Detained And Harassed At Walmart For Not Showing A Receipt

Reader J was detained and harassed by some Walmart employees on his way out of the store the other day. J had already put his receipt inside his wallet after purchasing a $25 shower rack when a Walmart employee demanded to see his receipt. J declined and continued exiting the store. That’s when things got weird. First, he was grabbed by a Walmart employee, then another customer started pushing him back inside the store.

Yesterday (2-28-08) late afternoon I bought a $25 shower rack at the Wal-mart in [redacted] New Hampshire, and then tucked the receipt safely inside my wallet so I wouldn’t lose it in case I had to return the item. The cashier did not bag the shower rack, so after I was done at the register I picked up my item and headed for the door. As I was approaching the door, the receipt checker Bob said, “Do you have your receipt?” To which I responded, “Yes, it’s in my wallet” and I kept walking towards the door. Behind me, I could hear him yell “Sir! Sir! I need to see your receipt!”, but being an avid Consumerist reader, I knew I didn’t need to stop, so I kept walking. Bob ran up in front of me and stood between the slider doors, blocking my exit and budging me back inside. Appalled that the Wal-mart employee had just touched me, I said “excuse me”, but Bob refused to budge, demanding again to see my receipt. I attempted to walk around him, but he kept stepping in front of me, and I would bounce off of him. Now, I was bigger than Bob, but I didn’t wish to get physical and blow the situation out of proportion.

At this point however, a random male customer came to Bob’s assistance blocking the exit and pushing me back inside. The customer, who was bigger than me, told me to show Bob my receipt. When I refused, the customer responded with “Maybe I’m a cop”. So now I have Wal-mart employee Bob and a customer impersonating a police officer physically blocking my exit and budging me back inside when I try to press by them. I was scared. I repeatedly asked the two of them if I was free to go, to which Bob said, “No, you need to show me your receipt.” At this point a female employee shows up (I think her name was Cindy) and joins in telling me that I need to show my receipt. The police officer-impersonating customer disappears at this point, but Bob is still physically rebuffing my attempts to exit.

I argue with the female employee for a while, getting nowhere, but for some reason Bob FINALLY stops pushing me back when I try to walk past him, and at this point I consider my illegal detainment to have ended. As I am outside the store and about to walk away, the female employee says something to the extent of “Fine, we’ll just write down your license plate number and tell the police you were shoplifting!”

Now, due to the nature of my work, I cannot get in trouble with the police, and any arrest, regardless of my guilt, could cost me my job. So at this point, I responded to her with “Are you kidding!!?? You’re going to lie to the police?” She shrugged, and walked back inside. I followed her, demanding to know what her name was, and although she didn’t tell me, I think her nametag said “Cindy”.

Currently standing back inside Wal-mart near the exit, I whipped out my cell phone and called 1-800-Walmart, and reported what just happened to someone at corporate. At this point there was a lot of onlookers because of the commotion, and I was extremely embarrassed. Anyways, I pulled out my receipt in order to read the person at corporate the store number, and I could see the look of surprise on the other employees’ faces. The corporate phone jockey took my name, number, and said someone would get back to me. After I hung up, I switched my phone to camera mode, looked at Bob who was still standing a few feet away from me, said “Smile, Bob”, and snapped his picture (attached).

At this point, General Manager David arrived on the scene, and told me that I can’t take pictures of his employees, that it’s a violation of their privacy (Hah!). I explained to David what just went down, and how it was not acceptable for his employees to lay their hands on me and to threaten me with making a false police report. I was actually surprised with the following discussion I had with David, who was nothing but professional and sympathetic. He understood how completely wrong his employees were, claimed that he’d review the security cameras (yeah right), and that his employees definitely needed some “retraining”. I thanked David for understanding, shook his hand, and went home.

I’m still waiting for the call from corporate. Wal-mart needs to understand just how much is at stake when their employees illegally detain customers. Their employees are literally putting their lives on the line. What happens when a customer is carrying for self-defense and fears for his life when a Wal-mart employee illegally detains him? Is it really worth it, Wal-mart?

I’m considering making a police report about the situation, but I’m not sure I want Bob arrested. Sure, I think that what he did was criminal, but he was just a below-average-intelligence, under-paid, and under-trained employee trying to do his job. Should I make the report?

Yikes! All that for a shower rack? Why didn’t the employee put one of those “sold” stickers on the stupid thing so that they wouldn’t have to launch a criminal investigation as you walked to your car? We don’t pretend to know the mind of Walmart, but we’re pretty sure their policy isn’t to attack their customers and file false police reports about them over a $25 shower rack.

Bob probably will not be arrested if you file a police report about the incident. If you were thinking of filing a lawsuit against Walmart for their behavior, you’d need to file one to use as evidence, but you didn’t mention that in your letter.

A formal complaint to Walmart is appropriate. If you file a police report, include it with your complaint. These employees obviously had no idea that what they were doing was wrong and are in need of some guidance. We’re surprised to hear a story like this from New Hampshire. Aren’t you guys supposed to be all “Live Free or Die?” Did the Walmart employees not get that memo?


Edit Your Comment

  1. privatejoker75 says:

    so much for the good old 4th amendment. I was just talking about this with my wife the other day. Nothing more annoying than waiting in line to exit a building after waiting in line to pay.

  2. Buran says:

    Personally I would have kicked him in the nuts after the third attempt to get past him. You can use a certain amount of physical force to escape a kidnapper since you are being directly threatened. It’s called self-defense.

  3. Hiphopopotamus says:

    I hate being asked to show a receipt… but if you’re walking towards the exit with one item and with no bag and refusing to show a receipt, you’re just starting trouble.

    I’m reading the story here and seeing that you paid $25 for it, and I’m STILL thinking ‘This guy is trying to steal a shower rack.’

  4. gticlutchburn says:

    I know, I know, Wal Mart is evil. But if you are an employee, and someone makes a bee-line for the door without responding to your request for a receipt, wouldn’t you think they were shoplifting? Stopping to explain that you paid, but you will not show them your receipt seems like a better way to handle the situation.

  5. Erskine says:

    Oh, God, how I pray that this happens to me someday. I have 5 family members who are corporate lawyers just salivating in the wings, waiting for that day…

  6. strangeffect says:

    Maybe file a lawsuit against the guy who was maybe a cop. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t bother.

  7. chemmy says:

    God forbid you’d done what I do from time to time… There is often a trash can at the end of the registers at my local WalMart and I often toss the receipt. (I mean, if i’m buying something I know I will 100% not return, I often toss the receipt)

    What would have happened then???

    Sorry you went thru this. My husband and I were at Circuit City the other day. The register is right next to the exit and next to the security guard. He watched us check out, watched us pay and watched my husband help bag the merchandise (the petite cashier had a hard time with a rather large item), then he watched my husband tuck the receipt carefully into his wallet and put the wallet into his back pocket.

    As we were leaving the store laden down with several purchases he just watched us make, we were also stopped and asked to provide a receipt.

    Crazy, right? I told him – “You just watched us check out and everything, why do you need a receipt”

    He told us it was store policy. So we had to put all our stuff onto the floor (check-out counter was already full of next person’s stuff), provide the receipt (he didn’t take it or hardly glance at it. I guess he wanted to see if we got one? lol)

    Then we had to struggle to pick up all the stuff we just had to put onto the floor to get out the stupid receipt. At which point he told us we needed to move on because we were blocking the exit.

    Yeah, thanks for helping ya moron….

  8. Asif5th says:

    Before anyone saids it: Why does anyone even shop there?

  9. The Porkchop Express says:

    I think the writer may have allowed this to get out of hand. I know we don’t have to show them the damn receipt, but if you’re so worried about trouble with the police….just show the receipt and keep walking. Also when he was concerned for his saftey…uh, show the receipt. pretend the receipt was a ten dollar bill and the guy that was bigger was a mugger…you’d give him the ten spot right?

    Bob should not have touched him, but I think bumping into Bob in attempts to leave may have been a bit much too

  10. MikeB says:

    You can report the other customer to the police. While he didn’t say “I am a police officer” he could still get in trouble, even if it is a warning.

  11. sp00nix says:

    Did bob drool on you

  12. brent_w says:

    Its all about keeping your cool.

    Don’t get scared. Stop, and explain calmly, but loud enough that everyone around can hear that detaining you without evidence of shoplifting is against the law and that you will call the police if you are not released.

  13. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Erskine: I hate the families of lawyers that always wish something would happen so they can use the lawyers. Sounds like you may make it happen when you say that.

    • Anonymous says:

      For real. I am a legal assistant of over 10 years and you should see the eyerolling when they have to deal with a brother-in-law’s vanity issue to keep peace in the family, knowing they usually won’t be getting paid out of the deal…
      Seriously, your family of lawyers doesn’t want the hassle over your zero-value harassed at Walmart “lawsuit” (meaning, there’s a lot that would have to happen to even get it to that point.) Sheesh.
      That said, go 4th Amendment!

  14. brent_w says:

    @strangeffect: I would have asked for that guys name.

  15. vladthepaler says:

    I don’t understand the [redacted]s in this story. It is entirely appropriate to say where in New Hampshire the incident occurred; well-informed consumer(ist)s might want to avoid that particular store. Uninformed consumer(ist)s, on the other hand, cannot act. Is the purpose of this web site to keep people informed, or merely to give people a platform for ranting?

  16. gamehendge2000 says:

    i’m all for personal freedoms and such, but honestly tell me you’d rather go through the above than to show the guy at the door your god damned receipt?

  17. PinkBox says:

    I’m sorry, but if someone is carrying an unbagged item towards the door, why is it THAT bad for someone to ask to see your receipt??

    Can’t stores be allowed to make that little bit of effort when someone appears to be shoplifting?

  18. EvilConservative says:

    Nobody who is legally “carrying” (I presume you mean a firearm) for self-defense is going to “fear for his life when a Wal-mart employee illegally detains him[.]” It doesn’t help your case to make such ridiculously wild and baseless predictions. Anyone with a permit knows you don’t draw it unless you intend to use it and they’re not going to kill hapless “Bob” at Wal-Mart. As we enter the Spring, such employees likely have more to fear from some short-tempered person walking out with a spanking-new softball bat.

  19. brent_w says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: Yeah, I’m sure the receipt he used when calling corporate was a complete fake … *eyeroll*

  20. bravo369 says:

    i hate thse stupid receipt stories. if there was a sold sticker on the item then i’ll side with him but otherwise he definately looks like a shoplifter. Carrying an item out with no receipt in hand and no sold sticker seems suspicious to me and i do not fault them for stopping him.

    they should insitute dual exits that are separated. All customers from the registers are filtered out one side with no receipt checks and all other cusotmers who are just leaving go out another exit. If a customer is carrying out items from the non-register exit then the store should be able to detain and/or ask for proof of sale because if they actually went through the register then they wouldn’t be walking out that exit

  21. brent_w says:

    @gamehendge2000: I’ll gladly do it until they get the message.

  22. hoot550 says:

    I found a compromise for this policy whenever I have to (gasp) go to Walmart. I just started putting every single thing I have in bags on the rare event I go to Wal-mart. The other day I bought 14 gallon jugs of water and bagged every one of them. I just explained that I didn’t want to be accused of stealing them, so I had to bag them. The clerk smiled and shrugged.

    The store manager at the store I went to explained this was a company policy, to demand a receipt for any unbagged merchandise. I tried to explain that not everything Walmart sells will fit into a bag, but it didn’t seem to sink in.

  23. astrochimp says:

    @privatejoker75: “so much for the good old 4th amendment.”

    Just so no one else gets any funny ideas: the 4th amendment is entirely inapplicable in this case. It only applies to your dealings with the government. Civil and criminal legislation, on the other hand, does very much apply.

  24. BugMeNot2 says:

    Just do what I do when you have something that can’t be bagged. Take a bag from the stand (they’re easy to get to now that they use the Lazy Susans) and tie it around the item. If the try to stop you, point out that it is bagged.

    While I’m all about not showing the receipt, this account comes off as a bit too intense, especially with the suggestion that someone with a CCW would shoot an employee out of fear for their life? Way too hyperbolic.

  25. brent_w says:

    @Lo-Pan: Ignorance.

    Giving in after they strong arm you just encourages them to strong arm more people thinking its effective and they can get away with it.

  26. gamehendge2000 says:


    far too much time on your hands

  27. afterimageB says:

    I do not take somebody touching me or harassing me lightly. I have a CHL and carry my pistol with me at most times. I would not have pulled it on them but I would have told them after the 2nd attempt at restraining me that I am armed and that any further attempt to touch or restrain me will be perceived as a direct threat and I’ll take appropriate action to protect myself from harm. I have a feeling they would leave me alone after that warning.

  28. privatejoker75 says:

    @gticlutchburn:if i was an employee for walmart i wouldn’t risk my life for a shower rack

  29. babaki says:

    this is the most ridiculous story i have ever heard. it was fine for you to take out the receipt to read to the person on the phone to complain, but not Ok for you to just show it to them to get out of the store?? why didn’t you just show it to them and be done with it. its not cool that detained you or touched you or any of that stuff.

  30. WayDownRiver says:

    I’d file a complaint of assault with local police against the customer, though possibly the boob slipped away without being identified.

    But, like it needs to be said, but I guess it does: Stop shopping at WalMart. Support your locally owned businesses. If you don’t have any locally owned businesses because you made the decision to shop at superstores, then you really f***ed up.

  31. Buran says:

    The “just bend over, screw your rights, you’re an asshole for standing up for them” crowd is out in force, I see.

    • Anonymous says:

      Recently I was Forced to show a reciept I assume because I had UNBAGGED items (paper towels, case of bottled water) in a cart (along with several bagged items). I have complied with their policy for some time now however I am growing tired of being subjected to scrutiny for no other reason than “it’s their policy”. While I understand the need to prevent shoplifting, in my opinion the burden is on Walmart to do so with less intrusive methods. The burden is on Walmart to prove I am a thief, not vice versa. Perhaps Walmart needs to institute a policy where the cashier puts little red stickers or writes their initials on anything not bagged. Perhaps they should arrange cash registers so the only way for anyone to leave the store is through a line. Point is, unless they have some tangible evidence leading to a reasonable suspicion of theft, (and state statutes are very clear about this) they are leaving themselves wide open for a huge lawsuit and a serious loss of customers.

  32. Sempera says:

    @chemmy: I tossed my reciept the other day before I made it to the door. I was just picking up a drink on my way to work. The guy ended up making me late for work because I didn’t have a recipt and he refused to check with the cashier and just let me go. Kind of stupid if you ask me, especially when he watched me throw the recipt in the trash can as I walked toward him.

  33. keith4298 says:

    @privatejoker75: The fourth amendment doesn’t apply here. It protects you from the government illegally searching your person….private corporations or citizens can do that under certain conditions.

  34. brent_w says:

    @gamehendge2000: I’m saving time not stopping to stand in a receipt line.

    And the rare occasion in which there is an issue it still probably wouldn’t last more than 5 minutes. This guys story was probably over in about 10.

  35. babaki says:

    @Buran: showing proof of purchase, when walking out of a store with an unbagged item is bending over and screwing your rights? please.

  36. bravo369 says:

    now isn’t what you just described a direct threat to the employee? i would argue that if he knocked you out then he was acting in self defense because he has a suspected shoplifter threatening to pull a gun. Also, i think it’s funny that you’re more likely to pull the gun than to show your receipt. Someone needs their gun license revoked!!

  37. brent_w says:

    @keith4298: When private citizens or corporations do it its called kidnapping.

    The 4th amendment applies to the government because they could not be charged with kidnapping.

  38. stevegoz says:

    @gamehendge2000: What you said.

    Honestly, anyone with any EQ or basic familiarity with capitalism in the 21st Century knows that “Do you have a receipt?” is not just a yes/no question to be answered in passing.

    Why not just hold the receipt in plain view while carrying or pushing the item out?

    Yes, it sucks to have to wait in a security line after just having waited in a checkout line. But if the alternative is higher prices due to increased theft, I can usually find the few extra seconds. It’s all part of the high price of low cost….

  39. Erwos says:

    @keith4298: Um, not in this circumstance. What legal right does Wal-Mart have to search me? I never agreed to it. I never signed anything that said I did. Hell, I never even saw a sign that claimed their right to do so upon entering the store. Certainly, they cannot legally lay a finger on you to do so – that’s a criminal offense.

    It’s easy to give up your rights, but you have to _give them up_. They can’t be taken from you.

  40. hollywood2590 says:

    This same story happened to me once. Except instead of not showing my receipt, being detained by two store employees, being threatened by a potential cop much larger than myself, potentially being reported to the police, returning to the store and looking like a fool in front of everyone for the commotion I caused, I let them see my receipt. Seriously people, stop doing crap like this. There are rights worth causing a stir over. A store trying to prevent shop lifting is not one of them.

  41. hoot550 says:

    For everyone who says they have every right to ask to see a receipt: that’s true, and we have every right to say no. That should be the end of it. If they want to have that policy, that’s fine, they can do what they want. The door guards need to understand that customers have every right to say no.

    Of course, if they meet the standard for detaining a shoplifter, then that’s different. Simply saying no to a rude request is not grounds to detain someone.

    Think about this. If I approach you on the street and ask to see the contents of your wallet because someone stole my credit card earlier today, you would (I hope) say no and keep walking. What do you have to hide? If you didn’t steal it, you certainly should have no problem proving that to me. See how wrong that sounds?

  42. timsgm1418 says:

    oddly I had a different experience at my Walmart a few months ago. I saw 2 young guys come in and walk directly to a couple of unattended register lines. They pocketed a bunch of candy and lighters. I walked over to the “security” person at the door and said “those 2 guys just shoplifted a bunch of stuff” when she acted as if she didn’t care, I told the manager that was roaming around at the end of the registers, no response there either. And yet when I shop there and have tons of bagged items, and something too big to be bagged, I’m always stopped for a receipt. So glad my prices go up cuz some jerks don’t want to pay for candy and lighters.

  43. backbroken says:

    So this was causing a ruckus and a crowd was gathering, but the cashier who sold it to you 30 seconds before couldn’t be bothered to walk over and say that you just paid for it?

    How many people just carry something out of a store in plain site when they are trying to shoplift it? I’d suspect not too many.

    Damn but Wal-Mart employees are a difficult brood to understand sometimes. Next time just shop at Best B..Sear…Kma…Circu…um, just stay the hell at home.

  44. Azazel024 says:

    What solutions does anyone present to not shopping at these stores, I hate shopping as much as the next guy but what are some alternatives?

  45. Antediluvian says:

    Ah, sweet New Hampshire. “Live Free or Die” indeed.

    Apparently, the boobs down in Arkansas didn’t read the license plates.

  46. ooby says:

    Most store policies restrict workers from pursuing shoplifters. What if the perp has a gun?

  47. bohemian says:

    If these stores are so worried about theft why don’t they control traffic flow better so there is no question about if they bought something or not?

    Have entrances and exits for those who didn’t buy anything or for people to leave in an emergency. Then have all the checkout lanes physically divided off with their own exit. That way people who paid for merchandise get all the way outside or into a lobby. Those leaving through the other exit shouldn’t have merchandise on them. Wouldn’t that make it much easier for employees to tell who bought something and who didn’t?

    If I buy something minus a shopping bag I always keep the receipt in my hand on the outside of the item so store staff can see it if they walk by as I leave.

  48. afterimageB says:

    @bravo369: Their is no law that says I have to show my receipt. They may not detain you or touch you while trying to detain you. Again, I wouldn’t pull it on them but I would give them a verbal warning that I’m legally armed and that any attempt to touch me will be perceived as a direct threat and I will act accordingly. I will have done nothing wrong, would be well within the law and there would be absolutely no reason to revoke my CHL for acting well within the law.

  49. cmdr.sass says:

    I would like to know which town in New Hampshire this occurred in.

  50. Anks329 says:

    yet another reason for me to continue shopping online…

  51. keith4298 says:

    @Erwos: Let me be clear…

    I’m not saying that they had a right to search you here. I do not think they did. I was ONLY saying that the 4th Amendment didn’t apply.

  52. Erwos says:

    The trick is to not cause a fuss. If they detain you, calmly request a manager, and explain that you’re going to:
    1. File charges against the detainer.
    2. Sue the store (and slap punitive damages on for an idiotic policy that violates everyone’s rights).
    3. Publicize the incident.

    Screaming and yelling isn’t the solution. Calm, cold legal and publicity actions are.

  53. keith4298 says:

    @Erwos: I didn’t say that in this circumstance it was acceptable. In fact, it was not. I ONLY said to the armchair attorneys that the 4th Amendment didn’t apply.

  54. Erwos says:

    @keith4298: Depends on whether the store gains the ability to make a citizen’s arrest (which this is, if they’re detaining you) from the state. I’m not a lawyer, but I did have to do some of that in business school.

  55. zgori says:

    I keep seeing these stories on consumerist. I fail to see what’s so terrible about taking three seconds to help a store combat shoplifting.

  56. beavis88 says:

    @afterimageB: People like you give responsible gun owners a bad name. Nothing in this story justified even the remotest threat of escalating to deadly force.

  57. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Buran: If these are the rights you’re worried about, life is truly grand for you. Showing a receipt has got to be the easiest and least invasive thing that happens during a purchase.
    Bob wasn’t asking for ID, SSN, home address, phone number, or even to see your credit card or how much money you were carrying. All the info on the receipt is in the system and on a copy of the receipt in the drawer (or in the trash, that won’t be shredded).

    @brent_w: Ignorance, please. What’s wrong with showing the receipt for the item with no bag? did the writer even try to tell/ask Bob to go back the cashier that rang him up. Stand up for something that matters not this “I don’t wanna” crap.

  58. keith4298 says:

    If you want to be serious about it (after all else fails):
    1) take out your cell
    2) call 911
    3) put it on speakerphone
    4) tell them you are being illegally detained

    Let them explain while backup arrives.

  59. nak1986 says:

    Now I hate walmart as much as the next guy and avoid shopping there unless its the middle of the night and I need to get something done. But seriously I just dont understand what the big deal is about receipt checking. It helps discurage shoplifting, as well as cashiers from giving friends free stuff. Both of these help to keep prices down and the employees making a halfway livable wage. Bottom line if the store has the right or not to check your receipt DON’T BE RUDE to the receipt checker, that poor person is probably making 8-25k MAX and really does NOT need any shit from you. And you wonder why customer service sucks these days

  60. Dagonis says:

    I’m rather torn about this issue.

    On one hand, I think that people shouldn’t have to do this. I am don’t like waiting in a line to leave Fry’s Electronics, especially when they don’t even really check anything. They just run their pink highlighter over my receipt and thats it.

    On the other hand, I always feel like I need to pick my battles. I don’t have time to try and make a point to some shlub who is just trying to do his job.

    I have a hard time believing that Walmart checking your receipt at the door will lead to a facist totalitarian regime one world government that has usurped all of our rights.

    People take this issue a bit too far in my opinion. But if I was physically detained I don’t think I would have a very good reaction either.

  61. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Erwos: did they search him? because I missed that part where he got frisked.

  62. jpx72x says:

    @Buran: And after kicking him in the nuts, you’d go to jail. Just because they’re doing something wrong doesn’t give you permission to do something wrong-er.

  63. ThyGuy says:

    I’m beginning to see a pattern with these threads. Everyone who doesn’t show their receipt are the dickheads you have to put up with all the time, while everyone who shows their receipt, but still don’t like doing it, but have decency are the rational people.

    Honestly, they need to just make it a law, so we stop having to deal with these -Free- people who don’t want to show their receipts. Like I said before, you people are the assholes that will get people killed in wrecks because you can’t stand to wait a couple seconds more to get to your destination.

    Slow the hell down. The world isn’t going to end because you had to wait a moment. You are not important. People won’t stop and gasp in horror when a extra second of your life was wasted asking for a receipt.

  64. Roundonbothends says:

    All the Wal-Mart stores I have been in have the flow from the cash registers toward the door, sort of a “back area” in the front of the store. If the door watcher/ticket checker/used to be greeter sees one approaching from the check out area with a bag, and maybe observed them in the check-out line, it’s sort of dunder-brained to ask for a receipt.

    As for those big “paid for” stickers, the employees have access to them, and that’s how low-quality large TVs provide shrinkage – out the front door.

    Having an item without a bag or a sticker is just provoking granny to intercede.

    Detention and near-abuse at the hands of store employees is not acceptable, but it seems to me that this problem started at the register as much as it did at the door.

  65. redclear55 says:

    I don’t understand the “if its not bagged, its ok to ask for a receipt” theory. What if I bring an old bag from a previous shopping trip, go and put something from inside the store and try to walk out with it… will I not get asked for a receipt then? if not, then that’s a stupid store policy and my budget just got a lot bigger.

    I think the focus here should be that the ends do not justify the means. We should not have to give up our rights as human beings just so that we can put money in the pocket of big business. That being said, I am OK with this practice if they posted a disclaimer at the store entrance explaining how the customer will be affected. Then any potential customer will understand what to expect and this post would not have been necessary. Let the forces of capitalism decide if this practice is warranted going forward. Hit them in their pockets, not their face (although it would feel good to do so).

  66. Major-General says:

    @Asif5th: Because Target lies, and KMart is closed.

  67. bohemian says:

    Some states will issue a conceal carry to anyone with a pulse (or near enough). Sometimes the last person you think should be carrying a gun, is. So yea, random confrontations are not always the best idea.

  68. T-Bone (KoKo the Monkey) says:

    This story is one of many where I agree in principle and theory but argue that pragmatism should prevail in the end. I probably would have done the same thing and kept walking. But when things escalated to the point of false imprisonment, all could be avoided by simply showing the receipt. I’d still make a point that I’m not legally required to do so and file a formal complaint with Wal-Mart corporate.

  69. Kaix says:

    Better check state statutes before doing this whole leaving without showing receipt deal. In Indiana, if I understand this correctly, a state statute ([]) permits store employees with “probable cause” to detain any customer. The statute also protects the business from any civil action filed by the customer for the detainment even if the customer hasn’t actually done anything wrong, as long as the store can prove it had “probable cause” to detain the person. Whether or not the store has probable cause is up for debate, but what happens if you set off one of those security systems at the door and refuse to show your receipt then?

  70. qwickone says:

    @gamehendge2000: that’s how they take your rights away. when people are too apathetic to fight back for them

  71. Major-General says:

    @nak1986: But it doesn’t actually stop shoplifting. It just looks like it does.

  72. brent_w says:

    @Lo-Pan: I already explained whats wrong, in case you have reading troubles I’ll say it again.

    After they detained him, showing the receipt only serves to encourage their unlawful strong arming of customers.


    His detainment was a violation of the law.

    To give up after being physically detained only encourages them to continue violating the law by physically detaining customers.

  73. Cheve says:

    Come on tasing bob sounded like fun, even the guy who said “maybe i’m a police” maybe i’m james bond !!

  74. myzenthing says:

    Ummm, why would anyone shop at Wal-Mart in the first place? Surely, one could find a locally-owned hardware store with a shower rack?

  75. JustAGuy2 says:


    I’m sure your story that “your honor, he was standing in my way, I had to draw my gun” would go over very well. Is this annoying? Yes. Is it unacceptable? Yes. Would any reasonable person hearing this story believe that the OP was in any real danger that would justify the threat or use of lethal force? Not in a million years.

  76. dorkins says:

    What’s the big deal about showing a receipt? Grow up, man. Or should Wal-Mart just start a new advertising campaign: “We’re Shoplifter-Friendly!”

    Costco does it ALL the time, and I don’t hear complaints.

  77. Chols says:

    Often if I purchase a large item and they do not bag it, I will ask for a bag and put it on the top like a hat. Surprisingly, they just let me pass.

    On a side note, it is a rather large hassle to stop me for the 24pk of water under my cart, and have them search thru the entire receipt of nearly 80 items for the water in question.

  78. 3ZKL says:

    in all of these ‘where is your receipt’ situations, wouldn’t a better answer always be ‘go ask the employee who checked me out’?

  79. boblc123 says:

    come on consumerist. This is ridiculous. This bozo should have just showed his receipt and been done with it. I think the guy just needs a good ass kickin’.

  80. misteral says:

    @Hiphopopotamus: If I only buy a small amount of items, I will typically refuse a bag. I’ll always wrap my receipt around the outside when I walk out, have never been asked to show it.

    Having said that, I have to ask: Does anyone know what the CANADIAN law on displaying a receipt is? I know that legally you can not detain a shoplifter unless you have monitored them 100% of the time since they acquired the item they are accused of shoplifting – that would pretty much tell me that being challenged for a receipt would be useless.

  81. brent_w says:

    @ThyGuy: I only see one person in this thread name calling and labeling people.

    Who’s the dickhead again?

  82. exkon says:

    Oh sweet, I can just start walking out of stores without paying for it.

    I mean I don’t have to prove I paid for it!!

    This story was an awesome inspiration, just start walking out of stores with stuff!!!

    I mean, the submitter of the story didn’t even think his situation through. He had the item without a bag walking out of the door, I guarantee 9 out of 10 people would have thought he might have been shoplifting.

  83. CharlieSeattle says:

    @bravo369: Here’s a clue, it’s illegal to detain people unless shop lifting is suspected. Then you better have shop lifted. People keep forgetting the issue isn’t the receipt, they can ask to see a reciept, it’s voluntary for you to comply or not. THEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO DETAIN YOU. Repeat those words in your head.

  84. dorkins says:

    Yes, I agree. Makes me think that Consumerist thinks shoplifting from these evil corporations should be made easier.

  85. nak1986 says:

    Also this s**t about sueing them, seriously, the legal system is backed up enough, and these days you cant take a s**t without someone sueing you, don’t add to that. Oh yeah and that whole thing about telling them that you are legally armed in my state qualifies as assault because it can invoke fear for life. And to the people saying bags make them exempt, in the stores Ive worked, and according the the loss prevention and cops I know a lot of shoplifters will bring their own bags. But what do I know I’m just a “sheep” following what the horrible man says, oh no.

  86. hoot550 says:

    When I worked in retail, there was a series of steps that had to be determined. It’s been a few years, but I believe it was you had to see the person take the item, conceal the item, fail to pay for the item, and attempt to leave without paying. You also had to constantly see them from start to finish. Anything other than that, and you were liable. That was want constituted “probable cause.” I think it’s fairly similar for other states as well.

    Also, under no circumstances was anyone allowed to physically detain a customer, even if all of the conditions had been met. Even if a customer was running out the door with thousands of dollars in merchandise, they were not to be physically detained by store personnel.

  87. moviemoron says:

    Remember that the item was not bagged or tagged when he left the store, so they had a cause to ask for the recipt.

  88. robocop is bleeding says:

    So if someone wants to make a few bucks off of Google ads, do the following:

    Create a receipt-sized pdf for each state complete with the applicable laws surrounding showing your receipt, laws around unlawful detainment, and a slew of phone numbers (AG, BBB, state police non-emergency line, Ben Popkin, etc)that a detainee can call up from inside the store.

    So that way, when workers try to follow store policy to ask for a receipt, people can show them something and make everyone happy – the consumer for not needing to show their receipt or get detained, the store employee who only wants to look at something because his or her boss told’em to, and the people behind you who won’t get blocked from leaving the store when the employees block the exit to prevent the first person from leaving!

  89. DeeJayQueue says:

    the 4th amendment protects against the police or the government searching/seizing you or your stuff without a warrant or probable cause.
    It does NOT protect you from the average public, or employees of stores doing that. That’s what the rest of the law is for. If a cop tries to search you without probable cause, he’s violating your 4th amendment rights. If the Walmart lackey tries the same thing, it’s assault. File criminal charges against him, but don’t go shouting 4th amendment. People smarter than you will laugh.

