checks credit card signatures, which is my grocery store. Of course, they usually catch me at 6:15, when I’m starving and work has beaten all the freewill out of me anyway.

  135. spinachdip says:

    @Schmee: But what if you’ve already completed your transaction before you’ve had a chance to read over the store policies, consulted with your attorney, and signed your name at the bottom of the agreement? What then?

  136. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Jaysyn: Um, who the hell is Rosa Clark? Did she refuse to give up her seat on Amtrak or something?

    Reminds me of the time someone in an argument went “Hey, you mentioned Hitler, you just broke Godot’s Law.” (In any argument, the probability of Godot arriving constantly approaches zero? No clue.)

    • Difdi says:

      @CumaeanSibyl: It’s Godwin’s Law, not Godot’s Law, and dates back to Usenet newsgroups.

      More or less, it states that if anyone is so bereft of logical arguments for their case that they have to resort to comparing their opponent to a Nazi, then they probably were going to lose the argument anyway. Therefore it’s considered that comparing an opponent to a Nazi constitutes instantaneous forfeiture of the argument.

  137. ElPresidente408 says:

    @Jaysyn: If you read my original post I agreed that the cop should not have arrested the guy for not showing his ID according to Ohio law.

  138. Falconfire says:

    @bnosach: Being respectful means the company it’s self has to be. They are breaking a constitutional law, but you are saying the customer should be the respectful one despite this fact.

    Lets make this simple since you obviously didnt do too well in civics class.

    1) they have all the right to ask you to show your receipt. Nothing about that is illegal.

    2) You have the right to show it, but you ALSO have the 4th amendment protected constitutional right to say no.

    3) Thats the end of transaction. If you say no they MUST under federal law let you go UNLESS

    a) your signed (yes signed, there is no posting a sign here it MUST be signed by your hand) a contract stating in short you give up your 4th amendment right to a unlawful search. This is what you do when you join a club membership, you are legally signing your right away, and you can at this point be ejected and banned or even arrested for trespassing for breaking this contract depending on your states laws at this point.

    or b) They have evidence that you participated in the crime of theft and can provide evidence to such case at which point the search would be deemed LAWFUL since it would be warranted to reclaim stolen property and collect evidence.

  139. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    What have you people missed? They have to have a reasonable suspicion to detain you when you leave, and if you don’t show your receipt, that does NOT constitute ‘reasonable suspicion.’ Stores CANNOT dictate policy which is contrary to local law, and unlawful detainment is pretty much, well, unlawful.
    “Just show the receipt.” Why stop there? Why not give up the rest of what freedoms and rights we once had? All you “just show the receipt” posters should avoid the rush and move to fucking china now.

  140. dantsea says:


  141. I live in NY and have never had anyone check my receipt when I leave Best Buy or Circuit City (which I only shop at after doing extensive research and finding they happen to have a great deal). The only store I have had my receipt checked at is Costco, with whom I signed a contract and gave them the right to check it. But Costco would be considered a club filled of angels if EVER compared to BB or CC; with the customer service they provide, I’d show my receipt even if I didn’t sign a contract.

    Ah, customer service.. sure does go a long way, doesn’t it?

  142. Falconfire says:

    @thnkwhatyouthnk: Well the BestBuys in New Jersey did at one time require a check, but where recently targeted by the state for the practice which they have now pretty much stopped.

    I too only get checked in Costco and BJs, and like you I agree, I have no issues with them checking my receipt since I signed a contract for my card, and their customer service has made them become my default go to for most of my shopping at this point. But when BB tried to make me get checked for a 12 dollar pair of headphones that I had bought right in front of the security guard I told the guy no and you can ask congress why you dont have the right to be doing this.

    I doubt it was my pronouncement that prevented him from pursuing it further, rather I think he was so shocked at being told no by someone that he just didnt know what to do next.

  143. Rusted says:

    @ron704: When shrinkages increases, prices go up. No business has ever paid taxes, or eaten a cost. It gets passed onto the customer, or there is no business.

