Receipt Check Policies For Costco, Sam's Club, And BJ's

In most cases, a receipt check is voluntary, but several wholesale shopping clubs make you agree to them as part of the membership contract.

Thanks to everyone who helped unearth these. No shoplifting mentioned. Their given reasons for checking the receipts don’t make any sense. If all the checker does it glance and the receipt and make a highlighter stroke across it, how is he checking the correct price?

Sam’s Club: “To ensure that you are charged correctly for the merchandise you have selected, you will be requested to show your receipt when exiting.”

Costco [PDF, pg 14]: “To ensure that all members are correctly charged for the merchandise purchased, all receipts and merchandise will be inspected as you leave the warehouse.”

BJ’s Wholesale Club: “BJ’s inspects all receipts as Members exit the Club to ensure that Members have not been overcharged or undercharged for an item and that all selections appear on the receipt.”

Adventures In Receipt Check Refusals Continue
Circuit City Customer Arrested After Refusing To Show Receipt
TigerDirect Apologizes For Unlawfully Detaining Customer For Refusing To Show Receipt
TigerDirect Unlawfully Restrains And Verbally Abuses Customer For Not Submitting To Receipt-Showing Demands


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  1. yahonza says:

    I shop at Costco a lot, and I mostly think its BS.

    I do think that probably if you had a big screen tv in your cart, they would probably look a little closer. For everyone else its a waste.

  2. harrypsk says:

    Why not just tell the truth, and state that “membership requires you to submit to a receipt check in order to reduce loss due to theft.” It’s offending to me that they say in the terms that it’s a price check, what a load of crap. At Costco in Houston they count items in the cart, count the items on the receipt and mark it with a highlighter. I’m ok with them protecting themselves against shoplifting, but at least admint that’s what they’re checking for in the membership terms, rather than lie.

    Maybe I should start questioning the receipt checker, asking them to actually verify the item costs as noted in the membership terms???

  3. dbeahn says:

    Well, we know the “why” is bull, but it’s not like you REALLY expect them to say “To make sure you aren’t ripping us off or running a scam…”

  4. Nekoincardine says:

    In Alaska Costco stores, they have a sign up that says that receipt check is to ensure that you paid for what you got and got what you paid for (the latter case, as in they didn’t box an item after scanning it, HAS happened to me before).

    Maybe that’s just Alaska stores though.

  5. 44 in a Row says:

    “Correctly charged” doesn’t, to me, necessarily indicate that we’re talking about going on an item-by-item basis. That is, I don’t see that as meaning they’re making sure you’re charged $1.99 for an item that’s supposed to cost $1.99; it could also mean making sure that, if you have 5 jars of pickles in your cart, you’ve been charged for 5 jars of pickles according to the receipt.

  6. dbeahn says:

    @harrypsk: They all DO say they’re checking for stolen stuff. If you have something in the cart that isn’t on the receipt, then you HAVE been “undercharged” or haven’t been “correctly charged”. It’s just a more polite way of stating the obvious.

  7. Instigator says:

    Warehouse clubs should just be up front with the reason for checking receipts – which is to make sure that shoppers aren’t leaving with more items than they paid for. We all know why they’re doing it, so why not admit it? There could be a sign posted that reads, “To prevent loss and keep costs down for all of our members, your receipt will be checked at the exit.”

  8. urban_ninjya says:

    big waste of time. Probably just there as a theft deterrent. Of course you have to put a positive spin on it saying it’s protecting you from being over charged. If they were honest and say, “We think you’ll be less likely to shoplift if we had one guy standing by the door and look at your receipts.” it wouldn’t go to well since you’re implicitly saying the customer is a theif.

  9. spinachdip says:

    So yes, they check receipts. But nothing about detainment or otherwise assigning police powers to the rent-a-cop?

    Got it.

  10. forrester says:

    I like how another excuse is that they are making sure the number of items in the cart = the number of items on the receipt. I’ve had a SAMS club checker tell me thats what they are there for. I asked her if there was 100 items in my cart if she would count each one and she said of course I would. You can’t tell me if you go buy 100 items, they are going to count each one. There would be more people getting their items counted at the door than lined up at the checkout.

  11. ShadowFalls says:

    The funny part is that they make it like it is for your own protection, it isn’t it is for theirs. I would appreciate if they were upfront about that, rather than bounce around the truth.

    It is a near impossibility for them to remember the price of every item they sell, to say it is to keep you from being overcharged is a really bad lie.

    I’ve noticed a flaw in their receipt checking though. They tend to count the number of items in your cart to the number on your receipt. You could be really sneaky to swap an item out if you wanted, they would likely never be able to tell.

  12. liquisoft says:

    What a sack of lies. The people checking your receipts don’t know squat about the prices of items. They don’t consult a manual, nor do they call a team member who can check the price of an item for them. They just glance in your cart/bags, then see if everything in there matches your receipt.

    It’s clearly an effort to prevent theft, not to prevent pricing errors. They should just tell it like it is instead of pretending it’s for our own good.

