EECB Stops Improper Searches At New Mexico Walmart

Reader T launched an Executive Email Carpet Bomb on Walmart because he was concerned about some improper receipt checks and searches going on:

Yesterday I sent an e-mail bomb to several executives at Walmart. The concern was that the store was requiring you to provide your receipt upon leaving the store (as in Sam’s club, but at Walmart). As we all know, this is a hot topic issue, and I expected Walmart to ignore my e-mails. But to my surprise, after writing my e-mail on Sunday afternoon, I got a reply shortly after 8am! Here is my letter —

Dear Wal-Mart Executive –

*In reference to your store located in Las Vegas, New Mexico, please be advised that the employees are illegally searching, seizing and detaining customers without cause. *

As a frequent visitor to this store, as well as a investor in Wal-mart, I write this letter to share my concerns that are being dismissed by the store level management. Calls to the regional manager have been fruitless, as have calls to your 1-800 phone number.

The issue of my concern is that this store has begun to require that customers show their receipt upon exit of the store, and if you do not, they will detain you from leaving, or at a minimum, yell at the customer for not showing their receipt. Both occur on a daily basis.

As you are aware, some of your membership stores, such as Sam’s Club, has clauses in the contract that the buyer signs when a membership is bought that allows for this activity. This is not the case at a Wal-Mart store.

I am sure you are familiar with many story’s and resulting law suits of various stores that have also attempted to implement this policy (I would refer you to the website – for further information on this issue) that have caused not only poor relations, but large law suits that favor the defendant.

I respectfully request that this practice stops immediately. We have a Constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and therefore we can’t be made to submit to a search without prior consent unless a police officer has a reasonable cause to search. A private individual can’t force you to do so, either — touching you is assault, and taking something from you without your consent is theft. Both are criminal charges as is detaining someone.

I do realize that store shrinkage is a problem. But as we are both aware, store shrinkage is a problem related to primarily to in store theft by employees. Please put your energy and focus where it needs to be – not the honest customer.

I would appreciate a reply regarding this issue. Thank you. I may be reached via e-mail at the return address of this e-mail, or via phone at 505-XXX-XXXX. Thank you.

—– Then this morning, I got a call from Michael Moore, Executive Sr. Vice President. He stated that he would talk to his sales people and see what could be done. He also offered me a gift card for my time. After work today, I stopped at Walmart…and they were no longer checking receipts….one of the employees stated that they no longer were supposed to do that!

Way to go Consumerist! Your tips and advice were great!

For more information about how to learn to launch your own EECB, click here.



Edit Your Comment

  1. headon says:

    Ah walmart still sucks

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I like how the person who went ahead and made the shopping experience better for everyone was just a concerned shopper, not someone who had a big confrontation they wanted to vent about. Good job!!

  3. stephenjames716 says:

    p.s. walmart is still evil.

  4. stinkingbob says:

    Unless you are a member to a private shopping club like Costco, the store does not have any right to detain you or ask to see your receipt after you have purchased the item. They can ask for proof of payment if for example, an employee sees you steal or you walk out and the theft alarm goes off. Other than that, just walk right out and if they detain you, you can sue them.

  5. Toof_75_75 says:

    Michael Moore called you?! Bad luck there…

  6. homerjay says:

    Michael Moore a VP for WalMart… “The ironing is delicious.”

  7. woodenturkey says:

    I just state “I am not a theif” and keep on walking.

  8. ChrisC1234 says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is. I’d much rather just show my receipt than be an a-hole like this and demand that they stop.

    There are things in life worth fighting for, and there are things that are NOT worth fighting for. Not having to show my receipt when leaving a store is NOT worth a fight.

  9. pmadmin says:

    They have been pulling this crap at the store by me in Antioch, IL. Normally, I ignore them but it’s hard to push your way around a seventy year old lady who has a bug up her ass about looking at a reciept.

  10. changeyez says:

    It is worth fighting for. When do you finally decide to not let your rights be violated.

    Does anyone else’s local Best Buy ask to see receipts? Mine does, sometimes. They definitely should not be checking unless they have reason to believe you are shoplifiting, in which case they should call the proper authorities (police).

  11. Shawna says:

    @ChrisC1234: I think it makes total sense if you have something large not in a bag (like a big screen tv) but when you’ve just walked from the register, it’s rediculous for them to look over your reciept. It implies that you stole/are attempting to steal something without reasonable evidence.