  144. StevieD says:

    The purpose of a check at the door is to deter criminal acts. Your refusal to show your ticket (as a means of verifying your paid products) is tantamount to admitting that you MAY be guilty of a criminal act. What that criminal act may be is not an issue, the fact is the person refusing to comply with a reasonable order is suspected of committing a criminal act.

    It is a long stretch, but one day some security guard somewhere is going to ask to view a sales ticket of somebody with a very young child in tow. The person will refuse and the guard will let the person pass. The child will have left with some very evil person. And everybody will exclaim how terrible the security guard was for failing to deter the person and prevent the hideous crime. The theft of a child is criminal act, the theft of a $1 candy bar is a criminal act. I hope the security guards in my town don’t let either criminal exit the store.

  145. Falconfire says:

    @Rusted: And as has been stated and proven before most “shrinkage” is cause by the company (IE the hired help is the cause of it)

  146. spinachdip says:

    @StevieD: You win. Seriously, comment of the year. This is so awesome.

  147. StevieD says:

    There may be situations when showing your drivers license may not be required, however such refusal will only serve to make your life miserable and more complicated.

    Don’t want to show your DL? Then don’t …. My sales girls are going to stand and stare at you for the 45 minutes it takes me to personally run your card with your credit card’s security division… sometimes it has been known to take more than 1 hour. …… Go ahead and refuse to show your DL to Uncle Leo, he just loves to sit on cars, waiting for it to go into motion so that he can give the driver a ticket for slow-fast-reckless-without a seatbelt etc driving…. The trip to the emergancy room with that suspicious foreign body stuck up your arse will take much longer as the nurses try to figure out whether you are drug seeking and using a false identity, but what the heck you got time to waste….. And of course no mortician is going to bother to give you a proper flush and refill until he/she has confirmed your identity, but what do you care, you didn’t have to show your DL one time.

  148. FinanceGuru says:

    @StevieD: I don’t suppose you know what the term “histrionics” means, do you? First, it’s a potential kidnapping, and then it’s the theft of a candy bar. Argumentation isn’t exactly your strong suit.

    How, exactly, would it deter a kidnapper from taking a child if the person exited without purchasing anything, thus having no receipt and merchandise to show a security guard?

    Secondly, in many states, the stores (absent prior contract, e.g., Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Costco, cannot stop and detain you without some evidence that you’re attempting to leave the store without paying for the merchandise. The fact that a customer doesn’t want to show you his receipt is not prima facie evidence of wrongdoing, as you claim.

    Finally, the majority of shrinkage arises from employee theft, not customer theft. If the aim is to control shrinkage, then it’s employee bag checks that are needed, not customer checks.

  149. FinanceGuru says:

    @ElPresidente408: So there’s the relevant question, ElP. Is it reasonable, as you postulate, to detain each and every customer who refuses to show a receipt at the door on the way out.

    What does the relevant case law state? (I’m in CA, not NY, and am not digging into Westlaw/Lexis about this tonight…)

    The merchant would have to be able to sustain the argument that he acted reasonably if he did as you suggest. In CA, if a merchant were to detain a customer solely because he refused to produce his receipt for a door check, I don’t believe a judge would hold that it was “reasonable” within the meaning of the statute. YMMV.

  150. Buran says:

    @wonderlic: Which wouldn’t work as they have to actually observe you in the act. No observation, no suspicion.

  151. Buran says:

    @Steel_Pelican: You should be concerned about both, but don’t forget that it’s not your job to help the store stop thieves.

  152. StevieD says:


    Like I said, it is a stretch. But the logic is not completely flawed. Before 9/11 we could carry our own plastic knife, fork and spoon on a plane with little or no notice. Try that today. Even if TSA lets you get through the gate, your fellow passengers are going to be nutso and the flight crew is going to be summoning Uncle Leo just because you have a clean fork fetish.