  13. tracilyns says:

    at some of the Costcos in Utah they don’t even look at your cart. they just swipe your receipt and send you on your way. maybe if you’re buying a big-ticket item they really check, but i’m not sure about that.

  14. shaggybrown says:

    I used to work as a cashier at BJ’s. At least twice, the guy at the door caught me overcharging the customer.
    It was because I had inadvertantly rang an item up twice.

    Basically, with the receipt check what they do is quickly scan the receipt and the cart. If they see items appear multiple times, they’ll check to make sure you really have those items and that it wasn’t a mistake.

    When I worked the door, I checked for items that appeared multiple times.

    If there were only a few items, I could quickly count them and comapre them with the number of items shown on the receipt.

    If I saw a big ticket item like a TV or something else expensive, I’d make sure it was on the reciept.
    I never caught anyone stealing anything, but I caught people getting overcharged. The customer seemed surprised and thankful when I sent them to Customer Service to get their money back.

    I also think a reason they mark it is so someone doesn’t buy a bunch of stuff, walk out and load up the car, then hand the recipet to a buddy, who goes inside, gets the same stuff, and walks out without paying for it.

  15. 82300sd says:

    If your cart is full of stuff piled on top of stuff, there’s no way they can count all that stuff (by visual inspection only), especially since they don’t even touch or move anything in the cart. In order to accurately count it all, they need to take everything out of the cart.

  16. Caveat says:

    As far as Costco, for the $100 executive membership this past year I have been standing in long lines to check out, gotten no bags, then I have stood in long lines to have my receipt given a cursory check. To top it off, I now had to burn ten cell phone minutes just to tell Costco Customer Nonservice that I wasn’t going to renew my membership! I know the unionists hate me, but I love Wal-Mart’s self checkout. There are hardly any lines, I get all the bags I want, and at most I get a beep at the door and a friendly check by a senior citizen if I have forgotten to demagnetize a product sensor.

  17. theblackdog says:

    I can’t believe the massive amount of harping on this. They check your receipt, they mark it, and you’re done. What do you want from these stores? Should they start putting security gates at the door and tagging everything? Then y’all will be bitching when you get stopped because the cashier forgot to deactivate the 48 pack of toilet paper.

    I’ll stick with just letting them see my receipt, at the end of the day, the worker at the front isn’t going to remember you or what you bought, unless you’re one of those assholes who refuses and calls the police on them.

  18. Buran says:

    @theblackdog: I just love how you’re an “asshole” if you want to exercise your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

    People died for those.

  19. theblackdog says:

    @Caveat: I’ve never heard of Costco or Sams Club offering bags, you either get leftover boxes or you bring your own.

    I would also disagree with the self-checkout, I often end up in line and usually it’s behind people who take a minute to scan each item because they can’t figure out how to put something in the bag or on the belt. I have actually timed it and unless I’m the very first one in line at self-checkout, I could get through a cashier express line faster.

  20. Youthier says:

    @Buran: Hee. I’m just imagining telling someone “Your [father/brother/whatever] died for my right to not show my receipt at Best Buy!”

  21. whysteriastar says:

    You know, I used to work at Guitar Center as an official “receipt checker.” We actually did check to make sure people had the right quantity and items on their receipt.
    It was so annoying because for every person we had bitch at us about the inconvenience, we’d find someone else who paid for 10 things when it was only supposed to be 1 thing or who had the cheaper version of an item they paid for in their stuff. We seriously saved a lot of people bank…of course, maybe that just means we needed less crappy people as salesmen.

  22. bohemian says:

    If they are going to do a theft check at the door the least places like Sams can do is offer self checkout. Since they are checking your items for unpaid ones when you leave the checker really is not doing anything a kiosk couldn’t. At least for those with the technical ability to use a self checkout.

  23. Ausoleil says:

    Receipt checking is guilty until proven innocent. Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why this is done.

    The checkers are there to prevent theft, call it like it is. That could be in the form of shoplifting, or the clerk that didn’t blink when someone overlaid a bar code for something cheaper over a more expensive product. Or, the checkout clerk didn’t scan a thing or two and gave them away free.

    While in principle I agree with not having to show I am no deadbeat thief, unfortunately, the stores have a lot of them come in and out of their premises every day. But next to the real problems this world faces, this issue is just silly.

  24. mtaylor924 says:

    On a side note, I hate that they swipe the highlighter or marker directly through the itemized listing of my purchase. The solvent in the markers over time makes the printing illegible over time. So when I need to keep track of a purchase or submit something for reimbursement somewhere, the name of the item, or sometimes the actual item price, isn’t there anymore. Grrr!

  25. warf0x0r says:

    @liquisoft: They’re looking for big ticket items like televisions or computers microwaves and such. Most of the time since people don’t buy that stuff you just get a once over and a highlighter mark, but you’ll notice at those places that on large purchases they will look at the model numbers and compair it to what is on your receipt. That’s what BB and CC try to do, no LP is advised to stop someone who’s got a DVD or a CD or even a few larger items, but they will ask when you buy a computer or TV which at those stores you can refuse (BB and CC that is). But, and while not being an advocate for receipt checking at BB especially after working there, I did see a person who bought a computer but got a lesser model placed on their cart and since the person at the register didn’t scan the machine but rather punched in a SKU from a peice of paper the LP caught it and they got her the right computer before she left the store to avoid fiasco.