  12. Amelie says:

    @ChrisC1234 said:I’d much rather just show my receipt than be an a-hole like this and demand that they stop. Not having to show my receipt when leaving a store is NOT worth a fight.

    Oh yes, anyone who doesn’t have your values is automatically an asshole. It may not be a big deal to you, but it is to him. If it doesn’t bother you, that’s fine. But don’t tell other people what to think, or how to run their lives. The only asshole here is you!

  13. DjDynasty says:

    @ChrisC1234: Yea, but the fight is SOOO profitable! Because of this website, I now file small claims lawsuits on every company that detains me, touches me, or otherwise tries to grab my bag. I live in Illinois, and am allowed up to $10,000 in small claims. My favorite is still best buy, I purchased an Airport Extreme, something that has those protective cables around it. I refused a bag because it’s a waste of plastic for one item and walked out the door after paying, They did the whole “Sure I need to see your receipt” and I kept walking, they grabbed me by the arm that had the box in my hand, with my free hand I called 911 on my cell. They settled very quickly as the associate who touched me, I had arrested and pressed charges on. I got the max for small claims in cash, as well as a lot of gift cards for the trouble. Now when I do in store pickup from best I automatically get the $10.00 off for it taking longer than a minute.

    To me it’s been worth the fight. I always get discounts, made enough money to fund my partner and I’s IRA this year and get treated like a high roller in Best Buy. I’m in and out in under 20 minutes. Including parking in the geek squad parking spots and cutting lines if need be. So yes, I’m an asshole, but life is also to short to waste time being a lemming standing in a rat maze of que’s at stores.

  14. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @ChrisC1234: The problem is, if everyone eventually accepted the idea of being detained for not showing their recpit, it will eventually grow to being patted down for not showing the recpit…or just patted down in general every time you leave the store. You need to take a stand before it gets out of hand.

  15. UpsetPanda says:

    The key to all of is is to ride the coattails of someone else who does stop to show their receipt. Walk near them and when they stop, continue. Eyes forward, don’t look back.

  16. twoply says:

    The people who talk about the erosion of our rights that will inevitably result due to our receipts being forcibly highlighted as we leave a store need to realize something. This is a trivial fight! Look at what our government is doing to our rights! Where is the outcry for that?

  17. qwickone says:

    @AlteredBeast: I don’t usually like the slippery slope argument, but it’s very easy to see it go from “show your receipt” to “let me wave this metal detecting wand or pat you down”. I just hate it when people make illogical jumps.

  18. johnva says:

    @ChrisC1234: It doesn’t sound like he got into a “fight” over it. He just sent a respectful email off and got a respectful reply. Sounds to me like he handled his dissatisfaction in a very mature manner.

    Receipt-checking at the door bothers me too, mainly just because it’s a hassle for me. They don’t have a legal right to do it without your permission, so I’m under no obligation to comply and waste my time waiting for them to do it. A receipt check is a search of MY property (since I’ve already paid for it). The fact that so many people submit to it just shows how submissive people are when someone presents themselves as a pseudo-authority figure.

  19. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @twoply: Yes, there are bigger fish to fry than a store’s recipt policy, but it is like a leak in a dam. It isn’t like you need to ignore one issue to pay attention to another. Fight both fights, as no fight for your rights is ever small.

  20. Mr. Gunn says:

    Every once in a while, some detached middle manager will get the idea that it’s worth it to screw with customers. It’s lazy and lousy. If they want to have a better handle on loss prevention, they need to beef up their security and fraud monitoring in a way that doesn’t involve imposing demands on customers.

    A couple times I’ve left Lowe’s with something in both hands and had someone expect me to stop, but the stuff down, and dig into my pocket for the receipt. I just said “sorry, my hands are full” and kept going. I don’t think I was being an asshole, but it did make me feel uncomfortable and I’m reluctant to go back.

  21. Skeptic says:

    “We have a Constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and therefore we can’t be made to submit to a search without prior consent unless a police officer has a reasonable cause to search. A private individual can’t force you to do so, either — touching you is assault, and taking something from you without your consent is theft. Both are criminal charges as is detaining someone.