    A customer that does not want to show his receipt is in the same situation. It is an automatic “what is wrong with this scene”. Store staff must view the situation (and customer) as suspect. Have some thefts occurred when shoppers just strolled out of the store with the goods? Yes. Sometimes there might have been a receipt. The fact that it is the most common or least common method of theft is not relevant, it is a method of theft. While the exit screening process may not catch many thefts, what would happen if NO screening process was in place? Maybe that is why it is called “theft deterrent”?

    Yes the common method of theft may be employee misconduct, however most employees return to the scene of the crime, thus making apprehension very easy.

  153. tom55522 says:

    @star_: That may be good for you, but when I worked at a big box club store I we would find dozens of overcharges or items not charged a week. In 4 years we never found one thief by doing the check. When people would ask why we did the check, I would just say that the cashiers were idiots….but I also never followed anyone out for not showing the thing. That is too far.

  154. Rusted says:

    @Falconfire: A lot of shrinkage is internal, that’s why there is some psych testing and a lot of inventory control including audits, scheduled and otherwise, and daily and weekly counts.

    My point is still, businesses pass on all costs to the customers including shrinkage.

  155. aikoto says:

    Christ, there’s nothing I hate more than the “nothing to hide” argument. Get a clue people!

    See my rebuttal to this often used and always wrong argument here:

  156. spinachdip says:

    @StevieD: Your logic is completely flawed, or at least your airport comparison is, anyway.

    When you buy an airplane ticket, you also agree to FAA regulations (NB: *not* store/airline/airport policies). And at the security gate is a posted sign that explicitly outlines what you can and can’t bring in. But more crucially, the TSA gives you the option of turning back and going home if you don’t feel like complying with FAA regulations.

    The only way your comparison would stand up is if you had customers agree to receipt checking before entering the store or otherwise turning them away.

  157. jedipunk says:

    The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. – Albert Einstein

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke

  158. Jesse in Japan says:

    I’m not an expert or anything, but it’s always been my understanding that your driver’s license is not “yours,” but is actually the property of the state in which it is issued and must be surrendered at the request of a police officer or other authorized state official.

    If I’m wrong about this, please let me know.

  159. jedipunk says:

    The real issue, I feel, is being overlooked by alot of the folks, especially those saying, “just let them see the receipt.” The issue is not seeing the receipt the issue is the unlawful detainment of the customer for not showing the receipt. Showing the receipt is voluntary not law. While no one likes feeling like a theif, any resulting detainment, like above, is against the law.

    If CC does not like people refusing to show their receipt then they should start a membership store and when someone refuses, cancel their membership.

    Or better yet, use baggers at the end of the check out lines.

    Finally, stores can be designed to deter large item thefts.
    1. Entrance door is separate from exit. Make sure it opens only for entrance.
    2. Large exit door requires you to go through cashier area.
    3. Smaller exit door for customerd not buying items can be located near entrance. OPens only for exit. Have sensors.
    4. Very large items require employee assistance and/or rear pickup.

  160. GO MICHAEL. He’s absolutely right and the results of his actions show conclusively that, if people stop using their rights, THEY DISAPPEAR. I’m sure this thread is chock-full of people urging everyone to just keep their heads down and Obey, but if you do that, pretty soon you won’t have the choice anymore. And it’s NOT okay to let America turn into the kind of society where you can be stopped and searched with no reasonable cause, especially by freaking STORES. Everyone who stands up to protect the Fourth Amendment in this issue deserves a medal, and everyone who urges unquestioning compliance deserves to have a cage strapped to their face and rats put inside it.

  161. @ElPresidente408: It’d be nice, and much easier legally, if these “detainers” had reasonable grounds, but I know for a fact they usually don’t. Why? Because I’ve never stolen a damn thing in my life, but I get asked ALL THE TIME. Obviously they’re just randomly harassing people. And I realize that’s not illegal (though I really think it should be), but if that’s how they’re doing to handle it, at the very least they should be prevented from doing anything more than asking. White House Opinion aside, refusal to submit to an unreasonable search is NOT reasonable cause TO search!