    But I still think BB and CC shouldn’t ask for a receipt.

  26. dualityshift says:

    that’s why you put the stolen goods in the middle of the cart. (just kidding)

    Nowhere does it say they have the right to touch the items in your cart, once you’ve paid for it. I wouldn’t want them touching my stuff, especially food products. So here’s my receipt, Run your highlighter all over it, but when you go to touch the goods in the cart, I slap your hand away, laughing.

    I don’t care about receipt checking at Costco or Sam’s Club. I do say “No thanks” at Best Buy. Never been stopped yet.

  27. bedofnails says:

    They just count items from what I’ve seen.

  28. K-Bo says:

    @Buran: To paraphrase 200 previous comments on all the other posts on this subject: The Constitution protects you from the Government. The Constitution doesn’t protect you from Wal-mart or Costco or whatever big box you choose to shop at.

  29. fearuncertaintydoubt says:

    While the membership agreement that you sign may state that they have the right to inspect your receipt before exiting, I don’t think that they have the right to use force to compel you to do so, nor do I think they could have you arrested for refusing. IANAL, but this is a contract, so it would be covered by civil law. I suppose that Sam’s could revoke your membership for refusing the submit to the receipt check, but not detain you under force or threat of criminal prosecution for it.

  30. catnapped says:

    @mtaylor924: So photocopy the receipt. The print on thermal paper likely won’t last more than a few months (at most) before it fades, leaving you in the same predicament.

  31. bufftbone says:

    if it really is to check to see if we were improperly charged then that would mean that the people doing the checking would have the price for everything memorized.

  32. Twill815 says:

    The only reason receipt check is acceptable at Costco, Sam’s Club, or B.J’s is because the rule is stated in the membership by-laws and they are member’s only stores.

    It is not acceptable at non membership stores such as Best Buy. The second you hand over money to a store and in return they give you the product you purchased, that product is rightfully yours, even if you’re still on the retailers premises. It is 100% illegal for anyone to search your personal property without your permission. The only exception is if the police have a search warrant.

    And K-BO protection from the goverment is only part of the Constitution. It protects you from private citizens and enterprises impeding on your basic human rights as well.

    I think of receipt checking as an accusation of theft and that is why it upsets me. I hate the guilty until proven innocent mentality this country has.

  33. InsaneNewman says:

    While the membership agreement that you sign may state that they have the right to inspect your receipt before exiting, I don’t think that they have the right to use force to compel you to do so, nor do I think they could have you arrested for refusing. IANAL, but this is a contract, so it would be covered by civil law. I suppose that Sam’s could revoke your membership for refusing the submit to the receipt check, but not detain you under force or threat of criminal prosecution for it.

    We have a winner!

    YES, you’ve agreed by becoming a member of these store to a reciept (and bag/backpack) check, but…
    NO, they can not forcibly detain you if you decline, but…
    YES, they can and probably will revoke your membership if you do decide to be an ass about the reciept/bag check that you agreed to.

  34. enm4r says:

    @bufftbone: Wrong. They pay particular notice to multiple items on a receipt showing up in a row, and check to ensure you’re getting what you paid for. I think, believe it or not, this more often benefits the consumer.

  35. coan_net says:

    I’m all for them spending $8 an hour to have someone check receipts – since the alternative is a lot more on either watching shoppers as they move around the store, or in lost merchandise.

    …. which of course all that cost goes right back into the cost of the goods I just bought. I know some people complain that they have to show their receipts – but if it keeps the prices down on the stuff I buy – It takes me 0% extra effort to show them my receipt as I walk out.

  36. supedve says:

    Even if the Clubs state that you must submit to a receipt check, what happens if you just keep walking and don’t submit? They still can’t delay or hold you up under a possible accusation. And if you don’t provide your receipt, they don’t know your membership number. I think their policy states that they can check your items, but that can’t prevent you from leaving.

    It’s like speed limits, the signs say a specific speed to obey, but if you wish to exceed them, you proceed at your own ticketing risk (i.e. termination of Club membership).

  37. dualityshift says:

    @Twill815: That’s why you carry a camcorder.
    1. Record the incident, without causing too big of a disturbance.
    2. When you too are arrested, you have video evidence. Make sure to yell out “I am NOT resisting this unlawful arrest.”
    3. Sue the hell out of the store and the police department.

  38. sonichghog says:

    @InsaneNewman: Yes, they can not detain you, but they can make you return everything you bought. They can say that you are not leaving with those items, you can either let us check the receipt, (WHICH YOU AGREED TO WHEN YOU BECAME A MEMBER) or return the items.

  39. mbrutsch says:

    @theblackdog: They check your receipt, they mark it, and you’re done. What do you want from these stores?

    I want to give them money for goods, period. If they have loss control problems, well, then they have loss control problems. Unless they’re going to put me on the payroll, it’s not my responsibility to assist them in doing their jobs. The fact that most people are too stupid or meek to stand up to being searched only exacerbates the issue.