    The OP doesn’t quite get the nuance of the situation. The 4th Amendment only applies to government searches. “Private individuals” can detain you if they make a citizen’s arrest or are invoking “shopkeeper’s privilege,” depending on the state, but they must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed and mere refusal to submit to a voluntary search is not sufficient reason.

  22. johnva says:

    @Mr. Gunn: One way I think they could really cut down on internal theft would be to treat their employees better. If people were paid a decent wage and not treated like disposable human garbage by managers and corporate, they might not be so inclined to steal from their employer. When you have a work environment (like at Wal-mart) where the company views employees as the enemy and uses them for all they can get away with, it seems unsurprising to me that some employees feel less qualm about stealing from the company. Pay them decently and build some employee loyalty instead of using surveillance measures and searches of your customers because you don’t trust your own cashiers.

  23. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @qwickone: I agree, I prefer not to make moutains out of mole hills, or come of as a conspiraciy theorist. But this story, in conjuction with the story about Best Buy and the 2 for $25 DVDs, shows that a store manager (or assistant manager) can let power go to their head. As shoppers, we need to keep corporate aware of when these stores get out of hand.

    Then again, I could always just save money, time, and grief and shop online!

  24. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    I don’t see what the big deal is. I’d much rather just show my receipt than be an a-hole like this and demand that they stop.

    So now standing up for your rights or the rights of others is “being an asshole”? What do you think of those assholes who threw all that tea into Boston Harbor?

    You may deem your rights to be without value. That is your business. But when you insult condescend to those who think rights are worth fighting for, or, as in this case, worth taking the time to write a short email for, it becomes apparent that the only asshole in this discussion is you.

    Sadly, there are far too many people like you in this country. People who, like you, are ready and willing to submit to whatever presumed “authority” may cross their path. People who will gladly allow small incremental bites to be taken from their freedoms for the sake of security, or worse, convenience. Someday you’ll wake up and discover that all those little bites have, over time, eaten away all your liberties.

    Maybe if you took your rights out and exercised them occasionally, you might be more aware of what they are and why it’s offensive when people try to violate them.

  25. statnut says:

    @DjDynasty: Way to give in to the dark side.

  26. whirlybird says:

    My local Wal-Mart will actually call the police and ban you from the premises for refusing to show your receipt. Apparently, that’s well within their rights, and, since the typical Wal-Mart customer can’t even *spell* “Consumerist”, they don’t appeat to be losing any business by pursuing this strategy.

  27. mantari says:

    Come to think of it, the Receipt Nazi at the door has been replaced with a guy sitting on a stool. One less meaningless hassle!

  28. Andronicus1717 says:

    I’ve only shopped at that Walmart 3 times in the past 9 months, but each time I was able to walk out without incident. The receipt checking practice needs to be abolished imo.

  29. Amelie says:

    @twoply said:This is a trivial fight! Look at what our government is doing to our rights! Where is the outcry for that?

    Sad but true, but at least with a store you can fight back. Try sticking up for your rights at an airport or in a plane.

  30. Buran says:

    @ChrisC1234: Your CIVIL RIGHTS are very much worth fighting for! It’s this “I don’t care and I’ll bend over” attitude that is leading to the constant erosion that’s gone on lately. Stand up and fight for things that very much DO matter.

    Illegal search and seizure was such an important issue to the founding fathers of the US that it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights way back in the 1700s.

  31. ohgoodness says:

    Good job and all, but seriously? WalMart? And you INVEST in WalMart? Seriously?!

  32. Dan25 says:

    The only time i have EVER shown my receipt was on sunday night at bestbuy when i bought a new lap top. I thought me trying to walk out of the store with a large box in my hand that i didn’t pay for at the register (i paid at the computer counter) would look suspicious so i just sucked it up. Other than that one time, i hate being stopped and asked for a receipt. It makes me feel like a criminal when i have done nothing wrong. If i non-membership store requires a receipt check, i dont shop there. Plain and simple. There are plenty of other stores that will appreciate my business and not treat me like a shoplifter for no reason.

  33. homerjay says:

    @zouxou: That would be an act of futility. At least one man can make a change in this case. At an airport he’d be denied boarding and probably arrested.

  34. shadow735 says:

    one day you will be able to buy children and organs from walmart, you will have to have a walmart tag implanted into your body.
    Wait till walmart gets bigger. Walmart is the beast heh heh

  35. Red_Eye says:

    @ChrisC1234: As said in the past perhpas by Ben Franklin;

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


    Freedom and Liberty are something tis country was founded on.