  90. dorkins says:

    I think there’s an error with this story. The headline should read, “ONLY detained and harrassed …”

    This arrogant I-can’t-stop-to-show-you-my-receipt idiot should have been tased.

  91. dreamsneverend says:

    I love the people who would rather let their rights erode. It’s guys like this, who even though may seem obnoxious, keep companies from implementing draconian measures against consumers. Obviously there is some massive issues with training employees and the loss prevention policies the stores are conveying.

  92. fostina1 says:

    i thought they were called greeters. that doesnt have anything to do with leaving, just coming.

  93. Buran says:

    @jpx72x: Yes it does, when they’re trying to detain you. You are allowed to use force in self-defense. Someone trying to assault me is self-defense.

  94. CharlieSeattle says:

    @Lo-Pan: I call BS on this. I’ve had to go purchase an ITEM during a busy time, because of Medical reasons, and I was in pain because of the medical reasons, stood in a long line to check out, get checked out, then another long ass line out the door. I always refuse, I’ve done it at costco, I’ve done it at best buy. Either be sheep and do as you are told or actually exercise your rights.

  95. Buran says:

    @Kaix: Probable cause is narrowly defined. I’m not going to recap what I said in the last thread, from JUST A FEW DAYS AGO, so go read it there.

    Not showing a receipt isn’t probable cause.

  96. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @afterimageB: I’m so glad you have a concealed carry permit. Drawing a gun at the second “touch” certainly seems reasonable. God bless the NRA. Sheesh.

  97. Illusio26 says:

    @ThyGuy: Screw you. Just because you don’t care about being treated like a criminal or the erosion of your rights, doesn’t mean others don’t. You can take your holier than thou attitude and shove it. I have rights that belong to me and I’ll thank you not to force me to give them up so walmart’s bottom line isn’t inconvenienced.

  98. The Porkchop Express says:

    @brent_w: It would encourage Bob and Maybe Cindy, you mean. Because this “them” or “they” you speak of would never have known about the big stand off with Bob and Maybe Cindy.
    I know sometimes “they” are after people, but I don’t think Bob would be “their” tool in this battle.

  99. Buran says:

    @ThyGuy: And I’m seeing a pattern of idiots saying we should just bend over and give up our rights. Like you.

  100. ThyGuy says:


    A dickhead that shows his receipt to prevent a conflict. The reason I’m insulting is because this nonsense has effected me while I’m at stores. I had to wait while some jackass bitched about having to show his receipt.

    So the real question. I may be a dick, but are these people crying about being able having to show a receipt rational in any way, shape or form, other than, “Boo hoo, I has to wait a few more moments. My rights are violated!!!111”?

  101. ohiomensch says:


    you would be amazed at the things people steal. I used to work for K-Mart when I was in college, and someone came through the checkout line with a $75 pair of work boots. He paid for them and was busted for shoplifting when he walked out the door becuase he had a $1.99 pair of flip-flops down the front of his pants.

    I don’t like being asked for a receipt either, and in this age of “green” everything, people are not getting their items bagged so its a bit of a catch-22, no bag – get hassled, bag – bad for environment. I make an effort to not to shop at places that demand to see receipts like Best Buy and Sam’s Club, sometimes its unavoidable.

  102. GundamAC197 says:

    Ok, normally I’m against the whole “blame the victim” movement, but this is just asinine. If you’re walking to the door with an unbagged item and won’t respond to the people who work there when they ask for proof of purchase, of course it looks like you’re stealing. This could have been resolved in about 2 seconds if the writer had just calmly stopped, pulled out his wallet and held the receipt out. (If you plan to argue with that, please go back to the end of the story when he all-too-happily did just that to get the number for customer support.) Regardless of whether he -had- to, he caused himself a lot more inconvenience by making a fuss about it.

  103. Machete_Bear says:

    This is another example of the doubled-edged sword that is consumer information. Has this individual not read Consumerist (which I love with all of my heart, don’t get me wrong) he would not have known that he could have just walked by, taken out his receipt, and no altercation would have taken place.

    Would it really have been such a big deal based on what he eventually went through? Even though the employees were wrong, they were ignorant of their missteps, and to them, they were just being provoked by a shady, uncooperative customer.

  104. fostina1 says:

    im not waiting in a damn line to leave a store. thats just assinine.

  105. FilthyHarry says:

    Fuck that shit. ‘We have a policy’ well I have a policy too, its to not let people people into my business because they have a ‘policy’.

    To the people who don’t understand why someone would not just give in, its about the ongoing battle between corporate interests trumping individual interests. And the individuals are losing bigtime because you assholes stand in line like sheep and let someone root through your belongings for no reason.

    My reasoning: I didn’t steal, I’m not stopping.

  106. gingerCE says:

    This is Walmart’s new policy. They’ve been doing it for a couple months now. I have no problem with it. Costco does it so why can’t Walmart–and as far as I know, no one has complained about Costco’s policy. And I bet if you’d refused to show a receipt at Costco they would’ve detained you as well.

    I went to Walmart yesterday. The guy in front of me bought some stuff. When the cashier handed him the receipt, she said clearly, keep this receipt out. You have to show them the receipt on your way out. The cashier told me the same thing. Of course, the guy in front of me didn’t listen and takes forever to find his receipt, and starts questioning this new policy, holding up the line.

    I was at Target a couple weeks ago, and a young couple were leaving the store, no bags. Before leaving (as I was behind them) the woman was clearly fidgeting with her purse, zipping it close. The couple goes through the detectors. The sirens go off. The couple does not stop or even hesitate. There were 2 female employees inside along with a security guard, and right on the other side of the door are 2 male employees, nobody did anything, nobody said anything–well, no wait, they did turn and watch the couple leave. I watch amazed. I continue watching the couple very quickly walk to their car. Nothing. Nadda. It actually kind of pissed me off that Target has such a lax shoplifting policy. Why? I’m not sure, but it did.

  107. vermontwriter says:

    I know people who’ve worked in retail. Shoplifters often try to make things look completely normal. I’ve heard of cases where someone purchased one item by puling out a more expensive item in a similarly shaped box, switching them, then telling the cashier they opened the package to make sure all the pieces are there. They then buy the more expensive item at half the price.

    There are also the people who like this story, CLAIM they paid and then say they’d put away their receipt or dropped their receipt and refuse to present it.

    It would have cost nothing but a few seconds to pull out the receipt and let the person do their job, but instead this guy chose to carry on and act up just to prove his point.

    Know what’s easier? Keep the receipt in your hand until you’ve left the store. That’s what I always do and if the receipt is in your hand you’ll never get stopped.

  108. Nylo says:

    Ooooh! Such activists we have here!

    Reader J is your typical “I have rights” Cali spoiled brat. Its a shower rack! I know, Its the principle…. “Rodney King, Rodney King!”

    Where do you guys find the time for this stuff? Just show that poor minimum wage worker the damn receipt!

    And while you are at it, GET A LIFE.

  109. Aphex242 says:

    “I didn’t wish to get physical and blow the situation out of proportion.”

    Way to fail. I honestly think that this whole recent rash of non-receipt showing promoted here on the Consumerist is doing consumers and corporate America a disservice. It’s a waste of resources, and diverts attention from honestly far more important issues.

    So what if it’s technically not legal? We’re not talking about a slippery slope here where we’ll all be subject to body cavity searches if we don’t stand up for our rights now… it’s just plain silly.

    Show the fucking receipt and move on. No drama, no angst, no cell phone pictures, no hours of time on the phone at corporate… the whole this is just asinine. To what end? Honestly?

    I just fail to see a single redeeming quality in ‘standing up for your right to not show your receipt’. Maybe someone can enlighten me and show me how this, for example, is just as important as companies who legitimately mistreat employees and customers, hire illegal workers, produce items in sweatshops, manufacture products with dangerous chemicals, try to bilk customers out of money, etc.

    To me, this receipt crap just isn’t close, and is a complete farce. What an utter waste of his, the store’s, and our time.

  110. nak1986 says:

    You also have a right to stand on a soap box and announce that you are a thick sculled a**hat that would rather torment some minimum wage kid or senior citizen then help the establishment make a little more money so that your prices can be lower and that kid can make a little more money. Why don’t you exercise that right as much as your exercise your “right” not to show a receipt leaving the store?

  111. crabbyman6 says:

    I’m all for fighting for your rights, but sometimes you gotta pick your battles. If you could lose your job, just show the reciept and get it over with. It makes me a little sad that a lot of people would rather fight for their “receipt rights” over their constitutional rights. Whenever I don’t get a bag I just keep my receipt out since I don’t really mind getting checked then.

  112. ThyGuy says:

    I’m done. what you people really need is a good punch in the face. Words will never reach you.

  113. crabbyman6 says:

    Also, I’m sick of these stupid receipt stories too.

  114. cfinke says:

    If this happened to me, the first thing I’d do after refusing to prove that I’m not a thief would be to return what I bought and buy it somewhere else.

  115. xamarshahx says:

    What happens if you lose your receipt on the way out? Can they charge you with theft or stop you if they have no video proof of it occurring?

  116. markio says:

    I was at a WalMart one day and while I was at the register I got a phone call from my mom. My wife was in the emergency room, and told me to get down there right away. The cashier even wished me luck as I hurried away with one bag of items. I was hightailing it out of there, not running, but powerwalking you might say because I was worried to death. There was a reciept checker there but he was busy messing with carts so I kept going. I got in my car and as I was just starting to back up I got a loud tap on the rear of my car and looked to see the Walmart reciept checker standing at the side of my car. I rolled down the window and he had asked if I had a reciept. I was shocked to see that he actually came all the way out to the lot to check it, and the attitude he had was pretty crappy. Without giving it much thought I apoligized and said that I was in a hurry and he wasn’t standing at the door when I left. I got my reciept out and he took a quick glance and said “next time, don’t act like you stole something”. I was shocked, but didn’t have time to deal with it. Enough blabbering, just thought I would share my reciept story.

  117. Kevmas says:

    File the report and have Bob arrested. I am tired of store policy trumping our laws. You should have also got the name and license plate of the guy impersonating a cop.

  118. MCShortbus says:

    The appropriate response to the Police Impersonator would have been to say “If you were a police officer you would know that what Bob here is doing is illegal.”

    Another poster made a point about someone being armed and being stopped. They might not only be interested in preserving their 4th Amendment right, but in exercising their 2nd Amendment right…

    Just something for would be Super Heroes to consider.

  119. coan_net says:

    I’m all for sticking it to companies that deserve it – but I still for the life of me don’t understand why people make sure a big deal about showing a receipt as you exit.

    hell – I would have been home watching the Simpsons on TV while this guy is still messing around with this situation that could have been handled in 10 seconds.

    It’s like driving down the road in heavy traffic and someone wants to switch lanes in front of you – you can be an ass and move up so they can’t get over… possible causing and accident if they don’t see you, and other issues like that – or take 10 seconds, resolve the issue and move on.

    Now I’m not blaming the customer with this post – but I do kind of blame him for not once saying to “Bob” that it is against the law to require him to show him the receipt… instead of ignoring him and trying to walk away….. by ignoring, it seems to have made the situation worse.

    QUESTION: If you walk out of the store and there is a **BONG** because the cashier forgot to deactivate the security tag on an item – what then? Is it the same where you continue to walk out without showing anyone your items or receipt?

  120. The Porkchop Express says:

    @FilthyHarry: you think not showing your receipt is helping?

    I need to know what rights get taken after we decice to show the reciept. Seriously what right is next?
    Tell me please which of my rights are being eroded by showing a receipt. If there is a good one and I can see the connection….you win and I’ll never show my receipt. If I truly believe that a real right will be taken because of showing a receipt, I’ll go to jail instead of showing a receipt and I’ll send the story to consumerist from my cell.

  121. MoCo says:

    Here is a very good writeup by an attorney on the receipt-checking issue:


  122. crabbyman6 says:

    @markio: According to a lot of these people you were wrong and gave into the man! You should have gotten out and made a stink about having to show your receipt, don’t you want your rights??

    On a serious note, hope your wife was alright. Also, you gotta admire the checker’s determination if nothing else.

  123. timmus says:

    Wow, 109 comments… not sure whether it’s worth writing anything at this point. But I do have to say I’ve dropped all my resistance about showing receipts after learning that this is mostly a thing to make sure employees aren’t letting goods go by for free, rather than an attempt to double-check customers.

    Not sure what I think about this story, but the employee was definitely out of line grabbing the customer.

  124. Dashrashi says:

    File a police report and sue the bastards. Getting the lawyers involved will make them sit up and take notice, I’d bet. It’s your right not to be detained–that means you get to have it, regardless of other people’s ideas that it’s inconvenient or unimportant. If you don’t want to give it up, you don’t have to. That’s the whole point of rights.

  125. ClayS says:

    I think Reader J is right, the employee should not have attempted to detain him unless he had reason to suspect him of shoplifting. You would expect a receipt-checker to know what to do in all the 2 or 3 possible scenarios he might encounter in his profession.

    But really, Reader J, you know certain retailer have people checking receipts. It’s nice that the stores give these people jobs. Why break their balls? Go with the flow, pal. If you really don’t like their policies, don’t shop at those stores. Why get aggravated?

  126. hexychick says:

    Ridiculous. I still don’t get why the guy couldn’t just prevent a lot of BS and just pull out the receipt. It would have taken about 30 seconds versus the X number of minutes he spent whining and taking cameraphone pictures. I’ve been stopped before and gladly show my proof of purchase. What is the big deal? You’re carrying something out in a store that has self-check ailes (and that’s happening everywhere) and you don’t have a bag or a sticker on it to indicate you’ve paid. It’s not giving up your rights to show some one a receipt. Save yourself the hassle and don’t put your receipt away until you get to the car.

    On the flipside, Wal-mart and other stores could save themselves a LOT of hassle if they simply put signs up that said something to the effect of “please have your receipt ready” or something to that effect. I know I’ve seen them in other stores before.

  127. MDSasquatch says:

    Let’s not forget about Bob; I am sure when he was a young vibrant man, he didn’t aspire to be some receipt-checking hack at Walmart. He probably cries all the way to work and all the way home. I am sure he was just doing what he was told, BUT….

    I don’t show my receipts either; if they want to see it, they need to get a good look before they hand it to me at the register. I am not a criminal and I will not be treated like one.

  128. digitalgimpus says:

    Why was the picture masked? Is that really necessary?

    Maybe if there was external accountability (because we know that manager just chuckled after he left), they would think twice.

  129. ladron121 says:

    Checking receipts does very little to reduce shoplifting. Most store theft is done by, or with the assistance of, store employees. Checking receipts is little more than a scare tactic, they hope people will be too scared to shoplift if someone is checking.

    I worked in retail. Rule number one was you DON’T TOUCH THE CUSTOMER. Rule number two was you have to have witnessed them shoplifting. And rule number three was you never pursue them, EVER. Walmart failed on all counts.

    And it does drive me crazy that people are so willing to yell at someone for trying to protect their rights. The receipt could have been shown, sure, and I do that every time I buy something at Walmart. That’s my choice. I’m not going to hold it against anyone who wants to stand up for their rights not to be detained and to not have their 4th amendment rights violated.

  130. Consumer007 says:

    Is it just me or is everyone here SICK OF Wal-Mart and so many other places assuming ALL consumers are criminals because they shop there and are walking out of the store?

    This SHOULD BE a media fiasco for WM – the guy should file another $54 million lawsuit just like the best buy lady, and demand the arrest of “Bob”. But no, our media is so crass and corporate, they LEAP to the conclusion it must somehow ALL be J (the criminal’s) fault…

    My answer would be to have a “refuse to buy from Wal-Mart” week – have hundreds of people come in the store, jam as much in they can in big shopping baskets, hold up the line fishing for their wallets, take at least 3 minutes doing that and then either say “oh, you will want to check my receipt at the door? Never mind…” or “I’m so sorry, I left my wallet in the car” and then leave and not come back. Or even just grab a cart, pile it full, park it blocking an aisle and leave. If people would just do something like this consistently and in an organized way, WM would be BEGGING for people to stop and knock it off…but alas…sigh…no organized kihones these days, and the Constitution is dying a miserable corporate death…

  131. radio1 says:

    Well, this one of those deals where no matter how ‘right’ you are, you always end up expending more energy than you wanted.

    Sure you can be ‘right’ and be upset.
    Sure you can be ‘right’, acquiesce and be pissed off.

    Or, if you want to stay on your high horse, just tell them to ask the cashier…

  132. gingerCE says:

    Actually, I was detained at Costco once for not having my receipt. I had it, but threw it into my large purse (was buying one item with cash). I was walking out and stopped. Eventually I found the receipt. I have seen other people detained and had to go searching for their receipts.

    So Consumerist, let’s post a story on being detained and harassed at Costco for not showing a receipt. Wait, Consumerist doesn’t like to write bad stories on Costco. I forgot that part.

    In fact, at Costco, I have been told I couldn’t return an item because I didn’t have the receipt, and I have been told by a Costco employee that I couldn’t return an item because I HAD the receipt, even told by a manager that my mistake once was bringing a receipt.

  133. Mike_ says:

    For me, it’s as simple as this: the compulsory receipt check is no way to treat a paying customer. Stores I visit have two options: (1) check my receipt, and then watch me walk to the returns counter to get my money back, or (2) allow me to depart without accosting me at the exit. I no longer tolerate being treated like a criminal by someone I just gave my money to.

  134. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @gingerCE: Big difference between Costco and Walmart. Costco is a private shopping club – you sign a membership agreement to join and (presumably) consent to the receipt-checking. In contrast, public stores are bound by ordinary detention/search laws – the typically need probable cause or it risks liability for unlawful detention.

    There’s also a difference between when the alarm thingy sounds and when it doesn’t. Probable cause requires particularized suspiscion – something about YOU, as opposed to every other shopper who walks out that door. The store can’t just assume that everyone is stealing and act accordingly.

    As for the “no bag” issue – how can the store presume that someone is stealing simply for walking out of the store as they were checked out. If the store made everyone take a bag for everything, or put stickers on unbagged items, they could conceivably have PC to stop an “unbagged” customer.

    Honestly, I have no problem with people refusing to do this. Do I refuse? Not often. Do I make a stink? Hardly ever. But I do wish stores would cut out this nonsense, and that won’t happen unless somebody says something. As for the “delaying everyone else” argument – do you really stop and wait if there’s nobody around and ready to check your receipt? That’s pretty sheepy.

  135. Johnathan says:

    It should be noted that Bob and Cindy violated Wal-mart policy. The rule is that you ask for a receipt, but you can’t demand one. If a customer refuses or keeps on walking, you let them walk. It’s not really Wal-marts fault that these two individuals ignored the policy that they were trained on, as long as the store reacts and at a minimum retrains its associates.

  136. gingerCE says:

    @Mike_: Guess you don’t shop at Costco or Sam’s Club. I recommend then you never get a membership to a warehouse store.

  137. RokMartian says:

    @aphex242: Damn straight. As I get older, there are 2 things that make more sense every day:

    Pick your battles
    Life is too short

  138. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    Costco’s T&C states that they reserve the right to both check receipts and bags. I think it’s p. 29.


  139. Toof_75_75 says:

    If the alarms go off, that is probable cause. If they have some security footage of some suspect activity, that is probable cause.

    If you are just leaving the store after having purchased something and they have no reason to suspect that you are a thief, then they have no right to detain you.

  140. wdnobile says:

    If it were me, id have not broken my stride. If he’d physically restrained me, there would have been an altecation. I **hate ** these policies -they dont catch or deter shoplifters, only teach them to conceal their thefts in baggy clothes. I dont stop – I just keep walking.

  141. Binaryslyder says:

    I had a similar situation to the story back during Xmas time. I had bought about $20 worth of stuff from walmart and was heading out the door in a hury. I was already grumpy because our tree had fallen over and blew right past LINE of people waiting to leave the store.

    Immediately I was stopped by a security guard who told me to get in line. “I’m done with my shopping and I’m leaving,” I said. “No your not. I need to see your receipt or your not going anywhere,” the guard replied. I continued walking towards the door but the guard stepped in front of me. I was furious, and running late. “Either you get out of my way or you accuse me of shop lifting. I don’t have to show you my receipt. Now get the f%&k out of my way.” At this point he stepped a side and I preceded to walk past him. As I was nearly passed him he reached out and grabbed my arm. Without pause I turned around and said, “unless you want to get charged with assault and battery you take your hand off me. Now.” at which point he let me go and I walked off.

    Mad or not, I wouldn’t have waited around. I would have kept trying to leave the store. Had the manager blocked the door I would have my phone out calling 911 in a matter of seconds. “hello, yes I’m being held against my will at the Wal-Mart. I don’t know why but they won’t let me go. Please help me!”

    Even better, I would hand the phone to the 911 operator to let them explain why I’m being ILLEGALLY detained. Guess that’s just the lawyer in me.

  142. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    When you get the membership, you consent to the receipt check. You have absolutely nothing to complain about when asked for your receipt at one of these stores.

  143. Craig says:

    These “I don’t want to show my receipt” stories all reek of a “so what are you going to do about it” mentality. If you’re going to provoke someone, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to be in the right by doing so, don’t act so surprised and bent out of shape when you elicit a reaction. You asked for one, you got it. Plain and simple.

    As for store policies of asking to see a receipt, if you don’t like it shop somewhere else.

  144. Mike_ says:

    @gingerCE: Sam’s is owned by Wal-Mart. I avoid both stores on principle.

    There are no Costco stores in my area.

  145. darkened says:

    @ThyGuy: So wait, you’re complaining to having to wait for a person purportedly complaining about having to wait… Maybe if you realized if none of us took this bullshit you wouldn’t wait in the first place.

  146. APFPilot says:

    I think a lot of you are missing the point. If the clerk really felt that he was shoplifting since he didn’t want to show the receipt he should have called the police. In NO way does he ever gain the right to touch someone because they refused to show the receipt. That is what this story is about.

  147. GundamAC197 says:

    “Is it just me or is everyone here SICK OF Wal-Mart and so many other places assuming ALL consumers are criminals because they shop there and are walking out of the store?”

    …or, you could re-read the story where the shopper, by his own account, was asked to present proof of purchase for an item he was carrying out by hand, and kept walking without looking back.

    Yes, Wal-Mart is a evil corporation, we all know this, bu that doesn’t mean you get to just walk in and act like you’re stealing shit. They denied him his right to walk out of a store with merchandise, without proving he’s purchased it. That really has two interpretations; yes, he had to stand still for an extra few seconds to get his wallet, but on the other hand if they didn’t check anyone could just walk in, grab what they wanted and claim they bought it and just don’t feel like proving it.

  148. Dashrashi says:

    I don’t understand why you choosing not to pick this particular battle means someone else shouldn’t. It’s his right, he likes it, he’d prefer to hold onto it. You don’t get to weigh in on that.

    This policy allows stores to unlawfully detain customers. I don’t want to be unlawfully detained by anyone, because it restricts my freedom of movement, which negatively impacts my life and my conception of my autonomy, which the law protects. It’s my right not to be unlawfully detained, and accordingly, it is my right to refuse to show my receipt when the store does not have probable cause to detain me. I like that right, the one where people don’t get to touch me and make me be in a place I don’t want to be in, so I think I’ll hold onto it.

    If you don’t like your right, give it up. Don’t tell me that I should give mine up when I like it plenty.

  149. Mike_ says:

    @Binaryslyder: How did you make it through law school without learning the difference between “your” and “you’re”? (*You’re* not fooling anyone.)

  150. NickVenture says:

    I can’t say I understand those who are so against showing a receipt. It takes a few seconds of your time but at least you aren’t causing a scene and wasting more time. It’s rather ridiculous, in my opinion.

  151. gingerCE says:

    @D.B. Cooper-Nichol: When I meant no bag, I mean they had no items in their hands. Now I know they could’ve bought something at the pharmacy (like I was doing) or electronics, but they walked out empty handed and the alarm goes off. They were not at the checkouts–they were walking out from near the otc meds section–where I was exiting from. My question for Target was why not just ask the couple to stop–why else do you have a security guard and sensors as you walk out? Of course, this couple wasn’t stopping. It was while they were walking down the main corrider aisle, past the checkout, that I noticed her imho ugly purse, which is why I noticed her zipping the open purse closed. Didn’t think that was unusual, until the sensors went off.

    And actually Wal-mart isn’t a public store. It is a private store–privately owned and operated. It is not a govt. owned building. You don’t have to sign a piece of paper to agree to the stores policy. Many stores have a must wear shoes and shirt policy, and you don’t sign to agree to that. Walmart can deny any customer access to their store and ban them from shopping there.

  152. MYarms says:

    So what if they want to see your receipt? God forbid they should want to reduce their loss. And for one stupid item, you must have just been looking for trouble to refuse such a simple request.

  153. apex says:

    @afterimageB: Typical Internet Tough Guy posturing. Somehow, I don’t think a court would agree that shooting the unarmed Wal-Mart employee constituted a direct threat to your life.

    If you own any guns, sell them right now. You’re a danger to yourself and anyone around you with that attitude.

  154. bullfrogmiah says:

    After speaking with my Brother in Law, who is a lawyer (in CO), he mentioned something called “Shopkeeper’s Privilege”
    There are no sources in the article (some of it is probably state specific)

    This seems to say that being asked to show your receipt by a merchant is entirely within their rights, if they suspect you of shoplifting. They have the right to detain you “for a reasonable amount of time” (which should be long enough to show your receipt) My BIL also says “I don’t think refusing to show the receipt alone would be sufficient to raise the suspicion. Carrying an unbagged item, or an item in other than a store bag, putting the item in a purse, backpack, etc. in addition to refusing to show the receipt raise the level of suspicion.”

    Asking “am I being accused of shoplifting?” may be the ‘magic words’ to not have to show your receipt.
    I think that it isn’t unreasonable to show your receipt, but if I’m in a hurry, I think that you are within your rights to not show it.

  155. Erwos says:

    @Lo-Pan: If they opened the bag, that constitutes search.

  156. gingerCE says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I agree with stopping shoplifting and have always showed my receipt when asked. At Costco, once, it took me a while to find my receipt, but I didn’t complain to the employee, I emptied out my large bag until I found the receipt.

    My point is that Costco does this and has done this for years and Consumerist has never written badly about it, but Walmart does this and it gets written about.

  157. APFPilot says:

    @MYarms: It’s been proven many times that the majority of shrink that stores experience is internal. Hell, I have a good friend who is very high with LP at Walmart and he agrees that receipt checking doesn’t do a damn thing.

  158. flummox says:

    you are damn right i would rather “go through that” then give up my freedoms. dozens of generations have faught in wars and smaller confrontations to retain freedoms for this country, you included.

    sure, that is not the same as showing a receipt. but, ask yourself this: “when and where does it stop?” what if they require fingerprints and retinal scans? are you going to agree to that?

    i know you are all saying, “well, showing your receipt is a pretty big leap from fighting in a war.” … and you’d be right. however, it’s still important to retain our rights.

    no. i do NOT want to have to PROVE my innocence without being GUILTY. and especially not to some idiot (yup, that’s right. anyone who does what they are told without taking regular humanity into account IS an idiot) implying that i am stealing. i’m sick and f’n tired of it!


  159. apex says:

    @dorkins: Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club and the like require to you sign an agreement that allows them to check your receipt as a condition of membership. They are special cases.

  160. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    No complaints about Costco/Sam’s Club because:

    ***you consent to the receipt checking when you sign for your membership***

    Therefore it is completely, 100% legal, and there is nothing to complain about.

  161. Dashrashi says:

    @MDSasquatch: Agreed on both points. The store put Bob in a shitty situation, by making him believe that he was supposed to unlawfully detain customers. This should be brought to their attention, and they should cut it out immediately.
    @Craig: Yes, and the reaction was ILLEGAL. Don’t you think that’s notable?
    @MYarms: Have you read any of the comments on this topic, ever?

  162. jedipunk says:

    I am going to have to side with users saying he should have showed. Normally, I say fight the battle, but no sold sticker, no bag, then problems. He looked like a shoplifter. They should have hauled him off as they had a reasonable suspicion.

    Fights like this one make the real fight look bad.

  163. Onouris says:

    What’s pathetic is all the people spouting crap about rights. According to you, all the shop lifters go free too.

  164. privatejoker75 says:

    @Buran: werd

  165. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I know the simple solution to this!
    Get a hundred people together, buy a couple of things at Wally World on a really busy day & time & DEMAND they look at all the receipts.
    It will back people up so bad they’ll go crazy in there!

  166. gingerCE says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: You consent to Walmart’s policy too–implicitly, but privately owned businesses are allowed to set up store policies. That being the case, consumers are allowed to choose not to shop at certain stores as they please.

  167. bravo369 says:

    @afterimageB: I’m sure that would go over well. Go ahead and pull your gun next time you are asked for your receipt. If the guy still doesn’t let you leave and the cops show up do you really honestly think they are going to side with you? you are going to get arrested and hauled off to jail. what would your defense be? he wouldn’t let me pass unless i show my receipt so rather than show the receipt i pulled my gun because he was detaining me. yeah go try that one.

  168. apex says:

    @Craig: Since when is a brief “No thank you” and continuing to walk provoking anyone? Bob escalated the situation, not the OP.

  169. Onouris says:

    Oh sorry forgot the second half of my post. No bag, no receipt, no way of knowing the guy wasn’t a shoplifter, EVERY suspicion to think he was.

    I laugh at the person saying haha my family is all lawyers I’d love this to happen. What, you’re gonna sue a guy for doing his job because EVERYTHING pointed to theft? Congratulations.

  170. tstephen says:

    Sheesh… what ever happened to personal responsibility?

    It may be wrong for WalMart to ask for his receipt, but why not just show the mistrained employee the receipt and report the incident to the GM or corporate after you get home? It seems to me that the “embarrassment” the guy suffered was entirely his fault.

    What a jackass. I’m disappointed that these stupid receipt posts even keep making the cut. You have such a great site… it’s an awesome resource and full of interesting information, but then you run these pieces that encourage these people to act like idiots. What gives?

  171. smoothtom says:

    Why’s everyone so into bags? A bag is supposed to be something that’s provided for the convenience of carrying multiple items out the door. It is NOT a sign that merchandise has been properly obtained. It’s easy to swipe a bag or to bring your own.

    All of this insistence on “bagged merchandise” increases waste. I, for one, specifically ask for cashiers NOT to bag the one or two items I purchase.

  172. selectman says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Some people just have thick skulls…I count three posts explaining the difference between private shopping clubs and normal retail businesses, but I guess that isn’t enough for our friend ginger.

  173. Caveat says:

    So much ignorance by so many people! Why don’t you read the law of New Hampshire? The merchant, Wal-Mart, has every right to reasonably detain. If someone refuses to show a receipt they can detain until the police arrive and the police will detain until the matter has been investigated. Similar laws apply in most states to protect stores, otherwise shoplifters would me making out even more than they already are and honest consumers would be paying through higher prices. The fact that it is Wal-Mart is irrelevant. Costco makes EVERYONE show a receipt. Here is the law for anyone to read, and note that FORCE is permitted to detain the suspect:
    Section 627:8-a
    627:8-a Use of Force by Merchants. –
    I. A merchant, or his or her agent, is justified in detaining any person who he or she has reasonable grounds to believe has committed the offense of willful concealment or shoplifting, as defined by RSA 644:17, on his or her premises as long as necessary to surrender the person to a peace officer, provided such detention is conducted in a reasonable manner.
    II. A motion picture theater owner, or his or her agent, is justified in detaining any person who he or she has reasonable grounds to believe has committed the offense of unauthorized recording in a motion picture theater on his or her premises, as defined by RSA 644:19, as long as necessary to surrender the person to a peace officer, provided such detention is conducted in a reasonable manner.

