Receipt Checking Denial

It seems that there is a new leisure activity called ‘receipt checker denial.’ What these people do is pay for a purchase inside a store and then deny the minimum wage flunky who has to work at the door the ‘right’ to check their receipt. Proponents of this activity state that they are standing up for their rights, citing state laws in the places where they do this as stating that it is illegal for a person to be compelled to provide ‘proof of ownership’ once a purchase has been made. If you read the story above, it also sounds like it consists of giving the employee who works at the door of th rather e local Wal-Mart a hard time than just reaching into their pocket, pulling out a slip of paper and showing it to the worker.

I buy groceries at Costco. Every time I walk out of the store, someone standing at the door looks at my receipt, then looks in my cart and compares what is on the receipt to what is in the cart, then swipes the receipt with a pen and says, “Have a nice day,” or something similar. “Receipt deniers” would seemingly prefer to spend more time denying the employee a look at their receipt rather than a few seconds to just show and go. The receipt deniers cite state law and individual rights. I’ll admit I don’t enjoy having my receipt checked, but I don’t hate it either… but trying to school the Wal-Mart employee on a certain interpretation of a state law regarding whether or not you will just show them a bit of paper that says, “paid” on it seems unproductive. I suspect (correct me if I am wrong here) that some “receipt check deniers” are taking their frustrations out on the low wage employees.

If there is a law on the books in most states that states that you cannot be ‘compelled’ to prove ownership after purchase, the creators of that law probably had a very different scenario in mind when they created it. If I were to be asked to ‘prove ownership’ of my pants before I left a store, or ‘prove ownership’ of my car as I tried to drive it or ‘prove ownership’ of my home while I am in it, such demands would (naturally) become quite onerous and could even result in unprincipled individuals and organizations enriching themselves by challenging other people’s ownership of common items at every turn. If a non-employee is pushing a cart or carrying an item out of a store, I guess I can understand why the store owner would make sure they paid before leaving. I don’t steal things from stores, but I don’t think having someone ask me for a receipt as I leave means that I am being ‘treated like a criminal,’ especially if no one leaving the store is being singled out. If the ‘checker’ were to be profiling whom to ask for receipts on the basis of race or dress, for example, I would feel differently (I would also think such a method would be ineffective since shoplifters would then attempt to simply fit the profile of someone who doesn’t get asked).

(edited for snark)


7 Comments on “Receipt Checking Denial”

  1. limpey says:

    ps: I edited the original post so I am not calling you an 'asshole' anymore. I am not going to agree with your position on this, but I don't want to make you think I want to beat on you without reason, either.

  2. Yesmar says:

    @limpey: I'm not suggesting people be singled out. Rather, I am stating that I refuse to participate in the business model of stores that treat their customers as thieves. It is my sincere hope that they all go out of business.

  3. limpey says:

    I think we are living in an increasingly uncivil society and tearing some hapless employee a new one (or at least make him/her suffer a bit) over a matter of such triviality as letting them earn their ~$8 an hour by checking receipts is a symptom of that loss of civility. I think browbeating a minimum wage earner in retail who will get fired if he/she tells you to shut up and start treating them like a fellow human being isn't going to do anything other than make the receipt denier feel like he/she “showed them they couldn't treat me like that!”

    Perhaps WalMart doesn't have 'the right' to check your receipt, but the poor sap in the blue smock does not have the power to decide that — his corporate masters decide what he has to do to earn his pittance. And the district level managers probably don't care how much their wage slaves get abused by the customers… if the employee gets depressed and quits, in this economy they will be able to pick between replacements. So nothing REALLY changes other than the angry customer gets to enjoy a temper tantrum.

    I also admit that it sticks in my craw that the dude in the article linked above got compared to Ghandhi for having refused to show his receipt on the way out of Walmart. I think there ought to be some 'reverse Goodwin's law.' If your argument automatically jumps the shark when you compare some guy working the door at Walmart to Hitler, then it should also be considered to have 'jumped the shark' when some cranky shopper gets compared to Ghandhi. Ghandhi risked his life to fight oppression. Receipt denier dude could have always just bought his TV somewhere else. Furthermore, shopping somewhere else is a message that the owners at Walmart would understand. Chewing out a bottom tier employee will do nothing other than give that poor sap a bad day.

  4. JDJarvis says:

    Did a little reading on this last night and many stores don't do this solely to check up on customers as much as they do to monitor the quality and honesty of the cashiers.
    Surprise, Wal-Mart can't trust it's employees.

  5. limpey says:

    JD: [sarcasm] Imagine that. Walmart pays people low wages, has 'applying for public assistance' seminars for employees (instead of benefits I suppose) and is famous for jerking employees around and they pay the company back by stealing!

  6. limpey says:

    jgbrowning: No offense taken. There may be some projection on the motivations and methods of the receipt deniers on my part going on… I must admit my perceptions are probably colored.


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