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Nation-Wide Retailers (?)
CompUSA Macintosh Section 66%
Guitar Center Front Counter Guitar Cord Department 16%
Sav-On Photo Finshing and Processing Service 16%

Votes: 6

 I Am A Criminal Suspect (Apparently)

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jun 08, 2002

I went shopping at a local nation-wide chain of computer stores today and was ended up feeling like a shoplifter because I walked out of the store after buying something.


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I went shopping for some computer stuff today at a computer store. I don't usually go to this store but I was out and it was on my way back home. I found the time I needed and paid for it at the register. I was th eonly person at th register at the time. After completing the transaction I walked out the exit. I was stopped by an employee who wanted to see my receipt. I asked him why. His response was, "Because that's what the sign says and it's my job." He pointed to a sign at the entrance, but I don't know what it said.

We exchanged words and eventually I allowed him to examine my purchase and "let" me go.

I was torn - I needed this particular piece of equipment to get back online, but I wanted to go home and do my other chores (which I have been neglecting the last few weekends). I could have simply said, "Well, since you are treating me like a shoplifter I will return this item right now. You'll lose this sale and every potential sale in the future, too. Or you can assume I legitimately purchased this item and allow me to exit unharassed, just as almost every other store I've ever been in does." If the answer was "return it" then I would have had to drive down to the Apple store 30 miles away to buy a modem.

A particular nation-wide rock and roll musical instrument retailer tried to do this to me the last time I went there. I refused to allow him to look at my stuff and walked away. So, I now only go to local music stores for equipment and accessory purchases.

I'll not give this chain my business in the future, but I wish I had been able to make a freer (or maybe "more equal") choice this afternoon. I'll have to locate a local store that stocks Apple products and use it from now on.

On a lighter note, I picked up a 35 mm reprint today at another well-known nation-wide prescription drugstore chain. It was a 4 calendar day long process to turn in the negative and get a 4x6 print in return. Total price: $.85. Fine by me but it doesn't seem all that cost-effective.


the natural operation of the market at work (none / 0) (#1)
by foon on Sat Jun 8th, 2002 at 11:34:21 PM PST
These fine, upstanding businesses would not engage in these activities if it were not determined that potential decreases in losses due to theft outweighed the lost money from disgruntled customers such as yourself. Your response, of course, is should not feel yourself obligated to purchase from a particular retailer despite policies which you may dislike, when the market offers a wide range of choices. Of course, it is quite likely that the vast majority of consumers prefer the large selection of products offered at major national retail chains, despite their rigorous security policies, so you should rest assured that the continued existence of these policies is in fact exactly what the average consumers desires, insofar as these business, which provide a service consumers desire, benefit from not having their merchandise stolen.

As for the costs of your reprint, you must understand that there are certain fixed costs in photo processing, in labor and equipment operation costs, that do not depend on the number of prints you have made, so naturally it is less expensive per print the more you have made. Their pricing structure is no doubt set up to reflect this reality.

Oh Yeah, I Get It (none / 0) (#11)
by doofus on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 11:42:19 PM PST
My point with the reprint was that $.85 (85 cents) is a small amount, so small as to be practically not worth the effort to do the reprint (for them).

Just ask the Searchers about..... (none / 0) (#2)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Jun 8th, 2002 at 11:57:54 PM PST
The fourth amendment of the US constitution, or the eighth section of Canadian Charter, or other protection again unreasonable search and seizure legislation of your area.

If they don't know it is, tell them, and then ask what they want to do.

And yes, store searches are illegal. They have no grounds to search you arbitrarily.

Can you read? (none / 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 01:52:10 AM PST
He asked for a receipt, not a search, and especially not an unreasonable search.

Now, let's stretch your legal powers a little: What does the constitution say about receipts? And what would a court consider to be an unreasonable search? I'm going to want a summary of major court decisions regarding receipt checking and baggage searches. Outside of the Michigan Militia, a passing knowledge of the constitution is generally not considered sufficient to decide what is right and wrong under law.

the fourth ammendment (none / 0) (#16)
by foon on Mon Jun 10th, 2002 at 04:37:48 PM PST
I don't know about the Canadian charter, given the Canadian tendency toward socialism and regulatory stranglehold, but the fourth ammendment restricts THE GOVERNMENT from carrying out unreasonable search and seizure. A private business in fact cannot legally force any person to be searched. By the same token, however, they can control the terms under which individuals may enter their private retail establishment. In fact the search is completely voluntary, but if you refuse they are under no obligation to allow you to purchase anything from their establishment, or enter their establishment again. This is something that you give your de facto consent to when you enter the store, and since you have a wide choice of other venues to purchase the same products through the natural plurality introduced by a market economy, it is something which is totally open to individual choice.

when you assume ... (none / 0) (#3)
by Narcissus on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 01:19:07 AM PST
I'm not gonna finish it but a local computer sales establishment that I frequently visit does this receipt/bag check but their reasons, on top of security reasons, is that they check to make sure that you are getting what you payed for and not a separate product especially in the case of computer hardware because they provide many brands of R.A.M. and such in similar if not identical encapsulations. So they could have very good reasons for asking to view your purchase receipt.