  162. @mjgrady: So YOU don’t think it’s a big deal, good for you. What about the people who do? Should everyone have to submit to something because YOU don’t mind it and can’t be empathetic to people who have their own reasons for disliking the practice? The law doesn’t work that way, thank god.

  163. markwm says:

    “but one day some security guard somewhere is going to ask to view a sales ticket of somebody with a very young child in tow. The person will refuse and the guard will let the person pass. The child will have left with some very evil person. And everybody will exclaim how terrible the security guard was for failing to deter the person and prevent the hideous crime.”

    Yup, because, of all the hundreds of children I’ve stolen over the years to raise as pit fighters (don’t wanna get in trouble for dog fighting, ya know), every time I’ve waited patiently in line to do my shopping with the kid in tow. I also use coupons while abducting children, because the extra savings is worth the slight risk of the parent or guardian catching me, or the child making a scene.

  164. @StevieD: Hey Stevie, where’s your store? I’m coming and I’m bringing my video-camera-cellphone and my lawyer’s on speed-dial. Let’s see who wins.

  165. savvy9999 says:

    This Michael Righi guy stuck up for his rights UNDER THE LAW. Good for him.

    Bad for him that he did it on an awesome Saturday for watching college football. I find that Tuesday mornings are the best day and time for serious acts of liberty-protecting.

  166. Dreamworks says:

    See, they may only be able to ascertain your name, age and address, but they then need to verify it somehow. And how do the police verify those things? With a photo ID that lists them, a driver’s license. He technically didn’t have to show them, but the officer then was within his rights to not believe him and take him back to the station to confirm.

    This is about rights on some level, but it’s also about principle. If you refuse to show your receipt and then your driver’s license, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that things probably won’t go well.

    /Used to be a cop.
    //Cops don’t like being told what the law is, even if the person telling them is correct.

  167. markwm says:

    “See, they may only be able to ascertain your name, age and address, but they then need to verify it somehow. And how do the police verify those things? With a photo ID that lists them, a driver’s license. He technically didn’t have to show them, but the officer then was within his rights to not believe him and take him back to the station to confirm…
    /Used to be a cop.
    //Cops don’t like being told what the law is, even if the person telling them is correct.”

    First, no, it was not within the officer’s rights to take him back to the station to confirm. As has been stated, state law says he does not have to provide a license, and he cannot be arrested for not showing ID.
    Second, nobody likes to be told an aspect of their job, even if the party telling it is correct, hell even if the party telling it is being a douche. This does not give the the person being told a right to act like a douche and infringe on the other party’s right.
    /son of a former cop.
    //was raised to alway stand up for what’s right, not what’s convenient.

  168. tkw954 says:

    Someone on slashdot who says they work at this particular circuit city says that the arresting officer is friends with the store director:

  169. spinachdip says:

    I was just thinking, at a big box electronics store, is customer theft that big of an issue? For one thing, you can’t pick up high end electronics without paying for it first. Somewhat expensive items that are easy to pocket are kept in locked cases, oversized bubblepacks, by the cash register, or a combination of the above. CDs and DVDs have the theft prevention device attached. Everything else, I can’t imagine being worth the trouble for either the shoplifter or the store.

    And are they really doing us a favor by checking for double scans, especially considering they don’t even look inside the bag. Shouldn’t that happen at the point of purchase, and stores can save the extra $10/hour on a rent-a-cop who’s not even watching for shoplifters because he’s too busy checking receipts?

    If electronic stores are really serious about loss prevention, they should adopt B&H Photo Video’s system. You pay for the merchandise, show the receipt, then pick up your purchase. You get walk out with what’s on your receipt, nothing more, nothin less. Plus, they have that cool belt conveyor system.

  170. bbbici says:

    Uhh… just show your receipt?

  171. nickripley says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: You can tell Stevie’s store… the customer parking lot has employees blocking the doors on all the cars! And, they are probably having a “Going-Out-Of-Business” sale pretty soon.

