Retail Disobediance

Customer Confidential is a well-written, amusing description of what happens when someone refuses to show their receipt at Costco and Wal-mart:

…there were about a dozen customers in line for “receipt review” at the exit. That represented about six extra minutes that I wasn’t being paid for, and so I rolled toward freedom. The employee “reviewing” receipts left the line and cheerfully said, “I’m going to have to see your receipt first.”
Adopting her happy demeanor, I replied, “And you are going to have to chase me in order to do so.” Sometimes it’s worth being an ass just to see the response on people’s faces. Not only was the receipt lady registering total bewilderment, but several customers in line for the same hassle appeared equally baffled.

He says he isn’t being a prick on purpose, most of the time:

If it sounds at this point as though I’m being an ornery crank about the whole matter, simply consider all those retail establishments at which customers spend vastly greater sums but are not interrogated before their departure. I’ve never been harassed at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware, for example.

I dare ya.

12 Replies to “Retail Disobediance”

  1. yeah, i do it at walmart. the wife won’t let me get away with it at costco though. those old ass walmart people aren’t gonna chase me down.

  2. That guy is a prick, pure and simple. Firstly, the comparisons to Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware aren’t really valid – both are high-end, specialty stores who cater to an upscale clientel, while Wal-Mart and Costco cater to a wider audience and carry a much broader range of goods.

    Secondly, why does he have to be such an ass to people who are working minimum-wage jobs? It’s not their fault the policies are in place, and they’re the ones who are going to get into trouble – management doesn’t care about his little “messages” he’s sending, only that the person who’s stuck doing the job can’t do it.

    Thirdly, there was such a long line at the exit to Costoco that he was going to have to wait “six extra minutes”? Seriously, dude? I have been in Costcos all over the place, in big cities, in small cities, and at every time of the day at every time of year. I’ve never had to wait more than a few seconds to have my receipt looked at. And if they really don’t look at it carefully and just scribble on it, that takes – what? a second or two? You’re so important you can’t wait?

    Fourthly, if he really hates it so much, why doesn’t he shop elsewhere, where they don’t have those policies? You can’t tell me at that Wal-Mart and Costco are the only two stores in town! If he keeps frequenting them despite his loathing of the policies, then it sounds like he’s doing it just because he likes looking like a smug know-it-all when really he’s just being obnoxious.

  3. Rebecca…Wow…Ohhh..dont mess with the northern Woman….

    unfortunalty costoco and walmart may soon be the only stores in town…but i hunt and gather for all my daily needs…gotta go kill a lasagna for supper…

    oh yeah rebecca focus that word energy into your writing looks like your gonna complete it this year….impressive….

  4. I agree. It’s kinda funny but it only serves to make one clerk, who is just doing what he or she is told, miserable.

    What you should do is stop shopping at that store, maybe organize a boycott, till they have to close their doors. Then it makes all the clerks miserable. HAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  5. If I am in a hurry and there is a lineup waiting to be checked, I don’t wait. When they ask to check my receipt, I show it. It’s harder to do it at Costco with the huge ass carts they have and the ridiculous line-ups.

    I watched a 20/20 thing on it once. Legally, you do not have to produce a receipt. If they are accusing you of stealing, they have to have proof that you are stealing something.

  6. When I was a floorwalker, I wasn’t allowed to arrest anyone unless I saw them conceal the item and leave the store without paying for it, and only if I didn’t lose sight of them the whole time (because they could theoretically drop the item before leaving). You can be arrested if you’ve been spotted stealing on security cameras too. Checking receipts is only a deterrent to shoplifting, like having a security guard start out front. It’s supposed to scare shoplifters; beyond that, they can’t do anything (ie. stop you) unless they’ve actually witnessed you (or video taped you) leaving with an item without paying for it.

    Things I learned you can do without getting arrested: You can walk into a store, open a big bag of chips (or any food or beverage item), eat the whole thing, put the crumpled bag in your coat pocket, wander around the store as long as you like, and then go to the cash and pay for the bag of chips by having them scan the code on the empty chip bag. Nothing illegal about that. (I’ve seen people do it.) You can even put an item in your coat pocket, have it completely concealed, walk around the store like that for hours, and then take it out and pay for it. They can’t arrest you or detain you unless you try to leave without paying for the item; “holding” in your pocket where no one can see it isn’t illegal. However, most people who do stuff like this are usually asked to leave right away and never come back, and then you can get arrested for trespassing you come back.

    I agree with Rebecca.

  7. Fourthly, if he really hates it so much, why doesn’t he shop elsewhere, where they don’t have those policies?

    Probably because he has a wife.

  8. I prefer to shop at zellers. Even at xmas time there are no lineups and they have just as good a selection of stuff as wal-mart. I find walmart has more shit, but they both share the same decent brands of items. Zellers may be 50 cents more for the same thing, but I don’t have to wait in line for 2 hours with little brats screaming in my ears. I haven’t noticed people chasing me around at zellers.

    Even though Becky (can I call you Becky? no? Ok!), I mean, Rebecca, didn’t like this guy’s attitude, I am still drawn to it, since I loath being harrassed.

    One time going into walmart I had bought something from some other store so I had their bag. I was chatting with a friend and just walked in, next thing I know this woman is screaming after me “SIR! SIR! YOU NEED A STICKER ON YOUR BAG” which confused me, I had no idea who she was or what she wanted, I said “no thanks” and she said “you NEED a sticker on your bag”. So I said “uh.. ok” and let her put the sticker on the bag. Then I went around the corner and ripped it off to look at it, it was a wal-mart smileyface(tm). I still have no idea what that sticker is supposed to do. I mean, they put it on everyone’s bag when they walk in. Am I not supposed to touch the magical sticker or something? Last time I stole something it was a chocolate bar from the corner store, and my mom made me take it back and I apologized and was crying my head off. I don’t feel like going through that again. Ever since that incident I don’t steal anymore so I don’t want to be treated like I am, or am going to, even though I apparently have a record that wal-mart knows about.

  9. Given the choice, I shop at Zellers too. I think they’re a Canadian company, which Wal-Mart isn’t, and the stores are never crowded. The one I go to is virtually deserted; I wonder how they keep in business. They don’t have as much cheap press-board furniture as Wal-Mart, but shopping there doesn’t fill me with the urge to kill everyone. So that’s good.

  10. > Some interesting reading on this topic here

    I think I read that rant before, where it resorts to the silly “this is America!” pseudo-logic.

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