  40. Khaos813 says:

    Didn’t you know thats what the little yellow pen is for. You highlight over it and if it tells you if you’ve been overcharged…its AMAZING!

  41. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    I can buy $2.00 in junk food at Wal-Mart and get stopped for a receipt, but I’ve walked out with a bike twice and didn’t get a second glance.

    Receipt checks are pointless because they’re relying on a human being to be accurate and honest, plus (at least at stores where there’s no membership required), the ratio of greeters to customers going in and out of the store is never going to allow for an accurate count of items.

  42. killavanilla says:

    I’m sorry, but the minor inconvenience of having to show your receipt to someone falls somewhere below what brand of toothpast i use in terms of importance in my life.
    I’ll comply, without complain, every time.
    I don’t feel put upon and just fail to see how this affects my civil rights.
    It is a part of my life I just don’t care about. It takes 5 seconds. 20 max. I am not about to devote hours to fighting this as it is a total waste of my valuable time.

  43. Esquire99 says:

    It would be great if the people who are commenting on this would actually read the other comments. I love how this “issue” has been going on for weeks now and there are still people out there who think the Constitution applies in this situation. It does NOT. You have no 4th amendment protection against the store, or any private entity for that matter. And another thing, I’m not entirely certain you could make a case for false imprisonment if they simply prevent you from exiting out the front door. There are plenty of other “escape” routes, such as back doors, fire exits, and unless those are being blocked, you would be obligated to utilize them before you could meet the elements of false imprisonment. Just because the “escape” route is inconvenient doesn’t make you imprisoned. False imprisonment requires complete confinement, and if there is an escape route available, you’re not imprisoned.
    Additionally, if you don’t want to show your receipt at Sams/Costco, DON’T SHOP THERE. You KNOW they require it, you agreed to submit to it, and they by all rights should immediately revoke your membership for not doing so.
    I don’t understand why the hell this issue is still being argued. Perhaps it’s time for the consumerist to move on to something else.

  44. kmg says:

    @ NekoinCardine and Shaggy Brown:

    Yup, just at Costco on Tuesday and bought two bins of kitty litter. I could only fit one on the under-rack, and set the other in the cart. The guy scanned my receipt and didn’t see the bin down below, and thought I’d been overcharged. Kind of sweet, them trying to give me money back for something I’d actually bought. I don’t think showing my receipt rises to the level of an involuntary retinal scan on the spectrum of privacy concerns.

    That said, it is rather a PITA.

  45. enm4r says:

    @bradg33: It’s a civil matter, they can take civil action and ban you from the store. They can’t physically restrain you, or prevent you from leaving the store, or prevent you from [safely] driving away once you’re in the parking lot.

    You complain about people not getting the point, I think you’re missing it. Blah blah civil rights. I honestly care more about my time and if they’re going to prevent me from leaving the store, the police had better be on their way, and I don’t want to deal with their ridiculous harassment. They can also ban me from coming back, I’ll be glad to get my goods elsewhere.

  46. edjusted says:

    @liquisoft: You clearly underestimate the receipt checkers at these stores, who are well known for their photographic memory. After all, how else could they memorize the price of every. single. item in the store? Clearly, we should be worshipping these people!

  47. Esquire99 says:

    @enm4r: I didn’t say they could physically restrain you. I said that I don’t know that blocking you from walking out the front door necessarily constitutes false imprisonment.
    Believe me, I get the point. I would be one of the people that walks right past the receipt check people, save for those at Sams/Costco. I just despise it when people start throwing around legal terms like “false imprisonment” and violating the constitution/my civil rights and don’t really know what it means. I whole-heartedly believe the store is entirely wrong, but just because they block you from leaving doesn’t mean you can expect them to get prosecuted for false imprisonment, or expect to win a civil suit for the same.

  48. Trauma_Hound says:

    SONICHGHOG: “Yes, they can not detain you, but they can make you return everything you bought. They can say that you are not leaving with those items, you can either let us check the receipt, (WHICH YOU AGREED TO WHEN YOU BECAME A MEMBER) or return the items.”

    Nope wrong, as someone that has done this at Costco there is nothing they can do but accuse you of stealing and hold you, that is if they have probable cause. Which the courts have clearly stated that bar is high, like if someone actually saw you take something. My experience with just walking out, after standing for half an hour in a long line just to check out, I was fed up wanted to leave and not have to get into another long line, because they had one checker. So I just walked around the checker and walked out, she freaked out, called some goons, and a floor manager. They followed me out to my car, and insisted I show them my receipt. I loaded my car, got in, and told them if they didn’t move I would call the police. At which point the floor manager backed off and just said I’d have to show one the next time I shopped there. I contacted Costco cooperate, which in turn had the manager of that Costco store call me, she apologized and said they wouldn’t do that again. I still have a membership.

  49. Gannoc says:

    I get enraged when this is done at places like Circuit City or Best Buy. Especially when it they claim it is to “keep prices low.” Yeah. As though if tomorrow, theft magically went away, they’d happily announce a 10% price cut on everything.