  172. nickripley says:

    @Dreamworks: //Cops don’t like being told what the law is, even if the person telling them is correct.

    Cops are jocks without a high school sports team. They become cops or soldiers.

  173. mrwok says:

    @bill51773: That is excellent. Or you could tip them; i’d like to flip as quarter at him and say “thanks, my good man”, while continuing to walk out.

  174. mrwok says:

    @nickripley: Nice generalization. I’m sure if i made similar generalizations about you – or your lifestyle – you would be up in arms. Keep your resentment to yourself.

  175. My sales girls are going to stand and stare at you for the 45 minutes…

    @StevieD: Someone might stare at me? OH NOES!!!111!!

    Go ahead and refuse to show your DL to Uncle Leo, he just loves to sit on cars, waiting for it to go into motion so that he can give the driver a ticket for slow-fast-reckless-without a seatbelt etc driving…

    Who the hell is Uncle Leo?

    The trip to the emergancy room…

    I have NEVER had to show a Driver’s License in an ER. Oh wait, I get it. I’m supposed to show my driver’s license so some asshole in a cop uniform doesn’t beat me to death. [sarcasm]Yes, THAT’s the reason I’d be worried about that. Not showing my license.[/sarcasm]

  176. FinanceGuru says:

    @StevieD: But no. Your logic IS completely flawed.

    You are conflating the receipt check to a kidnapping prevention measure to cover your ass, and it simply doesn’t hold water.

  177. kimmie says:

    @HalOfBorg: I’d like to point out that Costco and Sam’s Club are membership based stores, and they *can* enforce the receipt showing. At public stores like Circuit City (at least in CA, where I live), they canNOT enforce the receipt showing. I always politely decline at Fry’s. I choose to know and exercise my rights as a citizen.

  178. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Um what the person should have done is pushed the guard back, slammed the door shut, and driven away. Then plead self-defense. When a stranger follows you to your car and doesn’t let you shut your car door, regardless of how they look, you are in reasonable fear for your safety. The guard should never have left the store, and needs to be sued for punitive damages.

  179. Will Clarke says:

    Yes, they do.

  180. info says:

    Nice to know about this.

  181. cryrevolution says:

    What some of you aren’t realizing is that in order for the store to have ANY right to question/detain you they must have CONCRETE proof that you have stolen something. Meaning, an employee must have witnessed it or they captured it on video. Other than that, if you do not submit to the VOLUNTARY receipt check (as some people do, its not against the law) they have no right to follow you out or block you from anything. If someone from the store was doing that, I would naturally do the same, call the police, thinking the police would know what to do. And they did…but then, the cop himself violated Ohio law (if ya read the post, it says under Ohio Law you do not have to produce a drivers license, even if the cop needs to verify). Granted, he might’ve made a mountain out of a mole hill, but the argument here is if he DID ANYTHING WRONG. Which, he didn’t, by law.

  182. Voyou_Charmant says:

    oh christ. someone call Abraham Lincoln, we need freedom from something or another.

  183. jtheletter says:

    So to all of the posters that gleefully point out that writing “see ID” on your credit card invalidates it, makes you liable for fraudulent charges, etc. Did you even once stop and think that maybe some of us are smart enough to BOTH sign the card AND write “see ID” on it? It’s a big piece of plastic kids, and sharpies write on plastic really well.
    As to this particular incident I agree with the one or two other people who have pointed out the store receipt policy and illegal detention are not the important story here, the cop not knowing the law and arresting someone on basically false charges is the real issue. Let’s hope a lawsuit against that officer/precinct knocks a little sense into their heads. However, at the same time I lament that any monetary awards to Mr Righi as a result will likely be coming from taxpayers. The cops screw up and the rest of us pay for their ignorance of their own job? Any compensation should come from that officer’s funds.

  184. Squishy says:

    I bring “throw down” receipts from purchases in other stores and give those to them while I keep wallking.