    Source. 1981, 344:2. 2005, 70:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.

  174. MountainCop says:

    I’m not a real big fan of having to show my receipt when exiting a store (and yes, I am a real police officer). However, in Colorado, the law reads:

    18-4-407. Questioning of person suspected of theft without liability.

    If any person triggers an alarm or a theft detection device as defined in section 18-4-417 (2) or conceals upon his person or otherwise carries away any unpurchased goods, wares, or merchandise held or owned by any store or mercantile establishment, the merchant or any employee thereof or any peace officer, acting in good faith and upon probable cause based upon reasonable grounds therefor, may detain and question such person, in a reasonable manner for the purpose of ascertaining whether the person is guilty of theft. Such questioning of a person by a merchant, merchant’s employee, or peace or police officer does not render the merchant, merchant’s employee, or peace officer civilly or criminally liable for slander, false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, or unlawful detention.

    The definition of ‘reasonable grounds’ and ‘good faith’ haven’t been tested in court yet. But case law states it’s a matter for the jury.

    In Colorado – their actions would have been legal. It I know other states have passed similar statutes, and I suggest you check to see if your state does have similar laws.

    If not, definitely file a police report :D

  175. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Erwos: No bag dude or dudette, no bag.

  176. thelushie says:

    @myzenthing: Ummmm, actually no. The one locally owned hardware store we have in our area treats women like crap, has stupidly high prices, and has an employee that makes minimum wage and is also treated like crap.

    Local mom and pop shops were going down before Walmart became so huge. In my area, they make an average of $10 an hour and the turnover is lower than the average retail store. Besides no one complains abou the hideous conditions that individuals work in in McDonalds. What about grocery stores that pay their employees min. wage with no benefits? Servers who make below min. wage and have to rely on tips that may or may not come? I sticking up for them would not be as glamourous?

    I like our local walmart. They smile at me and I can get in and get out with very little trouble. But then again, I am not throwing a drama queen hissy fit at the door either. For that you should be embarrassed. This is a case of pick and choose your battles. This one (showing your reciept) was not worth picking.

    Dude, you came off as so psycho nutcase. I honestly think that “Reader J” is either a) leaving out some pertinent details, or b) lying. Sorry this defies logic. Why would anyone throw such a girly fit for having to show their reciept.

    And, if you do file a report with corporate, I would leave out the “below intelligence” remark. That to me shows you lack intelligence.

  177. girly says:

    Wal-mart: we’re not sure if we sold you something or not.

  178. KJones says:

    I won’t criticize the man since I wasn’t there, and it’s pedantic to talk macho and say nonsense like “I would’ve decked him!” What I would have done and would do in that situation is call the police the moment one of them touched me.

    I’ve said it before: Call the police and let them deal with it while you’re in the store. If what the writer said is true, he’s in the right. As long as you don’t leave and they try to force you to stay, the store is the one in the wrong.

    The last three times I’ve been to Costco and they asked for a receipt, I’ve told them, “If you want to see the receipt, call the police. I’ll wait.” They give up very quickly.

    And whatever you do, don’t feel embarassed about someone harassing or assaulting you.

  179. PinkBox says:

    @CharlieSeattle: So they can’t suspect something is being shoplifted when someone is carrying an unbagged item out of the door?

  180. girly says:

    @Onouris: If they have a problem with that, don’t you think they should have some sport of policy to tape the receipt to unbagged items?

  181. Coder4Life says:

    I really wish this guy did get arrested. JUST SHOW THE DAMN RECIEPT. They shoudl have every right to ask for it…

  182. girly says:

    @gingerCE: You do consent implicitly to their policy, but I think the part where wal-mart loses is that receipt checking is post transaction, and on you way out.

    The ‘you have to play by our rules to purchase this’ or ‘if you don’t like it just leave’ arguments go out the window, because you already own the item, and you are leaving anyway.

  183. bravo369 says:

    @CharlieSeattle: he’s walking towards the door with the item in plain site. how is that not witnessing a suspected shoplifter? ANY reasonable person watching this unfold would be suspicous. i don’t know why everyone gets so upset. under everyone’s reasoning i should just walk into a store, grab something off a back shelf and walk towards the door with it in plain site because there’s no way the guy at the door saw me all the way in back of the store. it’s ridiculous

  184. gingertwisted says:

    While I despise Wal-Mart, imagine for a moment you own a store. You see a person heading towards the door with an item in his/her hand, and you have no way of knowing whether they paid for the item. You can ask if they paid, but pretty much everyone is going to answer in the affirmative, even if they didn’t. There really isn’t a way around this-the only way to know for aure is to show a receipt. I don’t know what the big, hairy deal is.
    I shop at BJ’s and as part of leaving the store, I have to show a receipt. They look over the items in my carraige to make sure I have everything in my carriage on the reciept,then they punch a hole in it. Maybe the fact that they do it to everyone makes it easier to stomach.
    Believe it or not, some people actually take things they haven’t paid for!

  185. stevegoz says:


  186. Dashrashi says:

    @Onouris: By law, everything did NOT point to theft enough to give Wal-Mart probable cause to detain him. In your opinion, there may have only been one explanation, but clearly he wasn’t a shoplifter, and the law, as it exists, doesn’t recognize simply leaving with an unbagged item as probable cause to detain a customer on suspicion of shoplifting, at least in the jurisdictions where this has been litigated.

  187. apex says:

    @Caveat: Your interpretation of your cite is bunk. First of all, RSA 644:17 which you so helpfully didn’t cite makes no mention of refusing to show a receipt as a condition of shoplifting.

    And, once again, Costco members sign an agreement allowing their receipts to be checked. Read the comments first.

  188. gingerCE says:

    @selectman: If you’re talking about me, I understand that both stores have the right to set up store policies and to deny customers access to their stores if they so choose. Just because one store makes you pay a membership and the other doesn’t, doesn’t mean the other private retail store isn’t allowed to set up store policies and have them enforced in their own store. Sheesh, you think people would understand the difference between public and private property.

  189. lilspud says:

    this happened to my son at a Home Depot. Not only was his purchased bagged but he was holding the receipt outside the bag. The door person saw him make the purchase and watched him leave the register. still insisting on seeing the receipt, my son stated “you already watched me check out and you can see the receipt in my hand! the man tried to detain him and he pushed my son back. without raising a hand,m son shoved himself past the door person. after getting into his car and turning onto the main road, suddenly, red lights were flashing in his rearview mirror! the police pullled him over and stated that a complaint was made that he refused to show his receipt!!! What??
    my son asked the officer if a charge of shop lifting was made? the officer replied no. my son asked if any alleged charges were made as to possible shop lifting? again the officer answered “no. my son then proceeded to ask the officer why he was pulling himover? the officer again stated the receipt story. my son asked if it was law to show a receipt? the officer said “no”. my son stated” then you are illegally pulling me over for no just cause, you are detaining me over a store policy that is not law, and as far as i can see, you are wasting the tax payers money and time are you not? the officer stated that my son was smart a_s! my son very calmly told the officer that if he wanted to put this through the courts, he should arrest him or thank his lucky stars that my son wasn’t a real a_shole and pressed charges against him! what are we living in a communist 3rd country? i understnd store policy, although i have a problem showing a receipt ( whatever happened to reasonable suspicion?) but this is going too far. i thank god my son knows his rights!!!y

  190. JStrulleh says:

    Someone want to explain to me how holding up a receipt has anything to do with rights? Just hold up the damn thing and be on your merry, and we can all go back to bitching about how companies suck at packing materials.

  191. Mike_ says:

    @ThyGuy: It wasn’t the customer who initiated the conflict. It was the store.

    You blame the customer for objecting to the receipt check, which causes you to be inconvenienced while you stand in line with the other sheep. I blame the store for having the bass-ackwards policy in the first place.

    If you don’t like standing in line while other people argue with the security guard, take your business elsewhere. Or better yet, just exit the freaking store with your purchase. There’s no law against skipping the line. There are laws against your being detained without cause.

  192. MountainCop says:

    re: unbagged item – an unbagged or untagged item most definitely meets the criteria for reasonable suspicion.

  193. apex says:

    @KJones: Actually, Costco is completely in the right to ask for your receipt, you signed papers that allow them too. In your anecdote, they’d be perfectly within their rights to revoke your membership – you’re just being a jackass.

  194. girly says:

    @gingertwisted: I believe people steal, but after you own the item that’s really their problem, not yours.

    Maybe if they had a system where they take credit cards only, and only put the transaction through as you cross the threshold.

  195. puddintank says:

    If you really want to make things interesting, write something on the receipt before showing it to them like “suck my dick fuck face”.

  196. The Porkchop Express says:

    @MountainCop: @Caveat:

    Where have you two been, wish I would have looked them up.

    BTW nobody answered my question about what rights are being eroded by the receipt check war.

  197. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @gingerCE: Well then they should be up front about their policies and be sure to have you acknowledge them prior to shopping. They can’t set up a policy to use force in detaining customers–that is called assault.

  198. gingerCE says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I will say that just because something is legal, that doesn’t always make it right. Or deny a person the right to complain about something.

  199. CharlieSeattle says:

    @gingerCE: I have refused to show a receipt at costco and they attempted to detain me. And stopped when I pulled out my phone and said I was going to call the police. I called coperate and the manager called me back from that store and said they were in the wrong and it won’t happen again. You can continue to be clueless about your rights. They do not have the right to detain you.

  200. gingerCE says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: They can legally detained suspected shoplifters. Whether this guy was a suspected shoplifter is the question. Some say there was reasonable cause to stop him, others disagree. Eventually if he did sue, a judge would determine based on both povs, and usually the answer is somewhere in the middle.

    Some stores do post their policies in small print near the front entrance (at least the Walmart I go to does). Other stores will hand out brochures.

    And I agree with an earlier poster, based on how he felt, the shopper should’ve returned the shower rack right then and there and taken his business elsewhere. Maybe he still will.

  201. Dashrashi says:

    @JStrulleh: Requiring you to hold up a receipt is not an enforceable policy without adequate notice to customers in the form of a contract (as at Sam’s Club) or perhaps, but not certainly, a very well-posted and -explained written notice of the policy where people are certain to see it before choosing to shop there. The fact that stores do this, and then unlawfully detain customers who refuse to show their receipts, violates those customers’ rights against false imprisonment.

    Any other questions?

    @MountainCop: Can you cite a court decision or a jury verdict that says so, or that otherwise weighs in on that definitional question in the jurisdiction you’re interested in? Otherwise that’s just your untested opinion as to what constitutes reasonable grounds for suspicion of shoplifting.

  202. Onouris says:

    @Dashrashi: Exactly as I said, in your world a shoplifter picks up an item, walks out of the store, but hey, it’s ok, because there’s not enough reason for suspicion.

  203. phanie says:

    Can someone find the receipt-checking policy at Wal-mart? I would happily comply if there was a sign posted somewhere in the store or on the website. Other places I shop don’t check, why should I let Wal-mart?

  204. blander says:

    @mountaincop; @caveat:

    I’d be surprised if ‘reasonable grounds’ haven’t been tested in court in your states. I believe they have in most states and the majority seem to hold that you have to witness someone concealing something, not let that person out of your sight and see them trying to exit before you have ‘reasonable grounds.’

    Now, I think that most people should just show their receipts and be on with it, but techinically the stores don’t have the right to detain people merely for refusing to show receipts.

  205. Dashrashi says:

    @Lo-Pan: I did. You have a right not to be subjected to a policy not mandated by law if you haven’t agreed to it or been adequately warned (in a legal sense) of its existence or practices. And you have a subsequent right not to be unlawfully detained.

    Are you just being rhetorical, now?

  206. Gamblor210 says:

    I go through this problem all the time at Best Buy and Wal Mart as well as other stores. I have two ways of dealing with it depending on the situation.

    Ill tell them to call the cops if they are accusing me of stealing. To which they you usually back down right away. Or my other choice which i use mostly at Walmart with Items i know i wont return is to throw the receipt in there face and keep walking.

  207. girly says:

    @gingerCE: I thought that the only reasonable cause for detention is if they saw you take the item and not pay

  208. arsbadmojo says:

    I never have, and never will show my receipts to ‘receipt checkers’.

    to “But it takes 2 seconds!”,
    to “But it’s policy!”,
    to “You’re being an ass!”

    I don’t care. It’s just not going to happen. Not now, not ever.

    Tiger Direct got the point, and now they understand. I refused the receipt check yesterday, they politely waved me by.

    Circuit City tried it a few weeks ago, but I re-educated them. It took longer than if I had just shown the receipt, but it felt good.

    Someday, someone stupid like our friend ‘Bob’ here is going to detain someone who is armed, stubbon and impatient and bad things will happen. Maybe that’s what it will take to end the ridiculous practice once and for all.

  209. Mayor McRib says:

    If you were holding a something in plain view that I was missing from my wallet I would definitely ask you about it. See how that makes sense?

  210. Dashrashi says:

    @Onouris: Sometimes there is enough reason for suspicion. Courts have weighed in on what constitute reasonable grounds. Stores know what those decisions say, and they are free to have appropriate surveillance such that they could meet that standard. But you don’t get to expand those just because you feel like it.

  211. shadow735 says:

    Watch out for Charley he is every where.

  212. Dashrashi says:

    @Mayor McRib: If the item is a credit card, you clearly don’t have reasonable grounds to ask to see this person’s credit card because it might perhaps possibly actually be your credit card, which you lost earlier. Even if you can tell it’s a Visa.

  213. gingerCE says:

    @girly: I think it depends. I have never worked retail, but in college I had lots of friends who did. One told me that they could not stop a person unless they saw the person take or conceal an item. I was never sure if that was her store policy or if that was the policy in her state. What is construed as “suspected shoplifting” may vary from state and state and also stores individual policies.

  214. allstarecho says:

    What a douche bag. Just show your damn receipt and get the hell out of the store. 30 seconds to get the receipt back out of your wallet and show it versus 30 minutes in the store looking like a total ass.

  215. selectman says:

    @gingerCE: This has nothing to do with public and private property. This has nothing to do with membership fees. This has everything to do with SIGNING a contract, which among other things consents to showing ones’ receipt as one leaves.

    Do not confuse store policies with legal contracts between businesses and individuals.

  216. Ganyon says:

    You know after reading too many of these stupid show your receipt stories I have come to the conclusion that people who create scenes like this aren’t fighting for my rights, they are asshats who want to walk around with giant neon signs that flash “LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME I AM A UNIQUE LITTLE SNOWFLAKE NOT A MINDLESS SHEEP LIKE YOU”

    Don’t get me wrong I’m not a fan of big corporations and I do feel that we Americans are losing more of our Constitutional rights every day but I just don’t feel like receipt checking is one of them, now if they wanted to pat me down that would be something different.

    Let me suggest some simple steps in avoiding a situation when someone asks for your receipt and you do not want to present it:

    1) Turn around and go to customer service and return what ever you bought.
    2) Tell the rep that you disagree with the receipt policy and you will no longer be shopping at the establishment
    3) The final and most important step: DO NOT SHOP THERE ANYMORE.

    It’s easy, it’s sensible it lets you have your way and it avoids you being a dick to someone who is probably making minimum wage. I believe in personal rights like everyone else but apparently, hopefully not but if most people are like the ones that comment here than maybe, I am one of the few who think that my personal rights doesn’t give me cause to be an asshole to someone who is just trying to do their job.

  217. Buran says:

    @Caveat: *sigh* Again, read what reasonable suspicion must result from. Just seeing someone walk out the door isn’t reasonable cause/suspicion.

  218. pfodyssey says:

    I THOROUGHLY enjoyed the various comments on this post – thank you for a great laugh. A few comments of my own:

    * I understand why people worry about having their rights trampled and I really appreciate those who are willing to take action. However, I also believe in common-sense and what I perceive as the greater good in this case:
    – store losses due to theft end up costing me more money in terms of prices
    – I want them to curb theft due to above
    – RANDOM checking of receipts is one method of deterrent
    – I am willing to suspend my right in this case to achieve my other goal (cheaper prices) as the inconvenience is occasional and time spent is almost non-existent

    * Suggestions to assault the employee / other customer are irresponsible and dumb
    – employee trying to do their job – albeit very poorly
    – probability of real danger / risk is low
    – escalating confrontation when can be avoided is stupid and potentially dangerous
    – involving police or potential litigation when could be avoided is also stupid

    * Other customer – we should be thankful
    – This person was willing to get involved where they perceived a wrong / law MIGHT be being broken – very rare and we need more of them in general

    * Complaints to wal-mart, etc are the proper course of action
    – Clearly employee handled wrong – corrective action
    – Awareness for Wal-Mart (should we do this? How can we better achieve our intended goal?)

    Again, I can understand some of the perspectives. However, one must weigh the cost versus benefit and use common sense. For myself, this is not a situation where I’m willing to play the martyr (at high cost / risk to myself or others) to defend my rights…whether I’m right or not.

  219. gingerCE says:

    @selectman: I do know that stores absolutely have the right to set up store policies and have them enforced, even if they are not a contract only store. The Walmart near me has its store policy posted near the entrance. Stores have the right to create and enforce their stores policies. I only brought up property in the sense that they can refuse access to someone from entering their store if they choose.

  220. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE: The only thing they can do however if you violate those store policies is eject you from the store, they do not gain the right to detain you.

  221. Caswell says:

    Not trying to be Billy Badass, but if someone physically grabbed while when I was trying to (lawfully) leave the store, I think my gut reaction would be to slug them.

  222. DinoVelvet says:

    Reader J is a complete tool. If he actually thinks he was triumphant in some noble battle for his (and other shoppers) “rights” then he’s the lamest flavor of the entitled narcisist that seems alarmingly ubiquitous in this country. And that goes for everyone that agrees with what he did and how he conducted himself.
    Bob’s job isn’t a great one and thanks to Reader J he now can feel a little worse about coming into work.

    Real American Hero. Power to the people, right Reader J?

  223. blander says:


    stores have the right to set up store policies and have them enforced, but not if the policies are against the law. Detaining people illegally (though in accordance with store policy) is not kosher. They can refuse access to someone, and I think that stores would be within their rights to bar anyone refusing to show their receipts from the store in the future.

  224. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE: They have the right to set up those policies but the only right they have for enforcing them is by ejecting you from the store not by detaining you without cause.

  225. rolla says:

    wow, false imprisonment and falsely filing a police report. Plus, if the guy was a cop, maybe a 4th amendment violation. Suing Walmart and the state = big $$$$. Also, taking a picture of someone is not a violation of privacy b/c there is no expectation of privacy in a public place.

  226. jamesdenver says:

    I go to the Walgreens pharmacy. Every 4th or 5th visit the alarm goes off and someone chases me out the door yelling at me to stop.

    I never stop – and I’m always walking or biking so they can’t get my car plates.

    And its none of Walgreen’s business what I get from the pharmacy.

    This keeps happening as described above with the same tournout.

  227. CharlieSeattle says:

    Here’s what my state Crime Prevention says about detaining people:


    Detaining the Shoplifter

    Before either the civil or the criminal penalties can be used, the retailer must first apprehend the shoplifter. If done correctly, the retailer exposes himself to little risk of false arrest suits.

    State law allows you to detain a suspect if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person shoplifted in your store. The following are the critical elements to consider before making an apprehension:

    * Did you or another reliable witness see the suspect conceal merchandise or remove it from the store? Before taking action on a witness report, verify that the witness will appear in court, if necessary.

    * Are you positive that the merchandise concealed or taken was store property and not the property of the suspect?

    * Are you sure that the merchandise was not replaced on the shelf?

    * Had the suspect possibly already paid for this merchandise?

    * Was the suspected shoplifter acting in a suspicious manner?

  228. girly says:

    @APFPilot: I agree that to enforce their policies it seems they could
    1. refuse to sell you something
    2. make you leave

    So they don’t seem to have much power with the receipt check thing because you already own the item and you are already leaving.

  229. justrick says:

    In this particular situation, I think it’s ridiculous that the shopper refused to show his receipt. What’s the harm? Is reaching into your pocket too much of a hassle? Doesn’t surprise me in the least that you were suspected of shoplifting.

  230. gingerCE says:

    @blander: Okay, I agree with you about detaining people unlawfully–but they can detain in certain circumstances included suspected shoplifting. What construes enough grounds for suspicion is highly debatable. Do I think this guy should’ve been detained. No. But my point is whether Walmart can create a store policy of asking to see receipts.

    I think they can, especially if they post it in their store policy at the front of the store. I do think Walmart needed to give more notice (with signs at the registers) and not just have cashiers tell people as they pay (which is they did in my store).

  231. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE: It is hardly highly debatable. It has been held almost unilaterally that refusing to show a receipt is NOT a reason to detain. Almost every state requires some form of actually seeing the person conceal the item or attempt to leave without paying.

  232. CharlieSeattle says:

    @NameGoesHere: They need to see the person actually take the item to have reasonable cause to stop them. Or someone needs to tell them they saw you take the item. Not showing a reciept or walking out with an unbagged item is probable cause.

  233. gingerCE says:

    @APFPilot: That’s fine, but my point is not really about the detaining–but that Walmart has the right to create a policy to ask for a receipt upon exiting. I guess I got defensive because several people claimed Costco can do it because you sign a slip of paper. I believe stores that do not require a contract also can do this as part of their store policy.

  234. blander says:

    @gingerCE: Yes, and there is some debate as to what constitutes reasonable grounds, but I believe the consensus among states seems to be 1) witnesses someone concealing an item 2) keeping that person in sight and 3) seeing that person attempt to leave.

    That may differ in some states, but as far as I know, it’s the majority. So no matter what the store policy says in those states, absent those three elements they can’t detain you.

  235. selectman says:

    @gingerCE: Exactly – they can refuse access all they want. But how does that give them the right to detain without evidence?

  236. gingerCE says:

    @APFPilot: I have a question then. Can Costco detain a person for refusing to show a receipt based on the contract? I’m assuming based on your answer, that would be no.

  237. CharlieSeattle says:


    644:17 Willful Concealment and Shoplifting. –
    I. A person is guilty of willful concealment if, without authority, he willfully conceals the goods or merchandise of any store while still upon the premises of such store. Goods or merchandise found concealed upon the person shall be prima facie evidence of willful concealment.
    II. A person is guilty of shoplifting if, with the purpose of depriving a merchant of goods or merchandise, he knowingly:
    (a) Removes goods or merchandise from the premises of a merchant; or
    (b) Alters, transfers, or removes any price marking affixed to goods or merchandise; or
    (c) Causes the cash register or other sales recording device to reflect less than the merchant’s stated or advertised price for the goods or merchandise; or
    (d) Transfers goods or merchandise from the container in which such goods or merchandise were intended to be sold to another container.
    III. As used in this section:
    (a) “”Merchant” means the owner or operator of any place of business where merchandise is displayed, held, or stored, for sale to the public, or any agent or employee of such owner or operator.
    (b) “”Purpose to deprive” means to have the conscious object to appropriate the goods or merchandise of a merchant without paying the merchant’s stated or advertised price.
    IV. Willful concealment shall be a misdemeanor. The penalty for shoplifting shall depend on the value of the property, as provided in RSA 637:11. As used in this section, “”value” shall be determined in accordance with RSA 637:2, V.

    Where in there does it say anything about not showing a receipt? It doesn’t.

  238. JanetCarol says:

    This is such a touchy subject on here.

  239. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE: You are missing the point, they can do what ever they want in regards to making policies, however you are under no obligation to follow them unless you have signed and agreed to them. If you choose not to follow them all they can do is eject you.

  240. Toof_75_75 says:

    The idea that a person with a Concealed Carry License would need to resort to pulling or threatening to pull out their weapon is ludicrous. I agree that a person can’t be made to show their receipt unless the store has a good reason to stop you, but if they illegally detain you, there are better courses of action than pulling a weapon. Just get a manager and if that doesn’t work, call the cops.

  241. hector villanueva's posse says:

    This is all missing the point. Why would you–ever–shop at a store that assumed you were a criminal every time you bought something?

    /made last visit to Wal-Mart two years ago, not going back for anything

  242. girly says:

    @gingerCE: Walmart has a right to make that policy, but I don’t see what their enforcement power would be because they already let you buy the item and you are leaving, so they have no leverage–unless they want to ban you from future visits.

  243. Drowner says:

    “Appalled that the Wal-mart employee had just touched me…” – Classy.

    But on the the rest of the article. My response is: Really? Is this really a problem? Are we really that worried about the greeter at wal-mart enforcing the company’s “draconian measures against consumers”? Are you really going to risk your job just to say “The Consumerist told me I didn’t have to show my receipt and I’M NOT GONNA”? Really? Can’t this be a situation where you just pick your battles?

    Seriously. Just show the receipt next time.

  244. gingerCE says:

    @girly: Thank you. Maybe that’s off topic, but that really was my main point–that Costco has been doing this for years and Consumerist never reports on it though, Walmart, like Costco, has the same right to make this their store policy–and I guess what people are saying is that in the end, neither Costco nor Walmart has the right to enforce this. Costco/Sams might cancel the membership, which is why people comply, but Walmart is free.

  245. calvinneal says:

    I had a CVS punk tackle me about 10 years ago at the local store in Clawson, Michigan. I reported it to the police. I was told business owners can do anything they want to anyone for any reason. Of coarse that is absurd. I was tackled when a security device beeped after the clerk did not disable the thing. No, you do not have to show a receipt, however, your average cop is not usually conversant with the law and you may get arrested. The cops told me my only avenue was a civil suit and that I would not prevail in their district court. Walmart employees are dregs who are unemployable even at a Target store. You think they care about your rights? Shop somewhere else!

  246. Dashrashi says:

    @Drowner: You should feel free to show your receipt. I am equally free to pick this particular battle, even though you find it to be unimportant, and choose not to surrender my right to be subject to a store policy I didn’t agree to.

  247. DojiStar says:

    How the F was that Walmart employee supposed to know that the shopper paid for the item.

    It was unbagged and had no sticker attached to it noting that the item was paid for.

    The employee was well within his rights to stop the person.

    If this had been a police officer making this detainment, there was initial reasonable suspicion. The person was exiting the store with an item unbagged. he refused to stop and comply with a reasonable request. Upon further examination no sticker was seen on the item indicating it was sold and a person still refusing to comply. We now have just crossed into probable cause territory.

    Had this been a cop he was sealing with and not an employee, he would have been locked up.

    My only issue is that the employee would have just let him pass upon the initial failure to comply, got the license plate, and referred it to the police.

  248. Chese says:

    It is puzzling the number of people who have nothing to add but ‘just show the receipt’. They certainly can ask for a receipt, and you can show it to them, but you don’t have to. They have the right to ask you to leave and not come back, but they cannot detain you for shoplifting just because you didn’t show your receipt. As others have stated, there are very specific requirements for probable cause to detain for shoplifting because otherwise you open yourself and your company up to major liabilities. If someones few seconds of time is important to them its not your place to say otherwise. If you want to waive all your rights be my guest, but lay off people who stand up for theirs.

  249. girly says:

    @DojiStar: Isn’t that wal-mart’s fault though? Why would they sell him something in such a way that made him look suspicious?

  250. nrwfos says:

    @Erskine: Well, go right on down to Wal-Mart. You have to actually buy something there before they can harrass you. LOL!!

    I have to agree. It’s no surprise that this is their procedure and has been for ages. We all know it’s coming so prepare for it and show the receipt. A $25 shower rack isn’t worth all this. If you’re doing this to “demonstrate” your Constitutional rights (like Rosa Parks or the African-American people who deliberately sat at the Woolworth’s meal counter expecting to be arrested-
    then you’d better be prepared to be arrested to prove your point. If you can’t “afford” to be arrested ever, prepare to avoid it rationally. You are handicapped by that restriction and not being prepared to follow through isn’t gonna count.@chemmy: With Circuit City and Best Buy I know it’s so annoying that they do this…but I wonder if it isn’t that they do this more to show on the security camera than the annoyance factor. Of course they saw you – but did the camera see you? Many times the rule is more important to the company than anything else. And the employee doesn’t want to be seen not doing his job.

    @timsgm1418: That’s what the company gets with underpaid angry employees. Also could it have been a “gang” member kind of thing? It is around some parts. Doesn’t make it right, but I can understand if that was the case.

    This case and many of the comments lead me to believe that some consumers are trying to “escalate” the problems which will only backfire in our faces. If you aren’t willing to spend the time and possibly be arrested proving your point, then comply. It’s faster and smarter.

    Don’t shop at Wal-Mart.

  251. Erskine says:

    @DojiStar: How the F WASN’T that Walmart employee supposed to know that the shopper paid for the item?!?!

    He is not a security officer for the store – just a jackass. Like you, apparently.

  252. gingerCE says:

    As for the case I witnessed, a young woman closing her purse in the store, her and her boyfriend walking off empty handed with no purchases, and the sensors going off–to me that’s probable cause for detention. Maybe that doesn’t reach the statute legally, but I believe it is debatable. What I didn’t like was the store just letting this couple walk off without saying a word despite 5 employees in the vicinity.

  253. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE:Costco doesn’t make it a single party contract, you know upfront without a doubt that they will check it every time. When you have made a purchase there you are consenting to showing your receipt. I do it there because I have agreed to with them.

  254. girly says:

    @DojiStar: Rather than contacting the police, wouldn’t it make more sense to check with the cashiers first?

  255. girly says:

    @APFPilot: Wouldn’t it be more like that in order to keep your membership valid you agree to the receipt checks? Rather than your purchase being the agreement?

  256. blander says:


    I’m really not sure about CostCo, I think based on the law that they can’t detain you, but they can probably revoke your membership and that would be that.

  257. Franklin Comes Alive! says:


    I’m guessing they can’t arrest/detain you at Costco for not showing your receipt, but they certainly could revoke your membership and not allow you to return.

  258. gingerCE says:

    @APFPilot: Since implementing this policy, my local Walmart does tell everyone as they checkout they will need to show their receipt. I have stated that Walmart should just post this on the registers instead–that way, people can choose not to purchase at Walmart if they disagree with the policy.

    But based on what you’ve have posted here, it appears that Costco has illegally detained people for years for not showing a receipt. Me, the one time I had trouble finding it, and others I have witnesses throughout the years and probably plenty more where that came from. They should not have done that. They could’ve canceled membership or kicked people out, but they chose to hold people inside their store.

  259. disavow says:

    Someone asked why this was important, what sort of slippery-slope legal path it leads to. The answer to that is that if companies can (illegally) detain you for not showing a receipt, they may decide they can detain you for even less suspicion.

    I say this having experienced it firsthand.

    Some years ago I was at Best Buy (before I knew better) with a couple friends, and we were on our way out when a couple loss-prevention guys said something like, “Hey, come with us.” They took us into a little room along the front wall of the store, where the apparent senior LP started chewing one of my friends out. According to him, that friend had taken off his backpack, set it on the floor, opened it and reached inside, and closed it again.

    Admittedly, it was dumb and suspicious behavior on my friend’s part. But LP couldn’t find any other evidence against him. They refused to search his backpack, so he started emptying it in front of them. Friend Two started stripping. I read the newspaper. LP Sr. flatly stated that he wouldn’t search them and wasn’t going to call the cops, “But if you stole, then that’s bad, okay? You’re not going to get away with it again, okay?”