    At Costco, I don’t mind it as much, since I truly believe that the savings that the store gets by reducing theft is passed on to the consumer.

  50. sonichghog says:

    @Trauma_Hound: I was not writing about them holding you, just checking the receipt. Which you agreed to let them do.
    BTW the do not have to check you receipt every time you leave, you just told them that you would let them check it when you became a member.

    I have to wonder why the stord called you and apologized, they should of done something about your breach of contract.

  51. sonichghog says:

    @Trauma_Hound: Um, yes. Did you even read this story?

    Costco [PDF, pg 14]: “To ensure that all members are correctly charged for the merchandise purchased, all receipts and merchandise will be inspected as you leave the warehouse.”

  52. Esquire99 says:

    @sonichghog: “BTW the do not have to check you receipt every time you leave, you just told them that you would let them check it when you became a member.”

    That makes no sense. Are you trying to say that the membership agreement, which says they can check receipts, only applies to the particular day that you applied, and not to any subsequent visits to the store? If thats what you’re trying to say, I’m going to work under the assumption that you’ve been drinking heavily.

  53. LawyerontheDL says:

    I don’t recall the Constitution stating that you had a right to leave a store without presenting your receipt. I’m pretty sure that my relatives did not die for this right. Still, I don’t mind someone checking it when I’m leaving BJ’s or walking out of Best Buy with a printer in a box. It does, however, annoy me when the guy sees me walking from the register with items in a bag and still makes me haul out my receipt. It doesn’t keep me up at night, though.

  54. toddkravos says:

    The costco’s here in the Cleveland market just uses any ole pen to mark the receipt

    -They hold the paper to the cart
    -Swipe the receipt with the other side of the pen.

    They’re not actually writing on it, they’re just moving the carbon around on the paper.

    Don’t want to wait in the second line at Costco? In Avon Lake, even? Figure it out.

    Honest people shouldn’t be treated like they are 100% dishonest…

    I’m just sayin’ ….

  55. Joe Hass says:

    Only once in my nine years of shopping at Costco has the receipt checker caught something, and it was an undercharge: we grabbed six packages of paper by picking up the entire case. The cashier thought the case was the unit item, and scanned the barcode on the case which matched the barcode on the paper. When we went to leave, the clerk noticed we had six reams of paper, but only one paid for.

    I won’t get into the obvious arguments here, but I’ll add what I’ve been able to determine: they check item counts; if an item appears with the price reversed out (white numbers on a black background), the checker will physically look at the item to ensure the item numbers match.

    Someone noted earlier that Costco ought to use self-checkout. Here’s what I’ve found at other stores: the stores tend to poorly enforce such things as item limits and the like, which bogs the system down. Further, you’d be surprised how much quicker a cashier can scan 12 items on a belt than a consumer can pull them out of a basket. And remember: the main motivation for self-checkouts have nothing at all to do with customer time, and everything to do with having to pay one “overseer” instead of four cashiers.

  56. sammysam says:

    I used to work for Sam’s Club.

    It is more of a double check for tired and stressed cashiers. Our store was ridiculously busy and it was almost impossible to hear the registers, meaning it was very likely that something was run across the scanner but not actually scanned in on the sale. Now, we could watch the screen for every item, but then our lines would only get longer causing us to get cranky[or crankier depending on who you get].

    If people want to steal, they can and will at least get out of the store and parking lot with what they want. They’re usually got thanks to the wonders that are CCTV, license plates and physical descriptions.

  57. InsaneNewman says:


    Yes, they can not detain you, but they can make you return everything you bought. They can say that you are not leaving with those items, you can either let us check the receipt, (WHICH YOU AGREED TO WHEN YOU BECAME A MEMBER) or return the items.

    I don’t think they’d be able to do that, at least not without a hell of an arguement. Anything that has already been purchased is my property, and while they can, and probably will, recind my membership and/or ban me from the store for not following the agreement I made with them, they can’t retroactively recind the membership agreement. Therefore, I would still be free to leave with my merchandise.

    Not that I’m advocating ignoring the reciept/bag check clause that you agreed to, anyway. In regards to a membership-based store, I find this arguement to be rather pointless.

  58. mrjimbo19 says:

    Part of the reason for receipt checks in the club stores like costco is to ensure that you receive the item only one time. They check the receipt off and then you are not able to use the same receipt again at a later time to attempt double dipping on the items.

  59. sonichghog says:

    @bradg33: No, I am saying that the store does not HAVE to check your recepit. They can just let you go out without being checked if they want to. But if they want to, you have agreed to being checked.

  60. cyenobite says:

    First, I hate these receipt checks too. I don’t like the inconvenience. I stopped complaining about it when it was pointed out to me that I had agreed to it in my membership to the clubstore. I asked the various people checking the receipts and have gotten various answers each time. Two, have stood out (to me) as being the correct reasons… It’s not to check prices (though that may be a lucky side benefit). It’s a way to prevent “employee” theft, in that you don’t have a friend at the register only ring up 1 CD, then walk out of the store with 15. The second reason is to prevent people from buying a product, walking out to the car, putting the box in the trunk, walking back in the store, going to the Aisle, then taking that new item (with receipt) and returning it at the returns counter. Those checkers are not just there to check merchandise going out of the store, but also to check for items coming into the store for returns.
    I still don’t like it, but I understand the purpose of it.

