You may not see my receipt.

I’ve been saying “no thank you” to the increasingly ubiquitous receipt checkers at the doors of (mostly) big-box stores. It’s insulting and an inconvenience. Generally, the guards are pretty nice about it. At Bed, Bath, & Beyond, they kind of shrug, and smile. At CompUSA, they actually shout after you like you are the criminal they assume you to be. I’ve even successfully said no thank you to the TSA at JFK, when they wanted to see my ticket for the third time (once before security, once going through the metal detector, and then again leaving security). Actually, in that case I would have complied if the person had been even minutely polite.

An incident at the Naperville outlet of TigerDirect somehow doesn’t surprise me. A customer said “no thank you” to guards who wanted to see her receipt, and was detained and verbally harangued. She called 911, but the police officer refused to charge the guard and manager with false imprisonment. I have to say, under the same conditions I would have walked out of the store and I doubt that a guard would be able to physically restrain me, but I’m kind of a jerk that way. Anyway, I’ve been in that store, and it feels a bit like a prison. I’ve gotten some pretty good bargains from TigerDirect in the past, it’s too bad I can’t in good conscience order from them any more.

I’m not sure that “no thank you” is enough any more, so I’ve printed up two versions of slips of paper to keep in my pocket, and to hand to guards who have this thankless job. The first one reads:

To the General Manager:

I have handed this paper to your security employee who has requested to see my receipt following a purchase, a request I politely refused. I recognize that this employee is doing the job you have assigned, and this should not be seen as an indication that this person has done anything but a fine job.

However, I am insulted by your practice of treating every customer as a potential thief. Note that this lack of goodwill results not only in my future choice of other, more customer-oriented stores over your own, it also results in significant negative word-of-mouth advertising regarding my shopping experience. Consider that you will have to spend substantial amounts of revenue in advertising for new customers with each customer you lose to this charade.

I sincerely hope you will reconsider your policy of checking receipts at the door. I recognize that shoplifting and other forms of loss are a challenge to retail establishments, and I encourage you to take measures—including increasing the number and training of sales associates—to reduce loss. Insulting your customers is the wrong approach.

I figure you can add your signature and contact information or not, as you like. Here it is in a convenient pdf, along with a less subtle version. (via Boing)

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  1. CABridges
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Adding… This is not to excuse stores that go overboard and harass legitimate customers. Just saying that when you get burned often enough, it gets harder to tell the difference. And if you get burned too much, you go out of business. There has to be an acceptable level between letting everyone walk out and then closing your store in a year, or strip-searching everyone and then closing your store in a year.

  2. alex
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    CABridges: And yet… somehow Target, Barnes & Noble, and *most* other stores manage to not only stay in business, but to thrive, without having to insult their customers.

    I really don’t have a problem with theft prevention. If they want to have cameras, I’m OK with that, although it’s not the best way to do it. In the stores where I worked, and my wife managed, loss prevention was accomplished precisely by following customers around. It was called customer service. Shoplifters don’t like it when workers are friendly, helpful, and present. They prefer stores where they are ignored. For repeat or multi-store offenders, you have a face book and watch for them. You won’t stop people every time using this method, but you will stop them.

    Note that in the example you give, the shoplifter is probably the only one of hundreds of people that day that was completely unaffected by the policy. In other words, you provide a great example of why receipt checking only affects those who have made legitimate purchases, and does little to stop those who are shoplifting.

    I don’t mind when a shopkeeper keeps things locked up. When I go to a jewelry shop, I do not mind that they keep things in a case. In some shops in New York, they even keep the front door locked as well. But if they demanded to search me when I left, that I would consider to be a gross intrusion.

    It’s simple enough: if Best Buy doesn’t want guys walking out with an Xbox or a PS3, they should do what they do with drill bits, and put them behind a counter. That’s what lots of shops do with more expensive merchandise. The problem is that Best Buy realizes that it is cheaper to put a guard at the door, which ultimately makes the shopping experience less efficient and enjoyable for the customer, than it is to train and staff the floor, which would be more helpful to the customer.

    I suspect Best Buy’s days are numbered, and it sure isn’t because of shrinkage. It’s because they treat the customer like crap, and they don’t hire people for the floor that know the product and want to help people find what meets their needs. Sure, there are those who really don’t mind being treated like criminals to save the extra 5%, but I’m not one of those people. (And besides, it’s rare that Best Buy saves me that much.) I would rather go somewhere that saves me money and makes the process of shopping–if not enjoyable–at least reasonably comfortable.

  3. CABridges
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I’d argue that Best Buy and other electronics stores have more small, expensive items to swipe than Target, Barnes & Noble, etc. I’d be very surprised to see a bookstore checking receipts, but it doesn’t surprise me at all to see an electronics store doing so.

    However, I agree with you on the customer service, particularly with Best Buy. Having spent countless hours making sure that everything in the places I worked was priced and clearly signed, going into a store where better than half the merchandise has no price and no help available ticks me off something fierce.