Did it really hurt to just let them see? If you weren't stealing anything what did it really matter? Let's use a little common sense and discretion people.

Ok, who picked the flower???

What Bothered Me Was (none / 0) (#12)
by doofus on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 11:50:46 PM PST
that they were assuming I was stealing it, since they stopped me (and everyone else who is exiting the store with a purchase). Funny, that. They don't stop and search people exiting the store without a purchase.

Also, I was the only one at the checkout - the guy was watching me the whole time, so he knew I had bought it.

As far as the "making sure you got what you bought" reason, that's what a) sales floor help and b) those plastic check out purchase dividers are for. The "lemme look at your receipt and then mark it with this marker" guy isn't doing anything mor than exactly that.

whats wrong with them asking for receipt? (none / 0) (#5)
by yeap on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 09:53:05 AM PST
Nothing wrong with that. How are they meant to know you legally bought it otherwise? Were you given a receipt? Its not like the "end of the world" because you were asked for a receipt.

um... (none / 0) (#6)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 11:09:26 AM PST
Don't you know most stores asked for the receipt before you leave?


Not here. (none / 0) (#9)
by The Mad Scientist on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 04:53:13 PM PST

But it is probably only matter of time the retail stores "culture" will degenerate to this level even here. Someone could call it "progress", mistaken by the way too common local misconception that blind adoption of whatever's in use in the "Developed West" is necessarily the best.

Only from Mr. Scientist... (none / 0) (#15)
by hauntedattics on Mon Jun 10th, 2002 at 09:39:12 AM PST
Ask a simple diary-entry question about a receipt, and get a fuckin' semi-paranoid, quasi-Marxist political sermon.


not all that Marxist (none / 0) (#18)
by nathan on Tue Jun 11th, 2002 at 04:16:48 PM PST
Marx had no truck with romantic glorifications of feudalism.

Li'l Sis: Yo, that's a real grey area. Even by my lax standards.

You are right. (none / 0) (#21)
by hauntedattics on Wed Jun 12th, 2002 at 11:20:26 AM PST
I was reacting in a knee-jerk way to the undercurrent of anti-capitalism in the post. Marx tended to be more explicit, though.

It is in the UK you will be pleased to hear. (none / 0) (#17)
by dmg on Tue Jun 11th, 2002 at 07:19:57 AM PST
Costco operate this policy in their UK outlets.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

Not Where I'm From (none / 0) (#13)
by doofus on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 11:54:13 PM PST

Only two of the poll options plus Fry's that I know of do that. Guess where I don't shop?

What other stores that you know of have a "treat the paying customer as a shoplifter" policy?

Walmart (none / 0) (#14)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jun 10th, 2002 at 05:30:10 AM PST
"What other stores that you know of have a "treat the paying customer as a shoplifter" policy?"

I think some Walmarts do this and some warehouse stores


treat paying customer as shoplifter? (none / 0) (#19)
by yeap on Wed Jun 12th, 2002 at 12:42:38 AM PST
They're trying to make the system work. If they didn't search you, that means they can't search anyone, and that means that real shoplifters would get away.

...come to think of it, most computer stores (none / 0) (#20)
by yeap on Wed Jun 12th, 2002 at 12:53:14 AM PST
most computer stores treat their customers as shoplifters, simply because generally they are. 90% of their customers are teenagers/hackers, so with those type of customers, I wouldnt be suprised if they shoplifted.

Your mistake was purchasing Mac (5.00 / 1) (#7)
by walwyn on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 12:35:13 PM PST
As it is well known OSS advocates are common thieves.

I had that exact same experience (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 03:18:41 PM PST
I was at this dido store by my house because I needed a new Black Bumboocha (tm) and I paid for the dildo and was on my way out when this seedy little man stops me and asks did you pay for that?

So I say yes and he says what are you going to do with it? So I give him a short answer and he says no tell me more

So I go into more detail and hes starting to get kind of sweaty and hes breathing fast and he says no, I need to know more!

So I tell him what Ill be doing and describe the person ill be doing it with and what we'll be wearing and how my bedroom is decorated and by this point hes ALL hot and bothered and Im starting to get suspicious so I say hey do you even work here?

And he gets all downcast and says no! OMG it was so embarrassing! Im never shopping at that dildo store again!

what a strange little man. (none / 0) (#10)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jun 9th, 2002 at 06:08:04 PM PST
Do you think he worked there? I mean, why didn't you just push him out of your way and leave?.......You are a woman, right?


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