    This would be a great eBay business, sell fake but embarassing receipts to give them on your way out. :)

  185. m4nea says:

    your insurance company

  186. m4nea says:

    show your stupid receipt and SHOW you are a “loyal customer” who is not deceiving the company into thinking you’ve stolen something.
    Honestly…if you refuse a search, you obviously stir up the notion that you have something to hide. Stop bitching about how horrible it is that a company is trying to protect its investments.

  187. ToddSm66 says:

    Here is what Ohio state law actually says:


    (E) The officer, agent, or employee of the library, museum, or archival institution, the merchant or employee or agent of a merchant, or the owner, lessee, employee, or agent of the facility acting under division (A) , (B), or (D) of this section shall not search the person detained, search or seize any property belonging to the person detained without the person’s consent, or use undue restraint upon the person detained.

    That means even if the employee saw the guy walk into the store, grab an item off the shelf, stuff it in his pants, and walk out the door without paying – he STILL wouldn’t have any right to search him, his property or demand to see a receipt. If he has no right to search a bag or see a receipt without the customer’s consent, he certainly has no right to detain that customer for not giving consent.

  188. toddkravos says:

    Looks like the City of Brooklyn, Ohio dropped the charges in cooperation of Mr. Righi’s statement that the officer did nothing wrong.

    Link: ClevelandPlain Dealer

    I’m happy Mr. Righi walked away unscathed.
    But it looks like the Brooklyn Law Director, Hillary Goldberg got what she wanted, a quick and cheap (read: free) avoidance to what many have said was blatant violaton of Mr. Righi’s rights.

    I hope for the sake of folks who live and travel through the city of Brooklyn, Officer Arroyo was reprimanded…with extreme prejudice.

  189. Personally, I think this is stupid.

    I don’t see why it is such a big deal to show your receipt when you are walking out of the store. If I worked at CC and asked to see someone’s receipt and they tell me no, I’m thinking they’re a thief.

    This guy is just trying to get some attention.

  190. Spooty says:

    @Jesse in Japan:

    You need to at least read some of the blog or others’ comments, as this has been answered in a number of places.

    In particular, see the arrested’s blog entry of “September 1st, 2007 @11:34PM EST Update.”

    Your question may have some theoretical basis in some context, but not at all in this one. It’s all about what you are required to show or tell an officer who asks you to identify yourself. In particular, the law in the state of the arrest (Ohio) specifically says you don’t have to provide a driver’s license to “prove” your identity to the police – the exception is if you’re driving (or just were, or whatever), and this guy was just a passenger. All that he’s required to offer in order to establish his identity to the officer is his name/address/DOB.

  191. Lynn12 says:

    You can sign a credit card or any legal docuement with a smile face, heart, x or any other thing you choose. (including the phrase “See I.D.”)It is completely legal. Your signature can be whatever you want it to be, not specifically your name.

    As for checking receipts at the door. I usually don’t stop. I simply say “No thanks” and keep walking. The only thing this practice does is cause aggravation to the people who pay for what they want. It does little to stop shop lifters.

    I spent over five minutes just this past weekend watching a lady at a super walmart paw through two hundred dollors worth of food purchases because of one item, a $10 pillow, not being bagged. Sort of an invasion of my privacy if you ask me not to mention a little embarassing.

  192. sinkpint says:

    The problem with America is the fact that most Americans have become sheep. The shepherd tells you what you can do, where you can go, etc.. follow the leader. Don’t make waves. Don’t stand up for your rights. Just be a nice little sheep. Yes in a small way this man stood up for his rights. And sir I respect you for being A TRUE AMERICAN and not a member of the sheep clan. The patriot act took some or rights away and the sheep were fine with it.wake up America and stand up for the rights you have left.


  193. KillTheAcademy says:

    1. it sounds like the guy was being a difficult douche to begin with.

    2. work somewhere where you are responsible for inventory loss and tell me you don’t want to check receipts.

  194. Bs Baldwin says:

    I forgot about this guy. What an attention-whore. I peg him as a future lawyer and member of the ACLU.