  4. Posted 9/2/2007 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m an American. In America we have laws: Federal, State, Local. I will live by those laws; not the made up laws that retail outlets create to make their customers feel like criminals.

  5. William Ward
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Ignorance of history is a cancer upon nations.

    As usual, my fellow Americans prove the founders correct in their position that the masses are too ignorant to participate in direct democratic government. The constitutional republic exists to provide a filter between you who are all too willing to sacrifice your Constitutional rights, and those who are sworn to uphold those rights for your own good and the good of Americans who actually desire, believe in, and struggle for those rights.

    If it is not crystal clear why submitting to an unlawful search on pain of detention, assault, or government arrest is wrong, then you have not only failed to grasp the principles on which America is based, but you are embracing peasantry in a plutocracy. It will only get worse for your children and their children until such time that people, like Alex, who display backbone and self dignity in the face of unlawful and unethical treatment overcome the machine which you have so willingly lubricated with your apathy.


  6. CABridges
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Wow, you’re right. We should stop posting guards at banks, too, or requiring people to show ID to withdraw money, It’s their money, right? How dare we treat them like criminals! I’m sure the losses from unscrupulous people will be more than made up from the goodwill of honest customers.

    I don’t want to defend the idiotic stores that go too far to the point where you feel like you;’re shopping at a prison. And CostCo can cancel your card, but they have no right to search you for it. But asking to see a receipt when you’re walking past with an expensive item in a large, busy store? This is what defines the fall of our country?

  7. Posted 9/2/2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I wrote about this over 4 years ago:

    I cant believe this is still happening

    Unless you signed a contract (CostCo, Sam’s Club, etc) you do not have to nor should you show your receipt to the door monkeys. Why? Once you have purchased the item it is your property. The bag it is in is your property. To allow an “official” of the store to check your bag and receipt is consenting to a search of your property.

    Why? Why are you giving up a civil liberty? You are consenting to a search without probable cause. Sure there are all sorts of excuses the store manager will give you. “We are looking out for employee theft” – Great, I’m not your employee. “We are ensuring you weren’t overcharged” – Bullshit. “We are . . . ” – Lying?

  8. alex
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    CABridges Says: “We should stop posting guards at banks.”

    No. Nor do I argue we should stop posting guards at stores. If a store has a problem with shoplifting (really, all do), I encourage them to detect and stop those stealing from them.

    Now, if an armed guard at a bank stopped me on the way out and said he needed to see my teller receipt and look through my wallet to make sure I hadn’t picked up any extra cash somewhere–in other words, if he was in an analogous position–yes, I would have a major problem with that intrusion as well.

  9. Shopaholic
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Once people believe that they must show some sort of “pass” to leave a store, or any such public place, search and seizure is the logical next step for stores attempting to curb theft by controlling when and how people are allowed to leave.

    In third world countries, this is how bribery and corruption happens all the time at border checkpoints, and how people who are considered “unfavorable” are penalized by either having their belongings taken for inspection, or are themselves blackmailed into having their “unproven” personal items taken and not returned in the bargain of them being allowed to leave. Think it could never happen here?

    In some areas there is no alternative for people without means to geographically go to another store to by basic survival goods. At that point, those people have no choice but to submit to whatever personal rights violations are expected where they shop, and if this becomes the norm, and civil liberties are forgotten, to submit to unlawful search and seizure as well.

    Allowing people to go through your shopping bags to verify that everything you have in them matches your receipt is a form of search and seizure. I have been detained before because a clerk rang up an item wrong, and that time cost me a huge inconvenience.

    If a shop calls the cops and the cops come and question someone after they have left, it is on a case-by-case basis whether the cop thinks a receipt detailing a fifteen dollar purchase is legitimate taxpayer money spent investigating. Typically a cop will not care because rightfully so there are more important fires to fight.

    If a shopper is arrested in the store for behaving strictly within his rights to expect to be allowed to leave when he chooses, that arrest is on his record for life, and is itself a form of blackmail when threatened to shoppers who don’t know their rights, to force them to comply with a policy that violates their basic rights. It’s also a sign of extreme corruption and ineptitude on the part of the law enforcement who go along with it.

    Showing someone a receipt may seem like just an inconvenience, but it is not the shopper’s responsibility to hire enough staff for a store to feel it is protected from thieves. And it’s definitely not the shopper’s responsibility to submit to unlawful search of their belongings that will allow the store room for even more discriminator practices.

    The solution is for a store to have an exit specifically for patrons who have purchased items and to call the police if a patron exiting through a “non-purchase” exit appears to have stolen.

    If a cashier suspects someone in the checkout has stolen something, the question can be addressed there by the manager, and the legitimate authorities called if it is not resolved by a “yes” or “no” answer.

    Physically blocking an exit is actually highly illegal, and any act by the employee to detain a shopper is harassment.

    Notice they don’t touch you. It’s because they’re a cheap bluff by a store that expects to shame shoppers into providing receipts so that the shop does not have to spend thought or money into solving its internal problems. The vast majority of shoplifting is generally the employees, either themselves personally, or turning a blind eye to an inside job by someone they know. Don’t encourage stores to save money they should be spending on better employee management by turning you into their unpaid employee in forcing you to give them extra amounts of your time.