    All told, they kept us in that tiny room for something like 15-20 minutes, apparently for no better reason than to not-quite-threaten us with who-knows-what. You can bet I’m not going to put up with that crap again.

  260. I love the fact that he didn’t want to “blow the situation out of proportion.” Really?

    I respectfully submit, sir, that you failed on that front.

  261. APFPilot says:

    @girly: Yeah that sounds more like it. @gingerCE: Bring a specific example like the one in the story and you will have a point.

  262. Metropolis says:

    I wonder how many of the jackass posters ranting about how its a not a fare policy ever once complained about having to dress nicely at certain resturants. Sure, there’s no law saying you are required to wear a nice shirt but its many places policy.

  263. blander says:

    @gingerCE: Personally, I’ve never seen them detain people. There’s certainly a line but never forcibly stop someone from passing, then again I’ve never seen anyone refuse to show their receipt there either. If they did detain someone, that may have been illegal in my opinion.

    I’ve had to search through my pockets to find a receipt, but that’s not the same as blocking my exit or grabbing onto me.

  264. nrwfos says:

    @Buran: If you are so worried about the erosion of your rights, I don’t think that Wal-Mart is the agent you should be taking your frustrations out on. Most of the erosion of our rights are being eroded by Congress in the name of security. That’s the thing you should be worried about. As you can see “security” is a very sensitive issue. It just depends on who you want to be secured by and from.

  265. awd_envy says:

    Just because I don’t want to give up my rights and show a receipt for MY ITEMS does not give just cause for the law you state. We have lots of rights, and if we are forced to give them up every time a store, cooperation, or individual wanted us to, they would not be rights at all.

    And your Costco note is baseless… You agree to those terms when you pay for your membership there. I don’t show my receipt, but thats another reason I don’t have a Costco membership.

  266. APFPilot says:

    @Metropolis: A fare policy would be on a Bus.

    @nrwfos: That security hasn’t had any direct impact on me (other than the TSA which I hate.) Being treated like a criminal after I have given a company money has.

  267. girly says:

    @Metropolis: But that’s before you buy your meal.

  268. CharlieSeattle says:

    @gingerCE: Ginger I’ve walked out of Costco refusing to show a receipt and was chased down, and blocked from leaving until I threatened to call the police. After a phone call to corp, I got a phone call from the Store manager apologizing and saying it wouldn’t happen again and she would retrain said employee’s.

  269. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Dashrashi: So that’s the right you worry about at night? The right not to be stopped and asked for a receipt or being asked to follow some other policy that the store makes up? Really? I asked for a real (as in, it matters in the real world) right. Tell me when the stores are charging me for walking in the door, locking people up for not buying enough, or flat out killing people that are “just looking”.

    Now if you read that and my previous question, put 2 and 2 together and tell me the real rights (again the ones that matter in the real world) that are being eroded by a 2 second glimpse at my receipt.

    you people all sound like the store is coming to your house and looking through all your bills and underwear drawer. This isn’t some secret police, round up some group and lock them up shit. It’s just some crochety old fart looking at a piece of paper that was just handed to you by some snotty high school kid.

    get over yourselves.

  270. gingerCE says:

    @blander: That’s true, they never got threatening–but then, I complied. I had already been standing aside so others could get by and get their receipts checked while searching my purse for mine, but they wanted me further inside the store by the manager’s desk. An employee was behind me the whole time watching me to ensure, I’m assuming, I didn’t leave. I did, eventually, find my receipt. But I have watched them take people out of line and ask them to move inside to a separate area. That is detainment.

  271. CharlieSeattle says:

    @nrwfos: Who do you think bought and paid for this congress?

  272. ExVee says:

    What happens when a customer is carrying for self-defense and fears for his life when a Wal-mart employee illegally detains him? Is it really worth it, Wal-mart?

    Yes, because I sure feel like my life is in jeopardy when the 70 and 80 year old women ask to see my receipt. Same for the old dudes. I’m 24 and during my time at Wal-Mart served the capacity of fill-in “greeter” from time to time. One instruction was pretty clear, which was that you ask people to show their receipts if they try to leave with an item not bagged. I think this person’s situation was needlessly escalated on both sides. In all honesty, while it might be nice to know that you’re not legally obligated to have to present your receipt to be able to leave the store, I think doing what “J” did is just a means of trying to flaunt a believed superiority over the other person. That remark about Bob’s “below-average-intelligence” lends weight to such a stance. Bob had no right to try and physically force “J” back inside. I think it’s reasonable to assume when you’re walking out of Wal-Mart carrying an item not in a bag that you’ll be expected to produce proof of purchase, so you don’t go stowing it in the wallet until after that process is over with. The people on the doors simply cannot watch every register every moment of the day to know where you just came from, especially while marking returns as they come in and checking courteous people’s receipts.

    I hate to take the side of Wal-Mart, but I feel like “J” totally instigated a situation that just mushroomed out of hand and could have been totally avoided.

  273. CharlieSeattle says:

    @ExVee: No that’s what theft prevention is for and camera’s.

  274. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE: If they asked, it’s not detainment.

  275. deVious says:

    @afterimageB: Good luck proving imminent fear of serious bodily harm because “Bob” wouldn’t let you leave the store.

  276. girly says:

    @Lo-Pan: My problem with this is that the store takes your money and the transaction apparently is not over (you have to do something extra for the store).

    Also that they don’t have a more sophisticated system that doesn’t inconvenience customers.

  277. girly says:

    If they don’t trust me maybe they shouldn’t sell me the item…

  278. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Caswell: I assure you nobody will confuse you for Mr. Badass. Let’s not turn this into a I woulda’ killed ’em thing.

  279. ELC says:

    @chemmy: because of price – the end

  280. gingerCE says:

    @CharlieSeattle: That’s horrible they chased you down. They didn’t chase me down–probably because I finally showed my receipt (back when I had my x-large hobo bag–it was pink and so cool but I could not find anything in it). But like I said, they definitely put a guy on my back to watch me–which made me only more nervous as I tried to find the receipt.

    As for corporate, I had such bad experiences at my local Costco, to return an item they would not let me return because I didn’t have the receipt (unopened and unused, that I bought with my debit card), I did call corporate upset and the local manager did call me back and tell me they’d of course let me return the item and offered to give me free baked goods from the store (kinda funny actually), I drove to another Costco further away to return the item, again thinking it was an isolated bad Costco incident. This Costco would not refund my cash because I had no receipt, but did give me a gift card (more than the original Costco would) which I took and haven’t used to this day cause I stopped shopping there. Planning on giving away as a gift.

  281. gingerCE says:

    @APFPilot: How is it not detainment if I am trying to leave and they tell me I need to stay in the store and move to a different area?

  282. APFPilot says:

    @gingerCE: It’s only detainment if you try to leave and they don’t let you.

  283. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    The employee was well within his rights to stop the person… If this had been a police officer making this detainment, there was initial reasonable suspicion. he refused to stop and comply with a reasonable request.Upon further examination no sticker was seen on the item indicating it was sold and a person still refusing to comply. We now have just crossed into probable cause territory.

    This is so utterly wrong it’s remarkable. Leaving a store with unbagged merchandise is neither uncommon nor suspicious. It comes nowhere close to reasonable suspicion of ANYTHING.

    Refusing to comply with the requests of a stranger is also neither suspicious nor uncommon. 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. Neither does my refusal to do so rise to the level of “reasonable suspicion”, much less probable cause.

    Had this been a cop he was sealing with and not an employee, he would have been locked up.

    Only if the cops understanding of reasonable suspicion was as bad as yours is.

    My only issue is that the employee would have just let him pass upon the initial failure to comply, got the license plate, and referred it to the police.

    Referred WHAT to the police? Failure to show his receipt? Refusal to obey the orders of a store clerk? Those aren;t crimes, my authoritarian friend.

  284. ClankBoomSteam says:

    The problem with stores that have policies like this — where they demand to see your receipt before “allowing” you to leave the store — is that the security offered by such a policy is totally redundant.

    Just a few nights ago, I went to my local Fry’s Electronics and made a purchase. The way the registers are laid out there, once I was finished with my transaction I had to walk down a narrow path past — literally –no less than 25 Fry’s employees.

    With my Fry’s bag in hand.

    AND my receipt in the other hand.

    There was NO FRICKIN’ WAY I didn’t pay for the item I was leaving with, and if I were inclined to attempt something along those lines, it would be OBVIOUS to the hordes of store employees one passes before getting to that final “security station” — usually some eighteen-year-old kid with an afternoon’s training on “security procedures” standing at a cheesy particle board podium and armed with a pink highlighter pen that somehow magically clears you for passage.

    And of course, the “adding insult to injury” aspect of this process is that while the employees of a store with these policies is almost guaranteed to over-zealously pounce on you for not showing them your receipt, the truth is that if you DO show them one, they will give it barely a glance before marking it with the aforementioned enchanted highlighter and allowing you to leave with your own stuff.

    I’m actually tempted to try producing the receipt of another store sometime, when I’m asked — just to see if any ol’ receipt will gain you access to the outside of the store. The people working “security” at these places rarely care; I’m betting at least half of the time, ANY receipt will work.

  285. gingerCE says:

    Well, I was walking out when they stopped me. If that’s not detainment, than at the least they were lying to me when they said I needed to come back inside the store.

  286. courtneywoah says:

    Um it would have taken you less time to show your receipt then to write a complaint here on the consumerist. The guy at the door didn’t handle the situation well at all, but still, show the damn receipt. I am wondering what you were trying to prove walking out the door ignoring the guys request to see a receipt to begin with, are you going to take on Costco’s receipt checking policies too? lol

  287. Tortfeasor28 says:

    Illinois law for those who are curious:

    § 720 ILCS 5/16A-5. Detention

    Sec. 16A-5. Detention. Any merchant who has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed retail theft may detain such person, on or off the premises of a retail mercantile establishment, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time for all or any of the following purposes:

    (a) To request identification;

    (b) To verify such identification;

    (c) To make reasonable inquiry as to whether such person has in his possession unpurchased merchandise and, to make reasonable investigation of the ownership of such merchandise;

    (d) To inform a peace officer of the detention of the person and surrender that person to the custody of a peace officer;

    (e) In the case of a minor, to immediately make a reasonable attempt to inform the parents, guardian or other private person interested in the welfare of that minor and, at the merchant’s discretion, a peace officer, of this detention and to surrender custody of such minor to such person.

    A merchant may make a detention as permitted herein off the premises of a retail mercantile establishment only if such detention is pursuant to an immediate pursuit of such person.

    A merchant shall be deemed to have reasonable grounds to make a detention for the purposes of this Section if the merchant detains a person because such person has in his possession either a theft detection shielding device or a theft detection device remover.

    § 720 ILCS 5/16A-6. Affirmative Defense

    Sec. 16A-6. Affirmative Defense. A detention as permitted in this Article does not constitute an arrest or an unlawful restraint, as defined in Section 10-3 of this Code [720 ILCS 5/10-3], nor shall it render the merchant liable to the person so detained.

  288. nrwfos says:

    I think we all know now how to stir up controversy on Consumerist. Wonder how many more posts there will be? Lot of time wasted on one guy not showing his receipt. I surely do not want to be in line behind these people who want to provoke and grandstand. Cops are charged with keeping the peace…and to do it they cart you off. They don’t decide the law and they usually don’t know all the law. So I doubt that they are going to take the side of the guy refusing to show a receipt. The cop will tell you to “Tell it to the judge”. Got to be practical here. If you are adamant about your rights in this situation and don’t want to be detained your best bet is to avoid those stores with that policy. You know in advance this is going to happen. They even post it at the entrance of the store in most places. Most policy issues aren’t decided at the door while exiting. You have to show up in court for that.

  289. RIP MRHANDS says:

    1) not showing a receipt does not meet the standard in most states for a store to detain someone.
    2) whether or not its really meaningful to purposely refuse to show a receipt, the store’s actions are clearly wrong, legally.

    I do know that if I was ever hassled by a store like this, I’d phone the police and let them sort it out. Let them know that there will be a police incident every time they feel to detain a customer like this.

  290. nrwfos says:

    @CharlieSeattle: That’s not a good answer. The question is what are you going to do to redress the situation?

  291. AdmiralApathy says:

    I might be late to the show on this one but what is the invasion of privacy with showing a receipt that contains no personal information in this instance.

    If the receipt does have personal information on it then I could see that being a cause for concern.

    I haven’t been to Walmart in a long time but I remember retirees working the door that never really paid attention to anything. So this customer goes to walk out of the store with an item that is not in a bag and the door guy asks him for proof that he purchased the item. Nothing too major about that is there? Maybe I am missing something

  292. ecwis says:

    @ThyGuy: I think you meant “affected” not “effected”.

  293. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @nrwfos: Not showing a receipt isn’t a crime. There is nothing they can arrest you for. If they arrest you without probable cause of an actual crime, they will get spanked in court and you can end up with a monetary settlement.

    Probable cause = the theft alarm went off or somebody claims to witness you stealing something. Not showing a receipt is insufficient evidence.

  294. dghughes says:

    I’d like to see what would happen if you made fake receipt and flashed it at them, would they really read it? If not ask them what the point was and if they want to see receipts for every purchase does that mean everyone has to show their receipt, the receipt checker has to go over every line of hundreds of items of hundreds of people every day?

  295. ecwis says:

    @courtneywoah: Are you new to the Consumerist? I think it’s been established that Costco’s policies are somewhat legitimate because the member signed a contract agreeing to those terms in order to join the club.

  296. The Porkchop Express says:

    @APFPilot: direct IMPACT? really? do tell.

    @disavow: I was the one who asked. And here is why your answer doesn’t work:
    They had no right to detain you and your friends and they did it for no real reason. Whether or not the store can check my receipt will not allow them to do what happened to you and your friends. Does that mean it won’t happen to somebody else, nope. But checking receipts will not lead to what happened to you being deemed ok. don’t give the receipt check that much credit.

    @Chese: Waive all my rights? Jesus what’s in the water where you are? what other rights are we waiving by showing our receipts?

    I’m not trying to be a dick to all you guys and gals, I just want you to think about this and really figure out what rights are truly being eroded by this. I mean real rights that are being outright violated.

    This isn’t back of the bus, different water fountains, video cameras in every bedroom, finger printed at birth stuff here. It’s a fucking receipt given to you by a stranger for the shit you just shopped for and bought in front of strangers. what harm is there in showing it to another stranger?

  297. Parting says:

    I just thought about a ”perfect” plan to shoplift this Walmart. You walk quickly through through the door, after paying. And refuse to show your receipt. Go outside, wait until you created a commotion, and every security/manager is watching you.

    Then have your partner in crime leave with all the unpaid items past the security.

    If I was a shoplifter, I’ll wait for people to make fuss about the receipt, and then leave, while security and customer fight.

  298. Drowner says:

    @Dashrashi: But, you’re shopping at THEIR store!
    For goodness sake don’t get your knickers in a bunch because a store enforces their policies; it’s kinda what they’re there for. This story is just pointless to me. It’s Wal-Mart phishing: escalating something just so you can say how evil Wal-Mart is for treating you so badly. Like dressing like a goth and then writing in your livejournal how no one understands you: you’re bringing it on yourself.

  299. zaphod2016 says:

    In the interest of fairness: if I were a shopkeep, and I saw someone carrying merchandise without a bag to the exit, I would likely assume they were shoplifting.

    In all fairness: a shower rack does not fit in a bag. The cashier should have slapped a “PAID” sticker on it, and avoided this conflict altogether.

    WalMart has a bad policy here- a policy that will likely end with an employee getting hurt. A shoplifter is not going to stand there quietly- they are going to run. That said, the customer in this story should have made clear that their issue was privacy/being treateted like a criminal.

    My tactics: whenever I buy something, and then get hassled by a clerk, I take the item directly to the return desk. Usually the security guard will follow. I then explain I don’t appreciate living under some psudeo-corpo-fascist-martial-law, and ask for a refund. I “vote with my dollars”, and go buy it online instead.

    Sure, it can be annoying to wait for a DVD I wanted to watch today, and I won’t pull this if I MUST have the item that day, but after a few rounds at my local Staples, they “know me”, and leave me the hell alone, which is all I am asking for.

  300. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @chouchou: Good idea. That is sort of like what happens at the exit line at Fry’s. The line gets bottled up with 4-5 people waiting for a receipt check.

    Instead of waiting, I just leave because the receipt checker is too busy looking through bags to notice what is going on.

    A real shoplifter could do the same thing during a busy part of the day while all the suckers are busy proving their innocence.

  301. takotchi says:

    The amount of people that comment on these receipt stories with things along the lines of “just show the receipt like a good German” really disturb me.

    I refuse to be treated like a thief when I shop anywhere. I had this receipt bologna happen to me for the first time at Worst Buy a few days ago, and I told the thug at the door he had WATCHED me pick the item up from the CS counter, and he lied right to my face and said he didn’t, and demanded my receipt again. I told him “NO!” and walked out. Luckily, he knew better than to chase me.

    Another thing… to those who say people standing up for their rights is a waste of time… the ONLY wastes of time come from the people ASKING for the receipts. They waste time asking, they waste time checking, and they waste time harassing those that refuse this humiliating treatment.

  302. Dashrashi says:

    @Lo-Pan: I worry about all my rights. I don’t feel the cognitive need to pick and choose to give up the ones that seem unimportant to someone else, especially if I’m in a situation where, gee, those rights might be nice right now, and I think I’d like to hold onto them. I’ve got plenty of space for worrying about all kinds of rights. My energy is not nearly as limited as you seem to think it must be.

    I guess my conception of what’s acceptable store behavior just differs from yours. You seem to be tolerant of a lot more, or at least to be unwilling to challenge the less unacceptable.

    Furthermore, isn’t it remotely relevant that in these stories, corporate or management always admits that, of course, customers are NOT required to show their receipts, and promise to retrain their employees? They know it’s indefensible; why are consumers defending a practice the corporations don’t even stand by?

  303. MrEvil says:

    admittedly this case is effing rediculous. However, since when were the first 10 amendments of the consitution rights that were granted by anybody? You do know that the guys that fought and died to start this country beleived those rights were not rights given to you. They are your birthright and NOBODY CAN TAKE THEM AWAY. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…” Not a legal document, but that’s a piece of prose that represents the attitudes of the founders of the USA. Your right to be free from being searched and interrogated does not just apply to the government, but to EVERYONE that might want to take them away. In the case of you v Wal-Mart or a non government entity the MOST Wal-Mart should be allowed to do is ask you to leave and have the option of having you forcibly removed from their property should you refuse. The only right a private entity has against you is the right of not having to put up with your ass on their property. Of course I’m certain the courts disagree with me, but that doesn’t make them right.

    Cliff’s Notes: Wal Mart does NOT have the right to search you even on their property, HOWEVER they do have the right to ask you to leave and never come back. But for pete’s sake, just show the receipt and save us all a headache.

  304. North of 49 says:

    did the security things go off? since they didn’t, I don’t think walmart has a toe to stand on.

  305. 3drage says:

    Sounds like a battery case to me.

  306. Dashrashi says:

    @Drowner: They legally cannot detain you in order to enforce their policies. They can kick you out and bar you from the store, but what was done here was illegal.

    Corporate or management usually admits in these stories that a customer is under no obligation to show their receipt, and that customers who do refuse should certainly not be retained. Their interpretation, combined with the law on the subject, should have a pretty heavy weight: they’re free to ask me to show my receipt; I’m free to refuse; they’re free to kick me out and bar me from future entrance.

  307. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    This isn’t back of the bus, different water fountains, video cameras in every bedroom, finger printed at birth stuff here. It’s a fucking receipt given to you by a stranger for the shit you just shopped for and bought in front of strangers. what harm is there in showing it to another stranger?

    There’s no harm at all in showing it. But that’s utterly irrelevant. The reason peole worry about their “rights” in discussions of receipt checking is because the practice has become so widespread and commonplace that many people, including door guards and LP employees, are starting to think that they actually have a RIGHT to see your receipt, and the authority to force you to produce it.

    This, combined with the unthinking passive submission to authority that a surprising number of people exhibit (“Just show the damned receipt, it only takes a second” “How is it harming you?” “Why do you have to be a dick, just give in, it’s faster and easier”) has led to a growing number of incidents of people being accosted, detained, verbally abused, assaulted, or forcibly restrained by undertrained or overzealous “Loss Prevention Specialists.”

    And those are a violation of your rights.

    Why do people care so much about such a little thing? Because we all know what happens when you let the camel put his nose inside the tent.

  308. Dashrashi says:

    @Lo-Pan: When private actors make you do things that you don’t have to do, and commit torts in trying to enforce that unnecessary mandate, you are LESS FREE. This is a bad thing. How bad is debatable, but it’s certainly not good.

    This is not that difficult.

  309. babaki says:

    can someone explain exactly what rights are being violated by showing your receipt?

  310. forgottenpassword says:

    LOL! I LOVE stories like this!

    Employees SHOULD really be trained better on what they can or cannot do when it comes to shoplifters or potential shoplifters (meaning every customer).

    One good thing about being detained/touched in the vestibule area is that there are often cameras there. And IF you do get detained by some store policy quoting momo then you have it on video.

    And if they do touch you or block your way, tell THEM to call the police if they think you are a shoplifter & if they wont & insist on detaining you, then call the cops & say that you are being illegally detained by some walmart employee at the entrance & he wont let you leave. And when the cops show up… they SHOULD be able to sort it out (legally & proper). The important thing is that you get documentation, witnesses on what happened & if you want to press charges, then do it immediately. Sadly, you may get yelled at by the police that has to do all this, because he will blame you (not neccessarily the store employee) for “wasting his time”. Police oten have the opinion that citizens should shut up & do as their told (even by store staff that is acting as security).

    IMO store policy doesnt mean jack shit! Its not law. The worst they can do is ban you & have you arrested (for tresspassing) if you attempt to come back at a later time.

    Note: you may also risk arrest by a pissed off cop or because an employee lied & said they SAW you shoplift. Which will mean major inconvenience.

  311. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @babaki: can someone explain exactly what rights are being violated by showing your receipt?

    None, so long as it is voluntary. Just like no crime is being committed by refusing to show your receipt.

    The rights violations start when the store illegally detains, harasses or assaults you for failing to comply with the VOLUNTARY receipt check.

  312. humphrmi says:

    So far in the last two stories about receipt checking, in both cases there has been at least minimal admission by both companies (Home Depot and WalMart) that detaining customers to prove that they are not criminals is against company policy.

    So this isn’t in broad strokes a “jeez, just show your receipt and get on with it” situation. Why do employees, against the wishes of their own employer, feel the need to detain and search customers? And why do we need to comply with requests that are both illegal and against their respective employer’s policies? What, to make life easier for the sheep? Bah, you’ll get over it. I’ll stand for my rights, thank you.

  313. juanguapo says:

    I shop at Wallyworld all the time and I always have my receipt to show; they check it probably 1/5 times I’m in there.

    Just show the stupid receipt and get out of the way.

  314. BruinEric says:

    re: Costco

    It is my understanding that since Costco is a “membership club,” with a membership agreement, you have agreed to provide your receipt. So I’m not convinced that someone throwing an “I regret that I only have one receipt worth hiding for my country” protest is actually correct.

  315. babaki says:

    @TinyBug: ok, so i ask again. what is the big deal with jut showing the receipt the first time?

  316. CharlieSeattle says:

    @Tortfeasor28: Completely irrelevant since he wasn’t in Illinois.

  317. APFPilot says:

    what if it was condoms or hemerrhoid cream I just bought and I don’t want to show the receipt.

  318. Dashrashi says:

    @babaki: No big deal. You just don’t have to. Period.

    And perhaps you’re in a rush and don’t feel like waiting in the line to get your receipt highlighted when you don’t need to.

  319. Buran says:

    @nrwfos: Erosion of rights is vitally important no matter who does it, something lost on way too many people around here. Anyone who tells me to “pick my battles” or other such bullshit can shove it up their ass, they’re my rights and I intend to keep them.

  320. Dashrashi says:

    @Buran: Agreed. Furthermore, the limits of your cognitive energy are not mine. I can fight this battle and plenty of others, thank you.

  321. CharlieSeattle says:

    @BruinEric: The only thing costco can do is revoke your membership. In my case that would have cost them lot’s of money since they come to my employer to hock they’re cards.

  322. cef21 says:

    @myzenthing: Given a choice, I will buy the item where it costs less. Why should I spend 30% more at a locally-owned hardware store? I need to keep that 30% in the most local of all economies — my back pocket.

  323. girly says:

    What bothers me is the transaction is completed at the checkout counter. Why is it then my job to alleviate the concerns of the merchant over merchandise I now own?

    They can ask…but they should not be harassing people who don’t want to placate them.

    If they are worried perhaps the cashier can walk you out. (no extra effort on your part)

  324. rwakelan says:

    @Kaix: hah, no. For a store owner or his agent (aka employee) to detain a person, he must have REASONABLE suspicion of shoplifting (from the link, Section 2b, part 1). Reasonable suspicion has a legal definition of course… but it is vague as hell. Something like suspicion as determined by a reasonable person. So a good lawyer can argue a lot. However, previous case law would suggest that refusal to show a receipt is not reasonable suspicion. So you are safe in Indiana. Indiana law is the only one I had to study for my degree, so it is the only state I can speak of for sure, but I believe most states are the same.

  325. girly says:

    And for people who say it also keeps cashiers honest to check the receipt–that’s also not my concern.

    If the want real power, they have to make sure the transaction is not over by the time you get to the receipt check.

    The idea of being allowed to buy something, but if you want to leave with it you’ll have to cooperate is pretty silly.

  326. timsgm1418 says:

    seriously, yeah enough of the sue everybody that pisses me off attitude…not to stick up for Walmart, but it’s not really a secret that they ask to see receipts, they’ve been doing it for years, so don’t shop there if you don’t like their policy. I think he just read that other Consumerist post about not showing the receipt and decided to see if it worked. How hard is it to hold the receipt in your hand until you walk out the door? Shoplifting makes everybody pay, so if they are trying to avoid it, give em a break. As another poster said, usually it’s elderly people doing the checking, they aren’t making $100k a year and probably hate their job as much as you hate showing your receipt.@nak1986:

  327. timsgm1418 says:

    then you’ll start hearing people say “why should I have to show the laws, they should already know them…just show the receipt or shop somewhere else@robocop_is_bleeding:

  328. jimconsumer says:

    @dorkins: “This arrogant I-can’t-stop-to-show-you-my-receipt idiot should have been tased.” – Holy shit you’re an idiot. What the hell is wrong with you? I fear for our country with people like you running around.

  329. girly says:

    I think they should have incentives for receipt showing.

    Maybe they could give you a copy that you can give to the checker, and if you do it you get entered to win a percentage of any reduction in shoplifting losses.

  330. Raziya says:

    I wonder where in NH this was. I work in West Lebanon, not at that Wal-mart, but I did when I was still in school.

  331. shadowkahn says:

    you have the right to refuse to show the receipt. If you give up that right in the interest of not being a hardass, it does not mean you are permanently giving up that right, nor does it mean that the country will degenerate into faschism, as some seem to think.

    It’s the same as your Miranda rights. If you are arrested, and you choose to talk without a lawyer, that does not mean that you will be compelled to talk without a lawyer the next time you get arrested.

    We do not have to blindy enforce every right we have to the point where we refuse to give up those rights even when it makes sense to do so.

    I have the right to express my beliefs, but that doesn’t mean I have to do so 24/7 in order to maintain that right. It does not mean that I will stand at an accident scene preaching my beliefs to the guy being extracted from the crumpled car. Failure to preach to that guy does not mean that I can never express my beliefs again.

    We as a society seem to be overly in love with blanket black and white statements. You use your rights every time it comes up or you lose them forever. You’re either with us or against us. You’re a terrist or you’re not. The real world does not work that way and should not be treated as if it does.

    Yes, I will show him my receipt as I walk out the door. In fact, I’ll have it in my hand from the register to the outside of the store. I will not let him take up a crapton of my time, but if he just wants me to flash the receipt (which has always worked in the past) I don’t have a problem doing that.

    That said, if he attempts to detain me, and he lays a hand on me to do it, he will not be shot, but he will be stopped.

  332. Dashrashi says:

    @timsgm1418: They SHOULD already know the laws, for their own protection on the day someone really decides to sue them.

    I do feel bad for the checkers, who are clearly being misinformed at some level of the command chain. But it’s not necessary to illegally detain customers in order to fix this.

  333. girly says:

    @shadowkahn: I do agree with that.

    I think it is important that checkers understand this is voluntary.

    Is it hard to show your receipt? No.
    Should the store detain you if you don’t? No.

  334. Dashrashi says:

    @shadowkahn: But if you’re in a rush, and you don’t feel like waiting around to show your receipt, and unfortunately the security guard has gotten it in his head, somehow, perhaps from how often people acquiesce to it, that you MUST show your receipt, then you have a problem, don’t you?

    A lot of times custom and acquiescence really can turn into law. So there’s something to be said about being loud about what is and isn’t voluntary. I think it’s worthwhile to make sure companies know that we know that we don’t have to do this, just in the interests of making sure no one gets confused–as people apparently often do.

  335. boxjockey68 says:

    I don’t shop at stores that try to make you show a receipt when you leave, but if I did, and they put their hands on me..I would be looking for the closest lawyers office.
    The show of force by the walfart employee is wrong on so many levels. And that’s yet another reason I will say walfart is bottom rung.

  336. salsamaphone says:

    This is insane.

    If the shopper wanted to make a point, he should have gone back into the store and demanded to speak with a manager. He should have called the police himself if he felt he was clearly in the right.

    It is important to escalate with the appropriate person and not to force a confrontation. In the letter, the writer was clear that he was trying to make a point. It’s also clear that he did not raise the larger issues with the employees, instead believing that “right” was on his side so communication didn’t matter.

    The writer was in the wrong– he created a situation and did not deal with it appropriately.

  337. jesanders says:

    What I’m wondering is: Do Canadians need to show receipts, or is this just an U.S. thing?

  338. BugMeNot2 says:

    Re: Everyone trying to compare this to ‘No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service’: right of refusal does not equal right to detainment. A business has every right to bar entry, refuse service, or remove customers as long as they are uniform in this and not discriminatory. They do not have a right to detain someone against their will, barring specific rights afforded them, with criteria that must be met.

    @GingerCE: No, you were not forcibly detained at Costco. They asked you to stop and you did. Had you continued to try to leave and the guy grabbed you, or in some way impeded your egress, that would have been detention.

    I stopped showing my receipt after the incident where all I had was a single item, a large, heavy, extension ladder. The door guy stopped the couple ahead of me, who had a heaping cart full of stuff. He stopped them before they even reached the door because they had a bottle of laundry detergent not bagged. I started to walk past them and he stepped in front of me and said I had to show him the receipt, but I had to wait for him to go through their cart. He then pulled their cart lengthwise in the doorway and started to go over their receipt. Now nobody could leave until he finished checking their receipt.

    After the couple of minutes it took him to go through their stuff (he went through every single bag), he got to me. By this time, there was a line behind me, and it was at that moment I realized something that several posters here have said, only counter to my point: Life is too short. There is no reason I, or anyone else, should have to stand in a line just to prove whether or not we did purchase something just because a store says so.

    As to the commentor who said, “You aren’t important.” about those of us who do not show receipts: I’m a lot more important to the one person it matters to, me, than you are, so I think I’ll listen to myself over your unimportant comments.

