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Should you let Wal-Mart employees search your bags on the way out?

Started by alanp, March 31, 2009, 11:21:43 AM

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As most of you know, Wal-Mart's security system beeps when something you bought wasn't properly deactivated.  Someone asks to look at your items, find what it was, make sure it's on your receipt, deactivate it, and send you on your way.  Most customers are made to feel like they have to to prove their honesty.  But it is voluntary.  And I went along with it every time without thinking.  These constant false positives are supposed to scare thieves into not stealing.

I know a girl who can't weigh more than 92 lbs who was strong armed against her will back into the store by a Wal-Mart employee to go through her, I'll just say personal items, right in front of everyone.  She was humiliated.  To me, strong arming her back into the store is assault.

I let her know that after she has paid, been issued a receipt, she now owns all the items just as if they were the contents of her purse.  And at that point it's her choice.  The only exception is if someone saw her leave without paying they can detain her for theft as a citizen's arrest.  Wal-Mart even hires guys to walk around the store and pretend to shop just to catch people who do this, but they have to see it.  And if they do that falsely, they will be fired and possible sued!

I decided personally that I would politely decline to play along in the future just for her and to make a point that it is a choice and you don't have to publicly have them sort through your condoms, jock itch spray, enema, hemorrhoid cream, tampons, summer's eve, etc.  I'd rather not have my friends and neighbors stand around to see what made the thing go off!  Does this make me look suspicious?  I really don't care.  I just say, "I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry, and I need to be leaving."  And I've been encouraging everyone else to.



First let me say what they did to your friend is simple wrong and against the law. I worked at Mervyns many years ago and use to help security chase down shoplifters, and you are correct they can not touch you unless they saw with their own eyes you stealing something. Many of people stolen but they didn't see them and couldn't do anything even though they knew 100% that they stole something.

Now with that said I don't think you have the right to refuse to have them look through your bags, 99% of the time you walk up to them they mark your receipt with a highlighter and you leave. Shoplifting cost millions of dollars every year and that cost is passed on to the consumers. If you don't like what they do then I would not shop there. If you refuse to show them your receipt or bag then they have every right to think that you are hiding something and detain you.


Well, I used to work there and it is true that letting them see what is doing is voluntary, yet they also reserve the right to refuse service in the future.   I've never seen them do that though unless it was a confirmed case of shoplifting.  They don't want you to be aware that it's voluntary.  That's just about as big as a guarded secret as their paging code.  (Which is #96 if you want to have some fun!)

And believe me.  I totally try hard to avoid shopping there.  If I can go somewhere else and pay a little more, I usually do.  But in a lot of places they run the competition out of business.


The whole system is kind of a mess.  Another example of everyone paying for the criminals of the world.  I usually try to go along and let them see, but grabbing someone is not allowed under these circumstances and I'm surprised it would happen.  You are asking for either a lawsuit or if it is a thief maybe a gun or a knife coming at you.  One of the many reasons I shop online as much as possible and rarely go to Wal-Mart at all.


Wal-Mart is a lot of fun if you like racing shopping carts. :)

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Wal-Mart = big no no.

I will never shop at Wal-Mart.  They do too many things wrong to get the kind of business they do.  This story (frankly) doesn't surprise me at all.  I disliked it when my friends went, but I said nothing about it.  (Their choice after all). 

So big boooooooooo

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i, had an incident at a wallmart here ln Canada. I have a handicapped parking sticker and a person parked in a handicapped spot without a permit, I reported it to the manager who was reluctant to do anything, so i phoned parking enforcement myself, the police arrived and gave him a ticket for 5000 dollars. they also phoned children's aid on him as he left a 3 yr old strapped in the front seat for an hour while he went in and shopped.

for me it is the principle, why bother having handicapped parking spots if you refuse to enforce the law, it does a disservice for everybody involved. To this day I report all violators as this is a thoughtless behavior that forces people with health issues to be inconvenienced unnecessarily for someone thoughtless bad judgement.

This walmart has since gotton much better on this enforcement issue as they had allot of complaints about this issue.


A $5000 ticket for parking in a handicap spot?  WOW?!?!  Glad I never do that!


Well I'm glad he got in trouble for parking in the spot but really the bigger issue is him leaving his very young child in the car for a hour while he shopped.. He should have been penalized for that a bit more then a $5000 ticket.


From what I saw, he got a lot more then he bargained for, people oten park in these spots for convenience not realizing the imposition they put people in that really need these spots.