    That’s like tele-marketers calling you, then putting you on hold. Your time is as valuable as theirs. It’s a monetary resource the store is skimming from you, just like customer service hotlines that put you on hold and make you wait for a representative when there should be enough staff available to handle the calls.

    I politely say “I’m sorry, but I just don’t have time to go through my bags today,” and I don’t ever have problems. That’s the part to know. They cannot actually stop you.

    People aren’t arrested for not showing receipts, they are arrested for negative behavior towards store staff. If authorities walk in and see a clam person standing, requesting to file a complaint of discrimination towards a store for refusing to allow them to leave, the store gets a bad mark for wasting taxpayer money.

    If a police officer stops you outside and requests to know what’s in your bag, let them know (calmly) you felt your civil rights were violated in the store’s request to search your bags and seize your receipt, and you intend to press charges on that store for discrimination. Then show the officer your receipt because unlike the store, he is in fact a representative of law. You’ll be helping to keep everyone’s civill liberties established, and the store will lose credibility for calling the cops over frivolous suspicions. Eventually it will be forced to take responsibility for its own issues of product management.

    Again, the obvious solution is better employee screening and product monitoring, which the store will need to pay for, not you –except indirectly through product pricing, not your time. Stores only own those products until you buy them. The minute you walk out the door, you are two strangers in a public place, and detaining you is harassment.

  10. Posted 9/2/2007 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Considering all of the responses above, it’s obvious that we all are still too caught up in our gotta-have-me-my-shopping mentality to realize that whether you love getting checked at the door or whether you hate it or don’t care, it doesn’t change the fact that we are all commoditized labor units subjugated by a system of economics implemented by a tiny cartel (of gigantic proportions) that strives to enslave us. In the end we work hard to earn money for the people who orchestrated the system.

    Does every one in here pay their Federal Income Tax like the good consumer next to you? Fascism goes far beyond Retail Security Guards.

    ^ Click the link. ^

  11. Kevin
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, as much as it bugs me, I show my receipt at these stores about half the time, because all they do is a cursory check and put a mark on your receipt. Path of least resistance. There’s bigger fish to fry, like getting habeas corpus re-instated, than drawing a line in the sand at a check out line.

    The other half of the time is when there’s a line to get out, I’m in a hurry, bad mood, or feel like making a point where I just walk by those guys and say “no thanks.” Not once has it gone beyond a loud “Sir, I need to check your receipt!!” as I ignored the person and walked off without further interruption. Sometimes it’s fun to look back at the faces of the sheep who just stand there, waiting to get “branded.”

    Once, when I was in a passive mood and let them check me out, someone walked right by them as I do half the time. The guy checking me just looked over his shoulder at him then handed me my receipt with a thank you. I said, “there’s nothing you can do if people do that, huh.” “That’s right, have a nice day sir.”

    It’s never happened but IF the store attempted to detain me without cause, i.e., they didn’t see me shoplifting, I would dial the cops on my cell phone and tell them I’m being illegally detained. If they want trouble I’ll give them trouble! Then I’d sue the store once released and win, because what they did was illegal in my state, violated my civil rights, caused me psychological duress etc.

    OTOH, If the store got the police involved though, yes I would show the cop my ID. I have a policy: never argue with a man with a gun. I know that, legally speaking, you don’t need to carry ID and don’t need to produce it when asked by law enforcement, but I also know that cops WILL perjure themselves to create a different scenario than the actual one. So, rather than have them manufacture a “resisting arrest” charge and take me to jail for a crime I didn’t commit, I’ll show them my ID. Flip it back on them with an official complaint after the fact yes, but refuse to show them my ID at the scene? No way, too dangerous, because cops lie.

  12. Paul D.
    Posted 9/2/2007 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    In my own personal opinion, I think it is a hassle to go through the exit door and being checked. Sam’s Club and Costco don’t have a mere excuse to check people since they have: surveillance cameras and they have “microphones” around the stores, they even send their workers to follow you around the store if they think “you are suspicious” that is also a disrespectful act from them and I had experienced that as well. I had encountered several problems with the “senior” ladies who are at the door marking your receipts. They either don’t see very well and/or count my items wrong. Complaints and letters to the corporations don’t do justice. My other experiences had been at Best Buy, I bought a Canon Digital Camera and I was requested to show my receipt, I refused at first and asked why. They guy said to me something like “just to make sure that you got the right item with you”. After I felt angry at this kind of treatment and a lame excuse, I talked with the manager and they didn’t even excuse. Another story was said to me about that procedure. I do not agree about being asked for your receipts nor you ID, I’ve never and I hope won’t encounter the same situation with a Cop. Your rights as customer and expending money is as far more that we can do to get a great treatment and service, instead of be treated as thieves. These retailers spend millions in security and they still crap you at for a dam receipt. What a shame America!!!