    Our judicial system was founded on the pretext of innocent until proven guilty. Who the heck is Wal*Mart to change all that. You go right ahead and forfeit your rights and liberties, I for one will not.

  36. gregne says:

    With respect to sams club…from my understanding you do not have to be a member to purchase alcohol and/or prescription drugs. so, if you do not have to be a member to enter then how would they know if you are or are not a member, when only members are obligated to show a receipt. seems to me that they have no right to ask for receipts of anyone who leaves their stores. What do you think?

  37. Geekybiker says:

    IIRC I think in order to detain you, they must see you take the merchandise, conceal the merchandise, and then attempt to leave the store. They must do this without losing sight of you. Otherwise they can be in trouble for illegally detaining someone. However they are well within their rights to refuse service to you in the future.

  38. dualityshift says:

    “Ah walmart still sucks”

    Not nearly as bad as Best Buy, which still uses this practice.

    One of the last times I was in BB, and had this happen, the clerk asked if he could see my receipt, to which I responded, “No thank you.” and continued to walk out. He half-way chased me, calling me a thief.

    I turned around and he was right in my face, ready to drag me back into the store. “You must come with me now.” he said.

    “Touch me, and I yell rape, and you will be known as the Best Buy rapist. Good-bye.”

    I’ve never been asked for a receipt at that store since.

  39. RenardRouge says:

    What does showing a receipt have to do with your “civil liberties”? Sheesh…

  40. RenardRouge says:

    @gregne: You don’t have to be a member to buy ANYTHING at Sam’s Club. You pay an extra 10% or so on your purchases, but you can still shop there.

  41. algormortis says:

    i don’t really care about showing the receipt if they don’t touch me or ask dumb questions. (“are you hiiiding anything?” “uh, no sir, but i can certainly return this $400 item that corporate wants and buy it at circuit city!”). if they go there, they will annoy me.

    now costco, different story. you agreed to it in your membership contract. that said costco checkers have caught errors all of once and it was in my favor; i forked over the cash without knowing i was double-charged, and the dude watched my cart while i ran back to get another bottle of gummi bear vitamins (i’d just buy it in a month anyhow.) of course, costco associates are head and shoulders above 90% of Best Buy’s children.

  42. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    Because we all have to share your values and hate Wal-Mart, right?

    I’m pleased this worked out for you, OP. If the right people get your e-mails/letters/phone calls, they generally do something about it. The EVP I worked for always took such letters seriously and dealt with them immediately.

  43. cecilsaxon says:


    That was a good one-

  44. orielbean says:

    Remember on the shrinkage problem, often it is the cashier working with a buddy who pretends to buy one item, and is rung up for something cheap. For instance – the buddy gets a PC in a box and a mousepad, and their cashier friend just rings up the mousepad and deactivates the tag on the PC. That’s what the receipt checking is all about – not that you are doing the traditional shoplifting. Now, I think the reciept check is a bunch of BS anyways, but that is the vector they are trying to eliminate.

  45. KJones says:

    “If you have nothing to hide, you won’t mind us searching your bag” is George Bu**sh**. If they have no evidence to accuse you of theft, then they have no reason or right to search.

    Put the burden of proof back where it belongs: on the accuser. If any store asks to see your receipt, do this:

    (1) Refuse to consent to a search by the store staff or manager.
    (2) Tell them you will consent to a search by a police officer.

    Or call the police yourself on your cell phone. The store cannot claim you uncooperative if you do this. If they call your bluff and call the police, you will have an impartial and credible witness who will say you did not steal anything. This would be very handy in a harassment suit against the company.

    I have found just the willingness to consent to police-only searches is enough to make most stores back off, and the threat of a lawsuit gets rid of the rest.

  46. Buran says:

    @dualityshift: Nice! But you could, seriously, have charged him with assault had he touched you, and maybe kidnapping and definitely unlawful detainment.

    @KJones: The police have to have grounds to search. There’s no reasonable suspicion if you weren’t actually observed, by store staff, taking something. Only step one is necessary.

    Note to everyone: legally the store can ASK. That’s all they can do. You can, and should, refuse and just leave.