  339. sublicon says:

    J is an effing idiot. The merchandise isn’t bagged, you refuse to show your receipt, what else are these people supposed to think? You look like you’re shoplifting!! And by refusing to cooperate, you’re acting like you’re shoplifting!! Not to mention, you look like a psycho you’re that thinks he’s going to walk out the door while in plain sight of everyone there with unbagged merchandise and uhh . . no receipt.

    In the end, you were just looking to start trouble. This isn’t about rights being violated, this is about being a normal human being that knows very well what is going to occur when you do what you did.

  340. gamabunta says:

    @gticlutchburn: It’s their job to pay attention and to notice that a customer is walking towards them from a register.

  341. Snowblind says:


    The reason Costco can get away with it is because you agreed to it when you paid your money to get a membership:

    See page 29 for details:

    You don’t have to show your reciept either, but they will revoke your membership, and you knew that ahead of time.

  342. Number05 says:

    This comment is directed at everyone who obviously doesn’t know what the law actually states as far as being able to detain a customer. The employee did in fact have the right to stop the customer. The law states that if an employee has reasonable supsicion that a customer is shoplifting they may ask for proof of purchase. Now you may say the employee did not have the grounds for reasonable suspicion but he did. He saw a man leaving the store with an item that was not bagged and no sign of a receipt or sticker. In the future it would be easier just to have your receipt ready to show upon exiting. Do not forget that wal-mart, though not hurting for money in any way I’m sure, has the right to protect itself from theft. As far as the manager telling the man his employees were in the wrong he was just doing damage control because it would more than likely cost wal-mart more money to go after a less than likely thief and have him never return to spend more money than it would to lose a $25.00 sale. @privatejoker75:

  343. glorpy says:

    I already know Bob’s retraining:
    1. Don’t physically restrain customers, even if you believe they are shoplifting.
    2. If they refuse to show you a receipt, notify Security, who will monitor his progress with their external cameras.
    3. The moment he leaves the property, Security will call the police to report suspected shoplifting.

    In which case, the OP would have lost his source of income all because he mistakenly thought that Constitutional protections apply to private entities.

    Just keep the receipt out until you have left the building. Then stuff it into your wallet when you get to your car.

  344. coold8 says:

    Yea, if you are carrying, it is one of two things, illegal or legally. The people carrying it legally, are not the ones you need to worry about, the reason why they are allowed to carry legally is because they passed certain tests, background checks, and a logical reason to carry, it is not easy to just carry a pistol around legally. If the person is illegal, chances are they want to fly below the radar anyway, because there is no other reason to carry a firearm illegally, unless you have something to hide or protect (that the government doesn’t feel is important to hide or protect, aka. drug dealers).

    Also,I give credit to this guy for standing up for his 4th amendment right, liberalism in this country tries to treat the constitution as a mere guideline instead of a law, and someone has to be put in place for it!

  345. keenfrenzy says:


    “Think about this. If I approach you on the street and ask to see the contents of your wallet because someone stole my credit card earlier today, you would (I hope) say no and keep walking. What do you have to hide? If you didn’t steal it, you certainly should have no problem proving that to me. See how wrong that sounds?”

    I think the scenario is a little different if that person is leaving your house carrying a credit card which looks a lot like yours.

    You have every right to ask that person to show you if the credit card is yours or not. He was not walking down a random street with empty hands, he was walking out of a store owned by Wal-Mart, Inc. carrying an item which came from Wal-Mart’s shelving and no visible proof that he obtained it legally. Until he leaves Wal-Mart property, the burden is on him to prove that the shower rack is owned by him.

    The store would give you two options – prove that you legally own the shower rack, or leave it behind and continue on your merry way without it.

    He was detained because he was leaving the store with what they perceived to be their physical property.

    It would have been a different story if Wal-Mart had come to his home, found a shower rack that looked like theirs and then asked for proof that he purchased it or face illegal detainment if he was unable/unwilling to provide it.

  346. masteroffm says:

    CharlieSeattle – “Here’s a clue, it’s illegal to detain people unless shop lifting is suspected”

    exactly, my wife works in loss prevention and she will only make an apprehension if she is 100% certain that the person has concealed an item with the intent of stealing and then she will wait to they actually walk past the registers and out off the store.

  347. Phildawg says:

    I really think stores like these are assholes.

    I mean, I realize it has been well-docmented that it is your right to do such a thing, but really this needs to be changed.

    Otherwise, what would stop me from picking up an item, making my way through the checkout lanes and heading for the door as to fool the person into thinking I just came through the checkout line.

    Really, what you are doing by refusing to show a receipt is going to forces prices to rise even further because this is just a simple theft deterrent, but obviously stopping theft isn’t as important to you as violating your civil liberty to not show a receipt when asked upon exit of a very busy and hectic establishment.

    Some consumerist ideas are just plain stupid and foolish. And people like this, I wish the wal-mart employee could grab the damn shower rod and beat the living shit out of you as 10 people ran out with items while had had to deal with your bullshit because you would have lost 5 seconds of your life.

  348. kbarrett says:

    Dumb. I used to work in retail security when I was a kid.

    If you don’t see the item being taken, and see it being walked all the way out the door, stopping the perp equals losing a nasty wrongful arrest lawsuit.

    Even a members-only club can only revoke a membership for declining to allow inspection.

    The proper course, if you are certain the goods are stolen, but didn’t see them go all the way from shelf to street, is to simply trespass the perp and be done with it.

  349. kbarrett says:

    Philldawg: So are you going to help Walmart pay for the the $50,000 wrongful arrest lawsuit, the $500,000 wrongful injury suit, and do some of the jail time for assault?

    I didn’t think so.

  350. luminaire says:

    I don’t know how it works in the states, but in Canada impersonating a cop, or even alluding to the fact that you are a police officer is a crime. Typically I show my receipts and carry on as none of this is worth the trouble IMO, but if you feel like making a point I would have called 911 after the second time there was any physical contact. I would have also explained to the immovable idiot that impersonating a cop is illegal, and that the Wallmart employee, intentional or not, had just assaulted you and that at this point you were considering filing charges.

  351. jamesbong says:

    I have always found this policy at Walmart and K-Mart and other similar stores to be absolutely idiotic. Firstly, its annoying and I really resent being stopped every time I leave a store.

    But also, its just ineffective. The last time it happened I argued a bit with the “security” person, who said “All I have to do is circle the store number & address” which serves zero purpose. They are not even checking to see if I paid for an item anyway… I could be walking out with a $500 portable DVD player or something, but have a receipt for a can of walnuts.

    I am glad to see people standing up for themselves.

  352. MightyCow says:

    When I’m checking out, I’m having my items scanned and being given my receipt RIGHT THERE.

    Just put the door right after the register, and you save a step. It’s moronic to do the same procedure twice in 20 feet.

  353. xerent says:


    The issue isn’t being forced to wait a few more moments. We all deal with lines when we go shopping, and waiting for various reasons. It’s about setting precedent.

    Showing a receipt is a reasonable request by any retailer in an attempt to curb shoplifting, I’m the first person to agree with that, but keep in mind that it is a -request-. I usually show mine, because I know the guy is just trying to do his job, and it really doesn’t inconvenience me in any way, so I agree with you there as well. But if for some reason I’m in a hurry, or my arms are full, or there are people waiting on me, or I just don’t feel like it for whatever reason, just as it is there right to right to request my receipt, it is my right regardless of ‘store policy’ to deny it. Plain and simple.

    They could have a store policy that all black people have to turn around in a circle and tap their heels three times upon exiting the store. But it’s not law. And if for some reason I can’t even begin to fathom you don’t feel like participating in this ritual, that doesn’t give them license to detain you illegally.

  354. Dashrashi says:

    @Phildawg: I can think of something that would stop you from picking up an item and walking through the checkout lanes. Actually, I can think of two things: other security guards and surveillance cameras. Stores had loss prevention before they started with this horseshit.

  355. thegeneral07 says:

    It just seems that people are going out of their way to do this so they have something else to complain about against big corporate stores like Wal-Mart. I would hold this dude almost 100% responsible for what happened because he didn’t think that maybe his actions could be misconstrued as shoplifting. The employee was just doing what they thought was the right thing, aside from the detaining. Think this one through before you insult the employees intelligence and also stop trying to be some kind of martyr.

  356. StevieD says:

    I have a simple solution…..

    Just install security gates for entrances and exits and force customers to flow through a cashier station or no sale station for exiting the store.

  357. Clumber says:

    Ok, I *am* one of those “people who would be the last you would expect to be carrying concealed”. My belief is that one shouldn’t act ANY differently than we would if we were not carrying. UP TO when you are in fear for your life, or for a family member’s life. Then and only then should you even consider drawing your weapon, and then only if you are prepared to follow-through.

    Being physically detained by some WalMart prick does not pass my sniff test for fearing for my life. Not even close. I think that the “Call 911 right there in the store foyer and report that you are being detained” is the better choice in the situation if you truly are that opposed to showing your receipt.

    I am not going to take sides as far as show or don’t show. I can fully understand both sides, and wouldn’t have bothered to comment at all save for the idiotic and dangerous statements about concealed carry of firearms. There is a cavernous difference between fearing for your life and being made uncomfortable. Responses should also be wildly different.

    Thank is all. Carry on. Nothing to see here. Move along….

  358. squiggiemon says:

    This is the most horrible story I have heard. I had worked in retail and loss prevention for many years. I have also dealt with people like this, that refuse to show a receipt when asked. If you don’t want to be asked, don’t go to a retail store. Stay home and shop online. Oh, wait, most people who act like this prolly don’t own a computer, as they are too afraid to show their receipt on the way out of Best Buy cause it doesn’t fit in a bag. Lol.

  359. Mr. Bungle says:

    “At this point there was a lot of onlookers because of the commotion, and I was extremely embarrassed”

    I highly doubt he was embarrassed considering what he was doing. If I saw someone walking out of a store with an item that didn’t have a receipt I would ask too. So everyone is allowed to walk out with an un-bagged item and just claim they have a receipt and nothing should happen? That could cause looting. Just save yourself the “Embarrassment” and take 2 seconds to show the damn receipt. Obviously you have too much time on your hands when you want to hang out and argue with Walmart people.

  360. arsbadmojo says:

    “These “I don’t show my receipt” stories….If you’re going to provoke someone…don’t be surprised when you elicit a reaction. You asked for one, you got it. Plain and simple.”

    Exactly. So if you’re going to provoke me, by treating me like a criminal – you’re going to get a reaction. Plain and simple enough for you?

    Once money has been exchanged for goods; our business transaction is over. Once was yours is now mine. I’ll be leaving now without any delay.

    If you’ve seen me hide merchandise and not pay for it; you may detain me for shoplifting, but as I don’t steal, it is unlikely you saw me steal.

  361. CharlieSeattle says:

    @Snowblind: No they won’t. I’m living proof of that. How are they going to know who you are?

  362. paullyjunge says:

    So, instead of showing your receipt, you would rather get that poor schmuck at Wal*Mart in trouble? I don’t understand why people need to take their aggression against policies they disagree with against the workers.

    “Oh, he touched me.” Ya know, I’ve seen shoplifters get tackled unto cement at grocery stores, heaven forbid someone impedes your progress by stepping in front of you.

    If you really do have an issue with a company asking you for proof of purchase after you leave a store, why don’t just shop online?

  363. ? graffiksguru says:

    Ok, I want in on the fun. 1) Costco is different, because you have to be a member and its a part of the rules. So they can just revoke your membership if you decide not to show them 2) I agree, it looks suspicious when you are carrying an item, with no bag, but its still his right, I personally would have just showed the receipt 3) Your an idiot, for insinuating that you might pull your gun on him next time for bumping into/illegally detaining you. Would hardly call that fearing for your life.

  364. CharlieSeattle says:

    @sublicon: I suggest you look in the mirror. They do not have a right to detain you, unless they’ve seen you shop lifting.

  365. Dashrashi says:

    @Mr. Bungle: It’s not going to cause looting. Plenty–PLENTY–of stores don’t have this asinine policy. They’re not actively being looted, last time I checked. Like I said before, stores have other, probably better, methods of loss prevention.

  366. iamjames says:

    You need to file a report.

    Sorry, bob, but you’re the example for the rest of the employees. Bob gets arrested and rumors will spread throughout that walmart and probably others that a employee was arrested for falsely detaining a customer. That’s the only way things will change. Police and courts have to be involved.

  367. CharlieSeattle says:

    @Phildawg: I don’t uh maybe the freaking camera’s and security monitoring them? If you think this stops shop lifting you are pretty clueless.

  368. Luciapalooza says:

    I used to work for Wal-Mart as a cashier for about 3 years (having had the unfortunate job as door greeter here and there). If there was ever a time when I didn’t sack something for it’s size I always told the customer to have their receipt handy in case anybody ever asked to see it. Although the 2 stores I worked at didn’t seem to care much about checking receipts. I wonder if his cashier was aware of the fact that the door greeter asks people for their reciepts, and if the cashier did know, I think it would have been courteous if the cashier would have warned this customer to keep it out. Additionally, those employees should have never touched the customer, getting paid no more than $8/hour does not constitute to put my life in danger for a shower rack-with the kind of people that frequent Wal-Mart, who knows what could’ve happened. That is what loss prevention is for. Door Greeters’ job description is to: greet customers, and ticket items that are being returned, and taking care of the carts.

  369. Teh1337Pirate says:

    Why is someone asking to see your receipt such a big deal? It takes 2 seconds. Seems like your whole ordeal took around 10-15 minutes….which would have been easier in the long run? I think he just wanted to make an ass out of himself. Maybe next time he’ll have his merchandise bagged to avoid suspicion.

  370. Dashrashi says:

    @paullyjunge: Sometimes you’ve got to play it out in order to show that the feared consequences do, in fact, come to pass.

    Would anyone believe that a store security guard would dare to lay his hands on a paying customer, risking major league lawsuits, over a receipt–without stories like this?

    Obviously, we haven’t progressed to the point where it’s feasible for most people to shop solely online.

    And yeah, strangers aren’t allowed to touch you. We have rules where we call it “battery.” No unfriendly touching without your consent; you break that rule, plan on paying for it. That’s the incentive we want to push because, you know what, we don’t want people to touch each other in unconsented-to unfriendly ways. The fact that it gets broken doesn’t mean it’s not a rule, or that it’s not a good rule.

  371. tekmiester says:


  372. tekmiester says:

    This is getting ridiciculous… Yes you don’t technically have to show your receipt, but why go throught the trouble? It’s not worth it just because you are technically right.

    These are the same people who get tasered by cops because they think they are smarter than the cop. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if he has the taser (and gun). Play the game; it only costs you about 10 seconds of your time.

  373. Dashrashi says:

    @Teh1337Pirate: Some things don’t fit in bags, A. The store gave it to him like that, they should be okay with him leaving with it like that, B.

    And, as numerous people have said, showing your receipt may not be a big deal (or, in some cases, it may–read the thread for one such example, where a man was delayed by a receipt checker from rushing to his wife who was suddenly sent to the ER).

    But while it may not be a big deal, it’s also NOT MANDATORY. Period. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. We don’t get to pick apart your reasons for not wanting to; you don’t have to justify yourself. You do not have to show your receipt.

  374. mrsmarti says:

    With the amount of theft going on, I’m glad someone is checking. So, just how tough is it for me to open my purse or wallet and get out the receipt. Get a life and stop griping.

  375. Crymson_77 says:

    @Dashrashi: Actually…it falls under “assault and battery” which is a class A misdemeanor and can be a class c felony. Since this involved illegally detaining said recipient of assault, it would likely be a class c felony due to mitigating circumstances.

    On a personal note…if Bob had touched me while I was attempting to exit the store, I would have immediately phoned the police about the felony assault that had been committed against me and request the immediate presence of an officer. It is entirely too simple. You are more than welcome to ask for my receipt. It is entirely within my rights to tell you “No”.

  376. Dashrashi says:

    @tekmiester: Might be worth it, to some, and in some circumstances. You’re free to disagree on that point, but showing your receipt is not mandatory, so no one should be told or ordered to do it.

  377. Guncrazy says:

    @afterimageB: If you’re carrying in a pocket holster, perhaps you could tuck the receipt into it. If they ask you for the receipt at the door, simply tell them, “The receipt is in my pocket, between my legally carried firearm and its holster. In order to show it to you, I would have to display and handle my firearm in front of all the customers entering your store. How would you like to proceed?”

  378. DCGaymer says:

    Pardon me for asking…but why are you people shopping at places that, “Check for receipt”?!? Let those retailers die. Twice I’ve had this happen to me and both times I’ve simply said, “OH, you’re one of those retailers…well here all of the items I’ve just bought. They’re in your care now…(insert name of door guard)….Pardon me while I go home and dispute the charges with my Credit Card company we’ll consider this a failed transaction and I’ll never shop here again.”

  379. Dashrashi says:

    @Crymson_77: He’ll also recover nicely in his private suit for false imprisonment, assault, and battery, I’d wager. Hell of a case against Wal-Mart for clearly mis-training the employees to commit torts against customers.

    Assuming there aren’t assholes on the jury like there are in this thread. Sigh.

  380. Snowblind says:


    Not “won’t”… did not.

    Congrats, you got away with it. That is not the point. They can ask, and they can revoke it as a violation of the membership agreement.

    The fact that in your case they did not does not imply they gave up the right to do so in another case.

    P.S. How do they know who it was? Hey how about they compare the security video to customers that checked out… using that photo they took of you when you signed up.

    Unless you were wearing a Nixon mask or something…

  381. DrGirlfriend says:

    353 comments! Is this the Consumerist recordholder for most commented post yet?

  382. Charles says:

    I’ve noticed that recently, at least at our store, Best Buy has gotten pretty lax on the receipt policy. I bought a laptop and they didn’t bag it and all I really had to do was signify that I did indeed have a receipt (they used to inspect it). Then my brother bought a laptop and they didn’t even ask for a receipt.

    I sort of agree that it’s ridiculous to bitch about the receipt, but if it’s in your wallet it’s understandable. Some people have the receipts in their hands or bags and don’t show it just to make a point.

  383. Crymson_77 says:

    @Dashrashi: And since the pockets are deep…

  384. privatejoker75 says:

    @Dashrashi:”A lot of times custom and acquiescence really can turn into law”

    Exactly. If you let someone use your land to access their land for 7 years th

    @tekmiester: It’s people like you that “just go along with everything” that is changing this country into a pos

  385. privatejoker75 says:

    All of this “revoking membership” talk about Costco. Are they seriously going to go review the tape, find out what line you were in and then go look up your transaction for your account number? I might try this next month when my account is lapsed

  386. maroger says:

    As a small business owner, I encourage WalMart to keep up the good work! Allowing lines to form at every register and then follow up lines to show receipts when leaving are GREAT security measures and will keep your mindless, and most likely overdrugged, customers in control. Also I admire the employee standards, keeping them low so you can get away with paying them less- as long as there’s a manager around you can depend on to calm down the feistier customers.

    I’ll make sure to send more (of my cheap/stupid/drugged) customers your way!

  387. Crymson_77 says:

    BTW, I would suggest J take this to small claims court for the maximum allowed in that forum for illegally detaining and assaulting him. No lawyer needed and he will more than likely win a default judgement as Walmart would rather the whole thing go away.

  388. gsmumbo says:

    This is the problem with the Consumerist. A good group of readers have the mindset of causing trouble just because they can.

    The story… it would have all been avoided by showing the receipt. There is no reason to not keep it out for a few seconds to show it on the way out. And don’t give me the “how was he supposed to know they were going to want to see it?” bs. He openly admitted he had been reading the consumerist and knew about the receipt thing. He was ready for it. To further it, when he asks for the receipt, then kindly explain that you already put it in your wallet and you are in a rush or what not. Bee lining out the door is not the best course of action. It reads like you wanted this situation to happen just so you can demand your rights and cause a scene.

    The comments… wow. Where is all this bend over and give up your rights crap coming from? Seriously. You are showing your receipt for a whole two to ten seconds. You chose to shop at a place that you know checks for receipts. Get used to it or shop somewhere else. One person even said they would be willing to do it if there was a disclaimer when you enter the store. What!?!?!? What difference does that make except there are some words you know no one will ever read at the entrance. You are still showing your receipt, etc, only difference is you know you can’t fight your way out of it. Stop being spoiled brats. You showing your receipt is not taking away your rights. You are going to walk out of the store with the same amount of right as you did when you walked in. Just you will have helped stop shoplifting.

    By the way, eventually you are going to starve and bore yourselves to death. In just about every article I have read, it has been mentioned not to shop at a certain place. I now can not shop at best buy, target, k-mart, lowes, home depot, wal-mart, circuit city, etc. At what poing will you stop shopping all together. I have also heard a good amount of people recommending to shop at mom and pop stores. If you shop at these places, why are you surfing consumerist?

  389. endless says:

    I will laugh when they start having people check the transactions at the register before they accept payment.

    Can’t bitch then and use the already paid for it line…. cause you haven’t.

  390. kab3wm says:

    Wow.. some of you amaze me.

    If you don’t like Wal-Mart’s policies, don’t shop there. Nobody made him go in the store. If he didn’t want to show the receipt, he should have returned the item and walked out. If I’m in someone’s house or business, I respect their rules. I’m not sure where the consumerists logic is on this one.

  391. K-Town says:

    The LAST time I was at Walmart I just finished spending 140 dollars, I was right next to the door and the woman at the door watched as I checked out. As I approached the door, hands full of bags, the woman asked to see my receipt. I told her no but I would show it the girl at the return register. I turned around and walked to the return counter and returned everything i just purchased. The reason I did this is because I hadnt even walked past the security detectors at the door. She had no reason to think I stole anything, I had the right to not show her my receipt. I have not been back to Walmart since. I sent an email to the corporate office detailing what I had done and why, they never replied which showed me they couldnt careless if I shop there.

    Why would I, or anyone, surrender my rights to a person who speaks broken English and gets paid minimum wage? The woman probably has no idea what those rights are…

  392. robertseaton says:

    @afterimageB: You are very wrong here. If you are being detained they do have the right to touch you and even do a light search of your person in order to establish that you are not armed. You can, and prob. would be handcuffed as well. They would be wrong for the initial dentention… what you did after being informed that you were being detained would be at your own peril/liablility.

  393. lucky_charmz888 says:

    To avoid such chaos and drama, all you had to do was simply show them your receipt. Then you wouldn’t have wasted your precious time in being detained and questioned. I’m an avid Walmart shopper and it’s very known that the workers in the front always ask to see your receipt before you leave. I don’t take it as an insult or anything- they are just trying to do their job and prevent thefts- regardless of how much the item costs. But yeah they shouldn’t have laid their hands on you…but really all you had to do was just show them your receipt. It can’t be that hard, can it?

  394. trujunglist says:

    It’s too bad that you didn’t find out who the random customer was. If some guy says to me “Well maybe I’m a cop” while trying to prevent me from doing something that I have a right to do, I’d say “well maybe I’m the fucking pope but I doubt you’d believe that until you saw my ecclesiastical ID stating so” at which point he’d probably A) say something snarky B) pull out his badge or ID saying he was a cop. In either case, I’d assume that he’d call me out for not being the pope, so I’d pretend to rummage around for my ID for a second before coming out with my middle finger cocked and say “this is all the proof I need.”

  395. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    so i ask again. what is the big deal with jut showing the receipt the first time?

    Frankly, it’s not that big a deal in practice. But it is fucking rude. And the proper response to rude personal request is to ignore it, or to respond with a simple and polite “No.”

    But that sidesteps the interesting implications of your question. Why does it have to be a big deal for someone to have your permission to refuse? Do you only take a stand for what’s right when it’s a “big deal”? Let the little shit slide? if so, then you are part of the problem.

    Perhaps you missed my comment about how open mouthed eyes closed passive submission to whatever presumed authority crosses your path is a bad thing? When you let people get away with the little things for year after year, it’s pretty much inevitable that what was once unthinkable eventually becomes commonplace.

    The more people who meekly submit, the more common and worse the whole thing will become. Slippery slope arguments are not always a fallacy.

    Twenty or thirty years ago, the idea of some store clerk demanding to see your receipt at the exit (and actually harassing you or grabbing you if you refused) was absolutely unheard of. Now it is so common that authoritarian bootlickers flood any discussion of the subject with their bleating cries of “Just show your receipt” and “what’s the big deal?”. I wonder where we’ll be in another twenty years if we allow all those Good Ger^H^H^H Americans to have their way?

    Every minor transgression you allow opens the door for a greater one to eventually replace it.

  396. edrebber says:

    @gticlutchburn: The law requires the employee to see the person remove the item from the shelf and leave the store without paying or remove the item from the shelf and conceal it in the store. If the employee can’t satisfy one of these two requirements, then the employee has no legal right to apprehend the customer for shoplifting.

  397. waitaminute says:

    @gticlutchburn: “Stopping to explain that you paid, but you will not show them your receipt seems like a better way to handle the situation.”

    This is precisely what this customer did: “As I was approaching the door, the receipt checker Bob said, “Do you have your receipt?” To which I responded, “Yes, it’s in my wallet” and I kept walking towards the door.”

  398. algormortis says:

    Oh, i’d love to see what an epic owning Wal*Mart would get in court in NH.

    Seriously, they write folk songs about how hard the smack is gonna be laid down if he sues.

  399. temna says:

    It is in Walmart’s own training material that they are not allowed to detain anyone. That detaining a customer is grounds for dismissal. According to Walmart’s own training system detaining a customer is supposed to get you fired.

  400. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    If you really do have an issue with a company asking you for proof of purchase after you leave a store, why don’t just shop online?

    I have a better idea. How about I’ll shop wherever I like, and if a store has some asinine policy I don’t like, I’ll ignore it?

  401. zyxwv88 says:

    Personally, I applaud anyone who refuses to show their receipt. We have so few rights in this world as it is, and Bush, the RIAA, and many others seem hell-bent on removing the few we have left. The only way we keep the rights we have is to stand up for them. It’s often hard to stand up for some rights because of legal costs, lawyers, and etc, but at least you can easily make a stand on not being treated like a freaking criminal just because other people steal things. I HATE being treated like a criminal when I shop. I ride a motorcycle all the time, and I wear a backpack to carry my books, papers, and etc. I have to bring it with me because I can’t leave it on my bike without risking theft, so I take it with me. I walked out of one guitar store after they told me I had to remove it and leave it up front (without them guaranteeing the safety of my belongings of course). I showed them the wad of 100s I had in my pocket and told them that my money was going elsewhere because I wouldn’t be treated like a criminal.

    Then there was the time I had an older gal that worked at Wal-mart ask to see my receipt as I walked out the door. I smiled at her and said “No, thank you”, and Continued on my way. She got this bewildered look on her face and let me walk past without a fight. Lucky for her, since I would have called 911 and reported that I was being illegally detained if they would have tried to stop me. I’m going to remember to use the speakerphone like a previous poster suggested though if it happens in the future. I like that extra touch. :)

    So don’t be freaking sheep and just show receipts because you don’t have the courage and guts to stand up for yourself. Grow a spine and teach them to go after the real criminals instead of treating their paying customers like criminals.

  402. niteflytes says:

    My local Wal-Mart has a new return system. No more pink stickers. Every single items to be returned is scanned with a handheld scanner and a barcoded sticker is printed and stuck to each item. I asked why they’re doing this and was told because there are so many instances of people using the pink stickers and putting them on unpurchased merchandise and then returning the items without a receipt. Well, I’m sure we all can guess who had access to unused pink stickers.

    My point is, every loss adds up and raises prices for everyone, and not just at Wal-Mart. I have no problem with choosing to assist stores in reducing losses and keep prices down by showing my receipt.

  403. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    If you are being detained they do have the right to touch you and even do a light search of your person in order to establish that you are not armed.

    This is absolutely, utterly, and completely wrong.

    IF you are being legally detained by a merchant for suspected shoplifting, they have absolutely NO right to touch you, UNLESS you attempt to leave their custody. You are not required to go anywhere specific, and they may not force you to remain for more than a reasonable amount of time (usually long enough for the cops to get there). Assuming you are still on the property, you have every right to stay where you are. .

    They sure as HELL are not allowed to search you. Ever.
    Shopkeepers do not have police powers. Private citizens don’t get to perform Terry searches on people they’ve detained, even if the detention is otherwise legal.

  404. toddy33 says:

    I’m absolutely amazed here. I’m a brand new reader of Consumerist…I really do like what I’m seeing for the most part. It seems like the primary purpose is to let people let each other know when the big guys are screwing the little guys without lube, and occasionally when someone really does something right.

    This thread, though…that there are actually so many people willing to just quietly bend over and say, oh, sure, it’s no big deal.

    We’ve fought long and hard in this country to keep little things from becoming big ones, and to keep big ones from even happening. Civil liberty is not a trivial matter, regardless of what is being asked. To submit to ANY store’s “policy” of demanding something that they have no right to, no matter how trivial on the surface is NOT even a slippery slope. It’s the bottom of the hill.

    Anybody who says otherwise is part of the problem that constantly allows for stupidity to flourish and for us to need a forum such as this.

    I do shop wherever I fucking like. I don’t show receipts. I don’t acknowledge idiots when they make demands. I don’t make threats. I simply make it calmly clear that I won’t be taken advantage of or ordered to do anything that I don’t want to do.

  405. pvaras says:

    So, if I understand this correctly, you went through all of this, just because you were too indignant to show the guy your receipt?

    Look, folks, you have to decide what you want. American shoppers complain when they have to pay high prices. So Wal Mart comes to town, offering lower prices. Then, Wal Mart is labeled an evil empire. Shoplifting also raises costs, and yet when a store wants to protect itself by asking to see a sales receipt, customers get all preachy about their civil rights. Oh, and by the way, “Bob” may have been a bit over zealous, but he probably needs his job and would do anything to keep it. Insulting him only shows off your insensitivity and disdain of what you consider the lower class.

    Yes, you exercised your right not to show your receipt. You also had no bag, no sold sticker, and a shitty attitude. Now, some poor schlep may lose his job, all because you wanted to feel high and mighty.

    This is exactly why the rest of the world hates Americans.

  406. jimconsumer says:

    @robertseaton: You can, and prob. would be handcuffed as well. – Bwahahahaha! By a fscking retail store clerk? Fat chance. If any private citizen, EVER, tried to handcuff me, they’ll quickly wish they hadn’t. And if they try to frisk me for weapons, as you claimed they can, they’ll find one – but it will be in my hand, pointed at their face, before they know what the fuck just happened.

    Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and never, ever try to physically frisk or handcuff another private citizen. That’s what the police are for. It’s one thing to stand in front of me and say I’m not leaving the store – I’ll just call the police for the illegal detainment. It’s quite another to attempt to handcuff me, or run your arms up and down my body, or try to remove a concealed firearm from my pocket while running your hands up and down me. No private citizen has the authority to do this and I damn well guarantee you’ll get shot if you try it.

  407. girly says:

    No matter the ease of compliance, or the benefits (lower prices), aren’t people disgusted that companies are allowing their employees to think that they can enforce voluntary rules on their customers and penalize customers with harassment if they do not comply?

  408. siaokh says:

    One way to combat this is to ask for assistance carrying your purchase to your vehicle. Being escorted out by a member of their staff should reduce the need for a receipt check.

    Doubly so, it punishes the store by forcing their employees to help customers out with their bags instead of doing ‘real’ work.

  409. Nerys says:

    “Also when he was concerned for his saftey…uh, show the receipt. pretend the receipt was a ten dollar bill and the guy that was bigger was a mugger…you’d give him the ten spot right?”

    Actually no I would not. I would fight ANY mugger to the death. Call it silly but its simply the way I am. (though there are not many muggers who would dare assault me)

    “they should insitute dual exits that are separated. All customers from the registers are filtered out one side with no receipt checks and all other cusotmers who are just leaving go out another exit. If a customer is carrying out items from the non-register exit then the store should be able to detain and/or ask for proof of sale because if they actually went through the register then they wouldn’t be walking out that exit”

    I guess you have never been to a walmart have you? the avenues of exit at every walmart I have been to ARE in fact separate. its VERY easy to tell who is coming from a register line and who is not (If I feel like it I might take some pictures later on)

    YES if your not coming from a register with a product sold at that store and no bag (even a sold sticker would not be enough for me) then YES its understandable and sensible to have an employee stop you and ask for proof of purchase.

    If your coming from a register late there is NO logical reason from the customer perspective. Again the REASON they do a reciept check has NOTHING to do with shoplifting. Thats just what they TELL YOU. the reason is employee theft. A cashier putting something in a friends bag without ringing it up. THIS and ONLY THIS is what they are trying to stop. Well its not MY job to help them do this. They will not infringe my rights NO MATTER HOW MINOR the infringement is just so they can control there own employee’s.


    Just so no one else gets any funny ideas: the 4th amendment is entirely inapplicable in this case. It only applies to your dealings with the government. Civil and criminal legislation, on the other hand, does very much apply.

    Your a moron or simply uneducated on this matter. Please show me where the 4th amendment says it only applies to the government.? If this were the case (trust me its not) the constitution WOULD truly be as bush stated just a god damned piece of paper. ALL the government would have to do is hire a private company to violate your rights for them.

    The constitution applies to EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN in this country. The government is NOT an entity. It has No rights and NO power. The government is simply a group of citizens hired or elected to handle larger scale issues for us.

    “While I’m all about not showing the receipt, this account comes off as a bit too intense, especially with the suggestion that someone with a CCW would shoot an employee out of fear for their life? Way too hyperbolic.”

    While the CCW was a bit loopy remember a LARGER than him unknown customer impersonating a copy physical over powerd him and forced him back. THAT can get scary and THAT could get to “life threatening” very quickly if things got out of control and other would be cop impersonators decided to take the law into there own hands without thinking first.


    it comes down to PRINCIPLES man. Its not the smallness of the act. If I come up to you and demand you step asside and let me pass instead of going around you.

    Its a rather small thing. Just take a step left or right and the problem goes away.

    Would you? I know I would not. Excertion of control of a person by another person is a very dangerous thing. It quickly and rapidly leads into larger issues.

    Sit in the back of the buss. Its not hard. Its not a big deal right? WHY did we resist? WHY would you resist?

    It all comes down to principle. I do not like being called a criminal when I exist a store. Does not matter if I KNOW there not INTENDING to directly accuse me THEY ARE and thats a fact whether you accept it or not.

    Its a matter of control. An act of subjugation no matter how SMALL the act is or is perceived to be.

    I for one will not tolerate it. ITS ALSO about picking your battles man. Which battle would you rather pick? The small one with the receipt checker at the door or the big one when the government comes knocking at your door?

    Confronting the checker at the door and other similarly small and apparently insignificant situations could help us AVOID ever having to worry about the government knocking at the door (a battle as an individual that you can not win!)

    So yes CHOSE your battles wisely. I advise fighting this particular battle with zeal.

    @keith4298 another boob with no clue about the constitution.


    “Yes, it sucks to have to wait in a security line after just having waited in a checkout line. But if the alternative is higher prices due to increased theft, I can usually find the few extra seconds. It’s all part of the high price of low cost….”

    Well we know steve is willing to sell his rights away for the mere price of a few seconds. Just great. It would have only taken the lady on the bus a minor effort to give up her seat. Guess that was silly to you as well.


    “It’s easy to give up your rights, but you have to _give them up_. They can’t be taken from you.”

    Thats not true Erwos. If I come up to you and put a pistol to your head and say show me your Receipt did you give up your rights or did I take them?

    The point here is that they do not HAVE to take them when people in droves WILLINGLY give them up without a second thought. THATS truly scary.

    @hollywood2590 Your what we call sheeple. Bahhh Bahhh

    “I have a hard time believing that Walmart checking your receipt at the door will lead to a facist totalitarian regime one world government that has usurped all of our rights.”

    and THAT rain of thought and lack of understanding is WHY these types of governments can exist at all.

    Do you have trouble accepting that everything in the universe from a virus all the way to the most massive star and even black holes are all made up of the SAME things. Atoms of protons neutrons and electrons. Things so small we can not actually ever see them. You are made of them. The flu attacking you is made of them.

    WHY can people accept that but not accept that the erasure of an intelligent societies foundation of rights and individual liberties is not erased overnight but in small steps. The FIRST of these steps it not the violation of a right but the OVERLOOKING of the violation by the people in ignorance regardless of how SMALL the infraction is.

    THAT is how a totalitarian society is formed!! By the Apathy of the people.

    @jpx72x actually the moment they TOUCHED him illegally he was within his rights to use reasonable force to extricate himself from there illegal detainment. The escalation of force is determined by the instigator IE the employee and cop impersonator. Reasonable being critical here. Drawing a gun NOT reasonable. Using force to push the blocker out of the way Reasonable.

    @kaix. if you went to the effort to look up that statue please also look up probable cause for private detainment. In almost all states its VERY strict The employee needs to have actually SEEN you either with there own eyes or with there camera’s and in most cases if they EVER lose sight of you they MUST legally assume that you put it back and must again see you take it. Otherwise they are not allowed to detain you. Period.


    “Costco does it ALL the time, and I don’t hear complaints.”

    Costco is a PRIVATE members only company. you AGREE to the receipt check on becoming a member Its in your Terms of Service go read it. EVEN COSTCO can not compel you to show a receipt all they can do is cancel your membership for not honoring your agreement.


    NO the employee did by trying to COMPEL compliance where no legal grounds existed.


    “QUESTION: If you walk out of the store and there is a **BONG** because the cashier forgot to deactivate the security tag on an item – what then? Is it the same where you continue to walk out without showing anyone your items or receipt?”

    Technically yes. Those tags have NO legal weight and do not constitute legal probable cause. You are under NO obligation to stop. Its purely voluntary in every state I am aware of.

    Usually if the bong goes off I will “choose” to stop and glance back for a courtesy approval to continue. I have never once been denied and have always been nodded to just go ahead. Since this is simply a failing of an overly automated system and not INTENDED to violate my rights. This technology has an honorable purpose so I voluntary honor some level of cooperation.


    “I need to know what rights get taken after we decice to show the receipt. Seriously what right is next?
    Tell me please which of my rights are being eroded by showing a receipt”

    For Starters the 4th amendment is the most obvious violation.

    Then you have your right of movement (violated by the illegal detainment)

    You have the accepted as a right concept Innocent till proven guilty idea in our legal system.

    You are being accused of guilt without cause. Not showing your receipt (your property) on unwarranted demand is a RIGHT and the supreme court has upheld over and over again that invoking your rights can NEVER be construed as guilt.

    The 4th amendment is actually a pretty large SET of rights. This compelled receipt check violates almost all of it if not all of it.

    Remember the problem here is not the check. They are perfectly within there rights to ask to see your receipt. What they are NOT permitted to do is to COMPEL your compliance.

    OK I am done replying. This post is already HUGE and more replies will likely just be regurgitation of whats above in one form or another.

  410. sublicon says:

    Everyone is freaking out because he may have been touched . . maybe he wasn’t touched, maybe he’s saying he was touched to spice up the story a bit so as to be featured on this blog.

    As to whether or not they have a legal right to detain you, if you think you are walking out of a store with unbagged merchandise while refusing to present a receipt, I think common sense and your conscience should perhaps come into play for a second and override your bullshit legal sensibilities, and realize that not only do you look wrong, you are wrong, regardless of what laws you want to cite to try to come out right.

    J walked in and intended to start shit, and he succeeded.

  411. Nerys says:

    NO jimconsumer thats what CITIZENS are for. It is your DUTY to uphold the constitution.

    If you SEE a crime being committed it is PERFECTLY within your rights to institute a citizen’s arrest of the perpetrator and your even allowed to use REASONABLE force to detain them! Its your right and its your DUTY.

    If we had MORE of this and LESS police (along with a more educated population) a lot of our problems would resolve themselves.!!

  412. Nerys says:


    As long as that assistance does not entail violating my rights and dignity FINE I have no problem with it. Compelling me to show a receipt right after I just paid for it is NOT tolerable. Period.

  413. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @Buran: “The “just bend over, screw your rights, you’re an asshole for standing up for them” crowd is out in force, I see. “

    Sheeple, Buran, they’re called sheeple. :D

  414. Difdi says:

    “Maybe I’m a cop”? The proper response to that is “Maybe I have a concealed carry permit. Now stop breaking the law and get out of my face.”

  415. robertseaton says:

    @TinyBug: you are very wrong….they can cuff you…they can search you….they can check your purse/bag/backpack. You do NOT have a right that protects you from a search. It simply is not so. They are NOT government agents. The 4th does not protect you in this matter.

  416. toddy33 says:

    @robertseaton: I would really like to know what the hell you are smoking so I can manage to stay away from it.

  417. haldur says:

    Personally, I would’ve just shown my receipt. Takes a whole helluva lot less energy and time.

  418. robertseaton says:

    @jimconsumer: I know that you do not WANT to be searched. But they do have legal standing to quickly search you if the believe that you may be armed. They can search your belongings. These searches should always be done in a private location. They are not full searches of your person. We are talking about a “pat down”.

    Ask anyone who works in Loss Prevention.

    They CAN and prob. will touch you. You do NOT have a right to not be touched.

    PS— the “pat down” can also be exercised during a Citizens Arrest in most states to include CA.

  419. RvLeshrac says:


    Too bad the law in Georgia, and in many other states, requires that you have observed the person from the moment they picked up the item to the moment they left the store with no lapse in observation.

    You also cannot apprehend the suspected shoplifter until they have left the main store exit. This applies to police as well as employees (in the rare case that an employee is allowed by corporate to detain a suspect, which is unlikely at best).

    Once the suspect has been apprehended, the court requires that you prove via security footage and/or a sworn affidavit that the suspect was not seen entering the store with the merchandise, that the suspect obtained the merchandise from the store’s stock, that the store’s stock levels reflect the missing item, and that the customer was observed from the moment of theft to the moment of exit.

    The only case in which this does not apply is one where the suspect has hidden the item on their person or in their belongings (placing a package in a backpack or cargo pants, etc). These suspects may be apprehended before leaving the store, but must be:
    a) apprehended by the police and
    b) given the opportunity to pay for the merchandise.

  420. RvLeshrac says:
  421. Sari says:

    Every other week I hear one of these stories. How someone refused to show their receipt and was detained. Now, I’m all for the consumer’s rights.. But isn’t it easier just to satisfy their silly needs of viewing a receipt?

    After checking out, I always keep the receipt in hand and just hold it up while I make my way out the door. No one bothers to check it, they just let me walk past. Seems easier than fighting with the store employees. Can’t fight every battle!

  422. Manok says:

    next tell just yell out “look..Dale Jarett Earnhardt Jr the Third” or whoever the Nascar drivers are and when they turn to look to catch a glimpse of their idol, kick them in the back of the knee and walk out the door.

  423. Badjeebus says:

    Quite simply, the real violation here was illegal detainment. And the best response to the asshat who implied he was a cop (smart… definitive statement would have been BIG trouble) would have been something like, “Maybe I’m a lawyer and you two are now guilty of assault and illegal imprisonment. What’s your badge number so I can tell your captain and save some time?”

    I have actually saved a ton of time in these kinds of instances by saying “I threw it out.” Think they’re going to search through a garbage can for 5 bucks and hour or whathaveyou? Uh uh. And they usually don’t bother insisting either. The best time was when one guy said “Bullshit, I saw you put it in the bag.”

    I just stared at him for a minute. Then he waved me through.

    OH… and btw, calling 911 when it is not an emergency (as was suggested here) is NOT a good idea. They do not arrive with any subtlety usually and they are NOT happy when they hear your “reasons”. A store manager who tried this tactic on me once found out the hard way while I stood outside laughing and joking with one of the cops. I’ll relate the whole tale should I be deemed ‘comment worthy’. ^_^

  424. defiant1 says:

    Oh, please. This cat completely blew this situation out of proportion. Considering the time it took for this situation to play out, the time it took for him to talk to Bob, Cindy, and the district manager, and the time it took for him to go home, throw on his Consumer-Activist cape and write this lenghty account on how much of a pain in the ass he is; it would probably have taken less time to remove the receipt from his wallet and shown it Bob.

    (Of course, then you can’t be an INET legend for a day with your one-sided account on the front page of the Consumerist, with 1062 diggs, but I digress)

    So, to J, I say this:

    Get over yourself.

    There are far greater causes out there worth investing your time in. Whining because a giant superstore made you verify your purchase before leaving the premises is trivial and ridiculously asinine.


    PS – The fact that he actually removed the receipt when he was calling Corporate and decided against showing it Bob says everything you’d need to know about young master “J”.

    Fame is fleeting, integrity is forever.

  425. elektrik says:

    I never show my receipt when I’m leaving Wal-Mart and they’ve never stopped me.
    My boyfriend shows his receipt.
    I think it’s silly to wait in line so an elderly person (generally the type of people I see at the door) can draw a highlighter slash through my receipt.
    If the alarm goes off I’ll show you my receipt, and let you check my bags, but not otherwise.
    And I wouldn’t press charges.
    The poor guy probably has no other source of income so he has to follow whatever stupid rule they gave him.
    Hopefully he got a lecture though.

  426. toddy33 says:

    Again, wow. Now I finally understand how the idiots in power have managed to bypass the Constitution completely.

  427. puddintank says:

    The heart of every Walmart is somewhere near the television department. Destroy the heart and you will never have to face receipt checks again!

  428. bobabc says:

    I had a similar incident happen to me a Walmart here in Arizona. I was stopped by and older lady after see asked for my receipt the only difference is that I gave here my receipt and kept walking. I had just purchased around $300 dollars in groceries and didn’t have time for her to look through them all. I also wasn’t planning on taking anything back, so i didn’t need my receipt. She chased after me and stopped me. I managed to get away though and went out the other door.

    I also would like to mention that I have worked in loss prevention, and I started out checking receipts at the door. There is no reason for someone to be a dick about it, however you have every right to say no. Just remember that the person is only trying to do his/her job. At the company I worked at however they did have a strict policy not to detain anyone. The proper response to an answer of “no” was “Thank you, Have a nice day.” This should be the policy for all stores.

    Also note that the store( in most states) can’t prosecute you for shoplifting unless they have well documented evidence. Usually including monitoring the person %100 of the time.

  429. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    they do have legal standing to quickly search you if the believe that you may be armed. They can search your belongings.These searches should always be done in a private location.

    You are egregiously misinformed. Private citizens do not have the authority to search other people. Regardless of what they think you may be carrying. And anyone who allows themselves to be forced into a “private location” by a non police officer is a fool.

    They are not full searches of your person. We are talking about a “pat down”.Ask anyone who works in Loss Prevention.

    Oh, we know what you’re talking about. You’re just wrong. And while you may be content to get your education about rights, personal autonomy and self-determination from some blueshirt who makes ten bucks an hour, it really is going to make you look like a dumbass someday.

    You do NOT have a right to not be touched.

    Oops. Too late.

    I weep for America.

  430. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    This cat completely blew this situation out of proportion. Considering the time it took for this situation to play out, the time it took for him to talk to Bob, Cindy, and the district manager, and the time it took for him to go home, throw on his Consumer-Activist cape and write this lenghty account on how much of a pain in the ass he is; it would probably have taken less time to remove the receipt from his wallet and shown it Bob

    Yes, preach it brother! Time and convenience are what really matter! Standing up for principles you believe in is just stupid if it’s gonna eat into your couch time. Hell, you might miss American Idol sticking up for yourself like that.

    Especially over such a small issue. I mean, we all know that only the big issues are worth any effort. Right? We all know that freedoms are usually lost all at once -not in tiny, incremental, seemingly inconsequential steps. Right?

    You may find your rights to be without value. That is your prerogative. But how dare you bitch when someone who does value theirs actually stands up for them? You are the problem. You and the other sheep who value convenience over personal rights.

  431. APFPilot says:

    @robertseaton: please, please tell me you are not serious. In the unlikely event that you are please tell me where you work so I can get you to kidnap me and then make a lot of money suing you and your employer.

  432. jsaint says:

    STOP USING THE $%&*#@ highlighter on my thermal sales slips it causes the area highlighted to turn black in a few days and makes it unreadable!
    I needed a slip for a warrenty issue that had faded a bit however the important parts were destroyed by a highlighter.
    Just in case wal-mart is reading today this is one of the things that really bugs me.

  433. appleface says:

    The part of this that I find interesting is the guy was worried about an employee calling the police.

    “Fine, we’ll just write down your license plate number and tell the police you were shoplifting! Now, due to the nature of my work, I cannot get in trouble with the police, and any arrest, regardless of my guilt, could cost me my job.”

    If he actually had a receipt why be worried about being arrested if the police were involved? I think the police would be more likely to question him, ask if he has a receipt and upon producing said receipt let him go on his way.

  434. visualbowler says:

    @ThyGuy: Okay, I am so livid right now its insane. Honestly, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT SHOWING A RECEIPT! It’ll take you an extra two seconds if you need to, it’ll save you a whole lot of stress and your employees a lot of stress as well. If you don’t like showing your receipt don’t shop there! I’m insulted the Consumerist encourages this practice, while I understand that it violates our rights, who CARES! You show your receipt when you exit Costco, and no one complains.

    As a retail employee you make my life hell if you make my job more difficult. I’ve got a job to do, and sure we are TRAINED not to get between a customer and their exit, but you can be sure, if we suspect that you were shoplifting and we ask to see your receipt and you don’t show it to us, we sure as hell will take down your license plate and call the police. That is our procedure. We have no reason to suspect you are not a criminal so we will treat you like one. END OF STORY.

  435. APFPilot says:

    @visualbowler: Hey, wiretapping violates our rights, but who cares right?

  436. Ass_Cobra says:


    So far as I know they do not teach Con Law in Business School. The 4th is completely inapplicable here. It applies only to state entities or entities acting at the behest or in agency of the state. Even if Wal-Mart were somehow deemed to be acting at the behest of the state there wouldn’t me much remedy for the shopper other than tossing out any evidence of a crime found as a result of the illegal search. No multi-bajillion lawsuits, no ticker tape parades.

    Now everyone that has watched a lot of law and order or maybe taken a business law class and thinks themselves an expert, repeat after me…If you think your Constitutional rights have been violated in any way shape or form, as who is doing the violating. If it is a private citizen or entity there is an almost certainty that they are not actually capable of violating your rights under the Constitution.

  437. defiant1 says:


    Your attempt at satire is mildly amusing. What’s only slightly more amusing is your blatant misunderstanding of what I was saying.

    Do you realize that Wal-mart is a giant superstore? Exactly how are they supposed to keep track of what, a single customer, is doing or buying? They don’t have the manpower and if they did staff that kind of manpower, their costs would be through the roof which in turn would raise prices but I’m sure you took 12th grade economics so I won’t bother with any further detail.

    You talk of rights as if our forefathers fought and died so you wouldn’t have to wait in line at Wal-mart. So I imagine it would be useless to even attempt to explain to you the differences between this minor inconvenience and our actual civil/human rights.

    But here’s a question for ya, buggy…

    How exactly does their asking you to verify your purchase equate to them taking advantage of you?


  438. JoeWoah says:

    File the police report, sue walmart, the guy who grabbed you, the guy who said he was a cop and the other lady who threatened to report a fake police report. Than, subpoena Walmart for the security tapes. Take them to the cleaners!

  439. defiant1 says:


    Oh, and one more thing.

    Name-calling is the last refuge of the simpleton.


  440. Ass_Cobra says:

    Well F me, I responded to something 300 comments ago. I’m sure it’s been clarified many times over since then. This is what I get for not reading the Consumerist at work!

  441. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @defiant1: How exactly does their asking you to verify your purchase equate to them taking advantage of you?

    It doesn’t. They can ask all they like. And I’ll do as I always do – smile and say “No, thank you.” Their asking is a violation of nothing save common courtesy.

    The problem comes when their improperly trained CLERKS break the law by harassing, threatening, assaulting and illegally detaining people.

    They have every right to ask for my receipt. But they have no right to see it. And every person who meekly submits because it’s easy encourages in them the mistaken belief that they do have that right.

  442. @bravo369:

    Now THAT’S the most INTELLIGENT response I’ve seen. What a great idea!

  443. irishale says:

    The big issue here is that the employee of walmart attempted to illegally detain someone. Unless the employee just happened to be a law enforcement officer also, he’d be in more trouble for detaining the customer like that than if the guy had actually shoplifted the rack.

    The right thing to do: follow ‘suspect’ to parking lot, get license plate number, call police.

    Sure, the guy was being a bit of a jerk, but he had much more right to his action than the employee did.

  444. sjburck says:

    “Now, due to the nature of my work, I cannot get in trouble with the police, and any arrest, regardless of my guilt, could cost me my job.”

    He sounds like a hitman. Cool….

    Back on topic, unlike most, I find this type of confrontation and use of empty threats amusing. Irregardless, I shouldn’t have to take one more minute out of my busy life to satisfy the corporate interests of Wally World, or any other store for that matter.

    It seems that here in the USA, we are losing many of our rights/civil liberties, and fast; everything from privacy, to net neutrality, to this. I choose to hold onto the few I still have, and if YOU don’t, that’s your problem. But don’t flame anyone for not bending over.

  445. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @robertseaton: You do NOT have a right that protects you from a search. It simply is not so. They are NOT government agents. The 4th does not protect you in this matter.

    No, simple state and federal statutes protect me in this matter. Statutes against assault, battery, theft, false imprisonment, etc. I never said anything about the fourth amendment. The fourth amendment protects our rights by restricting what the government may do. LAWS protect our rights by restricting what other people may do.

    I’ll tell you what – since you’re so certain that shop employees can handcuff you, force you into a “private area”, search you and your stuff, all without your consent – just find me one single citation from any state statutes that allow this. Just one.

    Put up or shut up.

    The right of self determination – i.e. the right “not to be touched” – is one of the most fundamental rights we have.

  446. Dashrashi says:

    @sublicon: Why would you assume that he’s not telling the truth? Do you normally assume this of every story you read on the site, or only of the ones where you don’t agree with the OP’s action?

    @visualbowler: It doesn’t appear to be official store policy, as related by the management, so how would I know that these employees plan to act contrary to their own store policy? It’s certainly not rational for me to assume that they will. And for what it’s worth, the Wal-Marts I’ve been to lately haven’t had a receipt checker. So really, I DON’T know in advance that they’re going to ask me to do this, and I DEFINITELY don’t have reason to think that if I refuse, they will illegally detain me. For them to do that would be completely irrational–why would I assume that a store would behave irrationally?

  447. Dtyler says:

    being a former wal-mart associate, i can tell you that bob (as well as cindy) were both absolutely going against corperate policy for the company, the only people that are “allowed” to detain are managers and loss prevention, and even then i think they changed the rules on them recently (not certain since i left there about 10 months ago)

    and to the person who said “why didnt they just put a sticker on it” most stores stopped using the stickers when they started appearing on merchandise that hadnt been paid for.

    I sympathise with J, but at the same time, i can understand how it is for the poor blue vested associates as well, were that to have happened in my old store, bob and cindy would be looking for a new job (ive seen it happen)

  448. Dashrashi says:

    @Dtyler: I feel bad for them, but if they really are going against express corporate policy that has been relayed to them, then they deserve to be let go.

    If, on the other hand, some middle manager told them that this is what they should do, as I suspect probably happened somewhere down the line, Wal-Mart should get its ass sued off, and Bob and Cindy clearly aren’t responsible, and ideally they won’t suffer repercussions.

    I don’t see any other way to make it clear to Wal-Mart that people won’t tolerate it talking out of both sides of its mouth. If it’s not your policy to do that, it’s your responsibility to make that very clear–especially when people are making it clear to YOU that your policy isn’t getting through on the store level.

  449. jdjonsson says:

    The minute someone unlawfully detains me in a retail store, I will be whipping out my cell and calling 911 to report it.

  450. Buran says:

    @visualbowler: Boo hoo, you might actually have to do work. Boo hoo, people are standing up to your ridiculous demands. Boo hoo, your job is made harder by people exercising their rights.

    Find another job if you’re going to whine about people having rights, and I suggest you do it before you get fired after someone sues you.

    You do not have the right to have an easy job. People do have the right to not be searched or detained without cause (again, which is defined narrowly).

  451. girly says:

    @Dashrashi: It does sound like something where they say not to detain people, but in reality they put pressure on the employees that makes them come to the conclusion they should do it.

  452. coold8 says:

    Today I went into wal-mart to pick up some windshield wiper fluid, a funnel, and some sour patch watermelon of course. I paid at a register, walked out the door without being asked for receipt, but figured I would turn around and ask the manager for more details on the policy. He basically said, in the area I live in (an affluent suburb of NYC), they only start asking for receipts if the level of shop-lifting in the area increases to a certain level, which he said occurs during the holiday season. However, they do not stop a customer that simply does not hear them, or chooses not to stop, assuming they go through the cash register area (easily noticeable at my wal-mart). Also, he said that as far as he knows the store policy discourages pursuing shoplifters, but instead to ask them to stop, if they do not, allow them to freely walk out the door, then walk outside and see if they can get their license plate as they are leaving. This is for safety of the employees and the shoppers, he said.

  453. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is, you might as well submit now for in the future wal-mart will run local and state government. Failure to show reciept may result in being tasered, or put in cryo-stasis as a “time-out” and being show looped video on how you can become a better wal-mart shopper, or all your cred-accounts frozen and your soylent green supply temporarily halted untill further notice. Be careful, dumpster diving off the grid can be hazardous to your health. You have to compete with mutuated teens with corrupted neural uplinks and salivating born again jesus freaks with bleeding genetically altered neon eyes trying to bite into your fleshy parts. Praise Father Walton!

  454. datamata says:

    Oh yes, we are all giving up our rights. Where is my right not to pay higher prices because people think they have a right to take stuff without paying. This guy thinks he’s above showing his receipt and hides behinds the Constitution. You could have easily been someone (and this happens a LOT in stores like WalmarT) where folks will try to take stuff and just walk out the door. Now, he puts the poor greeter’s job at risk because he actually gave a shit and asked you show your receipt for an item not in a bag, and for something you didn’t show a receipt for until you decided to suck up to the manager.

  455. robertseaton says:
  456. robertseaton says:

    for those too lazy to use the link…and again I know this will “blow some of your minds”….but this is the common interpretation of the penal code in CA…

    Shoplifting Defenses

    Large scale retailers in California continually face the threat of a civil lawsuit for money damages in response to their efforts to prevent shoplifting in their stores. However, two California statutes establish separate privileges so that in most circumstances the retailer cannot be held liable for money damages if later sued for assault, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and/or violation of civil rights.

    A. California Penal Code Section 490.5

    Retailers have a qualified privilege to detain a suspected shoplifter. Penal Code section 490.5(f) contains the statutory privilege that allows retailers to detain for a reasonable time a suspected shoplifter for the purposes of conducting an investigation, including the use of a reasonable amount of non-deadly force to effect the detention of the suspected shoplifter. The qualified statutory privilege also allows the retailer to make a limited and reasonable search of bags or packages in the possession of the suspected shoplifter. The retailer’s conduct is privileged provided they have probable cause to believe the suspect was shoplifting.

    i. Reasonable Time

    A 20 minute detention of a suspect in the process of stealing was a reasonable time when done to detain him until police arrived. Collyer v. Kress, 5 Cal. 2d 175, 176 (1936). Time periods are held reasonable when the detention is done to stop a theft in progress or contemporaneously to investigate a suspected theft. On the other hand, a five hour detention in a closed office to coerce a confession, from a store employee suspected of theft, was unreasonable.

    The practical effect of the reasonable time period is to require retailers to promptly investigate and release the suspect or turn them over to police. Once the retailer has detained a suspected shoplifter and then summoned the police, it is our opinion that the court will find reasonable the amount of time that elapses until the police arrive. The significant issue is how soon after the detention does the retailer call the police.

    ii. Use of Non-Deadly Force

    In detaining a shoplifter, the merchant may use a reasonable amount of non-deadly force to either protect themselves, prevent the shoplifter from escaping, or prevent damage to property.

    In Jones v. K-Mart, 50 Cal. App. 4th 1898, 1901-02 (1996) plain clothes store LPS agents followed plaintiff out the front of the store and said “excuse me” to gain his attention two times and each time Plaintiff turned but continued to walk away. When the LPS agents caught up to plaintiff they grabbed him by the arms and asked him what he did with the items from the store. The agents stated they suspected plaintiff of stealing and were going to search him. Plaintiff identified a cassette tape and was pat searched. Once the agent started to handcuff plaintiff, plaintiff violently resisted. Four to five additional staff members assisted in subduing plaintiff and in the process plaintiff’s shirt was torn off, he was punched in the face and neck, placed in a choke hold and thrown against a vehicle. In dicta the appellate court confirmed that K-Mart successfully asserted the merchant’s privilege and accordingly, used reasonable non-deadly force.

    The practical effect of the requirement for use of non-deadly force depends upon the facts of each case. If a detained suspect becomes violent and physical then use of reasonable non-deadly force to restrain and control them appears to come within the ambit of the statutory privilege. If a suspect is not physically resisting then using physical force beyond holding them by the arm is unreasonable. Arm holding and escorts are a safe harbor when detaining a shoplifting suspect.

    iii. Investigate in Reasonable Manner

    During the time of detention, any items which a retailer has probable cause to believe were illegally taken and which are in plain view, may be examined to determine ownership. Under Penal Code section 490.5(f)(3), a retailer may request the suspect voluntarily surrender any item taken. If the suspect refuses to surrender such item then the retailer may conduct a limited and reasonable search to recover such item. The retailer’s conduct is privileged to inspect only packages, shopping bags, handbags or property in the suspect’s immediate possession with them while detained. Cervantez v. J.C. Penney, 24 Cal. 3d 579, 586 (1979). The statutory privilege does not extend to the retailer searching clothing a suspect is wearing.

    iv. Probable Cause

    Probable cause is not a question of fact for the jury but a question of law for the court to decide, to be determined by the circumstances at the time of detention. Collyer v. Kress, 5 Cal. 2d 181 (1936). The issue is whether there is probable cause to believe the suspect was attempting to shoplift. Probable cause was found in the following circumstances: (a) when store employees see suspect take merchandise and put it into an overcoat. Id. at 176; (b) observing suspect on camera for 10-15 minutes follow other customers, disappear into a back room reserved for employees only, and realization suspect committed purse theft hours earlier. In re Leslie H., 169 Cal. App. 3d 659; (c) store security guard observed suspects walk from department to department picking up items then looking behind and side to side, suspects took tools into display shed and closed door, suspect exited shed with additional bag. Cervantez v. J.C. Penney, 24 Cal. 3d 579, 586 (1979); (d) store LPS agent observed plaintiff enter store, untuck his shirt, handle various items, and exit the store walking in front of checkout counters without passing cashiers. Jones v. K-Mart, 50 Cal. App. 4th 1898, 1901-02 (1996).

    A retailer will meet the probable cause standard when they rely on eyewitness reports or surveillance to substantiate a suspect’s taking store merchandise or other suspicious conduct.

    B. California Civil Code Section 47

    If the allegations of false arrest/imprisonment, etc. against a retailer arise out of actions taken by a police department after an employee calls them, then the retailer’s actions are absolutely privileged under Civil Code section 47. The practical effect of the privilege means that as long as the report is made to police, regardless of whether correct or incorrect, the actions of the retailer are completely privileged and no civil liability can stem from them.

    This privilege was confirmed in the Court of Appeal decision of Hunsucker v. Sunnyvale Hilton Inn, 23 Cal. App. 4th 1498, 1503-04 (1994). In Hunsucker, the absolute privilege applied when an employee, albeit mistakenly, reported criminal activity to her manager who then reported it to police. The police arrested Mr. Hunsucker and handcuffed him in the hotel room for approximately 30 minutes. The police then realized they had made a mistake as to Mr. Hunsucker’s identity and confirmed that there was no criminal activity. Plaintiff sued the hotel for false imprisonment, assault and battery, and deprivation of civil rights. Notwithstanding the seriousness of the actions taken by the police department against plaintiff ( a completely innocent individual), the court held that the communication by the hotel manager to the police was absolutely privileged and no civil liability could flow from it. The court concluded that the importance of free and open access to the police to report suspected criminal activity outweighed the occasional harm that might befall an individual.

    We have successfully argued the absolute privilege under Civil Code section 47 both at the demurrer and motion for summary judgment level on behalf of several of our clients including a situation where plaintiff was arrested and ultimately spent 24 hours in jail before being charged with a felony theft offense. The police ultimately concluded that they had charged the wrong person, however, the store’s communication to the police regarding the suspected shoplifting was held to be absolutely privileged.

    Although battling shoplifting and suspected criminal activity can be a minefield for a retailer, following simple basics will provide a safe harbor and prevent civil liability. Our office is always available for further consultation and assistance on these issues. Please don’t hesitate to call us if we can help you in any way.

  457. mexifelio says:

    Solution: QUIT SHOPPING AT WAL-MART!?!?!

  458. PryncessLayah says:

    This is GREAT! I have been annoyed with this too recently but I agree with you…

    ::: What I like to do is just walk towards the door making occasional eye contact and smiling a bit to see if they are actually going to stop me at a WalMart for a receipt. They definitely aren’t as serious about checking everyone as COSTCO is. My goal is to get through the door without them checking and it must be working because they have never asked for it. I just smile give them a little nod and lift my bags up a little in my hands as a nonverbal indicator( I have also walked through with large items that cannot be bagged)…. Works everytime.:::: I guess why it’s annoying though is because they only started doing this recently…and nobody officially told us they were going to start doing it. They should have a large sign over the door saying “WE NOW CHECK YOUR RECEIPT_ please have your receipt out”. They should just have a big television commercial that says “Hey here at Walmart we are going to continue to keep out prices down for you by checking your reciept when you leave” I think they just needed or still need to give some sort of heads up about this whole thing. It’s annoying but I would never hassle the people about it. They are doing their job. Show the receipt and tell them to have a great day… I mean can you imagine the assholes, derilects & crazies they have to deal with 40 hours a week… why should you add to their stress. Chill out… go with the flow and try to make it a game like I do. People react to how you treat them.

  459. robertseaton says:

    I understand the passion of “protecting one’s rights”. But the law does not recognize what you are expecting as a right. It does not exist as a right in a private (non-governmental agent) situation. Further, the law specifically protects the merchant in the event of an error and explicitly helps to protect the merchant from civil liability.

    The laws have been interpreted by state appeals courts that once an arrest (citizen’s) is acutated, the citizen becomes an extension of the government becuase the arestee can expect to be turned over directly to the proper law enforcement agents. Becuase of this interpretation you cannot directly search the clothing of the person unless the item is in plain view. You can however, perform a non-invasive “pat-down” to check for weapons. The courts have supported all of these as practice in the state of CA.

    However crazy this all sounds to all of you, it is the practice of the courts in that state to uphold these actions as reasonable and lawful.

    I just don’t want you to be misinformed when you cross into this area.

  460. robertseaton says:

    @PryncessLayah: I agree completely. Should be posted at entrance to stores. Would serve as a deterrent to potential organized retail theft.

  461. Phildawg says:

    @CharlieSeattle: Hmmm… I’m trying to figure out why security cameras and security personnel couldn’t stop the 9/11 attacks. I’m also wondering why we have to conduct random security checks to keep places secure… Maybe because American’s first off are lazy, and second because the thought of being randomly targeted for a check is enough to keep people clean.

    Another civil liberty you lost is the random drug tests at places of employment. But I think that also is a good thing.

  462. Phildawg says:

    @pvaras: Amen!

  463. twoply says:

    Sorry OP, but you’re an idiot.

  464. belch says:

    If the store doesn’t have Probable cause to believe you are shoplifting, then they have no right to detain you.
    Probable cause is defined as any reasonable person presented with the same set of facts would believe that a crime had been committed.
    In other words, if they didn’t see you enter without the merchandise, conceal the merchandise, bypass the registers etc… then they only have a hunch, and cannot detain you under the shopkeepers laws.
    Also if they call the police, they have to give an oath/testify that they believe you are guilty of shoplifting before the police can detain/arrest you.

    This is how I interpret Utah law…

  465. sandwiches says:

    Thyguy, don’t forget the whiners crying “but he TOUCHED me!” What nation of litigious pansies we’ve become.

  466. robertseaton says:

    @TinyBug: Folks…please….please understand. You may BELIEVE this to be the case…but you are very very wrong. Do not cross into this area (especially by physically resisting) unless you are prepared to be meet with the same degree of physical force. It is simply not worth it. You could very well get hurt and have NO LEGAL recourse. I don’t want to see a story about someone getting hurt for this.

  467. efesus says:

    I think this guy’s a moron. What’s so fucking difficult about whipping out the receipt and then storing safely in your wallet?

    I can’t believe I wasted my time reading this story. For a moment I thought this one was going to get violent.

  468. cannedham says:

    As a Loss Prevention professional I’m appalled that this happened. It’s just bad business. If they think you stole something then they should let you go with out incident. If they KNOW you stole something then they should have a detective ask to recover the merchandise from you and then ask you back into the store.
    I have to say this again. You should not be approached at all for shoplifting unless they are certain you have taken something intentionally with out paying for it.

    Most retailers follow five simple rules when it comes to shoplifting.
    1. you must see the person enter the department where the stolen merchandise was taken from
    2. You must see them select the merchandise.
    3. you must see them conceal the merchandise, remove tags or otherwise make their intention to steal clear.
    4. you must have constant, uninterrupted visual contact.
    5 you must see them pass all points of sale.

    If even one of these rules is missing then you must not approach the individual. It seems to me that the only one of these elements they had was you passing the last point of sale. It would have been impossible for Bob to be CERTAIN you stole the shower rod. Some LP detectives like to say “when in doubt, let it out”. That would be sound advice for Bob.

    From experience, I have to tell you that if you want any resolution from walmart, you’ll have to press the issue. Call them again and again until you get resolution that you are happy with. If an apology is all you want that’s great but if I were you I’d want some reassurance that this will never happen again to anyone.

  469. cannedham says:

    I want to add that I understand why Walmart checks receipts and I will show them mine if asked. That being said. THEY SHOULD NEVER PUT THEIR HANDS ON YOU. They are trying to prevent loss (shrink) to the bottom line but by allowing employees to physically restrain shoppers they’re opening themselves up for a potential loss much greater than a $20 dollar shower rod. 1. The customer being detained could get hurt or die (It’s happened) 2. An associate could get hurt or die (It’s also happened)3. A bystander could get hurt or die (I’m not sure if it’s happened but I’m willing to bet it has)

    Even if someone actually shoplifts, the company could possibly be held liable if one of the above happens.

    Walmart should try to protect themselves against that kind of loss instead of tackling potential shoplifters.

  470. lakecountrydave says:

    Darkjedi26 was on the right track when he said “I have rights that belong to me and I’ll thank you not to force me to give them up so walmart’s bottom line isn’t inconvenienced.” However, I look at from a big picture point of view. I have rights that I have been given the responsibility of caring for. These rights will be the greatest gift I ever give my children and grandchildren. My ancestors fought hard (and some died) to preserve these rights for me. I do not care who is inconvenienced I will not allow these rights to be eroded.

    As for those who do not want to be bothered standing up for such a small infringement of their rights they don’t need to look back even a century example of how steep the slope can be when people allow their rights to be whittled away. The first law to limit the rights of Jewish people in Germany (Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service) was passed in April of 1933. I prevented non-aryans from working government jobs. Eleven years later WWII was over.

  471. matt7718 says:

    @lakecountrydave: Did you really just compare showing your receipt to Nazi germany? That’s actually really insulting and asinine. Showing your receipt at the door when you have a random unbagged item is not comparable to anti-semitic legislation.

    Also, to all you consumer advocates, he didnt have his item in a bag, which 99% of the time is your proof of purchase. So of course they are going to ask for a receipt. He even had it in his wallet but elected to be difficult. Then he gets shocked when people respond to his resistance.

    You were baiting them for a confrontation, don’t be proud of yourself.

  472. WraithSama says:

    Loss prevention people never seem to be versed on what they’re legally allowed to do in the course of their job.

    The Wal-Mart Supercenter in my old hometown employed a former cop who was kicked out of the police for excessive use of force. He would regularly manhandle suspected shoplifters (a friend who worked there once saw him violently jerk a shoplifter out of a moving vehicle) and I remember him giving me cold glares whenever he watched me leave the store.

  473. mystikphish says:

    “Thanks, you too.”

    Three words. That’s it. That’s how I defeat this retarded “security” policy at every store that implements it.

    I walk past the “receipt line” at every store and when the receipt checker asks for my receipt I say, “Thanks, you too,” and keep walking. It’s such a natural repsonse to “Have a nice day” that most people are thrown for a loop long enough wondering what I misinterpreted them saying, that I have left their “zone” by the time they recover, and they no longer are interested in me.

    Rather than taking a “stand” against a poorly trained and probably under-paid employee, just confuse them and exit. If you REALLY care enough about this issue to complain, start by contacting the corporate offices and telling them you refuse to shop at their store. Then STOP SHOPPING AT THEIR STORE.

    Other than that save the hysterics for someone who actually gives a shit. The receipt checker surely doesn’t, or they would have quit when given that despicable job.

  474. jpp123 says:

    The second they touch you they are guilty of battery and leave themselves and the store wide open to lawsuits. This is why stores have trained loss prevention staff to detain shoplifters, when untrained employees do it they cause more problems than they solve.

  475. Caroofikus says:

    I work at Wal-Mart, and being in a department that tends to be slow, it isn’t uncommon for one of us to be called up to be the people greeter. I personally hate asking to see receipts, so I would prefer that people not show me anyway.

  476. steelejr23 says:

    Costco and Sam’s Club are slightly different. You have to sow your receipt at these stores because they are for members only. Part of the contract you sign when obtaining membership states that you must allow them to check your receipt. Failure to do so will result in losing your membership, breach of contract, and who knows what else.

  477. enine says:

    Its not just walmart (whom I can’t remember the last time I shopped). Home Depot and Lowes have those electronic “inventory control systems”. Stopped at lowes last night after dinner and the alarm went off when we walked through the IN door (why do they need it there?). So we bought out can of paint and paid for it and started to walk out and the alarm went off again and some girl ask us to stop so I told her it went off when we came in the store too. I’d send them an e-mail about it but their contact page requires a zip code and then they just ship your complaint to the store nearest the zip code you entered and the local store manager gets dinged for a company wide problem.

  478. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:


    I stand corrected.

    In California, a merchant is allowed to conduct a “reasonable” search during an otherwise legal and proper shoplifting detainment. So, in that regard, you are correct, and I was wrong. For the most part, though, I stand by what I wrote. It’s hard to be right in general when every state has different laws.

    But did you read that entire page?

    “… the merchant may use a reasonable amount of non-deadly force to either protect themselves, prevent the shoplifter from escaping, or prevent damage to property.”

    If you don’t resist and don’t try to escape, they are not allowed to use any force against you. This would presumably include grabbing, handcuffing, and dragging to the back room.

    “… The retailer’s conduct is privileged to inspect only packages, shopping bags, handbags or property in the suspect’s immediate possession with them while detained. The statutory privilege does not extend to the retailer searching clothing a suspect is wearing.

    Once again, no touching. No searches. No “pat down” to check for weapons.

    Store employees do not have police powers.

  479. toddy33 says:

    @TinyBug and robertseaton, et al

    It’s still apples and oranges. What is being missed here is that in no state, including California, does what we’re discussing meet the test of “probable cause”. Bob did not see J steal anything. There was no continuous observation, there was no concealment, and there was no offense committed. There was no legal justification to detain J.


  480. binutils says:

    After you purchase something, it’s yours. They have no right to question you or detain you.


    I’ve had this happen and the greeter struggled with me to take the item from me until I’d show a receipt.

    I however called 911 to report the mugging. The officer was not happy with me for leaving out the circumstances, I only reported that I was mugged exiting WalMart and gave the physical description and that they had a blue shirt.

    I was adamant that a report be filed.

    The report was taken but the prosecutor declined to file charges. If enough people stood up for their rights, maybe we’d still have some.

  481. Vilgrom says:

    I was stopped at my local Walmart just a month ago.

    I was walking beside an employee that was pulling a palette with an exercise bike I just bought at the front of the store. The greeter ran behind us and grabbed the box, nearly tipping it right off the palette, and demanded I show him my receipt.

    I thought I was safe from interrogation, since I had a Walmart employee bringing the box out for me.

    If he was doing his job and standing near the door, he could’ve let us know in advance, and I would’ve been only slightly agitated by having to stop. Instead, he ran up behind us like I had stole something, grabbing and pulling my merchandise.

  482. binutils says:


    I often opt to not have single items bagged. Maybe you could learn a little something about conservation?

    When was the last time you bought a car and were stopped leaving the lot to ask for a receipt?

  483. apex says:

    @puddintank: We must cast the smiley face into the fires of Mount Doom!

  484. girly says:

    @matt7718: I blame wal-mart for not taping the receipt to the item if they weren’t going to him a bag. Shame on wal-mart for making their customers look suspicious.

  485. whitjm5 says:

    Would you believe the receipt checker @ WM gave me crap once because we brought our own multi-colored, non-disposable bags to take our items home in? He said I had to use their bags. Old bastard. Corporate policies = stupid.

  486. APFPilot says:

    @robertseaton: read the whole link you posted esp. section iv. and tell me what it says about probable cause and where it mentions anything about not showing a receipt being probable cause.

  487. jon-e says:

    It’s easy enough for consumers to show a receipt and move along without fanfare, but it’s also easy enough for these stores to train employees that they are not allowed to detain customers.

    As was said, a store employee can ask all they want. What the stores cannot do is detain someone when they rightfully refuse. If convenience is more important to some of you, that’s fine. But don’t cry foul when someone chooses to act within their rights.

    I’m of the mind that no right should be forfeited, no matter how small. I think these types of situations can be diffused with a polite and professional attitude. I also think most of these stories seem to involve self-righteous customers that escalate the situation rather than use their brains in dealing with the matter.

  488. jon-e says:

    I wonder how those of you that think we should always comply out of convenience will react when you drop a receipt, fail to get it from the cashier or just happen to toss it in the trash without thinking when the guy working Walmart security decides you stole something and won’t let you leave the store. I wonder if any opinions might change in that event.

  489. The Porkchop Express says:

    @glorpy: I really wonder about the being afraid to get arrested thing. when the other customer stated that maybe he was a cop, why didn’t that trigger this fear? it was only in the end that he worried about that aspect. if I was worried about getting arrested the first person that said they were a cop would need to produce this proof and then we would deal with the situation in a way to keep me from getting arrested. He did not do this, at all.

  490. atrauzzi says:

    Some rights can’t be given up even if we wanted to. For those of you saying “big deal, be obedient”, remember how these things creep.

    It may be innocuous to you because in reality it appears harmless, but what rights can we also be made to give up under the pretense of other rights being waived?

    Slippery slope. It doesn’t take much and as ridiculous as it seems to worry about this, we all know what ends the corporations would go to…

  491. ktjamm says:

    What does it matter if the item is bagged or unbagged? Has a sticker or doesn’t? I could put a shoplifted item in a bag very easily. Does that mean its no longer shoplifted?

    Unless they have proof, often visual confirmation, of you shoplifting they have no right to detain you. It does not matter “that it looks like you are shoplifting.” because legally, it doesn’t.

  492. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Nerys: Ok, so your a big tough guy that no mugger would dare attempt to rob. You do know that there is always someone bigger and badder.
    You’ll probably say something about the fact that you carry, let’s say he carries too and the gun is already pointed at you. and to stop you from saying that you would pull some quick shooting, his buddy is behind you with a gun pulled on you.
    You still fighting for that ten? if you are, you’re an idiot. I’m no rich guy, hell i live paycheck to paycheck, but ten bucks ain’t worth it.

    So people with brains that are afraid that they may be injured or worse, would usually comply with the silly demand of showing a receipt or the minimal loss of ten bucks.

    And as many have said the 4th amendment isn’t in danger because of a receipt check in walmart. I think everyone but you is in agreement that the 4th amendment doesn’t come into play here.

  493. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Phildawg: Random drug tests at a job are voluntary, you can work ina non-drug free work place or one that doesn’t do random drug tests.

  494. GundamAC197 says:

    @jon-e: WHO SAID TO COMPLY OUT OF CONVENIENCE ALL THE TIME!? We are talking specifically about the story posted above.

    I will never understand the faulty logic some people apply around here. Showing a receipt is not going to bring about the Holocaust. Having a cashier stand in front of you does not invite you to shoot/threaten to shot them. And for the love of God, not invoking a right in one instance does NOT mean you give it up forever.

    Say you get pulled over on the way home tomorrow night. Your freedom of speech grants you the right to call the officer a “cum-gargling butt fairy”. Will you do this? Probably not. Does this mean you’ve “given up” your right to free speech? NO.

    People don’t seem to realize that (a) just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you don’t have to show discretion in invoking it, and (b) just because you have a right does NOT exempt you from responsibility.

    You have the right to bear arms; you have the reponsibility to use said arms in a responsible, safe manner for your own defense. You have the right to free speech; you have the responsibility to grant that same right to others. You -may- have the right to leave the store without showing a receipt (honestly, all the law-quoting and Constitution waving has yet to produce a good argument for this), but you have the responsibility to make your intentions clear when leaving so that they have no need to ask you for it. The Customer did not do that, and the store was within their right to protect their goods.

  495. BugMeNot2 says:

    I had the greeter try to stop me just this weekend. He saw me leave the register with my single bag of items. I reached into the bag, pulled out the soda I had just purchased and opened it to get a drink. As soon as I did that, he goes, “I need to see your receipt.” I just held up the receipt as I walked by and kept on going. He said again he needed to see it, but when I did not stop, he just muttered something and went back to his spot.

    At the local Wal-Mart, we have the guy I just mentioned, and a rather rotund lady who spends more time sitting on one of the courtesy carts in the shadows than by the door. I don’t stop simply because she has annoyed me enough times. If you’re trying to bring in something to return, you have to hunt her down to get the sticker, and if she wants to see your receipt as you leave, she demands you come to where she is, inside the cart storage area. Sorry, I’m not inconveniencing myself by walking across incoming customers to get to your lazy ass.

  496. 602086 says:

    Would it be so troublesome to waste 10 seocnds of yuour life taking out the receipt from your wallet and showing it to Bob?

  497. stuny says:

    Once, I was trying to buy something online, but the bastids asked for my address and credit card information. That is a violation of my constitutional rights!!!

    I repeatedly tried purchasing the product without providing any personal information because the Declaration of Independence forbids it, but the evil computer wouldn’t let me check out and showed a big red error message.

    I was scared, traumatized, and humiliated. I haven’t been able to work since then. Why won’t they let me just have whatever I want, especially since I am belligerent and pissy?!

  498. Crymson_77 says:

    @stuartny: You are obviously not grasping the sequence of events here. Or, more hopefully, you are just making a very bad joke.

    @GundamAC197: Sure, you don’t have to exercise your rights at every turn…that’s all too true. BUT, by never exercising your rights you are effectively releasing your natural claim to them.

    The OP was 100% within his rights. Bob was committing 100% illegal acts by attempting to detain him. The other guy that may be a cop? He committed a felony act by misrepresenting himself as a licensed peace officer. The only regret I have for the OP was his not taking a picture of this guy and filing a police report against him for this very act.

    Let me be VERY clear. Without probable cause, NO ONE has the right to touch you and you have a RESPONSIBILITY to defend yourself with a reasonable level of force. The OP would have been 100% within his rights to push Bob out of his way. If Bob had been injured in the act, Bob would have been responsible for that injury, not the OP as he was defending himself against being illegally detained and assaulted.

  499. monkey1976 says:

    Why is it always white people who start this kind of shit? Try being black for a day and I guarantee you’d have REAL problems to worry about. You wouldn’t go trolling for trouble.

  500. amigabill says:

    Where can I find the law about this to read up on it? I personally don’t have a problem with letting them look at and mark a line on my receipt, and have never seen anyone else cause a fuss over it. I wouldn’t want to get into such an argument with store monkeys or police without being able to quote which law I’m talking about, and I’d like to learn more about this. Until then, I’ll happily avoid such conflicts.

    But the police-impersonating guy should be in trouble for that…

  501. BugMeNot2 says:


    Wow, you really are a dumbass with limited reading comprehension. Showing or not showing the receipt is not the main issue. The issue is, as has been stated 300 times before, in this thread alone, that if you refuse the entirely voluntary receipt check, the most the store can do is throw you out (which is a non-issue since you’ve completed your transaction) and ban you from returning.

    The violation of rights comes into play when they forcibly detain a person, or when some well-meaning but ill-informed do-gooder breaks the law by impersonating a police officer.

  502. Crymson_77 says:

    For those of you who are looking for the Constitutional basis for this argument, please see the line “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The key word being Liberty. This is an infringement of YOUR liberty. Please see the following articles:

    Liberty: []

    Freedom: []

    From Merriam-Webster: []

    Text from MW that is entirely too accurate here:

    1: the quality or state of being free: a: the power to do as one pleases b: FREEDOM FROM PHYSICAL RESTRAINT c: FREEDOM FROM ARBITRARY OR DESPOTIC CONTROL d: the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e: THE POWER OF CHOICE

    How can I make this any clearer?

  503. dondiego87 says:

    Regarding the “What if someone is carrying for self-defense” comment at the end of the article… You are only supposed to draw your weapon if your own life is in danger. The fact that some Wal-Mart employees are blocking the door does not qualify. This sort of attitude reflects a severe misconception of the idea of concealed carry.

  504. girly says:

    @stuartny: The problem with your story is that you need that information to carry out the transaction.

    This would be more like you already bought the item online, it was delivered, your credit card was charged and then you were asked to do something.

  505. nak1986 says:

    To the guy who thought it would be a good idea to slap a picture of bob up, give me a break. He thought he was doing his job, and probably hates his job because of a**hats like half of the people making replies on this topic. I know I wouldnt want to be assioated with what I have to do at work, espicially when I have to explain that someone isn’t going to get smothing for what is obviously less then it should be because another customer put it back in the wrong spot. Or when I have to respond to a alarm at the door, which I tipically have those customers back on their way within 30 seconds to a minute and sincearly appoligise for the inconvenance.

    I just wish you guys would grow up and stop picking on the little people that couldnt change the policy if they wanted to.

  506. I don’t know why so many people are on the side of the receipt checkers…

    Sure, if I’m walking out of the store with a 50 inch plasma, I’d expect to show my receipt. On the other hand, if I pay for an item at the self checkout RIGHT IN FRONT OF the guy that checks the receipt, that shit is annoying. Yeah, they have the right to ask, and I have the right to keep walking. I didn’t steal anything, they can’t detain me. A store employee or whomever else (besides a cop) cannot legally put their hands on me. If a receipt checker is the last line of defense for store ‘shrink’ then they need to upgrade their security systems.

  507. @monkey1976: because every time they stop a white guy to check his receipt, 4 black employees slip out the backdoor with stolen shit?

    Just kidding. But why does it have to be a white person? I don’t remember reading what color they were in the article.

  508. sandwiches says:

    @Crymson_77: Let me make something clear for you, now.

    People’s business also have rights. The individual is not without obligations and restrictions. You cannot do whatever the hell you want just because you have the right to pursuit of happiness. EVERYONE has the same right and by making people’s jobs harder, stealing or pretending to steal you’re infringing on a company’s and the company’s owners’/share holders’ rights.

    And enough with the bleeding hearts about the “touching.” Ask any lawyer and they’ll tell you that you’ll be extremely hard-pressed to prove that holding you by the arm is assault or — much less — battery.

    One thing that people need to get through their fantasy land brains is that if you want to live in a society you must give up certain rights. PERIOD. No ifs and buts about it. You want absolute freedom? Leave whatever society you live in. You want the comforts and benefits of a society? Then, you, like everyone else, have to give up some freedoms for all of us to live in relative peace.

  509. sandwiches says:

    @wiretapstudios: Wrong. They can definitely detain you if they suspect you may have stolen something and they can use reasonable force to do so until the police arrives.

    Read the laws and stop living in Never Never Land.

  510. girly says:

    @nak1986: ‘bob’ was going against store policy

    I agree that posting his pic was too much

    I’m pretty sure they can only detain you if they saw you taking

    What annoys me the most is that the only reason they’ll suspect you is because their system of figuring out who they sold to is insufficient

  511. jon-e says:

    @GundamAC197: I was responding to this particular story.

    By insisting that the person in question should have complied by showing their receipt, most of the people posting comments suggest this should be done because it is the faster and easier solution. In other words, convenient. Make sense now?

    I don’t think this is equatable to the Holocaust, nor did I suggest anything even remotely as dramatic as that. That’s a typically weak device to attach a nonsensical argument to the opposing person and act as though it originated from their position.

    Point is, this person wasn’t required to comply. He chose not to do so. He was within his rights, even though it was not (here’s that word again) convenient.

    Like it or not, using the word “rights” doesn’t automatically propel the argument into hysterical associations with historical tragedy. It’s really a simple concept despite any ongoing commentary about what he should have done.

  512. BugMeNot2 says:


    “People’s business also have rights. The individual is not without obligations and restrictions. You cannot do whatever the hell you want just because you have the right to pursuit of happiness. EVERYONE has the same right and by making people’s jobs harder, stealing or pretending to steal you’re infringing on a company’s and the company’s owners’/share holders’ rights.”

    Yes, and those businesses’ rights end where mine begin. If they wish to assert their rights, they must do so lawfully, which in this instance, would have been to eject the person and ban him from the store, not detaining hm.

    And please, how is not showing a receipt “pretending to steal”? That is one of the most asinine things I’ve read yet.

    Again, yes, everyone has the same rights, yet you say yourself that the business’ rights should trump my own, because it makes it easier for the business? Wow.

  513. @sandwiches: Bullshit. They don’t ‘think’ I stole something, that is the point that the loss prevention person pointed out many comments ago. You have to see the customer ‘stealing’.

    For me, they are checking the receipt, not stopping me for suspicion of stealing. They do not have a right to detain me or touch me for that, sorry, thanks for playing.

  514. Dashrashi says:

    @sandwiches: Are you on crack? In Vosburg, the court found a battery when all that could be proven was that a schoolboy lightly touched another kid’s leg with his foot. Unwanted offensive touching = battery.

    Furthermore, companies don’t have the “right” to not have their jobs “be made harder.” I, on the other hand, very much have the right not to be touched. That’s not a freedom I have to give up. The law is very, very clear on this.

    They did not have reasonable suspicion (as it’s defined in the courts, which is narrowly) that he was shoplifting; ergo, they had no right to detain him or to use “reasonable force.”

  515. algormortis says:

    @cannedham: re: “when in doubt, let it out”.

    i have a friend who works for a large chain of instrument stores. she had a questionable situation regarding a cheapo guitar not long ago and decided to let it go over $150.

    one of her co-workers reported her for “allowing theft”, and the rest of LP backed her up, eventually finding, voila…the dude paying for the guitar at a department that doesn’t sell them and didn’t have the right tags.

    but what was more beautiful was that management was all “we’re behind you either way with no proof of pilferage”. that’s how you make LP work right,because when they do nail someone it’s ironclad.

  516. Crymson_77 says:

    @sandwiches: The fundamental problem with your argument is that none of the rights heretofor mentioned are rights that can be given up. The were stated, very clearly mind you, in the Constitution as well as in numerous laws across the land.

    To be very, very specific, the OP was not suspected of theft. Therefor, they had absolutely no right whatsoever to hold him. Because they had no right to hold him, they were not allowed to commit assault and battery against him by pushing him back into the store. Hence this being the case, your argument is not only moot, it is totally off topic. Please read the post and comments completely before sounding off like a complete asshat. Thank you.

  517. Badjeebus says:


    Well they have to have *some* kind of evidence other than a hunch. Probable cause, etc. Unless they actually see you doing it, they cannot hold you or use any force.

    I was waiting on a table once, waved and said goodbye as they walked past me headed to the door. I took the billfold, there was nothing in it. I walked quickly to the door and just as I stepped out, saw them RUNNING flat out around the corner.

    I gave chase, all the while yelling so they could hear me, but not being rude. I was about to catch up to the girl (two guys, one girl) and grab her hair to put her in intimate contact with the ground when they finally stopped. I told them to either pay, NOW, or I’d call the police.

    When I did speak to a cop about it, he assured me that had I yanked that bitch down to the pavement by her hair, I’d have been well within my rights but only because I’d actually *witnessed* them committing the crime and they were obviously fleeing the scene. So I had the right to do whatever was reasonably necessary to catch them and hold them.

    I just wish they’d kept running another few seconds. Still can’t believe those assholes with her just ran in front and let her fall behind like that. What a couple of pussies.

  518. kbarrett says:


    Yep. If you witness the actual crime, you can ( generally ) use a reasonable amount of non-deadly force to prevent it.

    If you are wrong, get ready to get sued … only cops get immunity for doing their job. As I said earlier … I used to do loss prevention … it was made pretty damned clear that if I couldn’t track the goods from shelf to street, they walk.

    If I was wrongly accused of shoplift, I would stop, deny the charge, and demand that the person either let me go, or call the police. I would sit down and not move unless trespassed. I would verbally deny permission to search. I would ask passersby to call the police.

    I would also warn the idiot that I am armed.

    Regardless of what happens, the store is going to be made to pay.

  519. stryper2000 says:

    people should just calm the frick down, Show your receipt, it’s called common courtesey(sp?) and being nice, not about being an ” I HAVE RIGHTS” A-HOLE and trying to be a stupid, arrogant, ignorant, ultra violent(drawing a gun on someone because you are to arrogant to stop and show the dang receipt) I mean come on people.

    Yes we are a nation of rights but “Don’t show your receipt” is not a right nor a law.

    I applaud walmart , If you tried to leave and I didn’t see you in line by chance(the greeters/door people have to deal with 2 way traffic) and I ask for a receipt just to make sure .Loss prevention or the police would have been all over your tail

  520. mdovell says:

    I’d hate to be the one to say but most of the time in retail it isn’t worth it for loss prevention to try to track down and arrest customers accused of stealing…why?

    1) most people that are stealing will be employees as they have far more access to the stuff of value (i.e. money)

    2) doing what might be the right thing can backfire when taken out of context

    when I worked at a store before the LP told me of this…he found out a older women was stealing a box of rags (I don’t know how she just was) ok so he and two other guys in effect surrounded and sat on her. Well maybe ten seconds later they felt wet…she stabbed them! All three of them. So you have thousands of dollars worth of medical bills off of a good that is only $20… o yeah and she was african american and that resulted in the naacp protesting and THEN the media

    Don’t get me wrong security CAN follow people but in terms of actually grabbing or touching no way…it ain’t happening because of threats of lawsuits and because you don’t know if they are armed.

    If you want to reduce theft post an armed guard at the exit. Remember that a fair amount of the population of the USA is armed AND corporate policies at workplaces do not allow weapons at work so everyone in stores is automatically assumed to be unarmed.

    It’s not worth life or personal injury in tracking down items getting stolen. It’s not like they’d be some massive reward of the “Shootout at Walmart Corral”

  521. dweebster says:

    IANAL. Illegal detainment without cause – at least in my state (an American one) they need some real EVIDENCE to detain you if they suspect you of shoplifting (which is what this stuff is really all about). Also if that employee threatened and/or touched you then you’ve probably got a real case for assault/battery.

    I’ve just given up on Walmart and Best Buy unless there are _absolutely_ no other options. It appears that shopping at these stores is not safe, and when I have no other options I’ll make sure to bring self-defense chemicals along. Let one of those fuckers block my way or grab me or my legally-titled property and they will receive whatever legally-mandated dose of chemicals is necessary to end their assault or attempted mugging on me.

    And if anyone can _prove_ that it’s really CORPORATE (despite their denials) that’s forcing these poor door schmucks to go to these extremes, then I smell a class action suit. The door guys need to lighten up, if they don’t then I will further assume some corporate policy threatens their shitty job if they don’t risk their life assaulting paying customers.

  522. dweebster says:

    @sandwiches: Let me know where you work and what you drive and where you live. I and my “team” will visit you and do a thorough inspection of you and your so-called “property” as it seems you are perfectly willing and expecting such sacrifice. I don’t know where you live – but in America we still hold to some level of being safe with our belongings, and clearly this guy had title to his stuff and Walmart mugged him. I hope he sues them for good – his attorney needs to insist the evidence of the crime (security cam data) be preserved. This shit needs to stop.

  523. cwubbs says:

    1) I’m not sure what would have been so difficult in showing someone a receipt. All of that could have been avoided had a receipt been shown from the initial request.

    2) The 4th amendment is applicable for official government action; we are not protected by the 4th when pertaining to private individuals and organizations.

    Above all else, there was probable cause to request a receipt from this person. Whatever happened afterwards was definitely unjust. I would have flipped out if someone put their hands on me. At the same time, it was PREVENTABLE. It took longer to argue and be stubborn than to whip out the receipt, which was done anyway to get the store number.

  524. cwubbs says:

    @dweebster: Wow, how over the top. We’re talking about a business, not someone’s home. We’re also talking about an individual who REFUSED to show a receipt. Suspicious behavior? If you’ve shopped at Walmart or Sam’s Club, when have you NOT seen employees at the door, checking receipts? How hard was it for him to comply with the request? was his arms full? Were there too many bags to juggle? Oh that’s RIGHT… he had NO bags. All he had to do was reach in his pocket, show the store that he did in fact purchase the item, and be on his merry way. If he chose to not shop there afterwards because he felt his liberties were compromised, well, that’s the choice he could have made. The store chooses to make sure they are NOT being ripped off. That’s their liberty. They also have a right to protect their investments, their inventories, their means of corporate survival. In a post, I did mention that the hands on was definitely a no-no. I don’t agree with that AT ALL. But, again, pick a different stand and spend that energy on something useful, instead of refusing to show a receipt.

  525. Crymson_77 says:

    Ok, let’s reiterate for those of you who haven’t read all of the comments like the rest of us.

    No, the 4th Amendment doesn’t apply. It doesn’t have to. The store’s right to request a receipt is not in argument here either. Their LACK of the right to COMPEL it is in question. They are welcome to ask me all day for a receipt, I will happily walk on by and ignore them, or even wish them a nice day. The SECOND that someone attempts to stop me from leaving because of my not showing a receipt for items I OWN, well then we have ourselves a real issue. Combine that with touching me and you are not only going to have a police report to deal with, filed by myself, but likely you will have something broken in the process.

    I PATENTLY refuse to have my good name tarred because Walshat can’t deal with shoplifting effectively. I REFUSE to comply with arbitrary policies of companies I DO NOT WORK FOR. I respect their rights, I EXPECT them to do the same.

    The easiest solution to all of this is very simple. It has been said before in more eloquent terms, but simply don’t ask me for a receipt at all and we will get along fine. If you don’t ask anyone for a receipt, there is no additional line to wait in. Solve your own loss prevention issues, don’t expect me to do it for you.

  526. cwubbs says:

    They ARE attempting to solve their loss prevention issues by implementing those policies. If someone doesn’t like to, or think that they shouldn’t be subjected to the inquiry, then shop somewhere else. Go to Target, Kmart, or other stores that are known to not be so stringent.

    Not showing the receipt wasn’t about being inconvenienced or whatever, it was about making a statement. Regardless if this behavior was adding MORE attention of suspicious behavior or not. It was the “I’m not going to do it because I FEEL I don’t have to”. Although, interestingly, the receipt WAS brought out easily because the store number was needed to file a complaint. That was simple. So would have the 5 second flash of the receipt on the way out. A simple rolling of the eyes, a snide remark, anything to get the disdain across, along with the flash would have prevented ALL of this. If the individual that was stopped and harassed believed they were singled out because of their physical attributes, then ok, I can see that side. But, it was a shower curtain rod, no visible receipt, no bag, walking towards the exit. Quick, you’re a store owner, what are your thoughts??

    Refusing to comply with policies DEEMED arbitrary does not give someone the right to just disregard them either, just because it is their desire. What right a person has is whether he/she wants to patron that establishment with those arbitrary policies. Not the other way around.

    Now, again, I do NOT agree with the treatment received afterward. But all of this could have been preventable simply by complying with THEIR policy.

  527. Crymson_77 says:

    @cwubbs: And there is the crux of the argument. It is THEIR policy. It is not stated at any time that the transaction cannot be completed without agreeing to show your receipt on the way out. After the transaction is completed, the item in question no longer belongs to Walshat. To make my thoughts clearer…if I had a policy of shatting on your lawn every day, would that anger you? Yes, it likely would. I would be treating you horribly by damaging your property and forcing you into a situation where you would have to clean it up. While that is messier than asking for my receipt, the principle still holds true that the item purchased is now mine and no one has a right to say otherwise. Please see my response in the other thread as to a far better solution to loss prevention issues regarding outside customers…I hate having to fix their problems for them but if that is what it takes to stop the forming of a police state, then there it is.

  528. Dashrashi says:

    @cwubbs: “Refusing to comply with policies DEEMED arbitrary does not give someone the right to just disregard them either, just because it is their desire. What right a person has is whether he/she wants to patron that establishment with those arbitrary policies.”

    No way. I absolutely have the right to ignore their “policy” (not a uniform one, by the way; I’ve never been stopped at a Wal-Mart) to request to see my receipt–yes, just because it is my desire. That is in fact a right that I have, in addition to choosing where to shop. They made a request; I very well get to turn them down. If they don’t like being turned down, they are free to eject me or to bar me in the future. Tough shit for them that all I want is to be ejected and go on my merry way, and that I have no interest in NOT being ejected at that point.

    I really don’t see why this is so hard.

  529. cwubbs says:

    The item is yours. YOU know the item is yours. They are unclear. By showing the receipt, you therefore verify the ownership.

    Now, you walking over to my lawn, where I reside, and “shatting” on my lawn, well, that’s just vandalism, borderline hate, and would have to sick my rottweiler on you =)

    I’m not sure why we cannot debate without the condescension, but, ok. The situation will stand as it did yesterday, and as it will tomorrow. No amounts of hot air, or empassioned keystrokes will change that.

    So, again, no bag, walking out the door, refusal to show receipt….

    I too cannot see why this is so hard.

  530. Crymson_77 says:

    @cwubbs: Didn’t mean it to come accross as condescension. Was trying to make the point more personal. I have absolutely no obligation to prove anything to anyone about my ownership of anything. That is my point. The same applies for Walmart. They have no need to prove they own it unless a criminal investigation is underway. Ah…that’s an interesting twist…we could make them show a receipt for the item prior to transacting business with them…but that would just be pointless…as is the point of our arguments against receipt checking.

  531. Dashrashi says:

    @cwubbs: I don’t feel like verifying my ownership to Wal-Mart if they feel they’re unclear. They put me in this position, they can suck an egg.

  532. cwubbs says:

    As my previous posts state, “I don’t feel like it” just doesn’t seem to fly. I’m sure, to you, it’s as logical as can be. To me, not good enough. It’s like asking a child to clean his room and their response is, because I don’t want to. Luckily, as adults, we have the choice to walk through the door or not.

    It is what it is. Perhaps what I’m not understanding is the amount of energy that was spent, the damage that was done to the person’s body, through the “man-handling” of the employee to the elevated blood pressure, etc… was so not worth it. I’m a “pick your battles” type of person and to me, fighting to not show my receipt was just a waste of energy. There are bigger issues that warrant that same attention and energy and more often than not, these types of experiences tend to dissuade a person from actually focusing on those issues because of the negative experience they received fighting this one. This tiny, could-have-been-over-in-5-seconds-even-though-I-don’t-want-to situation.

    By no means am I a fan of Wally World. The things they are making their suppliers go through, the RFID compliance they are enforcing… their stringency goes far beyond the menial receipt showing at the door. Personally, I only go in when I absolutely have NO choice and leave the register, with receipt in hand just in case. That’s a choice and a chance I’d have to take.

    If I don’t like the way I’m treated, I go directly to the manager. I don’t sit there, make a scene, and argue with low level employees who have no power, no say in anything that happens in the store. I immediately ask to speak with the manager. If I don’t like their response, I go higher until I am. Why waste my time with people who can’t change a darn thing? There was means of a solution in that approach. Perhaps, being an analyst by occupation, I found the tantrum unproductive.

    Yes, I know, I’m anticipating the argument that he shouldn’t “have” to. That’s reality. We do things we don’t WANT to. Think I want to work all the time? If I want to eat and have a roof over my head, sure. And if I want a shower curtain rod from Walmart, if they ask me for a receipt, damn it, here ya go. And I’m OUT THE DOOR. Their policy is their policy. Actually, I found that a few stores I’ve patroned do the same security check like Best Buy (which I no longer patron, CC is the way for me) but, again, that’s a CHOICE we have.

    Is it me? I absolutely love this forum. The different sides people take, the explanations they take… {{taking a deep breath}} ugh. Someone shat on my lawn ( ;-) Crymson_77 JK)

  533. cwubbs says:

    See, my thinking is that they DO need to prove that your purchase is yours. Their balance sheets and income statements have to account for that. Whether we take that personally, well…

    The old adage – It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.

    Now, your suggestions on making THEM produce the receipts… well… you may be on to something there =) Their RFID compliance is weeding out the competition and making it impossible for smaller establishments to keep up with the larger companies. No. I’m no fan of Walmart, but, I am understanding the business approach to this requirement.

    However, the employee that put their hands on this consumerist? Needs to be fired and brought up charges of battery as well as the passing customer that put their nose in this as well. There was no witness to a crime, only a stubborn customer refusing to show a receipt.

  534. toddy33 says:


    Your thinking is that they DO need to prove the purchase was made? Then let them review the goddamn cameras that they have pointed at every register and leave me alone.

    It bears repeating every single time someone says that this is good business practice. I don’t care what you do. Show them your receipts, show them your nose hair, show them your underwear.

    But when you involve me in it, there’s a problem. I have completed my purchase. I am leaving the store. And I’m not going to stop just because the rogue Wal-Mart store (it’s NOT corporate policy) OR you want me to.

  535. KJones says:

    @apex: Actually, Costco is completely in the right to ask for your receipt, you signed papers that allow them too. In your anecdote, they’d be perfectly within their rights to revoke your membership – you’re just being a jackass.

    And you’re opening your mouth and displaying your ignorance.

    Write to Costco yourself and have them explain why on two different occasions their employees took my receipts at the door. Took. Not marked, they took the receipts and kept them. I have since refused to let my receipts be stolen.

    If you’re not open your mouth and ask them why their head office never responded to my complaint about that, then shut your mouth now and stop displaying your stupidity in public.

    And if your response is the idiotic, “How could I have known that?”, you could have known by having the brains to ask why I don’t show it to them.

  536. Crymson_77 says:

    @KJones: How hard did you follow up those complaints? You do realize that by _taking_ your receipts they were actually committing theft? Yes, they were. The receipt that is provided at the time of purchase is part of the price you pay for whatever you bought. It was perfectly within your rights to tell the person(s) taking your receipt that they have absolutely no right to hold on to them and if they do, you would be happy to call the police non-emergency number and have them arrested for theft. That would likely have quickly regained you your receipt and then you wouldn’t have had to make a call to Costco corporate.

  537. cwubbs says:

    I admit, I didn’t read the original post of this. They TOOK the receipt? Is that common practice? Do they do that for all patrons? I don’t know, I’m not a member. I find that seriously odd and wonder if that’s common for ALL Costco stores, or just the one you go to? Poor training? What did the manager say? I agree with Crymson that that paper is YOURS, whether for your records, or for you to put your used gum in. They shouldn’t just TAKE it. I’d love to hear what management had to say.

  538. GundamAC197 says:

    @jon-e: Highly doubtful you’re going to come back and read this after 500 some-odd comments, but the Holocaust and gun references weren’t to you. Earlier posters had made both remarks…onlt the first line of my post was supposed to pertain to yours. Sorry for the mix-up.

    That being said, I agree with you assessment of him standing for his rights at his own inconvenience. The problem, to me, comes when he goes to a place where he knows this right will be contested, makes a stand of his own accord, and then comes online and blames the store like he had nothing to do with it. It’s his right to be inconvenienced if he wants to be, the problem comes when he complains about it and tries to play the victim.He made the choice, and now it seems he won’t stand by it.

  539. cwubbs says:

    My thinking is that it’s unnecessary to be offended because I was asked to provide a receipt. We’re not offended when asked to bring the receipt in for the exchange or return. And when the item is brought back without the receipt and we receive store credit. There’s a bigger picture than just that one transaction. We can’t expect all the luxuries of those options and get all in a tizzy when asked to show a simple receipt when going out the door. It’s not “all about ME”.

    Walmart is NOT the only establishment that has this ‘checkpoint’. No one was trying to take your belongings. They just want to make sure they are indeed yours. Take it personally? Well, that’s just your issue to deal with. The world does not revolve around you and they’re not out to “get” you.

    No matter how much ranting and raving is done, this will still occur. In this business transaction, something (massive theft perhaps) ruined for it everyone.

    I personally don’t care what you DO. I’m not like the “rogue” Walmart and wouldn’t ASK you to do anything. I just don’t see what the harm is in showing a receipt. Throwing a tantrum, really? Did that help? Did it work? Did it solve the issue? No. The issue remains the same. Simple Solution? Don’t SHOP THERE. Go to Target.

  540. toddy33 says:


    I’m neither ranting nor raving. I’m simply refusing to comply with a policy that I deem unacceptable. I don’t yell at them. I just politely say, “No.” I keep going.

    Simple solution? I will shop wherever I like.

  541. cwubbs says:

    That YOU deem unacceptable… Fabulous. They’ll bend the rules just for you, anywhere you go.

    What does that say about a person that will STILL shop at an establishment whose policies are unacceptable to them? Borderline offensive to some. What happened to principles? Standards?

    The dollar still influences our behavior, on BOTH sides of this issue. People shop at Walmart and places of the like because items are less expensive elsewhere. How does one suppose those savings come about… theft prevention programs being one?

  542. toddy33 says:


    It’s not theft prevention. It doesn’t deter anything.

    I don’t care if they keep doing it. I’m just not going to comply with it.

  543. Dashrashi says:

    @cwubbs: It’s not a rule. It’s a request.

    And if people who are okay with it are the only ones who shop there, the store may get confused and start to believe that it IS a rule, and that they do have a right to see it. Acquiescence, as I’ve said a number of times, can lead to codification. For two examples off the top of my head, see adverse possession and customary international law.

    Wal-Mart won’t notice if I’m not a paying customer anymore. Voting with my feet here actually doesn’t work as well as they alternative. They will notice if I AM a paying customer who reminds them that they can’t have this as a rule, and embarrasses them or sues them when they try to enforce it.

  544. cwubbs says:

    Ah, I guess the reports you requested confirmed that analysis that it doesn’t deter anything.
    I guess I’m all tapped then.

  545. Crymson_77 says:

    @cwubbs: Sorry to see you tapped…should have tapped a keg instead :)

    As for shopping at a store that has policies we deem crappy? Where are we supposed to shop then? I rather prefer the tactile feel of an item and checking its features prior to buying…the internet can’t do everything… :)

  546. sandwiches says:

    @wiretapstudios: Sorry to poop your parade in Happy Freedom Land, but you’re wrong and wrong. In Texas and California, at least, they have the right to detain you AND use reasonable force to protect their property. If you don’t like their receipt, detention, and enforcement policy, don’t shop there.

    @Dashrashi: No such thing on the Constitution as freedom from being touched. Sorry.

    @Crymson_77: I like your very well thought out insult. At any rate, you’re still incorrect about your opinion on your Constitutional rights and obligations. Read up a little more.

    @dweebster: Well, I don’t know where YOU live, but in Texas, which is in the United States, if you come into my store and I suspect you’re walking out with my merchandise, I can use reasonable force to try to detain you until police arrives. Again, people keep making these incorrect assumptions that you need to be seen doing the stealing, etc. Bullshit. That’s what most large companies have as policy to cover their asses from lawsuits. It is not necessary to actually see a person stealing to ask for proof of purchase. The fact that the person was walking out without a bag, with an item which was obviously from the store in his hand, and ignoring the person asking for a receipt was reason enough to suspect that something was wrong.

    Again, I’ll say what many people have said: If you don’t like Wal-Mart’s policies, don’t shop there. If you come to my house, you’ll have to abide by my rules, so long as their legal where I reside and, like I’ve told you, whether you want to believe it or not, what Wal-Mart did would be legal in at least two states.

  547. sandwiches says:

    Jesus… I guess that article in Digg, the other day, was right. Americans are becoming more and more self-entitled assholes who think that they can do whatever the hell they want anywhere they please.

  548. Crymson_77 says:

    @sandwiches: well…obviously you haven’t done much reading lately. Burden of proof is required at all times. If you want to detain me, you better be awful damn sure you have the right to. If you don’t, it is called false arrest and it carries big fines, jail time, and large civil settlements.

    From the SUPREME COURT:

    The “shopkeeper’s privilege” expressly grants an employee the authority of law to detain a customer to investigate the ownership of property in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable period of time if the employee has a reasonable belief that the customer has stolen or is attempting to steal store merchandise. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE
    ANN. § 124.001.

    Notice that the employee is required to have a “reasonable belief that the customer has stolen or is attempting to steal store merchandise.” Not showing your receipt does not meet that burden under ANY circumstances. How much clearer can I make it for you?

  549. Crymson_77 says:

    @sandwiches: To answer your most recent post, it is called “conservative thinking”. Sorry your liberal affectations are so offended by our requirement to keep those rights granted us by the Constitution. Thank asshat.

  550. cwubbs says:

    Ahh… tapping a keg… I could use that right about now after the day I’m having. It’s funny… these debates have been my escape.

    Thank you =)

  551. BugMeNot2 says:


    You are willfully exclusionary in your arguments. You seem to leave out a good bit, such as, yes, a store can detain someone for reasonable periods under shopkeeper’s privilege if they have reasonable suspicion. But not showing a receipt is not reasonable suspicion. Walking out with unbagged merchandise and not showing a receipt is not reasonable suspicion. The accused must have been witnessed doing something while in the store that would make their actions suspicious.
    I was all ready to give cites, but Crymson_77 beat me to it.

  552. cwubbs says:

    “Walking out with unbagged merchandise and not showing a receipt is not reasonable suspicion.”

    Hold on, that 42″ plasma TV in the corner belongs to me.

  553. cwubbs says:

    “As for shopping at a store that has policies we deem crappy? Where are we supposed to shop then? I rather prefer the tactile feel of an item and checking its features prior to buying…the internet can’t do everything… :)”

    Sorry to quote so much… this thread is just getting so long =)

    No, I understand that. You can’t possibly believe that ALL stores are crappy? There are other stores that have these items available. My question is why patron a store that you feel so strongly steps on your rights every time they approach with the receipt request? There are other stores that do not. It just seems like, by the response that was given, that the take is “I’m going to do what I damn well please and disregard everything else” when given the solution to shop somewhere else… I equate it to this… Q: Why walk into the wall when you can go through the door? A: Because I’ll eventually get through.


    Hmm.. maybe it’s the ‘fixer’ in me =) Who knows…
    Where’s the keg?

  554. sandwiches says:

    @Crymson_77: Seeing a person walking out with an unbagged item while ignoring requests for a receipt do constitute reasonable belief. It doesn’t say unequivocal evidence. Would most reasonable people BELIEVE that someone is stealing something if they walk out of a store with an unbagged item in hand and purposely ignore the employee asking for a receipt? I would definitely be more than a little suspicious.

    It’s actually kind of funny that we’re talking about this. I just bought a Wii at Wal-Mart, a week from this past Wednesday. While the guy at the electronics department was taking out of the glass case, I noticed they only two there and asked if that’s all they had left. He answered that they started only bringing out two at a time, since the day before two men had pried open the case, took out two Wiis each and made it for the door where they were detained after they wouldn’t acknowledge the person asking them for a receipt.

    Again, I think almost any reasonable person would agree that someone walking out with an item in hand deliberately ignoring the employee at the door is more than enough “reasonable belief” to think the person may be stealing something.

  555. toddy33 says:


    Oh, golly, gosh, gee whiz, let me prostrate myself at your feet…I missed that degree in loss prevention that you were waving around…

    The whole point is that Wal-Mart can say all it wants that being intrusive and arbritrarily accosting customers who have legitimately finsihed transactions in their stores is a form of loss prevention.

    However, the fact that I am refusing to comply calmly and quietly with a request that is rude and unreasonable isn’t costing you a cent.

  556. cwubbs says:

    No, no loss prevention degree, just the business management and finance ones…

    Please open a store so I may shop there, grab something off the shelf, and refuse to show you a receipt when you wonder why there’s no bag or ‘paid’ sticker. This situation may not have gone down that way, but, you know what? The receipt checker doesn’t know that. I’ll be lucky though… YOU wouldn’t have the checker =)

    I’ve said all along, I don’t agree with the way this person was manhandled. That is just unthinkable. However, the point I’ve been trying to make is that it could have been PREVENTED. People keep saying that there was no probably cause. I could see the no probable cause if he had a bag, a BIG PAID sticker on it, or a receipt taped to it. But, he had NONE. THEN refused.

  557. toddy33 says:

    The legal definition of Probable Cause to detain a suspected shoplifter:

    You must see the shoplifter approach your merchandise
    You must see the shoplifter select your merchandise
    You must see the shoplifter conceal, carry away or convert your merchandise
    You must maintain continuous observation the shoplifter
    You must see the shoplifter fail to pay for the merchandise

    Take a gooooood look at that last one. Where does checking for a receipt enter into it?

  558. Crymson_77 says:

    @sandwiches: Sounds like a need for Walmart to get a better case. As a counterpoint to your argument, the receipt checker placed their own life on the line for 4 Wii’s….were I their manager, I would have been sweating bullets that the two asshats didn’t kill someone in the process of taking the Wii’s. Most times, it is a FAR better idea to just let them walk, keep the footage, and file a police report. You just never know when someone will go “postal” on you and kill everyone on the way out of the store.

    Another counterpoint:

    I don’t steal. I have no need or want to steal. While some other asshole in the world may feel it necessary to do so, I don’t and never will. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. Now…there’s a solution to this problem…stop with the Welfare crap, make people get to f-ing work, and then we won’t have problems like this as they will actually HAVE money to buy shit with…

  559. girly says:

    @sandwiches: Walmart gave the item to the person unbagged.

    If Walmart really thought an unbagged item was reason enough to think someone stole, wouldn’t they have a policy to tape a receipt to the item?

    Do they enjoy setting customers up?

    Walmart gave the receipt, they should know who they sold to. If they don’t, their system is poor (especially since it is voluntary) and they shouldn’t illegally detain or harass customers for that.

  560. thinkingaboutit says:

    If he was still inside the store, but was headed towards the exit door than they have the right to ask for a receipt,think about their rights to control or to stop shoplifting,we all pay for shop lifting,can they afford to allow a customer to walkout of their store with some thing not in a bag, or tag? I would gladly show the receipt if helps prevent shoplifting

  561. cwubbs says:

    I think I’ve stated over and over… yes, and over again that after the receipt debacle, I don’t approve of what happened afterwards, didn’t I? Yep, I’ve said it.

    The issue, again, is that I don’t see WHY it was so hard to show the receipt. How HARD was it? The time and energy exerted to NOT show the receipt was way more than reaching in the wallet, which was done LATER, and flashing it.

    To find the act of ‘requesting’ the receipt rude and insulting? That’s just taking it personal. If they said, hey you, you look shady, where’s your receipt, then ok. But, they ask random people for that final check and it’s just rude and offensive to some.

    Again, for the 6th (7th??) time? I don’t agree with what happened to that person after the receipt debacle.

  562. Crymson_77 says:

    @cwubbs: Sorry cwubbs…it isn’t random. The are causing a line to exit the store by attempting to ask _everyone_ for their receipt. They are essentially telling everyone, “You suck you sucking theif. Show me a receipt and I will stop calling you a sucking theif, you theif.” That is just offensive to me. I’ve said it before, I will say it again. Walmart needs to solve their OWN shrink problems. It might also help if they paid less at the top end and more at the bottom end when it comes to people.

  563. toddy33 says:


    I don’t agree with what happened before the receipt debacle, either.

    It’s not a question of hard. It’s a question of the assumption on the part of the store that it’s okay to exert an authority that it doesn’t have in the first place, and then treat people as criminals for not bowing to them.

    As I’ve said for…oh, for heaven’s sake, I’m not even going to go back and count.

    Sigh. We’re just going to have to agree, in the longest of long runs to disagree about that.

  564. toastmaster says:

    as far as i know, wal-mart doesn’t have sold stickers to give customers on their way out; it’s such a shame…

  565. banmojo says:

    @brent_w: ummm, carrying a store product NOT in a store plastic bag and refusing to produce a receipt DOES look suspiciously like shoplifting. they DID have the right to detain this person. Now, if the shower thing had been in a Walmart plastic bag and he wasn’t doing anything suspicious while shopping or exiting the store, that would be a different thing. But I still wouldn’t make an issue of it to this extent. Sorry man, I think you were a bit of a jerk about this whole thing. Just show them the f4#@ing receipt!

  566. mvortiz says:

    Are you kidding me?
    This guy really thinks he would get in trouble w/ the police if they gave them his license plate # and said that he stole something.

    Police: “Ok maam, what did he steal?”
    Dumbass Employee: “Ummmmmmmm, he had a shower rack in his hands”
    Police: “Did he make an attempt to pay for the item?”
    Dumbass Employee: “Well……he didn’t show us a receipt when he left”
    Police: “Do you have proof that he left the store w/o paying for the item?”
    Dumbass Employee: “Ummmmmmm, well…………….. hey we sell pens like that, can I see a receipt please?”
    Police: “Ok maam, we’ll be on the look out for that car”
    Police(to his partner after he leaves): “Another BS call…..Where do you want to eat”

    Gotta love walmart.

  567. girly says:

    Yeah, if that’s suspicious, they need to take in the cashier as an accomplice for giving the guy an item w/o a bag.

  568. girly says:

    …and obviously the leadership for their policies or corporate culture of detention influence

  569. cwubbs says:

    At least the Walmarts I’ve been too, and as of late, I must admit, I avoid as much as possible, but, the ‘requests’ were random. Were. Now, SAM’S club… gawf… talk about a LINE. I often wonder if those checkers really count everything. What happens if the shopper has 45 items? Do you think they really count those?

    Ok, tangent, I know.

  570. cruz4u says:

    oh this reminds me of the time they stopped me to check my receipt for the $10 toilet paper I had just purchased-forget about the $400 worth of electronics in my bags!

  571. PryncessLayah says:

    “Thanks, you too.”

    ♥ I am s0 going to start using that one… nice.

  572. baristabrawl says:

    I guess I would have walked out, and walked right back in and returned the shower rack…THEN I would have went to Target and bought a shower rack.

    I guess I don’t feel bad for him he shops at Wal-Mart, you kinda get what you deserve.

  573. BugMeNot2 says:

    Isn’t receipt-showing ” guilty before proven innocent”? Until you are seen yanking something off the self, then followed out the door unpaid, then leave us alone!

  574. Anonymous says:

    Please. He created the biggest tempest in a tea pot. Next time, just show the monkey the receipt rather than poke it with a stick. And don’t give me that slippery slope to totalitarian regime because some underpaid washout in a nylon vest got a little above himself. Show the receipt, be on your merry way. Call the Walmart hotline with a complaint and then don’t shop there anymore.

    And isn’t that the lesson we should take from this? Shopping at walmart is a bad idea.

  575. Anonymous says:

    Have you ever shopped at WalMart? You enter, find your merchandise, pay at the cashier with your hard earned dollars only to be stopped at the exit by WalMart’s “Gestapo” who detain you while they ask for your receipt, and then proceed to search your cart and shopping bags to make sure everything is listed on the receipt?? I have contacted several attorneys regarding this matter and have found that this WalMart practice is in vilation of both Federal and State Laws as it constitutes illegal detention and illegal search without probable cause.

    I have petitioned our district court for leave to pursue a “Class Action” law suit against WalMart for these civil rights violations, and hereby invite anyone who has been similarly detained and or searched to contact me at for information regarding your inclusion into this Class Action suit, it is my hope that we can find enough violated patrons to file in Federal Court as well. Thank you for your attention to this very disturbing practice by WalMart.

  576. Rick1599 says:

    Pretty much the same thing happened to me a Dallas area Wally World. I had bought a tv stand and was taking it out if the store when I was asked for a reciept. I declined and the employee laid his hand on me. I politely offered to let him remain concious if he removed it. He called for reinforcements as I left the store. A manager chased me and again demanded the reciept….I again declined , he threatened to call the cops. My resoponse was that “go ahead…’s not illegal to shop at Walmart…but it should be”. He wrote down my licese plate as I left. I never shop at Wally world any more Target is a much better store .

  577. RandomNumbers23239847 says:

    Why didn’t you just show the guy your receipt? Jesus! I hate reading these things. The employee is just trying to do his job and you are just making his life more difficult. These things shouldn’t come to harassment, but you were being an asshole. No one’s trying to accuse you of anything. They’re just trying to make sure people don’t just put on a confident face and walk out of the store with any item they want. Anyone can be indignant. It doesn’t assure the workers that you aren’t, in fact, stealing. You were the jerk first. And you could have tucked the receipt safely back into your wallet when you were done. Asshole.

  578. nkdeck07 says:

    What makes this policy even dumber on behalf of walmart is they don’t care which bag you put it in. I use reusable bags and i have never once been asked to show my receipt. If someone was smart they could cart up stuff in reusable bags and walk out of the store. You could walk off with hundreds of dollars of stuff and no one would be asking to see your receipt.