  13. JD
    Posted 9/3/2007 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Alex, I can see you failed economics, so I’m going to toss a small clue your way. Stores with policies of checking receipts at the exit don’t hide the fact that they have that policy. Not hiding the policy is actually the whole point. You see, they want to discourage shoplifters, not trick them into getting caught. They’ve got better things to do than lay traps for shoplifters — like figure out how to stay in business given the insanely low prices they charge. So, since the receipt-checking policy is quite out in the open, if you don’t like it, take your money somewhere else, where, on average over a large number of transactions, you’ll pay somewhat higher prices for your stuff. You’ll pay slightly higher prices because the retailers you will have chosen are faced with higher expenses, namely, “shrinkage”, which is retail-speak for “loss due to jerks taking your stuff without getting a receipt first”. What it seems like to me is that you want all the low prices and convenience of “big-box” stores without paying the true economic cost of that privilege — which is what it is. It’s not a right. No one owes you insanely low prices, and while these stores can’t legally bar you from leaving after a purchase, they sure can bar you from entering before one — and that’s exactly what I’d advise any of these store managers to do if they see you coming. My advice to you, Alex: vote with your dollars and go somewhere else, but please don’t blog about how unfair it is that you have to pay more.

  14. Posted 9/3/2007 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    if i show my receipt, the terrorists win

  15. alex
    Posted 9/3/2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    JD: You are right in one respect: I can and do take my shopping elsewhere in many cases. I go with Newegg instead of Best Buy or CompUSA. In some cases (e.g., Bed, Bath, & Beyond), I want to give the store the chance to recognize that they are doing something that a number of their customers don’t like, because I have a feeling they will change that policy.

    But I can also improve my personal shopping experience by simply ignoring their request–and it is a request–to check my receipt at the door. As a practical matter, I have never been detained for doing so, since detaining me would be illegal, and represents a serious financial risk for the store. I have also never been barred re-entry, something they have the right to do. I conclude from this that the stores are really not particularly interested in whether or not I show my receipt.

    I don’t particularly care about improving the store’s profit margin. I think it’s a little naive to argue that standing in line for five minutes to be given permission to exit a store is in my economic best interest. In effect, the store is looking for a hand-out. My time is valuable. As others have suggested, if the store wants to check my receipt, they should be prepared to give me some incentive to do so. Pay me 10% or 20% of my purchase to wait in that line, and I might agree (at least for large purchases). But as it is set up now, it is a volunteer process.

    If you want to volunteer a few moments of your time to the store, go for it. I’m sure they would also be happy for you to fill out a survey for them or mop up a few aisles. Your time is yours to give. I won’t stop you. But don’t hide that behind an economic argument. As a profit-maximizer, the choice to acquiesce is stupid.

  16. Dish User
    Posted 9/4/2007 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Similar thing is happening with Dish Network. You will get ‘audit calls’ and they want you to go around your house and read off internal location codes off all the Sat. receivers–major PITA… And they are quite rude about it. They suspect people are spreading out their receivers in different houses and/or locations. While this may be true for -some- people it doesn’t mean that you treat all customers as guilty -until- proven innocent. Oh, and if you refuse, they will simply shut off your service! I can’t belive that Comcast doesn’t make a nice advertisement out of this.

  17. bueller
    Posted 9/4/2007 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    “I’ve never had a receipt checked at Tiffany’s…”

    Well, what a big surprise. It’s a small store with lots of visible security, almost everything in locked displays and strict limits on how many people are allowed in. I wonder why your receipt isn’t checked there.

  18. Zach
    Posted 9/6/2007 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    I’m really sick and tired of companies trying to claim that employees are the number one threat to inventory, Barnes and Noble’s in their training manual claims that something like 80% of theft is done by the store employees…

    Not only do I find that ridiculous on face value, but while I was working there they discovered that wrongly inventoried items (through their distribution center) accounted for nearly all the “stolen” product in the stores across the country.

    Basically the product was never stolen because the product never existed- I can only assume that most companies have this same issue ( I know Borders certainly did)

    —–There is not anywhere near as much crime in retail stores as their CEO’s seem to think. And blaming it on the employees is just horrible.

    Interesting fact you’ll learn working at a book store: the most stolen item- The Bible.

  19. Dan
    Posted 9/7/2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I like this note. I used your template and added the boilerplate from www. to put on the back.

    “READ CAREFULLY. By accepting this paper you agree, on behalf of your employer, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all NON-NEGOTIATED agreements, licenses, terms-of-service, shrinkwrap, clickwrap, browsewrap, confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and acceptable use policies (”BOGUS AGREEMENTS”) that I have entered into with your employer, its partners, licensors, agents and assigns, in perpetuity, without prejudice to my ongoing rights and privileges. You further represent that you have the authority to release me from any BOGUS AGREEMENTS on behalf of your employer.”

    Will it hold up? Who knows, but it makes as much sense as the idea that simply posting a sign in a store causes you to forfeit your right to privacy.

    I made a pdf of it, but I don’t have anywhere to host it.

  20. Posted 9/14/2007 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve reviewed a number of blogs/posts on this topic in the last few days. It seems pretty consistent with about 1/3 of the comments saying go with the flow and the rest taking the individual rights stance. Frankly, I’ve become tired of stores harassing me so they feel better!

    Receipt checking is an ineffectual policy and needs to be shown for what it is: a waste of time and money. I’ve summarized the key strategies that can eliminate this useless policy in my how to decline the invasion of the receipt-checkers article.

  21. Posted 9/21/2007 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    “Showing your receipt is no big deal. Just shut up and show it and stop whining about rights!”

    Ugh. You people don’t get it at all, huh? It’s my constitutional right not to be searched unless I agree to it. My right!! You can go ahead and show your receipt and all the stuff in your bags if you like. That’s YOUR right. But since it’s my decision in my case, I choose NOT to submit to a personal search of any kind. Remember: it’s my constitutional right. There’s nothing to argue about.

    …Unless you disagree with the constitution!

  22. Suzie
    Posted 9/22/2007 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    > martyh Says:
    > Beware of Costco, however. It is a membership store and if you refuse to allow your receipt to be checked, the management has the right to discontinue your membership—like, immediately, and confiscate your membership card!

    How can they confiscate your membership card unless you either give it to them or they go into your wallet (illegally)?

  23. Daniel
    Posted 9/27/2007 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Reply to Zach:
    […] I’m really sick and tired of companies trying to claim that employees are the number one threat to inventory, Barnes and Noble’s in their training manual claims that something like 80% of theft is done by the store employees…

    Not only do I find that ridiculous on face value, but while I was working there they discovered that wrongly inventoried items (through their distribution center) accounted for nearly all the “stolen” product in the stores across the country. […]

    This is SHRINK (ie, “stuff” that disappears without a reason). The wrong inventoried items that never existed is an employee error doesn’t make the store lose any money per-se, but it does happen in reverse and sometimes it happens on purpose. I have been working Loss Prevention for approximately 4 years for various retailers, and I can tell you *for a fact* that employee theft accounts for most losses faced by retail establishments. The average employee case pulled by Sears in 1 year was over $800 while the average non-employee case pulled by Sears in that same year was approximately $175 to $200. There are also other losses stores face by employees, fraud (puniching back in from lunch but then sitting in the break room), theft, unauthorized discounts (for friends, family, etc.), etc. Receipt checks are, at least at Target, for catching high theft merchandise (DVDs, CDs, what-have-you), high ticket merchandise, ticket switchers (putting a barcode from a more inexpensive item on an expensive item–IE, a printer ringing up at $3.99??), and employee theft/fraud/unauthorized discounts. Yes, I have caught an employee giving an unauthorized discount during a receipt check. I thanked the customer for their time, sent them on their way, and began an investigation on the employee that ended up being an over $1000 case–all started by a simple receipt check.

  24. alex
    Posted 9/28/2007 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Have to echo Daniel here. It’s too bad when all employees are painted with this brush, but the truth is that most of the “shoplifting” is through the back door. If you work in retail and are not aware of this, it’s because loss prevention folks are so suit-scared that they don’t make public the reason a person is being fired–AND they often don’t tell the next employer (assuming that the next employer actually does a background check.

    However, if Daniel’s post is meant to bolster the case for receipt checks, I say use secret shoppers, and don’t make your customers do your policing for you.

    And I’ve never had a receipt check at a Target. If that changed, I’d stop shopping there.

  25. Wesley
    Posted 11/5/2007 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    I have to admit, I truly understand declining to let them see the receipt. As one fellow above pointed out, he had lost the receipt. After being forced to go to the customer service desk, get a receipt, (which did not look like “any receipt” the inept security guard had seen. He then had to get the manager, be treated like a damn criminal, and waste 45 minutes for a few dollars purchase.

    According to the law, once you have purchased the merchandise, it is yours, not the companies. You have the right to go about your job unmolested. If the company wants to go to clear plastic bags or, as they used to do, staple the receipt to the outside of the bag, that is one thing.

    It is generally a waste of time, it is calculated to intimidate the customers, and as he pointed out, can result in wasted time.

    Many people want to make the argument, that it saves money and time and such. . that is the companies problem. If the want to go to RFID tags for everything that is fine, but how many times have I seen people walking out of wally world, target, CompUSA and other stores, who I have watched pay for something and then not have the RFID tag deactivated? Once again, makes innocent people look and feel like criminals.

    Sure, it takes only a moment or two, GENERALLY. Recently, coming out of a SAMS club, I got behind some idiot with a cart full of goods and a security person who insisted on checking EVERY item. . It took 7 minutes to get out the door. Those were MY seven minutes, not Sam’s. It was an inconvenience to me and the 12 other people behind me. How many stolen items did they find? NOT A SINGLE ITEM!

    A lot of my reaction has to do with the person checking at the door. If they are pleasant and unobtrusive its one thing, but if it’s some punk 20 year old security guard who fancies himself as the TSA or is a frustrated cop wanna be or a last stand against crime, I have a problem with that. I think many people share the sentiment that we will not be intimidated by these guys.