  47. shaken_bake says:

    When I used to shop at Costco, I didn’t mind showing my receipt as much as seeing the stupid sign they had at the exit explaining why: “We ask customers to show their receipt so we can make sure they didn’t overpay for any item.” WTF? Are these average-looking clerks actually robots equipped with large internal databases that they instantly query with just a glance at my receipt as they slash a line over it with their pink highlighter? Why couldn’t they just have a sign that says “We check your receipt to make sure you’re not a thievin’ bastard like so many of our customers.” I’d probably still shop there if that were the case.

  48. Papagoose says:

    There are two Walmarts near my house – one checks receipts at the door as well as requiring ID to use a credit or debit card; the other store does neither. You can guess which one I go to when I absolutely must shop at Walmart. The manager of the “bad” Walmart tells me that no, he cannot legally force me to show my receipt, but he can “ban” me from shopping in his store for not doing so. I haven’t tested his theory, but curious if he is right.

  49. GrandizerGo says:

    Haha, this happens at all the Home Depots around my area, I thought it was due to the fact they installed the self checkout machines…

    Is Home Depot one of the stores that is a Costco / Sam’s club type of store that you have to allow???

  50. homerjay says:

    @Buran: Yeah but yelling rape is more “Ferris Bueller-y” :)

  51. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    Is Home Depot one of the stores that is a Costco / Sam’s club type of store that you have to allow???

    There is no store where you must allow them to check your receipt. However, stores like Costco and Sam’s have, as part of their membership agreement an implicit agreement on your part that you will submit to the receipt check.

    So no – unless you signed an agreement prior to entering the store, you are under no obligation to show your receipt. Even if you did sign an agreement (like Costco), you can still refuse to show your receipt and they have no more power or authority than any other retail establishment. But they can (and probably will if you’re a dick about it) revoke your membership.

  52. vtbear says:

    You are not obligated to show the receipt however, you should as a sign of good faith. The local store has had to turn off the door sensors because of so many people whining about them going off, the only thing left is to eitehr check receipts or raise the prices to make up for the losses. Which would you prefer?

  53. nuttish says:

    Unfortunately, all these references to “illegal search and seizure,” the Fourth Amendment, the founding father’s liberty preferences, and erosion of civil liberties, are misplaced. Private actors like Best Buy, Costco, and Walmart are not subject to the prohibitions of the Fourth Amendment. That doesn’t mean detaining or touching you is Ok. It’s not. Whether you’ve contracted to allow searches (Sam’s Club, Costco) or not, nobody’s entitled to touch you without a honest and credible belief that you did something wrong. You can be asked to show your receipt and purchases, and I think that’s it. Anything more may be unlawful.

    Here’s the law in Illinois on false imprisonment. In short, you may not be detained unless the merchant has an honest belief that you stole something. I cannot imagine refusal to show a receipt providing the basis for such a belief, but I admit I haven’t researched this.

    A claim for false imprisonment requires a showing that “the plaintiff was restrained or arrested by the defendant, and that the defendant acted without having reasonable grounds to believe that an offense was committed by the plaintiff.” Meerbrey v. Marshall Field & Co., 139 Ill.2d 455, 474, 151 Ill.Dec. 560, 564 N.E.2d 1222 (1990). Put another way, to succeed on a claim for false imprisonment, a plaintiff must show that he was restrained unreasonably or without probable cause. Martel Enterprises v. City of Chicago, 223 Ill.App.3d 1028, 1034, 164 Ill.Dec. 945, 584 N.E.2d 157 (1991). Probable cause is defined as ” ‘a state of facts that would lead a person of ordinary caution and prudence to believe, or to entertain an honest and strong suspicion, that the person arrested committed the offense charged.’ ” Johnson v. Target Stores, Inc., 341 Ill.App.3d 56, 72, 274 Ill.Dec. 795, 791 N.E.2d 1206 (2003).

  54. mopar_man says:

    My solution to get Wal-Mart employees to stop looking at my receipts is to not shop there. There’s no reason to go there when I can get the same things at other stores for the same price or cheaper. Sometimes I may pay a little more elsewhere but chances are the quality is better than the junk at Wal-Mart.

  55. polyeaster says:

    Two words- probable cause. If there is not probably cause, they need to leave me the f*** alone.

  56. HOP says:

    @DjDynasty: good for you…i always say”best buy sucketh” and a do not even go into their place…..again, good job…..

  57. SadSam says:

    I have generally solved this problem by no longer shopping at Best Buy (I never shopped at Wal-Mart). I think the best way to object to these illegal policies is to take your business else where. The last time I was at a K-mart, there was a receipt checker, I simply said “no thank you” and continued on. I now, no longer, shop at K-mart. I’m happy to pay more, and its not much more, to obtain my goods at mom and pop/local businesses (my preference) or other big box stores like Target.

  58. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:


    I totally agree. When I worked for Toys R Us in their R-Zone games department we were treated like crap. We were busy since it was christmas season and all floor reps like myself were out assisting customers. We hear later that a customer caught another customer with a large aluminum foil lined box shoving videogames into that box. The foil allows the customer to walk out with out the sensors being set off. No one would have ever known this happened.

    I wasn’t even working at the time, I was on night shift and this was during the day. We were all yelled at for not keeping better watch. Its hard though to help customers who know NOTHING of your product and keep an eye on the other 50 customers in that general area at the same time.

  59. SaraAB87 says:

    Does anyone know if its illegal for you to show your receipt when your walking out of a store that is closing? Because EVERY closing store makes you show your receipt here or else you cannot leave. I am talking about like, when a Kmart is going out of business and you buy merchandise, you cannot leave until you show your receipt. How is it that stores that are closing or going out of business can get around this while normal stores cannot force you to show your receipt or else they can get into major trouble with the law?

  60. usmcmoran says:

    I spoke to a security guard a few months ago at Fry’s Electronics in San Marcos, California, they get paid a percentage for all the loss they save the store. While i was talking to him a guy showed his receipt and had a video card in the bag he wasn’t charged for, they politely brought him back in and the guard told me he made $30 bucks for that. Also they have a big shoplifting problem there and have a reserved parking space for the police out front.

  61. dualityshift says:

    “@dualityshift: Nice! But you could, seriously, have charged him with assault had he touched you, and maybe kidnapping and definitely unlawful detainment.”

    I know, but in these parts, being labeled a sex offender is much worse. True or false, the name sticks with you, and no one wants that.

    The funny thing is, if the BB employees had half a brain, any resistance of their little policy could be met with a citizen’s arrest, then the police intervene. They can lawfully detain you, if they suspect you of unlawful activity, however, they cannot use violence, as that is assault. The problem with C.A. is that the citizen is wrong, the cops slap their pee-pee, allowing for the detainee to sue. Talk to a lawyer, as I am not one of those people. This is just my interpretation of the limited information I have read on the subject.

    I still say the threat to yell rape is the best way to deal with morons at the exit.

  62. biblio26 says:

    I think it’s annoying. I only noticed it at a Bestbuy that wasn’t in the best area. I just hate when they get backed up and then you have to wait in line to show your receipt. It’s like waiting in line twice. I don’t think the guy even actually looked at my receipt when I did show it to him.

  63. Does anyone know the rule on self-checkouts? Do they have the right to stop you then? Because it seems like a lot of people would scam a self-checkout if they never checked.

  64. cryrevolution says:

    For all those who are asking about closing stores & self checkouts, nobody has the right to detain you unless they have probable cause. They can ask to see the receipt & you can refuse, but they cannot detain you unless they or another associate have seen you physically steal something and hide it on your person. No matter if a lot of people scam self checkouts or the store is going out of business, there is no reason whatsoever to actually detain you unless, like I said, probable cause.

  65. cryrevolution says:

    @natalyapetrovna: And just to comment on that, I’ve never been stopped at self checkouts. I would imagine it would be equally easy at regular registers to steal though, as they usually have an attendant at the self checkouts & you still have to walk out the same exit like everyone else.

  66. Buran says:

    @twoply: It’s the same fight, you do realize that, don’t you?

  67. PracticalMagic says:

    It’s been my experience at the Wal-Mart closest to me, that they only check receipts when a person purchases something too big for bagging. If it’s not in a bag, then you could’ve added it to your cart after having paid for everything else in a bag.

    I don’t see what the problem is. Theft is theft, and it’s rampant. They have to protect their inventory somehow. If we didn’t have so many shoplifters, then they wouldn’t see the need for “preventative maintanence”.

  68. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    I don’t see what the problem is. Theft is theft, and it’s rampant. They have to protect their inventory somehow

    Yes, they have to protect their inventory somehow. But they don’t have to do it by treating me like a suspected criminal.

    I don’t see what the problem is. /

    The problem is: Absent a criminal investigation, I’m under no obligation to to justify or prove ownership for MY property to anyone, no matter how trivial or inconsequential such request may be. And having a complete stranger, with no reason at all to suspect I have done anything even remotely suspicious, demand to see my receipt is a violation of etiquette and plain old common courtesy.

    Simply put, it’s rude. And the appropriate answer to a rude personal request is to ignore it, or to respond with a simple and polite “No you may not.”

  69. astrochimp says:

    @cryrevolution & @dualityshift:

    The way I understand it, neither mere suspicion nor probable cause is sufficient to justify a citizen’s arrest (or detaining). That is, for a private citizen to do such a thing, they have to have witnessed the offending act and be damn sure that it was you that did it.

    Only the police are allowed to detain on probable cause.

  70. JJ910 says:

    Walmart is all Americans will be able to afford 10 years from now. Go ahead . . . swipe your credit cards, buy houses without any downpayments, finance your whoppers, pic up cars without any money . . . . . go right ahead. The fun is yet to begin when India (double digit GDP & no debt – actually $2 Triilia surpplus) will buy all the sh*t here. Oh they already bought our biggest steel factories, Jaguar, Aston martin, etc and are bidding for buying pieces of Dell, Intel, Paper Manufacturers in Maine . . . . . but hey – Walmart is what will keep us going so lets not complain too much.

  71. coraspartan says:

    Wait, the guy sends an email to WalMart and they implement his request the NEXT DAY? Then why is it going on 8 months and counting for the Nazi T-shirt removal from their stores?

    I don’t get it.

    Down with WalMart.

  72. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    The way I understand it, neither mere suspicion nor probable cause is sufficient to justify a citizen’s arrest (or detaining).

    For the most part this is correct. When it comes to shoplifting, however, most States have laws that allow for a merchant to detain you if they have reasonable suspicion that you were shoplifting (though some states require the higher standard of probable cause). This is not considered a citizens arrest, and it is also usually written in such a way that if they can demonstrate “reasonable suspicion” they are immune from an unlawful detention lawsuit. Google “Shopkeeper’s Privilege” for more info (and don’t rely too heavily on Wikipedia, it varies CONSIDERABLY from state to state

    “He wouldn’t show his receipt” has never been accepted as reasonable suspicion

    Setting off the exit buzzer is considered Reasonable Suspicion in some states, and is specifically NOT considered so in others.

    Finally, even if a merchant is allowed to detain you, in NO state are they allowed to search you, and they may only detain you for a “reasonable” amount of time (typically long enough for the cops to get there)

  73. unklegwar says:

    jeez. You’d think a guy writing an important letter to management would be able to use decent grammar and spelling. He’s lucky the VP didn’t laugh him off.

  74. hatrack says:


    Who’s to say that some of today’s major violations of constitutional rights by the government (in your view anyway) didn’t start with people refusing to fight because the infringement seemed too trivial to worry about?

  75. Cynicor says:

    I set off the buzzer a few years ago at the late The Wiz. I had watched as about five people in a row set it off – I think they left it on as an excuse to check everyone. I just kept walking. I was surrounded by three guards on the way to my car, and they were demanding to see my receipt. I finally held it up and one of them shoved me and ripped it out of my hand. Then they asked me why I was causing so much trouble when I’d paid for everything.

    Because it’s not my job to help you fine-tune your defective security alarm, and it’s not my responsibility to let you look through my bag and my belongings. Never shopped there again.

  76. Diningbadger says:

    @homerjay: I think you meant “irony” and not “ironing.” LOL

  77. Anonymous says:

    thank you for enlightening me.
    i couldn’t stand it either. and i hate waiting 5 minutes to exit the stupid store !!
    so, after reading this, this morning i felt empowered !!
    i proceeded to walk out with the receipt in hand.
    the lady tried to stop me and reached for my receipt.
    i told her “are you accusing me of stealing something??
    then you have no legal right to take this receipt out
    of my hand.”
    she stepped aside and i walked out.
    FINALLY !!
    yesyes. i believe we can stand up for our rights.
    one at a time. nobody else wants to see my receipt
    when i leave their store.
    this is why i shop online for everything except food.