  61. Trauma_Hound says:


    Umm yes I did read the story, just because a contract says they can do one thing doesn’t make that contract valid. In a word you can’t sign your constitutional rights away. They were in the wrong to try and stop me period and they knew if they pursued it, I would pursue unlawful detainment charges. They don’t want that kind of press. I also on that day in a great deal of pain from walking around then standing in line for an extended length of time, since I had knee surgery a few weeks earlier, so standing in another line wasn’t an option for me.

  62. sonichghog says:

    @Trauma_Hound: You do not understand. You did not sign your rights away. Just like when a cop asks to search your car. If you say yes to the cop there is NO rights violation.

    At these Clubs, as a member you said YES to the “search” when you signed the contract.

    Doing what you did could be considered breach of contract.

  63. sonichghog says:

    @Trauma_Hound:If you were to do that at any BB or CC, I would be in complete agreement with you.

  64. Trauma_Hound says:

    Sonic hog you are pretty dense, which part of they can’t stop you don’t you understand? How are they going to know who I am, if they can’t stop me? How about this, they go and stop me, I sue them for unlawful detainment. Then at the same time I go get a restraining order against them showing up at my work to pawn their memberships at my work. Which is going to cost them less? Oh it would be an apology and we won’t do that again. Think outside the box for a change. I don’t care there is some contract, in fact I don’t remember ever seeing any policy when I filled out the application. Signing something doesn’t automatically make you obligated to agree to a contract after the fact. So you are dead wrong, and the law and case history is on my side.

  65. woertink says:

    How should stores as large as these prevent people from stealing goods? These stores are large and busy. If there were no checks at the exit of some kind it seems like it would be rather trivial to just grab something and walk out the door as if you purchased it. If the stores should not use the current methods then what methods would you propose?

  66. decaf says:


    I can buy $2.00 in junk food at Wal-Mart and get stopped for a receipt, but I’ve walked out with a bike twice and didn’t get a second glance.”

    As someone who has worked in retail hell, I feel I can offer you some insight. Typically, shoplifters pick up small items that they believe they can walk away with easily, and usually mix them in with other items. When bikes go missing, it’s more likely that employee theft is to blame.

  67. cryrevolution says:

    This would make sense if they actually did this. At my Costco and Sams Club, they just take the receipt, give it a quick (faster than speed reading) once over and highlight it. Even when I lived in Round Rock, TX they did the same there. I agree @warf0x0r: they’re doing this mostly for the big items. I’ve never gotten anyone actually count the items in the cart.

  68. morganlh85 says:

    Of course the reasons are BS…they don’t want to come out and say “We are going to check your receipt to make sure you didn’t steal that television set.”

  69. Twitch says:

    Having worked and managed at big box stores, From Circuit city (way back in the late 80’s / early 90’s) to Montgomery Ward to Incredible Universe. I’ve worked with LP in all of those stores. The receipt check is for two reasons.

    1. To place a LP person at the door, to help apprehend someone that is trying to blitz out the door with a cart full of stuff. I’ve seen it happen at Incredible Universe. Guy with a cart full of DVD players that were, at the time, worth about $400 each running for the door to a waiting car.

    2. to make people think about it. The LP guys at Incredible Universe were trained to look people in the eye, to be polite, yet show strength and confidence. I’m sure the Best Buy guys are trained the same way.

    If a cashier puts something in a bag, it’s mine, it’s private and I am under no obligation to show anyone anything.

    If I’m walking out of a store with a single item or many items that are not bagged, then the store may ask me to view a receipt. I believe I have the right to not show it, just as they have the right to ask me not to shop there anymore. I can fully understand the warehouse stores doing this. They don’t offer bags to save costs, they would be open to much more loss if they didn’t have an LP person at the door. Plus, I’ve agreed to it. I could try to get out without showing a receipt, but I doubt they’d be happy about it nor would they like to keep me as a customer.

    The warehouse stores could solve this if they moved checkout closer to the door and made it much more difficult to move from the shopping area to the egress with merchandise.

    When I buy a CD at Best Buy, and the cashier puts the item I’ve paid for in a bag, then it becomes mine and it’s private. The cashier is part of the LP process. I will not allow someone that is not an officer of the law inspect my bag unless they have reasonable expectation that I have, in fact, shoplifted. I have been stopped several times by doorchecks at bestbuy and frys. When they get upset that I’m not willing to open my bag, I ask if I’m suspected of shoplifting. They always say NO, then I ask if I’m free to go. They have to say YES unless you are, in fact, suspect.

    Fry’s has gotten pretty good at letting you blow past by saying ‘no thanks’…

    Vote with your dollars folks.

  70. sonichghog says:

    Hound–I know what I am talking about, and I actually read agreements that I sign. If you are too dense or in too much of a hurry to read an agrement that you need to sign in order to shop somewhere, perhaps you should not shop there.

    One would figure that if you read consumerist, that you would be smart enough to read something that you sign, I suppose that you are proof this is not the case.

    At leat read what I have posted before going off, I NEVER said they could detain you, they at most could make you return what you purchased, and tell you not to come again.

  71. sonichghog says:

    @Trauma_Hound: BTW, what case history. Who has won a case against the “clubs” Please state the case you say you know…..

    Also, what law is violated. I do not mean at a place like CC or BB, I mean a club that was joined.

    Also, it is part of the contract. If you forget about that is in the contract, it does not mean it is void. It just means you forgot.

  72. Balisong says:

    I just remembered a situation from my retail days that may or may not relate to receipt-checking. I rang up an elderly lady, who paid with a credit card. I believe signature checking is a load of crap – anyone can forge a sig and people’s sigs change. So I asked for her i.d. Instead of the grateful response I usually got, she instead responded that she doesn’t need to show her id and I can check the sig. Fortunately one of the managers was at the register next to me, and when I dazedly looked over at him he told me she’s right, there’s nothing we could do. We had to take the card. He afterwards told me that the company doesn’t care – they get the money whether the card was hers or stolen. So I just quit altogether asking for i.d.’s with credit cards, because what was the point if noone cared? Did I ring up some stolen cards? Whatever, it’s someone else’s problem now.

    What’s my point? When people start these little pointless battles, someone somewhere is going to get screwed. On top of what I see as a more human argument (you’re probably completely ruining a regular retail worker’s day as this lady did to me), you’re causing problems with policies that are there to reduce theft and shrinkage. Oh, but the store’s shrinkage problems have nothing to do with us. Really? You think the store’s going to pay for that? We are going to pay for that. You are going to pay for that. Did that guy pay for what he’s walking out the door with? Whatever, it’s someone else’s problem now.

  73. Esquire99 says:

    @Trauma_Hound: While I don’t agree entirely with Sonichghog, he is right on a lot of things. First off, what makes you think that once you sign a contract you are no longer obligated? “Signing something doesn’t automatically make you obligated to agree to a contract after the fact.” Can you explain that? It makes no sense. When you sign and agree to a contract, you are obligated to keep up your end of the deal, or you are in breach. While they would never go after you (legally) for that breach, mostly because they suffer no real damages, they can and should revoke your membership. Your logic is flawed, if not non-existent. You have no idea what caselaw/statutory law is on your side.
    I agree they can’t detain you, but even if they were to do so, by say standing in your way, you’ll have a hard time collecting any sort of substantial damages, assuming you can meet the elements of false imprisonment, which I think you’ll have a hard time doing. As my other post said, you have to prove total confinement, so if you know there is a back door that you could “escape” out of, you might not be able to prove you were totally confined. I’m not saying you absolutely can’t prove it, but you’ll have a battle. Second, this idea that you could get a restraining order against Costco/Sam’s is idiotic. No judge in their right mind will tell the company Costco they have to stay away from you. Perhaps you should learn a thing or two about the law before you start making wild statements about who your going to sue and how much money it’s going to cost them.

  74. rdm24 says:

    I find your passion for civil rights admirable, but I still think receipt-checking is a trivial issue. It is easily addressed by patronizing stores that share your values, and boycotting those that don’t. I can only hope you direct your energy equally to protecting civil rights in other areas, like warrantless wiretapping, keeping our schools and military free of religious indoctrination, and fighting voter intimidation.

  75. Parting says:

    Urgh! Just show the receipt and go, please don’t block the door and argue.

    Ok, it’s useless and annoying, but I can understand why businesses use it.

    Also, shoplifting does drive prices up, so I guess I’m partly interested in minimum theft activity in places where I shop.

    Besides, world hunger, climate change … Maybe a bit more important than a receipt check.

    (Don’t take it personal, but usually people who claim their right for really small things, don’t like to fullfil for their obligations for bigger things, like voting for example)

  76. Extended-Warranty says:

    I’m glad we’ve taken so much time and dedicated it to something as important as receipt checking. I wonder why the rest of the world hate us Americans and say we are rude?

  77. aikoto says:


    Aren’t you a treasure? It must be nice to be able to completely dismiss someone else’s views and beliefs by just flippantly stating how trivial it is compared to world issues.

    Now get off the computer and go back to killing kittens in your backyard (which must be perfectly ok in your world because that PALES in comparison to big issues like genocide in the middle east).

  78. falc says:

    i used to work at a bj’s in new jersey as the receipt checker. and what i did was to check receipts for expensive items to make sure they were paid for (ink cartridges, electronics, etc.). if the number of items purchased was small we would count them up and match with receipt. but our job was to REDUCE SHRINK (stolen items). mostly checkers would forget to scan the case of soda or paper towels on the bottom shelf of the shopping cart.

  79. Rahnee says:

    So why am I asked for my receipt every time I exit the local WALMART? Does WALMART have a receipt checking policy? There is always someone standing at the door marking receipts even if you only have one item in your hand with no buggy. At our local store they usually stand just beyond the electronic security barrier.

  80. Trauma_Hound says:

    @rdm24: Yes I am, I’m getting Ron Paul elected. It just amazes me just how many people in this country don’t know what their rights are. But then again look at our education system.