  26. jo
    Posted 11/7/2007 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    just say “no thank you, I checked my recipe myself” than smile sweetly

  27. Posted 12/10/2007 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I do refuse to show my receipt at big box stores, except at Costco, where of course you agree to do it via the membership agreement. I do find it somewhat annoying, but have to admit the checker caught a time when I purchased a $300 electronics item and it didn’t make it into the cart due to an oversight of the cashier, and I didn’t notice! So… that wasn’t so bad :)

  28. Cynical
    Posted 3/4/2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I’m really tired of being treated like a shoplifter at Costco. I’ve been politely declining the receipt checker for years without incident. Only once I was followed into the parking lot. While my Costco membership indicates that “receiipts and merchandise will be checked as you leave the store” it does not mandate my participation in this event, so I decline. My first question is always ” are you accusing me of shoplifting ?” they usually fail to answer this directly (Oh, I’m sure you wouldn’t do that). I press them for a “No” (since I don’t shoplift, they have no evidence of my shoplifting). They explain that their policy requires this. I explain that this is their policy, not mine. My policy is that you may review my receipt for my receipt checking fee of $ 10. They have yet to pay me, so I walk calmly to my car and continue my day.

    When they tell me the inspection is to ensure checker accuracy, I explain that I do not work for their loss prevention department, and I am not interested in this unpaid job.

    I realize Costco has the right to terminate (and refund) my membership, but so far they have yet to do this.

  29. journey46
    Posted 3/11/2008 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    holy cow !
    such pettiness
    is this as far as this guy has come emotionally?

    i shop, i buy, i leave the store
    if someone asks for a receipt, no problem, i have it and i show it
    do you think the receipt taker really enjoys a world that requires them
    to ask for your receipt to stop theft—just to put bread on their table?

    bottom line, shoplifting costs me more as a consumer
    a typical home depot looses $30,000 a month to shoplifting
    who do you think pays for it?
    the crook ? nope.
    protect your money and show your receipt

    i understand that everyone needs to win sometime, but at tiger direct? or bed and bath?
    such pettiness
    you win when you stop violence
    especially when you can stop being violent yourself
    and that is what happened
    an emotionally violent customer
    a like minded security guard
    most of us know we win when we get along
    and our dollar goes further

    you don’t win when you whine, incite riots or browbeat others

    this guy who attacked tiger direct needs to come to grips with his own inner war
    then he’ll be able to pick a fight that matters
    one that helps someone less fortunate
    why else fight?

  30. alex
    Posted 3/11/2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    you don’t win when you whine, incite riots or browbeat others

    Couldn’t agree more. And if you read my post, you will see that I don’t browbeat or whine. I simply go about my day, often with a polite word to the employee. You seem to be happy to volunteer your time to the store to help their bottom line. I would prefer to volunteer my time to more effective causes. And since it is my time, I get to decide how I want to give it up.

    You seem concerned with “a world that requires” an employee to bother the customer, but unwilling to help change that world. It’s not surprising to me that consumers are willing to give their time and privacy up to corporations. They do it in hundreds of ways. Disappointing, yes, but not surprising.

  31. Jennuine
    Posted 4/9/2008 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    oh jeeze, just comply and show the damn receipt. I work in retail so I can relate to the people asked to do their job and be shown receipts. it’s complaining whining customers like you who make our jobs that much stressful.

    what that security guard did at tiger direct was not right, but for a person to refuse to show their receipt is saying “I just pulled a fast one on you, or I am a theif and stole something from this store” all over it. because any logical person knows that if you haven’t done anything wrong then you have nothing to hide and can easily show your receipt.

    oh and it’s not the retail stores fault for asking to see your receipt, you can blame theives for that one.

  32. Fluffernutter
    Posted 6/2/2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    You are indeed right about one thing: “…I’m kind of a jerk that way.” It’s turkeys like you that force stores to raise their prices to cover their inventory losses. Is this really such an invasion of your privacy? Poor you. Please stay at home and do your shopping on the internet. That’ll be one less lard-ass in the line in front of me. There’s a hell of a lot more egregious privacy invasions taking place in this country. Why not focus on that instead? Seriously, stop your whining and get a life.

  33. Posted 6/2/2008 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Fluffernutter: Your comment is stupid. I’m the one speeding up your line, and I don’t shoplift. If you do and/or you want to take time to stop, more power to you. I’m not “whining,” I’m just not complying. I think doing something just because you are told demonstrates a marked lack of character. But if you want to, go for it. Not sure why you even care what I do, but you clearly do.

  34. Jimmy Jack
    Posted 1/14/2009 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    The managers need to get off their duffs and out of their office. Maybe they would understand their customer…This is bs

  35. ruinous1
    Posted 6/3/2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    i have never stole from a store , start off like that . early in 2000 and somthing me and my now wife were shopping in a walmart , we had 200+ $ worth of junk and a 1000.00$ digital cam corder (one of the first ones out ) as we paid ,IN CASH we were stopped at the door for reciept check , we did , there was a question , i did not know the answer , i said quote ” im just a drunk guy with a bunch of money ” mind you , we were complient until this point , the reciept was read , we had not ” stole ” anything there were just things they wanted to talk about . I DONT PLAY THAT ! . the young man grabbed my arm , tried to pull me , i punched him in the face , cops were called , he was fired and i didnt sue , i thought he was going to molest me , after all we did pay for evrything we took home , i felt threatened , i was scared, not really . just dont touch me , i did tell him we are not black , we didnt steal nothin but that was not enough, well walmart paid for his jaw , but he got fired and i didnt sue , because im not trying to cash out like some people , its just i spent a lot of money that night and i wanted to be treated like someone they wanted there , AND THAT DICK GRABBED ME . good luck with the mouth piece , and try to grab someone else !

  36. Adrian
    Posted 12/14/2009 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Showing your receipt isn’t that big of a deal. If you’re going into their store, play by their rules. I’m not going to go to your house and jump around on your sofas,or not take my shoes off at the door if those are your rules. Yes, we are consumers, and yes we do have rights. But not showing your receipt when the request is made isn’t one of those rights. I can see both sides of the coin since I am both a consumer and a retail worker. The receipt checks aren’t done to make you look criminal. In fact, I treat everyone as if they are a paying customer in my store, until they refuse to show me their receipt. Funny, people are so concerned about how being asked to show their receipt will make them look, and don’t think twice about how refusing to do so will make them look.

  37. alex
    Posted 12/14/2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Adrian, let me fix that for you:

    Showing your receipt isn’t that big of a deal, so don’t make your customers do it. If they’re coming into your store, particularly in a rough retail season, play by their rules. I’m not going to go to your house and jump around on your sofas, or not take my shoes off at the door if those are your rules. Yes, we are storekeepers, and yes we do have rights. But harassing a customer, or false imprisonment, isn’t one of those rights. I can see both sides of the coin since I am both a consumer and a retail worker. The receipt checks aren’t done to make you look criminal, that is just the unintended consequence. In fact, I treat everyone as if they are a paying customer in my store, until I have observed them steal something. Funny, stores think they can just insult their customers to save a little cash, not realizing that it costs them more than it saves them when customers decide to avoid the hassle altogether.

  38. Adrian
    Posted 1/20/2010 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    False imprisonment and harassment? That’s really what you get out of a receipt check? Really? Maybe we’re talking of two totally different things. A receipt check should never turn into harassment or false imprisonment. I know there have been plenty of extreme cases that have ended like that, but just generally speaking the jobs these people have are not intended to violate aynone’s basic rights. As a matter of fact, in the particular store I work in, if someone refuses to show their receipt they are not detained or harassed. They are simply informed that their stuff will stay in the store until they can provide a receipt. Where things go from there is totally up to the individual customer. Just because times are tough doesn’t mean all procedure should be thrown out the window. Retail chains are opened to serve their customers. But in recent years, what consumers think they are entitled to is borderline insane. Consumers want to be waited on hand and foot, and to boot want big businesses (such as Wal-Mart and Target) to operate on some kind of honors system? “Oh no, don’t show me your receipt. The fact that you have hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise and have set off my door alarm is irrelevant. I trust you because you are the consumer and that’s how you think things should be.” Look, I know there are some flaws with the current system. Doors constantly going off on PAYING customers is a big issue. But having those alarms, and having receipt checks are necessary evils. If the current system is insulting to you and others, just what do you suggest be done? Unfortunately not everyone can be trusted. A few untrustworthy people ruin things for everyone. So what is your suggestion. How does a store handle potential shoplifters, without insulting paying customers with receipt checks and door alarms? I understand you point entirely. And in understanding and respecting your point…I just want to know how a retail store can effectively eliminate or minimize theft without maximizing the hassle for other PAYING customers?

  39. Posted 1/20/2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    As a matter of fact, in the particular store I work in, if someone refuses to show their receipt they are not detained or harassed. They are simply informed that their stuff will stay in the store until they can provide a receipt.

    Seriously? And people listen to that line of BS? I would walk out with the materials that I paid for. If you physically stopped me, or tried to strip me of goods I had paid your establishment good money for, you would be charged not just with false imprisonment, but with robbery. And then sued.

    What on earth makes you think that you have any authority over my body or things I’ve purchased from you? If you have evidence that I’ve stolen something from you, contact the police. Simply refusing to show evidence that I’ve made a purchase from one of your coworkers 20 ft. away is not sufficient proof. If you have a question, ask your coworker. Or call the cops and waste their time as well, but I’m sure they are going to be just as happy with your nonsense as I am.

    How does a store handle potential shoplifters, without insulting paying customers with receipt checks and door alarms?

