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Journal adolf's Journal: Wal-Mart gestapo 4

So, the other day I was at Wal-Mart. My wife and I had done some shopping, and among other things (mostly food) we had bought a new-release Blu-Ray movie.

At the checkout, the clerk passed the movie over the security-tag deactivation thingie several times, but there was no response from it.

However, on the way out, the alarm went off. The greeter (an elderly woman) says "Over here, over here," motioning to me that I should go see her. I ignore her. She grabs onto the cart and pulls, as if attempting to stop me. Not stopping for even an instant, I calmly say "Ma'am, you have no right to hold me here," and proceed on my way. She lets go.

Behind me, through the open door to the parking lot, I hear her say "But you're SUPPOSED to stop."

Now, pause: Why am I supposed to stop? Did I do something wrong? Am I in some kind of trouble? Is anyone else in some kind of trouble that I should be assisting them with? No, no, and no. I own my stuff, I paid for it, and I'm leaving with it -- plain and simple.

I kept walking. When we finally reached the car, which I always park on the far edge of the lot to avoid car door dings and cart damage (cheap insurance, and a good walk, too), we calmly loaded our new possessions into the car. After that, my wife looks back at the store, and sees the greeter-lady standing there, holding the automatic sliding door open, watching.

We get into the car. The greeter is still watching. Wondering how long this can possibly play out, and what might happen if it did, we rolled down the windows and smoked cigarettes for a few minutes. Still, way over there, the greeter was watching.

The greeter won the staring contest, and we eventually left, but: blah.

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Wal-Mart gestapo

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  • Actually, stores do have the right to detain you if they think you've ripped them off. Though you have to wonder how much Wall-mart really cares if their exit security consists of one poorly trained old lady.

    You do know that "Gestapo" is kind of an exaggeration, right?

    http://bit.ly/dohwMg [bit.ly]

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      Not exactly. If they just think I've stolen something, they can ask me to stop to check my receipt. But I have the right to refuse this unlawful (read: optional) search and be on my way. If they then prevent me from leaving, just because of what they think, it's false imprisonment [wikipedia.org].

      However, if they have probable cause to believe that I've stolen something, then they can forcibly detain me. But an alarm does not constitute "probable cause" -- 100% of the time I see an alarm go off at Wal-Mart, the greeter

      • by fm6 ( 162816 )

        What's the authority for those 6 rules? The person who wrote that page doesn't fully grasp grammar, never mind the subtleties of "probable cause."

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          Are you arguing against the rules, or against the author?

          Either way: That's the same list of stuff I had to follow when I worked in retail. And it's the same list of stuff that others I know had to follow, when they worked in retail.

          At any rate, I don't want to live in a world where folks can lawfully stop me and look through my things just because they think I've done something wrong. And, thankfully, AFAICT, I currently don't.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich