How We Ended Up Running Away From Walmart Receipt Checkers

Mark is not a shoplifter, yet due to a combination of high-pressure doormen and bad weather, he found himself sprinting out of a Walmart to a receipt-checker’s dismay.

Let him explain:

At the exit the alarm goes off. The greeter calls my attention and said they may not have removed a tag that triggers the alarm. A few seconds later an uniformed asset protection individual comes and and grabs my basket. He says, “can I see your receipt”? and I say sure as I was in good mood because of the cashier. My hands where full as I was carrying a drink I purchased at the McDonald’s inside Walmart, so one handed I looked inside my two front shirt pockets and couldn’t find it.

I move to my front pants pockets and my employee leans over and says to me, “the cashier didn’t give you the receipt”. I asked if she was sure and she responded in the affirmative. I replied to the AP individual that the cashier must not have given me the receipt. Immediately he starts opening my bags and says, “I am going to have to ask you to wait until I can check the receipt”. My mood turned as I felt he had no right to look inside my bags at the items I purchased. I stated, “I’ll give you five minutes to get it figured out” as I was still not to peeved to comply.

I followed up with, “I’ll wait over here” as I moved to the side. He grabs the basket and says, “you have to come with me”. I said, “no, I will wait right here”. He told me that he could not leave the merchandise alone. In which I replied to him, “either can I and I will wait with my merchandise right here.” I reminded him very sternly, “you have five minutes”. At this point I moved from irritated to pissed. …

He tells me that I need to go get the receipt, which I declined, and reminded him that his five minutes was ticking. He asked my employee if she could go get the receipt. She sheepishly looked at me for a decision and I nodded in the negative.

She looks at him just as sheepishly as she looked at me and said, “sorry”. He grabs the basket and tries to pull it back away from me. I said, “Look! I told you I am going to wait right here and I am going to give you five minutes to get it sorted out”. To which he replied, “either you or the merchandise need to come with me”. Fed up I said, “If you think I stole something call the police, I’m leaving”. He muttered something under his breath and just looked at me. I pulled the basket away and said “let’s go”. As I got just outside the doors I noticed it was raining something fierce. I handed my employee my drink and we ran to the car to get out of the rain.

As I popped open the trunk, I thought how it must really look like we where stealing because we were running, although we where running to stay dry not to get away. I glanced behind me and expected to see staff at least looking at us if not coming towards. Nothing. We drove off and continued on our way.

What’s your most adrenaline-pumped story of receipt-checker evasion?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Thebestdudeeverr says:

    Come on Consumerist…. Lets get some good stories on this site for a change.

    • milkcake says:

      I thought this was pretty entertaining.

    • StutiCebriones says:

      Maybe you could send some of yours to the tip line and see if they make the cut.

      • schiff says:

        I got news for you. All you ever get back from the tip line is: Thanks, We’ll check it out.

        I thought the story about the used oil I received in a sealed bottle from walmart was at least worth a 2 line blurb but no.

        The site is not what it used to be.

        But hey, got dirt on a new logo, Mc Donalds, KFC, or receipt checkers and it’ll be on here in a flash.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I’m not going to criticize the staff, but I have sent in several very newsworthy tips and problems and have had pretty much the same response.

          I’m just going to go with the belief that the problem lies somewhere between that they get just too many tips to process, and that my stories don’t involve a cat.

          • gurupitka says:

            Amen to that!

          • Brunette Bookworm says:

            Or your stories won’t generate as many comments as a Walmart receipt check story will…

          • c!tizen says:

            I’ve got one…

            A cat walks into a Wal-Mart with a Best Buy gift certificate and tries to buy some KFC. After bitch slapping the receipt checker he was walking home to watch some Comcast when he came upon a woman breast feeding in public. He took out his phone to take a picture, but finding the camera application on his phone was really annoying.

            -consumerist gold.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I had the same thing happen to me at Wal Mart. I bought a 5 quart jug of motor oil and it turned out to be used.

        • flyingwolf says:

          I gave them a story with recorded interviews and full fact checks for when U-Haul negligently rented me a truck without a trailer brake controller and nearly killed my entire family. Then told me to keep driving it illegally. I got “thanks we are interested” I sent the full story and never got a response.

        • Riroon13 says:

          Try my sob story–

          Last year, sis was getting married in Tennessee. Small wedding of about 12 family members. We decided to rent a split-level cabin Thanksgiving week on the site of the chapel — three levels, with (of course) the honeymoon couple having a floor to themselves).

          ONE WEEK before sis’ wedding, the property management co calls us, tells us they sold the cabin, and that we were S.O.L.

          My response from consumerist: ‘that’s terrible’. Not ‘how can we help?’ or ‘can you tell us more?’…

          If only I had bought the camcorder used to video the wedding from Best Buy, my sis had gotten her dress at Wal-Mart, or if a cat were the best man.

        • The Marionette says:

          Yeah, don’t expect good stories on here. On any given day you’ll see some rehash from a story that was just posted no more than a few days before. It would be ok if the stories weren’t as bland as jeans and black tshirt (yes I went there). It’s either walmart, bestbuy, big company C that gets posted on here, and the rest are petty questions like “What annoys you most about your phone?” “why aren’t you buying kfc anymore?” etc, etc. And to be quite frank, some of the stories that are posted, the consumer is obviously at fault, but of course the story gets as edited as it can to make the consumer look good, or post a story about a company that puts them under the light as evil (ie: 1 refill limit on sodas story) when they’re just a small restaurant trying to save money in an obviously hard time of our economy. But oh no, that’s wrong of them to do, save money during hard times? That’s blasphemy.

        • qbubbles says:

          Amen. I’ve sent in plenty. All I’ve ever gotten back was that “we’ll look into it” response. Which is bull. Because they dont really “look into” these stories. They repost things.

        • Rena says:

          Yeah it does seem like this site runs a lot less stories of people actually being screwed these days, and more of hey, Walmart did something kinda annoying again, or hey, this sign is wrong, or let’s talk about why you hate company X.

      • mxjohnson says:

        What, like my tip about, how their main page promises “Free or $5.99 flat rate shipping” but they charge $8.99 to ship fish supplies? That tip doesn’t run. Artificial Christmas trees at Wazoo Hardware in October, that runs. This story runs.

        I’m a rabid anti-receipt-shower, and I won’t shop at Wal*Mart because their checker once screamed at me, called me an idiot, and chased me into the parking lot, for not showing my receipt. But sheesh, when an alarm goes off, I walk back into the store to clear things up. Somebody made an honest mistake, didn’t deactivate the tag.

    • Matt Park says:

      I thought to myself “Hmmm… must be a Phil Villarreal article.” Then I checked the byline and of course it was.

    • tbax929 says:

      You can start your own site and post whatever you want. Otherwise, you sound like you’re whining because your “story” didn’t get published.

      That being said, the grammar in this particular story is horrible.

      • CalicoGal says:

        For the love of Pete (who’s he?) the periods and commas go INSIDE the quotation marks–
        as in

        tbax929 said, “That being said, the grammar in this particular story is horrible.”


        • maztec says:

          Placement of punctuation in relationship to quotation marks varies based on country and style. In the United States, punctuation has been dumbed down because otherwise it would be “too hard”. As a result, people put the punctuation “on the inside.” Rather than understanding why the punctuation belongs “on the inside” sometimes, and “on the outside” other times.

          In particular, if you place the punctuation inside the quotation marks “it should have something to do with the quotation itself.” If it has nothing to do with the quote, “the punctuation should go on the outside of the quote”. Unless you are going to get so pedantic as to insist that your addition of punctuation be properly noted. In that case, “you may wish to consider the addition of punctuation and notation to indicate that it was not a part of the original quotation[.]” However, that just looks plain silly.

          Thus, what it really comes down to is your personal style and consistency. If you are randomly interspersing punctuation as related to quotation marks without any rational reason, you may as well put the quo”tation marks wherever you pleas”e and not worry about it. Except, in that case you will look like a right git. Whereas, if you are consistent, you look intelligent. Except to those whom insist that you must do it their way.

          As a result, get off your high grammatical tower and learn something about international use of English, before proclaiming someone to have done something wrong.

          And no, I do not claim to have perfect grammar. I am sure I have made dozens of errors in this post alone. However, this is one grammatical complaint that does get into my craw and releases my inner grammar hebrew.

          • maztec says:

            And of course I cannot edit my own comment and I made an error in my own comment … to clarify:

            Punctuation goes inside the quotation marks if it is part of the quote. It goes outside if it is part of the sentence that contains the quote.

            And in your system, the semi-colon usually goes outside of the quote for no reason that I have ever been able to understand.

    • apd09 says:

      I was disemvoweled a month ago for making the same type of comment while also being hyperaggressive in my displeasure with the actual story.

      If many people here feel as strongly as they do about the quality and level of stories that are on the site in recent months, maybe an EECB to Consumerist might be the way to go. If everyone sends them messages regarding their feelings maybe something will be done about it. Of course the old stand by for the dissenting view of if you don’t think it is worth reading then don’t click on it still stands true, because obviously these types of stories generate clicks and page views.

      As Consumerist consumers you have a right to voice your displeasure with stories but do it in the right way, and let the people at the site know their emails are very easily located on the home page.

    • Nisun says:

      Get over it, if you don’t want to read the article then guess what….. DONT READ IT!

    • Forrest says:

      You should send an EECB. lol

    • BETH says:

      Why would you publish anything so poorly written? This guy is illiterate, and this piece is long and boring and unreadable. He doesn’t deserve to take up space on the Consumerist. This is one of the worst articles I’ve ever seen on here.

      • sleze69 says:

        Phil posted it. I have come to the point where I usually don’t even click on them anymore when I see him as the submitter but this one looked like it would be good. But no…it’s a typical Phil thread.

    • dvdchris says:

      what do you want…this is a Phil post

    • PsiCop says:

      I find I have to agree. These “stick it to those evil receipt-checkers” stories are all too common.

      Enough already with this. I get that receipt checkers are horrible people. Really. I understand. But how many more of these stories do we have to read here?

    • Xerloq says:

      Or video dramatizations! I think the editors should act these out in mocumentary style!

    • IMADV8 says:

      I’ve sent in two tips:
      The first was regarding an incident where EVGA and Newegg refused to honor posted warranties. Consumerist’s reply: “Thanks for sharing your story, IMADV8. That’s terrible!”
      The second was about an AT&T authorized dealer committing blatant fraud against a family member. Consumerist’s reply: “Thanks for the tip. We’ll check it out!”

      These tips were both ignored in favor of about a dozen articles on the Double Down. Why in the hell do you people think I or anyone else prefers to read about the latest fast food stupidity on a website dedicated to consumer issues? Get this **** off the front page and post something worth reading, for crying out loud.

      And another thing: When someone writes to ask for your advice or assistance, do some research and offer them your best suggestions. When you post a submitted story with no alterations, write at least one freaking paragraph of your own at the end, whether it be interesting related information you’ve found or simply your take on the matter, rather than asking some inane question like “What do you think?”. Stop relying on the commenters to do your job for you.

    • Mythandros says:

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  2. NaOH says:

    How do you nod in the negative?

  3. GuJiaXian says:

    How do you nod “in the negative”? Don’t most people nod in the positive (though it still sounds awkward)?

    • jaya9581 says:

      In other regions of the world, what we would consider yes would actually mean no, and vice versa.

      I had this issue with a foreign friend who came to visit, she was always getting confused by it.

      • kujospam says:

        Also think of one of those slow dramatic nodes. Those are usually meant as a sure, but not really.

  4. PhineasNanerpuss says:

    Anyone else on the edge of their seat to find out the profession of “my employee”? It just sounds so…mysterious

    • junip says:

      I just assumed it was a personal assistant.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      That is strange.
      i couldn’t help but think of it like “My slave who I pay” when they said it like that.
      Shoudn’t they just have said “My Assistant” or “my Co-Worker?”

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        “My slave who I pay”

        Yup, that’s an employee all right. At least in this economy.

    • do-it-myself says:

      Initially I assumed it was a Wal-Mart manager (possibly from another store) with a fellow co-worker to see what really happens in these situations.

    • HoJu says:

      It took me until the end of the article to realize he was actually talking about HIS employee that he was with. I initially thought it was the cashier or something.
      What a strange way to refer to the person you went shopping with.

      • ellemdee says:

        I thought it was a reference to the receipt checker, though it sounded weird that that the receipt checker would tell a customer that the cashier didn’t give them a receipt and would refuse to go get the receipt from the cashier at the customer’s direction. I finally figured it out when they mentioned running to the customer’s car and helping them load up the car in the rain. And here I thought my reading comprehension skills were lacking, but it looks like I’m not alone.

      • dolemite says:

        I just figured it was his wife.

    • tbax929 says:

      Holy crap! I read that whole story assuming his “employee” was a Wally World staffer!

  5. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I was walking to the door and the receipt checker tried to stop me by asking for my receipt. I said pleasantly, “No, thank you”, and I kept walking. He reached out and grabbed the cart side with both hands. I kept walking, and he tried to hold on, but I gave the cart an extra shake and his hands came off. I kept walking at a steady pace to the exit, with the receipt checker saying, “Ma’am! Ma’am” behind me all the way out. My hands never left the cart handle. This is important. When I got outside, I stopped outside the door to look for where I parked my car. A manager came out and said, “Please come with me.” I asked why, and she said, “We don’t allow people to hit our employees.” I told her I had no idea what she was talking about, and she said, “I have three witnesses who said they saw you reach out and hit our checker.” I said, “You must be confusing me with someone else because I did no such thing. Please review your security tapes.” She said she was not obligated to review the tapes because she had witnesses. I told her I was not obligated to follow her back inside if she was not going to verify the story with the security tapes. She then told me that I was not welcome back to that store “if it happens again.” I just stood there and laughed. Then I pushed my cart over to my car, and as I looked back at the door, i saw her still standing there. I never heard another thing from them or anyone else about it.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      And yes, I had been through the checkstand, my items were bagged, and I had the receipt. Saying “No, thank you” usually works at that location.

    • Kat@Work says:

      Have you returned?

    • trentblase says:

      So you committed trespass to chattels on their shopping cart?

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        No, because I caused no harm to Wal-Mart property, nor did I take the cart off Wal-Mart premises, nor did Wal-Mart suffer damages because of my actions.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          I might have a defamation case against the manager and her “witnesses,” though, for saying I hit their receipt checker.

        • trentblase says:

          The harm was that Walmart wanted to use its cart, and couldn’t during the time you had it. No harm would be if Walmart never even realized you had the cart.

    • Mythandros says:

      Are you SURE you didn’t hit the receipt checker? I mean.. people are just so forgetfull nowadays.. I mean the manager DID have 3 witnesses… so you MUST have hit them.

      Right? …. Right?

      People are so strange in that they will use the wrong words when describing a situation to someone, then it can lead to this kinda thing.


      I fully agree with you not stopping for the checker, you are under no legal obligation to do so. What really gets to me is that the employee would lie like that. They really should be fired for lying to their boss about a customer.

  6. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Walmart: your employee should not have looked through the customers bags nor insisted that he wait there.

    What the employee should have done was say, very politely, “Please accompany me to the cashier so we can get that receipt for you. I’m sorry the cashier did not provide you with one,” or “Please wait here a moment while I get that receipt for you. I apologize for the inconvenience.”

    More flies with honey, Walmart, more flies with honey.

    • NaOH says:

      I believe it’s the case that a bowl of vinegar will have more flies in it at the end of the day than the bowl of honey.

    • junip says:

      When I was younger I worked at a store that attracted a lot of shoplifters. Our trick when we suspected someone stole something was to walk up to them, talk about how awesome the item we think they stole was and suggest they buy it. Kill them with kindness and freak them out enough to either drop the item or leave quickly. Of course, if we saw them blatantly steal something, that was another story.

    • trentblase says:

      Great suggestion. Honestly, I refuse to show my receipt, but if I found out I didn’t get one at all, I would definitely want to go back and get one. What if I wanted to return something later?

    • FrugalFreak says:

      they care nothing about flies as much as being RIGHT 100% of the time. There should be a law against forcing employees lie to be witnesses.

      • FrugalFreak says:

        sorry for double post, got an error that the directory of article not existant for first reply.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      they care nothing about flies as much as being RIGHT 100% of the time. There should be a law against forcing employees lie to be witnesses.

      • Peer to Peer Nachos says:

        Isn’t there a law against that? Isn’t it perjury?

        • GearheadGeek says:

          Perjury requires that you have first taken an oath (usually in court but I guess a deposition would qualify) and say something you know to be false.

    • Chaosium says:

      “More flies with honey, Walmart, more flies with honey. “

      Bullshit, they get all the flies they want when they control the products and prices.

  7. JoJack82 says:

    I’m pretty sure this person is in the wrong. If the exit alarm goes off doesn’t that change it from a standard receipt check to a we have a right to make sure you didn’t steal anything check. Since the store had a valid reason to think Mark might be stealing he could have just been cooperative and sorted out the situation.

    • steve6534 says:

      Umm.. No it doesn’t. They didn’t see them steal anything so have no right to forcibly stop them.

    • Alvis says:

      That’s a negatory.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      An alarm isn’t a valid reason in and of itself by law. Not in most states I’m familiar with.

    • SonicPhoenix says:

      Nope, the alarm going off does not constitute probable cause.

      • JoJack82 says:

        I guess I’m wrong

      • trentblase says:

        Cite? I’m genuinely interested.

      • clint07 says:

        Depends on the State, in Virginia the alarm going off meets the “shopkeeper’s privileged” criteria to stop/detain the person

        • pjorg says:

          Same in Massachusetts.

          • jason in boston says:

            Source? I have specifically asked a best buy yellow shirt and his manager this when I refused to show my receipt and the cashier at the camera display didn’t wand my camera. Specifically: Are you invoking shopkeeper’s privilege? The manager said no, and I walked right out the door.

        • ohhhh says:

          At my local grocery store the theft detection system was 4 for 4 on ringing while people were entering the store during my checkout.

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          Yep, it’s a state-by-state thing whether the alarm being set off is reasonable suspicion.

          Without knowing what state this happened in and their laws we can’t say that Walmart DIDN’T have reasonable suspicion. And really, the OP sounds like they were a jerk. They set the alarm off, didn’t have a receipt, and then got angry with loss prevention? Um, way to escalate the situation when it didn’t need to be.

    • Flashed47 says:

      Also a side note, at the grocery store I work at the baskets(the little ones for quick shopping) have those security stickers on them to set the door alarms off so that people don’t take them outside. I don’t know if when the writer said “basket” they were referring to those or the cart but that could easily explain the alarm going off.

    • refaris says:

      Also keep in mind that at no point does anyone other than an officer of the law have any right to detain anyone for any reason. Although WalMart “Asset Protection” may sound fancy, they have no more right to stop you even if you DID steal something. If you do not willingly accompany them as they request, (and they truly feel as though you stole something) they are to call the police, not detain you themselves.

    • d0x360 says:

      How was the OP in the wrong? He told Walmart he would wait while the AP got the receipt from the cashier. Not a big deal. If he was so worried about OP bolting he could have stood there with him and had another employee go check for the receipt.

    • El_Fez says:

      Because of course those Theft Detectors by the door NEVER give a false positive!

    • gtrgod01 says:

      When i was in LP (at Wal-Mart) there was a trick that other guys used to set the alarm off. They would just follow the suspect out with a sensormatic tag in their pocket making it seem as though the suspect set off the alarm when really it was the tag in LP’s pocket.. It was their way of making the stop seem valid if they came up empty handed.

      I’m sure the guys i worked with weren’t the only ones to ever think of this.

      Also on a side note….those door alarms were always jacked up and went off all the time. A lot of the time no one would even be anywhere near the doors and they would go off.

  8. Kat@Work says:

    I had to reread after I got to the second ’employee’ – I thought he was walking out of the store with the WM employee.

    Anyway, yeah, I had a WM greeter yell at me really loudly and repeatedly after I bypassed his quite long receipt checking line (I had a large box of furniture on top of my basket). I pretended I was deaf, kept walking normally and no one came out of the doors after me.

  9. Darrone says:

    I just would have kept on walking. Those alarms go off constantly, and I am not going to be held up for them to check the things I purchased.

    • Tomas says:

      I agree.

      *I* know that I didn’t steal anything, so if the alarms go off as I am walking out it is someone else’s problem, not mine.

      If they want to talk to me about it, they will have to come after me, and they’d better have some damned good evidence that I actually took something if they plan on detaining me (shopkeeper’s priv. is not triggered by the alarm in my state – they must have something else).

      As to receipt checkers, they are welcome to put a mark on my receipt to prevent me using it again, so long as they are quick about it, but they are NOT free to rummage through what is in my bags. I bought those items, they are now my personal property, and if they want to search my bags they’d better have a warrant.

    • djc_819 says:

      I know! Everytime I’m in a store and leave with the alarm going, no one even bats an eye! I actually stay for a bit, look at the cashier’s and no one is even looking up!

  10. Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

    I keep waiting for one of these stories to devolve into some form of caricature of reality. A shoot-out between the receipt checkers and the innocent person who just went to Walmart because they needed to buy a pack of tighty whities. A bystander gets shot in the chest and sues Walmart for $35 million and it turns out the bystander is related to a member of Congress who pressures them to pass a law that bans receipt checking.

  11. StevePierce says:

    Let me get this straight, the OP doesn’t have a receipt, but Wally World should let me out of the store or I will whine to We doomed, we are all doomed.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      I don’t understand why the OP not having a receipt would make a difference in whether WalMart lets you out of the store or not. I also don’t know what we doomed, but I suppose it makes sense to you. I certainly don’t remember dooming anything.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        It’s not rocket science. If you don’t have a receipt there’s a clear possibility you may have stolen something. The alarm going off also makes this plausible.

        • Liam Kinkaid says:

          Mark doesn’t have a receipt so WalMart detains StevePierce? You’re right, it’s not rocket science. In fact, I don’t think it’s any kind of science at all.

        • Difdi says:

          I don’t have a receipt for my sandals or my eyeglasses, but failure to provide one to anyone who asks does not grant them authority to seize my property or detain my person.

    • Mom says:

      No, not quite. Actually, OP sets the alarm off, *and* doesn’t have a receipt. Then OP thinks the security guy is going to allow a guy who has just set off the alarm and doesn’t have a receipt stand next to the door unattended while he has to go to another part of the store to make sure the guy paid.

      The cashier obviously screwed up twice, not deactivating something that set off the alarm, and not giving the guy a receipt, but that’s where the lower prices come from, isn’t it?

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        AND the OP gave the security guy 5 mintues to do so or he was leaving…which he did. DId he wait the 5 minutes or not? I feel sorry for this person’s employee.

      • Difdi says:

        A common misconception is that restraint, arrest and custody are the same thing. They’re three separate things. The security guard essentially arrested the OP, and the OP accepted the arrest. The guard then demanded custody, which is typically applied to prevent violation of arrest, but is not required for an arrest. When the OP politely declined custody, the guard attempted restraint. Restraint without cause is battery (restraint with cause is also battery, but the courts excuse such behavior with a good enough reason). Restraint and custody are both used to prevent someone from fleeing after arrest, but the OP didn’t flee, and showed no risk of it.

    • junip says:

      Would being treated like a criminal every time you go shopping make us less doomed? Does guilty until proven innocent really sound less Doom-y to you?

    • FrugalFreak says:

      all they had to do was view security tapes. Don’t blame OP for business employees being lazy and egotistical.

    • Chaosium says:

      “the OP doesn’t have a receipt, but Wally World should let me out of the store”


    • tungstencoil says:

      To those contending that the OP doesn’t have a receipt: you’re not required to. You’re also not required to prove you DIDN’T steal something. Walmart has the responsibility to have reasonable suspicion you did.

      That’s a really different thing. In general, reasonable suspicion is first-hand witness. There are state-by-state exceptions with regard to the scanner, but those scanners can go off for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with theft.

      Once you purchase goods, they’re yours. This is true whether or not you have a receipt, show them to a checker, or do a dog-and-pony dance.

    • jefeloco says:

      Ahem, most people who are stealing something will have a receipt. It might be from that specific store or that day, hell, it probably won’t have that explicit item but they will usually have one just in case they get caught.

      Most receipt checkers will look for a basic description of the item and a price, very few will actually go through the trouble to match up the UPC (or SKU in the instances of stores that prefer SKUs on receipts). I was trained in asset protection during my tenure at a local retailer since I was a gun counter lead and remember those points well.

      As others have pointed out, legal burden of proof falls on the accuser, not the accused. Possession or lack of a receipt indicates absolutely nothing legally without evidence proving theft. Yes, this can protect thieves sometimes but it protects a helluva lot more innocents.

    • Difdi says:

      The instant money changes hands for merchandise, that merchandise becomes the private property of the customer, and no longer belongs to the store. This typically happens at the cash register, not the exit door. The customer is under no legal obligation to prove ownership of anything they are wearing or carrying. The store is only legally entitled to stop the customer if the store has a reasonable suspicion (which is a well-defined legal term, not just random words or common usages strung together) that the customer is a thief.

      The burden of proof, both in law and custom, lies upon the store. If the store cannot provide evidence of theft to the extent required for reasonable suspicion, they have no business making the accusation. Seizing the customer’s property without proof that it is not the customer’s property is a crime. Since it almost always happens in the customer’s presence, the specific crime is third (or fourth depending on the state) degree robbery, which is almost universally classed as a violent felony. Robbery is a far more severe offense than shoplifting (which is typically done by stealth). Put another way, committing a felony to prevent a misdemeanor is absurd.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I’m bit confused. Did this Walmart shopper have her own employee with her?

  13. HaveSomeCheese says:

    I would love to see some data showing that these receipt checks done at Best Buy and Walmart have actually helped to deter theft and brought LP numbers down. Internal theft should be their biggest worry and this is more of a hassle to their customers than anything else.

    • Mom says:

      I haven’t seen numbers, but if stores like Walmart and Best Buy that operate on thin margins are willing to actually pay someone to stand at the door and annoy people, then they must have some data that backs it up.

      I try to avoid shopping at stores with receipt checkers on the principle of the thing, but I’m just sayin’….

      • Shadowfax says:

        It’s called security theater. The hope is that would-be thieves will see the security goon standing there and decide to find an easier target.

        • fantomesq says:

          That’s WAY oversimplified. Yes, there is an element of deterrence but Loss Prevention also makes sure that sales are rung up properly maintaining inventory counts, reordering, etc.

          • Shadowfax says:

            Well, of course it was oversimplified. If I were planning to write a dissertation on it I’d go ahead and apply it toward a PhD or something ;)

            The other things you said that LP does are true, but “making sure things are rung up properly” is a function that can be filled by the front-end manager or the head cashier. Or better yet, if you’re referring to shrinkage at the register due to employee theft, just point a camera at each register. When stuff disappears, review the tapes.

            The guy standing at the door checking receipts in Walmart or the yellowshirt standing at his little counter playing with his cameras at Best Buy are there for security theater ONLY. It’d be better for security if the camera op were in his own room and able to monitor multiple screens at once rather than a little 9 inch tube that he can only glance at in between greeting customers. And an 80 year old geezer who isn’t allowed to touch the customers is certainly not going to stop a real thief, who will just run right past him. Those guys are fulfilling one function and one function only – – “Look at me. We have security here. Don’t steal shit.”

          • Kitamura says:

            In my experience, loss prevention people try to not stand out and try to look like ordinary shoppers. It’s difficult to observe shoplifters discreetly if you stand out the way BB or Walmart receipt checkers do.

      • Anonymously says:

        I’m convinced that wal-mart knows the exact number of registers to open at any time to keep the lines as long as possible without deterring customers. if they have that sort of science power, they must know something about receipt checkers working.

      • Evan says:

        I used to work at Staples/Business Depot and we paid our security person 60K a year, which corresponded exactly to our 60K per year of stuff being stolen. No idea what the number would have been without the guard, but I certainly never saw them doing anything that resembled saving us an extra 60 grand.

  14. davidc says:

    “Tries to Open my bag”.

    That is where I would have lost it. Touching my property, my family or my person is where I seriously escalate. They are either calling the police, or I am walking past them forcefully.

    • outlulz says:

      The issue was that the alarm went off so as far as the loss prevention officer was concerned it was the store’s property.

      • Framling says:

        Then the loss prevention guy was wrong, because that’s not his determination to make. He should call the cops if he’s so sure of what’s going on.

  15. Tim says:

    Yeah … I’m gonna have to go with Walmart on this. The alarm went off, and I’d call that, at the very least, reasonable suspicion. Yes, many times it goes off on a false alarm, but it’s designed to catch shoplifters and it went off. It’d be like if a drug-sniffing dog thought you had drugs. I’d say it’s an officer’s right in that case to check you for drugs.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Actually I think the dog is performing a sniff-search, and police need probable cause first.

      • Dre' says:

        If you are walking by a police dog & he starts signaling that he smells drugs on you, that *is* probable cause.

      • crazymatt1 says:

        They don’t need probable cause for a dog search. The police can’t keep you detained while they wait for a dog to arrive without probable cause, but they need neither your consent nor probable cause to have a dog sniff around your car or person (during a traffic stop, in an airport, at a border crossing, etc.) The ruling is based on the premise that you have no legitimate claim to privacy when it comes to contraband. Since a dog search will only determine the presence or lack of contraband, it is not a violation of privacy.

      • Thyme for an edit button says:

        I don’t think a dog sniff is considered a “search” in the legal meaning of the word. A dog that is trained to sniff drugs and alerts that there are drugs is enough for probable cause for the police to conduct a search.

    • Zen says:

      Really? The horribly unreliable door alarms provide reasonable suspicion? I know RS is a low bar, but at some point the alarms have to be considered so unreliable that we can consider reliance thereupon unreasonable, otherwise we’ll subject everyone to searches.

    • jefeloco says:

      Duly appointment police/peace officer with properly trained and bred drug sniffing dog.

      $10 an hour asset protection with $7.75 bored greeter.

      Alarms are not sentient (yet) and can usually be set off randomly by an ungrounded shopping cart in a humid environment, like what usually is onset by a rainstorm.

    • Dory says:

      You’d be wrong. “reasonable suspicion” is a legal term, not just idle words.

  16. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    A nearby Home Depot used to do the receipt check thing. One day I was in a snappish mood so when he asked I pretended he was asking if he could help my carry my stuff to my car. I said “No thanks, I can handle it myself”. He fumbled a bit but by the time he tried to ask again I was out the door. My husband was behind me, watching in awe.

    • ludwigk says:

      My local Home Depot had a receipt checker for a short period of time. On three separate occasions I did the following to the receipt checker:

      1) Say “No, thank you.” and walk away.
      2) Hand my receipt to the checker, and immediately walk away. (It was weather stripping, not exactly concerned with returning that)
      3) Say “Legally, I am not required to show you my receipt.” to which the security person said, “you know, you’re right! If more people knew that, my job would be easier.”

      Soon after, for whatever reason (my guess is other customers complained), they stopped having a receipt checker.

  17. 24gotham says:

    So glad I don’t have a WalMart near me… Not that I would go if I did.

  18. StutiCebriones says:

    I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but — taking OP’s word that nothing was stolen — I wonder if they can remotely set off the alarm?

  19. dg says:

    That the “alarm” went off doesn’t prove anything. The alarm could be faulty (I’ve seen stores where they went off at random all day long), it could have been someone else leaving simultaneously with something that had an active tag in it (and that tag could have been from a WalMart item or some other store that uses the same system), or it could have been a tag that some prankster pulled off of an item and tossed into his bag, or upon his person (we had kids in a store that used to pull the tags off and toss them onto women’s hair). At Home Depot, about once a week someone would walk IN the store and set off the door alarm – the reason being that they’d purchased shoes at WalMart, and WalMart hides those sensomatic tags in one of the shoes (usually the right one); the tag wasn’t deactivated, so a quick trip to the portable deactivator did the trick; customers would say that it’d been happening to them for a while and thank us for dealing with it…

    I could care less if the alarm goes off. I paid for my items, I’m leaving. I don’t need a receipt proving anything – the only reason I need a receipt is for proof of purchase in the event of a return (sometimes, some stores just tie it to whatever credit card you used and look it up for the next 90 days), or for tax purposes (if the thing hasn’t faded by the time I do the taxes).

    If the store wants me to have a receipt, they can hand me one. If I need it, I’ll either keep it, or throw it out at my pleasure. If they didn’t hand him one, that’s their problem. Not his. If they believe that their cashiers are so untrustworthy that they have to check the receipts – that’s their problem, not anyone else’s but theirs.

    No one saw him steal anything. They have absolutely zero right to detain him. I wouldn’t have given them 5 seconds, let alone 5 minutes. If you can prove I did something, call the Police. Otherwise, I’m leaving and if you attempt to detain me – I’ll sue you for whatever the applicable statute is in your State.

    As for running – whether it was raining or not is irrelevant. You might have been in a hurry to get to your next appointment, perhaps you were afraid the door goon would come after you and cause physical injury to you, or maybe you were scared after the incident and had a rush of adrenaline so you ran.

    • RandomHookup says:

      My favorite is when the alarm goes off for something that doesn’t belong to the store. My library didn’t always deactivate the security strips on DVDs so I had to warn the store if the alarm went off when I came into the store (so that when I leave, I won’t be hassled).

    • 3skr1mad0r says:

      That’s a lot of maybes.
      So because YOU are a trustworthy person and the alarm systems in combination with cashiers aren’t 100% reliable indicators, the store should let you walk out when the alarm goes off with merchandise and no receipt?
      Even if a person does have a receipt, maybe some “extras” were placed in the bags with the old five finger discount.
      I’m just trying to put myself in the place of a business owner. That whole situation looks like theft from an outsider’s perspective as well.

      • Shadowfax says:

        so because YOU suspect ME of stealing, but have no actual evidence, never saw me take anything, everything I have is in bags, and I just came from the cash register, you have the right to keep me from leaving until you’re good and ready to let me go?

        Unless you actually witness me take something that is yours from your property and attempt to leave your property with it, you have no evidence that I have stolen anything, and therefore no right to detain me. That’s what common sense, not to mention the law, says. If you try to detain me because your malfunctioning machine makes noises, it is up to *me,* not you, whether or not I actually stay.

        • 3skr1mad0r says:

          I have had an alarm go off when leaving a store before and have never felt as if I was being accused of stealing. Most of the time I turn around and the cashier waves to just go ahead. In Walmart (the one here anyway), the receipt checker is not within sight of the registers so they don’t see where you are coming from. I would figure if an alarm went off, the checker is in more of a mindset of making sure they didn’t leave those security tags on a piece of clothing or something, rather than thinking you are a thief.
          Although it does not fulfill the burden of proof, the alarm sounding and not having a receipt actually is evidence isn’t it?
          It is also known that people will shoplift by placing items into a bag from that store in order to look less conspicuous. Some even buy a few cheap items in order to steal more expensive ones and further blur suspicion.
          Now I’ll admit I would have been angry and difficult if someone would have started going through my bags like that as well. All I’m saying is if I was the given that job, it would have looked suspicious.

          • dg says:

            No, the alarm sounding and not having a receipt is not evidence. There’s been a number of reasons why the alarm could go off – besides a tag on an item in a person’s bag doing it. See above.

            Next time it goes off, just keep walking normally. Pretend you’re deaf.

      • Difdi says:

        There’s a reason why shoplifters (and other thieves) act like they do. That’s how innocent people act.

        Being innocent of a crime and acting accordingly is not even slight grounds for suspicion. This is why without exception, shopkeeper’s privilege requires specific evidence, not a hunch or wild hair.

      • dg says:

        You are correct in that it is a lot of maybes. It’s what’s called reasonable doubt, and since we’re innocent until proven guilty, the reasonable doubt falls int he favor of the accused.

        If these systems were conclusively proven to work 100% of the time, no problems ever – then they might have a leg to stand on in detaining/searching you (I say MIGHT because again, more than one person could be leaving at a time, and it could have been the other guy triggering it). But the fact is, these systems are rife with problems, flaws, and sneaky attacks so they’re not reliable.

        At best they keep honest people honest. They truly don’t do a damn thing to stem the flow of a determined crook or team of crooks. And the receipt checking does little to thwart dishonest cashiers – what does affect cashiers the most is a decent rate of pay and being treated fairly – something which I’d garner that 99.9% of the retail establishments DON’T do. In essence, the retail establishment created the issue with crappy wages and treatment and hiring dishonest people – and they want us to suffer for their shortsightedness – Sorry, but I decline.

        Just keep walking… don’t even look at them. Pretend you’re deaf.

  20. Bativac says:

    I have been to at least five or six Wal-Mart stores in town and have not ever been asked to show my receipt. Neither has my wife. Does this only happen in certain stores, with certain greeters? Are they profiling or something?

    • MisterE says:

      I’ve never been asked for a receipt from my local Walmart either. However, I’ve been asked by Best Buy….

      • Shadowfax says:

        Me too. One time I got to chat with a yellowshirt who obviously REALLY wanted to be a cop. He even asked the “Where ya headed this evening” question that he no doubt heard on TV. Got very indignant when I wouldn’t let him paw through all my stuff.

    • Firethorn says:

      They probably ARE profiling, at least at a store level. Stores with loss rates below a certain percentage probably don’t bother with the expense of the extra employees.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      I think they are profiling; I just made another comment to this effect but it bears repeating.

      I am white, female, late 20’s, and have never had a Wal-Mart employee check my receipt. I see them doing it to people of every other racial background; the people in front of me, the people behind me, but they just wave me past.

      • delicatedisarray says:

        I am a white female, I am in my mid 20’s, I live in the south. I have been stopped multiple times, the only time I ever show my receipt is when I set off the alarm.

        I haven’t seen anything that looks like racial profiling at either of the Wal-Marts I shop at.
        I will say I get stopped more often when I am carrying a large purse though.

      • Geekmom says:

        I’m a white woman in my early 30s. They’ve checked my receipt once when I had a large object not bagged in my cart. They didn’t even look at the receipt, just wrote a yellow line through it.
        Thought it was weird, probably just had to make it look like he was doing work other than passing out stickers and saying hi. I’m not very confrontational so I just let them do it.

    • SixOfOne says:

      I think part of it is profiling. I’ve seen people get pulled aside for reciept checking, but never me personally. Generally though, I put on an “I’m in a bad mood” face when I pass those guys and get left alone.

    • Bativac says:

      I guess I should mention I am an average-sized bald white guy in the 18 to 34 age bracket. My wife is from Italy and in the same size and age bracket. Maybe that’s why.

      • tbax929 says:

        Nah, that’s not why. I’m a 30-ish black woman, and I’ve never had them ask me either. I think they may profile based on the neighborhood a store is in, but I don’t think they just ask minorities for receipts. We’d certainly here about it here if they did!

    • polizzi82 says:

      I always tell the lady/man in the chair, by name (badge), to have a great day on the way out. It distracts them while they figure out if they know me and I have yet to be stopped. I am also light skinned.

    • BluePlastic says:

      I wondered about this too. I’ve never been to a WM with receipt checkers. The ones I’ve been to only stop you if the alarm goes off. And it does go off randomly for no reason or because the checker missed something usually. I haven’t seen anyone around me get receipt checked either, only if the alarm goes off.

    • kingmanic says:

      It might be regional. I have never been stopped by a wallmart greeter but I live in Canada where people are less aggressive and Walmart hasn’t bought off the legal system.

    • jefeloco says:

      I would say that most of the stores who do check have employees who use profiling based on the time of day, location of store, and how bored they are.

      It probably also helps if the person thinks they are paramilitary or something. The last reported case of a receipt check in Idaho was when a white guy went into a Walmart at 01:00 with a gun strapped to his hip (open carry is perfectly legal as long as it stays holstered) in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood.

      The manager himself told the guy to stop, he asked if he was being accused of anything. The manager said his employee saw the customer stealing and demanded to see a receipt or surrender his purchases. The cashier for the customer was sent to break and the cops were called. When the cops showed up the guy handed his receipt to the officers, and the cashier returned from break to confirm the innocence of the cust. The cops turned to the customer and asked if he would like to press charges against the manager and Walmart for false imprisonment. The guy had full audio up on a open carry forum a year or so back. It was funny.

    • LastError says:

      It varies by store and by who is doing the checking. Some stores/checkers hardly bother. Some check everyone and everything.

      Generally if ALL your items are bagged, they will usually let you pass unchallenged. If even one item is out (12-pack of drinks, yard rake, big box of something, large pillow, whatever) they will check the receipt at least for the loose item.

      Some stores check everyone and everything and even go down the receipt looking at it very carefully.

      It is not always the case, but the worse the neighborhood, the more likely they are to check. A local Walmart in a fair-to-average relatively low crime area is pretty lax. Another Walmart in a rotten higher crime area checks every item on every receipt and they don’t care if the line takes forever. Nobody walks out.

      I have been tempted to buy a candy bar and eat it and walk out and see if they freak. But I don’t like candy.

    • kewpie says:

      I’ve wondered about this, too. I’ve read about this happening, but I’ve never, ever been stopped nor have I ever seen anyone else stopped unless the alarm goes off–and not even always then.

      Every Sam’s Club I’ve been to has had a receipt checker, but I’ve never seen one at any of the nine Wal-Marts I’ve lived near in the last three to four years over two states.

  21. GrayMatter says:

    Wanna get a “friend” in trouble?

    Buy some product with the stick-on device that sets off the alarm, but buy it from a store that doesn’t care about it. Peel it off. Stick it in something that the “friend” will have with him/her when they go to the store.

    Try do do it when the friend goes Walmart or Best Buy where they have vigilant loss prevention personnel.

    Hang back, and watch the fun, especially if you have hidden the device.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Doesn’t the alarm go off when they enter the store?

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      One important thing to note about this. You know the kinda thick and white ones that are usually inside electronics? When you’re pulling them off of whatever product, try not to bend the very fragile plastic because this will make it not work any more in some cases. Also, the stickers that look like circuit boards on the back…they’re a bitch to pull off and still keep active, but sometimes you can find these with the backing still on (in other words, not stuck to the product) inside books in B&N or Borders.

      Side story…I used to work at WalMart and the Photo Lab had lots of the small plastic alarm stickies. When they’re by themselves and not stuck on to anything, they kind of jump a little when they’re deactivated. Some girl put a whole stack of sheets of the alarms on the deactivator to see what it would do. It didn’t jump and she got bitched at for ruining the strips.

  22. Yentaleh says:

    I ate my receipt in front of the Fry’s checker a few weeks ago. He asked why I did that and I told him because I could, I own it. Its mine. He then asked to look in my bag and I said sure if you can untie it from my wheelchair. A line was forming and he just sighed and sent me on my way. I don’t always eat my receipts but this guy was being a d*ck so I decided why not. I haven’t been asked since to show my receipt at this particular Frys.

  23. Hoss says:

    This is how internet incivility spills out onto the streets.

    • Difdi says:

      Yeah, time was, you’d never even dream of accusing a random passerby, much less a customer of your store, of being a thief without proof. Nowadays, people demand customers provide proof they’re not a thief right and left.

      Papers please!

  24. tweeder82o says:

    what do they do in their training program that makes these store employees feel like john mcclain when they are met with a situation?!?

    if anything, i’d be more ashamed to have to show my face to the public in a store uniform; let alone confronting them and throwing my weight around like i am a hot shot employee of the month.

  25. jesirose says:

    I seriously could not stand reading this story. I’m all for the spirit of it, but the writing is awful. Next time have your employee proof read, as long as she knows the difference between where and were.

  26. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    The local Wal-Mart of [redacted], VA has had their greeters checking receipts for a couple months now. I see them checking other peoples’ receipts, so I generally have kept mine ready just to expedite the getting-out process without drama. However… they have *never* asked me for my receipt. I am white, female, in my late 20’s. I have seen them check receipts for people of various other backgrounds, and people who look to be in their teens… maybe I am not in their shoplifting demographic?

    Though in the case of this story… the alarm *did* go off, it was not a normal receipt-checking situation. I am not sure why the OP did not allow his companion to go and get the receipt from the clerk, though. If nothing else, it would have identified to the store the clerk who clearly needs additional training (ALWAYS give receipt, ALWAYS deactivate the alarm sensors).

  27. Angus99 says:

    “To Hell in a Shopping Basket” by Iva Biggin

    I could hear the rain falling like a debutante’s tears at the end of the night, so I snapped the brim of my hat, winked at the gum-popping register wrangler, and scooped up the bag with my Luckies and Wild Turkey, and started moseying towards that big exit that none of us can escape. I paused by the Eye Care center and spent a moment looking through the glass, at all the poor saps chasing that ever receding dream of a 20/20 ticket to ride, and patted the pocket of my coat, looking for my keys. Ten more steps, and I turned the corner, and that’s when my luck ran out – like it always does. The alarm went off, and that oh-so-fast mental math began to spin behind my eyes like the tumblers in one armed bandit; but before the jackpot hit, I felt a meaty paw drop on my shoulder. I turned to see a big palooka, in a blue vest that was two sizes too small, giving me the big eye.

    “I want to see your papers.”
    “Oh yeah? Did I wake up in Nazi Germany this morning and not know it?”
    “Don’t give me any trouble.”
    “Why, didn’t you eat your Wheaties this morning?”
    “Look, wise guy, that bell says you’re guilty, and that means I’m your worst nightmare.”
    “You’re a nightmare, all right.”

    He started to pull me towards him, and my hand dove into my coat pocket – he saw it, and took two steps back.

    “Easy there, buddy.”
    “Oh, I’m easy all right.”

    I started backing up, one step at a time, and my eyes never left his. He fumbled nervously, looked around, and made that last mistake – I could see in his beady eyes that he was going to make a move. He took two steps.

    I drew, and that cold, metal lump in my hand jumped, and flashed. He staggered back, and slowly raised his head, his eyes filled with fear.

    I turned my cell phone around, and showed him his picture.

    “See you in the Consumerist, sucker.”

    I pushed through the doors, into the embrace of the cold, rainy night, grinning like I just won the lottery.

  28. fhahnel says:

    My favorite place for this at Best Buy. The ‘security guard’ is almost next to the registers at this particular store. I’ve been asked to ‘check’ my receipt after this ‘guard’ was watching the entire transaction. I told him you just saw me check out. Then he again asks to see the receipt. I just walked past. STUPID Policy! Also the last time I shopped there.

    • outlulz says:

      I think it depends which BB. My local one that guard watches and just nods and says goodbye to customers. They only check purchases made at the registers in the tv department or the computer department.

  29. CookiePuss says:

    “He muttered something under his breath and just looked at me.”

    It was probably something along the line of “Another damn Consumerist reader trying to supersede my bag checking powa. Curses! Foiled again!”

  30. Brunette Bookworm says:

    I’m sorry, but you set off the alarm and didn’t have a receipt and you are complaining about them wanting to make sure you didn’t steal something? How does that NOT look like stealing to them? That’s a way people steal higher priced items, buy a few cheaper ones and hide the expensive ones with them. Then you have a bag and a receipt and look less suspicious.

    • ovalseven says:

      In all fairness, he stopped to cooperate and waited for them to get the receipt. It’s not his fault that they were unwilling to do that.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        From the story it sounds like he didn’t wait. He left before anyone could go get a receipt, he wasn’t willing to go get his own receipt.

    • Difdi says:

      It doesn’t matter what it looks like to them. What matters is what they can prove in court.

      If they have evidence of theft, they don’t need to check his bags except as a confirmation of their existing evidence. They could leave his bags alone until the cops arrived, have him arrested, and the cops could check to see if he’d stolen anything. And it would all be legal.

      On the other hand, if they don’t have that evidence of theft, the detained customer certainly has evidence of the detention. Detention without evidence is a crime; Exactly how serious depends on which state you’re in, but at the least severe, it’s an equal crime to shoplifting. In a lot of states, detaining someone without cause is a felony, while shoplifting is a simple misdemeanor.

    • TPA says:

      Simple: How many times have you set off one of those alarms? How many times in the past year? And how many of those times were you shoplifting? I’d assume your responses are that you have set off the alarm many times over your life, probably a few times this year, and probably weren’t shoplifting for any of those times.

      It doesn’t take any great amount of math to see that false positives are the vast majority of alarm soundings. If something’s 99% false positives, how can you even start to trust it as any valid source of information? Insert Fox News/CNN joke here.

  31. rhambling says:

    i used to be a loss prevention officer in florida (not at walmart)
    anyways under florida statute 812.015, when you activate a device/ door alarm, that is enough reasonable cause to detain the person and ask questions. look at section 3.c

    also, if the person refused, my company allowed us to use force to bring the person back to the store. i only used force if i watched the person stuff the items in their bag, pants, purse, etc.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Force over that in Florida? Nuts…

    • Difdi says:

      That’s nice. Except that the OP didn’t attempt to leave. He calmly acknowledged the alarm and the guard, stated that he would wait while they checked things out, and waited for them to do so. The guard didn’t check anything. Even in Florida, that’s grounds for the security guard to call a supervisor over to check the cameras and receipt, not to deliver a beat down.

    • mcgyver210 says:

      If any Loss Jerk tries to detain me he or she just might regret it since I will consider them a threat to my safety & possibly my life which would be very bad for them.

      I do not steal & don’t like Loss Jerks or receipt checkers period

    • mcgyver210 says:

      If any Loss Jerk tries to detain me he or she just might regret it since I will consider them a threat to my safety & possibly my life which would be very bad for them.

      I do not steal & don’t like Loss Jerks or receipt checkers period

    • Mythandros says:

      If any LP “officer” tried to detain me physically, they would be LUCKY if they left with a broken arm, a broken nose and likely missing a few teeth.

      I, like a lot of others here see being touched by someone I have not invited to take that action, or by someone that I don’t trust implicitly (like a friend or family member) a threat to my life and my safety. I would react very violently if someone tried to restrain me that wasn’t a cop with a DAMN good reason. I don’t care if they’re old, young, male or female. It really doesn’t matter.

      So had you enforced your policy with me, you would have had to file a Workers Compensation Board injury claim by the end of the day, assuming you were lucky enough not to end up in the hospital before finishing your shift. I have been trained in the martial arts, and I use them when threatened.

      Simple as that.

  32. Me - now with more humidity says:

    It was a dark and stormy night… suddenly a receipt checker rang out!

  33. JGB says:

    He (the mysterious ’employer’) was acting like a dick. The guard was doing his job. You set off the alarm, have no receipt, and then tell me “I have five minutes to sort this out”? I would have tasered your ass until the batteries ran out.

    • perkonkrusts says:

      These stories seem to always come down to the same thing. OK, please do exercise whatever rights you have, but don’t be a jerk about it. Be civil and polite, no matter what you’re doing. It applies to the OP and the WalMart employee, and everyone else. That’s probably why the OP’s employee was looking so “sheepish”, she was embarrassed at these adults’ poor behavior. Sometimes our paranoia about the world and everyone in it being out to get us makes us too quick to show our worst sides.

    • AI says:

      And then you’d be in jail for assault, and fired. Good day!

      “The guard was doing his job” Which, unless he’s an actual police officer, does not give him any special detention or search powers.
      “I have five minutes to sort this out” was the customer being nice, and giving the guard five minutes to DO HIS JOB.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        Actually, depending on which state it is, the alarm going off does give the guard “special detention powers” in order to investigate but the OP didn’t give him that time. Of course, you can’t taser them…but the OP sounds like he didn’t even allow the guard the 5 mintues he stated at the beginning.'s_privilege

    • Difdi says:

      And as soon as those batteries give out (or sooner, if it’s not a real TASER, and is just a contact stun prod) I’ll use my licensed concealed firearm to end your life. and any court in the land will rule it self defense. Because there will be no evidence of my being a thief, because I don’t steal, so none would exist. There would however be ample evidence on the store video camera system, however, of you engaging in torture of a fellow citizen. Case closed.

    • jason in boston says:

      You would have a bullet (specifically a .45ACP) separating your brain from your spinal column if you tried that bullshit with me or my family.

  34. Macgyver says:

    The alarm goes off, and he doesn’t have a receipt.
    That’s probable cause to think he’s a shoplifter.
    Then he want to wait by the front day, instead of going with him to clear thing up, that’s even more cause to think he’s a shoplifter, and then he goes running to his car.

    Why does everyone acts like a dick to security, and people think that there’re better then them.
    Security had every right to stop him and search his bags.

    • tomz17 says:

      –> Security had every right to stop him and search his bags.

      Where did you get your law degree again?

    • Difdi says:

      > Why does everyone acts like a dick to security

      The OP didn’t. He stopped, acted reasonably, behaved exactly like a normal person who is not a thief, who set off an alarm somehow. The security guard is the one who acted like a dick. Whether or not he’s just following orders is irrelevant.

      >and people think that there’re better then them.

      How do you figure that? Treating someone with reciprocal respect is treating them like an equal, not an inferior. Given how the OP acted, you seem to be expecting the OP to treat the guard as a superior and viewing treatment as an equal as if it were some sort of insult or somehow treating the guard as an inferior. It wasn’t.

      > Security had every right to stop him and search his bags.

      Oh? Which judge signed the warrant? Oh, you mean he didn’t have a warrant? He’d better not search then, since that would be felony robbery if it turned out the OP was not a thief. Safer to call the police who do have authority to search, and better still (from the guard’s perspective) have qualified immunity from lawsuits, which the guard wholly lacks.

  35. James says:

    I never stop when my alarm goes off – which it does half the time I go to Walgreens. I’m not a dog, and I’m not obligated to stop and chat and prove my purchases just because their sensors are too sensative.

    Plus I walk to Walgreens, and I walk fast – so the few times they’ve followed me out I’m a block away before they give up…

  36. FilthyHarry says:

    I never trust the alarm. How do I know there isn’t a guy in the back watching a monitor, pressing a button that makes the alarm go off everytime they see someone who looks ‘suspicious’?

    A light and buzzer goes off and all of sudden I have to let someone root around in my belongings? I don’t think so. You think I stole, call the cops.

    Nonetheless I usually show if they ask, but if there is a line to wait to have my receipt checked, or I’m in a rush, or just a fould mood, I just keep walking. Sometimes they call out, but thats it. Probably because I live in NYC.

  37. Aeirlys says:

    There’s a Costco around the corner from my office and I stop by to pick up single items frequently. If I’ve only got a single item, I’ll run the receipt line – you just carry your purchase at your side with the receipt in full view and walk like you don’t expect to be stopped. Works about 75% of the time.

  38. cheezfri says:

    I had to chuckle at the incorrect grammar in the beginning of the OP’s story: “A few seconds later an uniformed asset protection individual comes…” It should have been “a uniformed”, but because it said “an uniformed” I read it as “an un-informed”. Makes it funnier that way for sure!

  39. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    “grabs my basket.”
    Are you Bo Peep or did he fondle your junk?

  40. Stiv says:

    I want to know what happened to the receipt? Did the checker really forget to give it to the OP?

  41. duncanblackthorne says:

    Stop shopping at Walmart.

  42. sweaterhogans says:

    The technique is simple–just keep walking. Whether it’s Costco or Walmart, when they say “Sir may I see your reciept?!” my husband shouts “Nope!” and we keep walking. It may help that he’s tall and slightly aggressive looking, and the checkers are usually old people, but I’m confident it would work anywhere. We’ve never been chased out to the parking lot. Most checkers are too lazy to even get out of their chair to look at my receipt (all the more reason to keep walking).

    The only time we were chased a few feet was when we went into Costco for a hotdog and my husband had a magazine in his hand. The checker saw us walk in this way and tried to chase us when we left, shouting “Magazine! Magazine!” Costco doesn’t even sell magazines…

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      You know that agreeing to a receipt check at Costco was something you agreed to when you got a membership to that store, right? If you don’t want to show your receipt, don’t sign a membership saying you’ll do it.

      • JuanHunt says:

        I go to Costco to get hotdogs at lunch once a month. I dont have a Costco membership. You can also buy drugs at the pharmacy without a membership.

      • sweaterhogans says:

        Yeah, I don’t have a costco membership. We went in there for a hot dog. This costco certainly doesn’t sell magazines and even if they did would not carry a brewing magazine. Just mindless robots programmed to draw a line on a receipt.

    • Difdi says:

      And all it takes is one Costco supervisor (red vests) becoming annoyed at that behavior, and they can backtrack you to a register, find out which transaction yours was, identify your membership from the transaction, and cancel it on the spot.

      Which is more important to you, keeping your Costco membership or being free to break your promises?

    • bobosgirl says:

      our Costco sells magazines- they’re back by the books!

  43. stringcheese says:

    Just show the damned receipt!

    Why do you people have to be so difficult????

  44. NightStalker3 says:

    homeboy ran like he stole something….

    • Difdi says:

      Yeah, because running is only something shoplifters do. Nobody else ever runs around the bases, runs late, runs to beat the rain…

  45. steveliv says:

    i very rarely get stopped, and when i do, the hassle that comes with not showing the receipt just isn’t worth it. it takes so little time to simply show the receipt. in most cases, just having the receipt in hand and visible to the check person is enough for them to ignore you.

    • Difdi says:

      Reading is HARD!

      (if you had bothered to RTFA you’d be aware that the OP didn’t have one because the cashier never gave him one).

  46. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I always bring an employee with me to walmart to carry my drinks.

  47. StrangeEmily says:

    I always make sure my Walmart receipt is waving around in my hand when I’m walking out the door, sometimes I might hold it up like I’m an FBI Agent and this is my badge that gives me the authority to leave. I don’t get anyone stopping me, just a friendly smile, nod and a friendly goodbye…
    There have been a few times I’ve beeped on the way out but thats usually someone exiting the same time as me causing it. When that happens I like to make a big show of walking backwards through the sensor to let them know it wasn’t me. The customer setting the alarm off walks to the receipt checker and I’m on my way ignored. I suppose now that I’ve read the article… what the customer did was wrong and they should have went mental instead?

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I have beeped (And from the timing was such I was SURE it was me) but the checker has pulled the person behind me aside many times.

    • Difdi says:

      Ironically, you’re behaving just like a shoplifter. Smart shoplifters do carry receipts with them, so they can wave them at a receipt checker just like you do, as they exit the store with their stolen goods.

  48. daemonaquila says:

    Of course, all sorts of people will hiss and boo at the OP, but I’m clapping. No, it’s not “reasonable suspicion” because the alarm goes off in a Walmart, a Home Depot, or a thousand other stores. I’ve set those off more times than I can count, and in 99% of the stores a bored checker will just say “go, it’s ok, the tags never desensitize right.” Like with car alarms, sane people have learned to ignore these alarms because the checking equipment doesn’t work right to begin with. If it worked right, routinely, it would be a different matter.

    As for touching, attempting to go through someone’s purse, etc. that’s all out of bounds. Giving the rent-a-cop 5 minutes to sanely sort it out was generous. “If you think I stole something, call the police” is the perfect answer. Americans are too lackadaisical about enforcing their rights, especially when it comes to corporations, private non-cop-wannabes, etc.

  49. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I once read a story on a defunct concealed carry forum about a REALLY tense experience at Best Buy.

    He purchased nothing and had no products. The security guard stopped him on the way out over the slight bulge under his shirt… And then forcefully grabbed the shopper (assault), and attempted to reach towards the holstered weapon. The result was a quick step back and a drawn gun! You see someone trying to take a weapon from you is a pretty serious threat!

    Interestingly the poster claimed the security guard was terminated and the store paid out a settlement.

  50. EverCynicalTHX says:

    This story would be better if we could get the employees side of the story..