    I frankly find door alarms far less annoying than receipt checks. They don’t eat up a large part of my day. Yes, they still go off when I have purchased things, and I still (largely) ignore them. (The obvious example where I don’t is department stores with die packs, but I usually don’t shop in places that do that.) Why do I find it less annoying? Because it doesn’t require me to wait in line, shuffle my baby in one arm, my bags in the other, and wait while an underpaid guard pretends he’s doing something other than writing a check mark on my receipt. Surely, you see the difference.

    How do you prevent shoplifting? I’ve already indicated this. The way that all non-big-box stores do: surveillance. This can take the form of cameras and plainclothes security (which have their own problems) or attentive sales associates. The latter can both drive sales and prevent loss.

  40. Chuckie
    Posted 2/19/2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Does that clown Adrian really believe he has a right to confiscate items legally purchased and paid for without evidence of a crime having been committed?

    I have been doing the “no thank you” routine for a decade and a half. It is often good entertainment. I tell them I will show my receipt if they will show a receipt for their shoes. “What? You can’t prove you didn’t steal them?!?”

  41. AmericanMade
    Posted 3/11/2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    You can NOT be legally detained for refusing to show a receipt at Any store. At one with membership, your membership can be terminated for refusing to do so since it is usually part of the members agreement.
    The purpose for requesting to see a receipt is not to determine if you did, in fact, make the purchase, so much as it is to stop cashiers and other employees from making false sales to people they know. (to sell a TV for the price of gum, etc)
    I never refuse if the line isn’t too long. No Big Deal. In fact, I’m doing myself a favor by stopping theft by employees, which keeps prices Down. The biggest retail problem is theft. Most people would be surprised at the numbers.
    So keep in mind that the retailers with the largest price increases usually have the highest incedence of theft. Want to save yourself some money? Take a second to show your receipt. It’s your opportunity to help your favorite retailers out, and help yourself out at the same time. (I’m not a retailer or in sales… just a retired old fart trying to make ends meet)

  42. Mike
    Posted 2/24/2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Really? I am shocked at most of you. Who cares? Take 10 seconds out your day to show someone a receipt… “Oh my God! Those maniacs!” “I am treated like a criminal!” It takes you way more time to find a manager and complain or to come on a blog to bitch about it than it takes to have someone check your receipt. Aren’t there other things to worry about or to cry about in life than this? I don’t necessarily “like” getting checked out the door, but it doesn’t bother me. I understand what it is, it’s NOT because they think all customers are criminals, it is a theft deterrent. Besides, no one knew or thought Ted Bundy was a criminal either.
    Invasion of privacy? Starbucks, for instance has video cameras in their drive thru menu boards aimed directly in your window, that’s more invasion of privacy than this is. The Government is trying to pass a bill to track everyone’s IP address to catch pedophiles. According to your logic, our own government must think we are all pedophiles. This is an EXTREME invasion of privacy. But we’re worried about someone marking a line on our receipt when we exit a store. Just deal with it and get over yourself.

    • alex
      Posted 2/24/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Your logic baffles me. Yes, the government should not be tracking our IPs on the off chance that we might be pedophiles. Yes, Starbucks shouldn’t be shooting a camera into your car (although it *is* in plain sight, but whatever), on the off chance that you might be planning to rob them. Yes, stores shouldn’t be searching your person on the chance that you might be shoplifting. Again, I’m glad it is not troubling to you, and if you want to participate, go for it. I’m not going to–and that’s my right. Not sure why it bothers you so much that I choose not to participate in this nonsense.

      In this post, I’ve provided an easy way to let the private security forces and their bosses know that I don’t like the practice. This is a way of communicating my displeasure as a customer. I don’t bother getting a manager, etc. I go out the door and drive away. If you want to stand around and wait for a stranger to look through your bags while I’m doing that, more power to you!

      • Robert
        Posted 8/14/2013 at 2:44 am | Permalink

        The problem is that the big box stores gutted their loss prevention staff about 20 years ago.

        It was deemed not cost effective, as loss prevention costs exceeded actual loss.

        Rather than accept that as a cost of doing business, retailers opted to just wing it, and rely on receipt checks and other annoying tactics.

        While I am against receipt checks in principle, what motivated me to start declining them was the gross incompetence of the people doing the checks.

        My refusal is simply me refusing to subsidize the retailer’s loss prevention scheme via my time.

        Never had a problem with that policy, though one of the local assistant Walmart managers has started giving me the Evil Eye.

        If they ever tell me I’m not welcome there, I’ll take my business two blocks down the street, to competitor that I end up at half the time anyway.

        So far – they still enjoy my money.

        I liked the comment about shoes – perhaps next time I’ll ask to go through her pockets – just to check for anything illegal.

  43. sandra
    Posted 11/18/2014 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Oh this really ruffles my feathers. Can you believe my shock I received today after I purchased some stuff at Goodwill today? GOODWILL,,, the place where all the merchandises are given to them for FREE. Upon leaving the woman asked to see my receipt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOODWILL of all places. I’m appauled….

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  1. […] to simply decline to show the Receipt Nazi your receipt. Generally, the did, after all, simply ask. Alex Halavais even goes so far as to have a “you’re harassing me” document to give to store […]

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