  81. Trauma_Hound says:

    @Extended-Warranty: The rest of the world hates us because we invade countries and have military in 140 countries get informed.

  82. Trauma_Hound says:

    @bradg33: Oh I don’t know the constitution? Which part of they can’t legally detain you, don’t you understand?

  83. Esquire99 says:

    @Trauma_Hound: Did you even read my post? I’m fairly certain you didn’t, that or you don’t understand English. Let’s see, “I agree they can’t detain you”, yep, that pretty much shows I don’t understand they can’t detain you. Maybe next time I’ll try writing it in crayon or drawing pictures so there is at least a chance of you reading/understanding it. And you clearly don’t know the constitution if you think the 4th amendment applies here. I like how you make a point to rdm24 about how no one knows their rights, when you have this twisted, idiotic idea of what your’s are. I imagine next your going to tell me that african-americans are inferior, because the constitution says so (Dred Scott v Sanford). God forbid you be expected to do any real research before coming to ridiculous conclusions and spouting off idiotic rhetoric.

  84. Lee Jones says:

    Two weeks ago, I bought ten seasons of a TV series at Costco. The employee at the exit caught an overcharge… something got scanned twice, and I didn’t notice. I appreciated it.

    I don’t see what the big deal is. Show your receipt. What’s the big deal?

    Recording being detained? Do any of you really spend that much time, going out of your way to be a jerk?

    Just be a good consumer! This is the Consumerist, right? If you don’t like their policy, write a nice latter, complain to the manager, and shop somewhere else.

  85. Gh0st3000 says:

    @ Trauma_Hound
    “Signing something doesn’t automatically make you obligated to agree to a contract after the fact.” What did you think you were signing for in the first place? By your argument, i shouldn’t have to follow any TOS’s I agree to that I didn’t read.

    The issues are very simple:
    BJ’s and Sam’s club checking your reciept- OK, you allowed them to do so.
    Anyone else checking it- Not OK, You have every right to leave.
    Leaving the BJ’s- Not really ok, because although it’s not criminal, you’ll probably lose your membership for being a petty dick. Unless
    Leaving anywhere else-OK, no obligation to stay.
    Being stopped from leaving by anyone at all- Not ok. call the cops on ’em, unless you’re being formally charged with theft.

  86. Buran says:

    @K-Bo: Actually, it does, since they can’t search you since that’s assault if they touch you and they cannot forcibly detain you if they don’t have reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime (and court cases have established that they have to observe you concealing stuff and leaving with it without paying). Only the police can stop and forcibly search you. And they cannot do it without reasonable cause.

    So yes, the law does apply here, to paraphrase many many more comments.

  87. arsbadmojo says:

    I just got a BJ’s membership. I don’t recall signing a membership agreement, but maybe I did. I can tell you this much, no one specifically said anything about checking receipts when I did sign up. Maybe it was in the small print.

    So I made my purchases, and went to leave. I never show my receipts anywhere, so when I was asked, I actually said that I lost the receipt. He said I’d have to go to the service desk and get a new one. I said no. He said he’d have to call a mamanger. I said OK. Meanwhile people are lining up behind me. After 5 minutes, 2 managers showed up. I asked if it was a requirement of membership that I show them my receipt, and they assured me that it was. I told them I was going to need to see that in writing. They left to go get it. After another 5 minutes, I told the guy that I was tired of waiting, and to do whatever he needed to do, but that I was leaving.

    Next time I’m just going to flat out refuse and keep walking. I don’t care if it’s a club, the absolute worst they could do is cancel my membership – and to do that they’re going to have to try and figure out who I am. :)

    • Anonymous says:


      It’s actually very easy to track you down and cut your membership.

      I was a door checker at costco for about a year, and you would be surprised how many people tried to pull that on me and then come in and ohshi your account is frozen. GG.

      Anyways, You signed the contract, you follow the rules. We can stop you from leaving the premises with items and not showing a reciet (at least at costco). Stop being a prick and making peoples jobs harder because your freaking out over spending an extra minute to get your reciept checked.

  88. jakejarmel says:

    Just wanted to let everyone know about a site where you can compare Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s prices on electronics and appliances. Just type the appropriate store name- “costco”, “samsclub”, or “bjs” in the search box at []

  89. Anonymous says:

    I purchased 2 bags of beans the other day (BJ’s) along with some other things. Somehow I managed to scan only one bag of beans. When I left, she glanced (and i mean a quick glance) at my receipt, glanced at my arms and gave my receipt a punch. When I looked at my receipt later, I noticed that i only scanned one bag of beans…so much for checking for accurate pricing, never mind what’s in my arms. I’m sorry…I did not return to the store to tell them I inadvertently did not pay for the other bag of beans. They tasted much sweeter than the other bag! :/

  90. Anonymous says:

    They had ample opportunity to check your cart at the cashier as I did. When they are busy and there is a line, just rush past the door person like I do. Once you are outside let them call a cop if they want to. I have a receipt for everything in my possession so I am legally in the right. Don’t fall for their bull shit.