    You know, the one about the guy that tripped the security alarm, failed to have a receipt, got annoyed when asked to see what was in his WALMART bag, refused to walk inside, created his own timeline for resolving the issue and then ran off…

    • Difdi says:

      What is printed on the bags doesn’t matter. Say, for instance, you were carrying a bag that had my name on it. I’d have the same right to open that bag, mess with the contents, and possibly confiscate one or more of them, as I’d have to go into your house and inspect then confiscate your breakfast cereal.

      In other words, none at all.

  51. EverCynicalTHX says:

    Assuming Mark doesn’t carry multiple purses it sounds like they wanted to see what he had in his “Walmart” bags.

    Oh the outrage! He sets the alarm off, has no receipt and THEY have the audacity to want to look inside his plastic Walmart shopping bags..WTF!

    …Immediately he starts opening my bags and says, “I am going to have to ask you to wait until I can check the receipt”.

  52. sopmodm14 says:

    they’re doing their due diligence

    with the holidays approaching, shoplifting hurts everyone….its not a victimless crime

    as a college kid, i volunteer to show my receipt so that troublemakers are aware, and it shows i’m an upstanding citizen

    if losses keep up, everyone who comes in the store isn’t necessarily coming to buy, but steal instead and will be perceived that way….as a consequence, service goes down and prices go up

    yea, they have no real right,but if you have nothing to hide, its only another minute, tops

  53. DarkPsion says:

    The problem is Training! A police officer, security guard or bouncer is trained in how to approach, confront and speak to someone in this situation. Wal Mart greeters have not received any training other than “Thank You come again”.

    The few times I have set off that alarm I knew exactly what item did it, but trying to explain that to the seasoned citizen at the exit tried my patience.

    Every time I had to ask for a manager, I tell them, they wand the item, “Beep”, they take it over and demagnetize it and we are done.

  54. george69 says:

    I was at a Zellers once and the alarm went off. The guy wanted me to go to the back room to ‘straighten it out’ . I refused, he then wanted me to return to the cash and rescan everything. I refused and told him that I was in a good mood and would let him take a quick look through the bags right there.

    He was kind of thrown off that I was laughing at him demanding me to go to ‘the back room’. Anyway he looked through the bags and found a thing that was not deactivated at the cash. I debated walking out, but I didnt want people think I was a thief, nor was I going to ‘the back room’ like a thief.

  55. LastError says:

    What? Somebody could understand the utter mumbling coming from the exit door sensor things?

    All I get is “Caution! Mumblemumblemumblerattlerattlemumblemumblerattle!”

    They’re all like that. Completely unintelligible, except for the Caution at the beginning. Caution about what? Is there a forklift coming? Maybe I would know but I can’t understand the rest. I suppose it’s saying something in English but I am not entirely sure. In my area, many of the customers don’t even speak English so this mumbling rattling thing squawking away not even in clear English is NOT going to even get their attention.

    I did ask a door greeter once what the heck the thing was saying and he admitted he had no idea. He could not understand it either and he worked there.

    This stupid door sensor thing is at the portal to every major store and should be the pride of American industry and a symbol of American retail power. But instead it’s a cheap mumbling gibberish-spewing annoying embarrassment that nobody even pays the slightest bit of attention.

    It might be giving out lotto numbers but nobody will ever know for sure.

    My congratulations to the audio engineers who worked on that design to cut the fluff from the speaker and save a whole dime per unit simultaneously earning ’employee of the month’ honors and making the product sound like crap. Good job!

  56. KMFDM781 says:

    Touch me, get knocked the fuck out.

  57. RTWinter says:

    The store I work at has a LP officer. I dont think he does anything other than get paid more than me to wander around.

  58. stuny says:

    Are there any other articles on Consumerist except for various retellings of the same story of how someone asked someone else for a receipt who refused because, “by golly, I’m an American! and I read the constitution”.

    C’mon people, there most be something else more important to talk about! Innocent bits and bytes are dying here of banality. Please let them at least die an entertaining or informative death.

  59. ospreyguy says:

    I once kicked a checker in the face. Old b!tch had it coming.

  60. Admiral_John says:

    … so OP tries to leave Walmart, the door alarm goes off, he can’t produce a receipt and is peeved that their Loss Prevention wants to verify his purchases against a copy of a receipt?

    I fail to see the issue here… if the greeter had just arbitrarily stopped him, that’s one thing, but the alarm went off.

  61. Greyfox2401 says:

    I remember one time I must of had an active security tag in my bag and nobody said or did anything I even triggered the alarm several times and nobody came around after like 10 times a cashier told me to leave.

  62. kylere1 says:

    Once again, fault me for blaming the OP, but if you shop there, you deserve to be treated as humanly as they treat their employees and suppliers.

  63. gargunkle says:

    How do I obtain a personal Walmart employee of my own?

  64. jaredwilliams says:

    wtf….i thought it was pretty good.

  65. adamwade says:

    I did something similar a few years ago. I keep my receipt out, placate these people, but if they can’t be bothered to do their job right, I can’t be bothered to stop.

    I had just bought an air conditioner and had my receipt in my hand as I walked out. There was no greeter or checker. I was about 20 feet from the store, pushing my cart, when I hear someone call after me. I had a feeling what it was, but I was halfway to my truck so I ignored it.

    I get to the truck, take out the A/C, and as I’m lifting it in he comes running up to me yelling, “HEY YOU HAVE TO SHOW ME YOUR RECIEPT!” When I exited the store I put it in my pocket, and when I walked out the guy was nowhere to be found (the Wal-mart was extremely empty that day so my guess is he walked off to chat with someone). I was really irritated at being yelled at by my vehicle, so I laughed at him and ignored him.

    He yelled at me again, and I said, “Look, you can’t just chase someone out to the parking lot and ask for a receipt. Not my fault you weren’t doing your job.” He was confused and said, “I can go outside!” I laughed again, and said, “Wal-mart may let you go outside, but the law says once I am outside you can’t.”

    Still confused, I got in my truck as he yelled for my receipt again, to which I replied, “Go ahead, call the cops” and left. Look, I keep my receipt out when I walk out of the store, I try to play the little game (and, in fact, since I usually smile and say hello when I come in, and smile with my receipt visibly in my hand when I go out, they usually don’t even stop me), but if they can’t be bothered to be waiting for me, I’m certainly not going to put up with being embarrassed and followed out to the parking lot.

  66. lukesdad says:

    Ugh, come on. You set off the alarm, didn’t have a receipt and you acted like a jerk. If I’m the Walmart employee (*shudder=*) it would make me a little suspicious too.

  67. watch me boogie says:

    I don’t understand this mentality at all. If you set the alarm off, it behooves you to show that you did not steal anything. Not every interaction needs to be a Grand Statement of ‘I Have Rights.’ Take your receipt, show your receipt, no drama no problems.

  68. NotEd says:

    If you are buying business supplies (or even merch for yourself) wouldn’t you actually want to make sure you had a receipt?
    I know I would’ve at least made an effort to get one even if it meant looking like I was obeying a receipt check request I was fundamentally opposed to.

  69. MaelstromRider says:

    Ok.. normally I won’t show a receipt, but this guy was an ass. He didn’t get a receipt from the cashier and something in his stuff was triggering the anti-theft device. Loss prevention was well within their rights to investigate once the alarm got triggered.

    There were two of them. One of them could have stayed with the cart while the other got the receipt from the checker.

    Definite shopping fail.

  70. Sean says:

    All the Wal Mart’s near me only check your receipt if you have something that is not in a bag. Kind of ridiculous because you could walk by any cashier (especially the self check) and take a bag if the item does not have a security tag.

  71. Skyhawk says:

    As soon as any store employee touches me or my property, it’s ‘lights out’.

  72. Mythandros says:

    I have a short story.

    I was in a Wal*Mart here in Vancouver, Canada.. and had just purchased a few things (Provisions for a D&D session. Chips, cookies, pop. Some DVD’s too) and the receipt checker tried to stop me. I kept walking. I didn’t say a word to them. They walked up to me and grabbed me by my arm at the elbow. I stopped, looked the checker straight in the face and told them “If you ever want to have functional use of that arm again, you will take your hands off me.” They looked shocked (Older man) and asked me to stop. I stopped long enough to tell the checker that yes, I did have a receipt and that no I was not going to stop and prove to ANOTHER employee that I have legally bought and paid for everything I have with me and that if he didn’t like it, he was free to call the police.

    He didn’t like that and called me a jerk. I filed complaint against him with both the manager of the store and the manager of the mall that the store was in. I never saw him again at that location.

    Bottom line is… you DO NOT put your hands on a customer unless you are good and ready to LOSE the use of those limbs. And secondly, the cashier saw me pay for the items I bought, she rung them up. Why should I waste my time stopping for a receipt checker at the door?