Wed, 14 May 2008

Stores that check receipts

Some people clearly have nothing better to do with their time than to aggravate, and be aggravated by, receipt checking stores.

I'm talking about the guy ass that is behind this article (to any SEO people out there, yes, this link has a rel=nofollow param to avoid giving it search engine rankings by linking to it)...

Don't get me wrong, I'm far from one of those people who like walmart, not to mention one of those people who like shopping there! Rather, I agree with him. Receipt checking policies suck-- I find them offensive wastes of time and an insult to their shoppers.

But c'mon, acting like a prick with people who lack the intelligence to even comprehend why you're offended takes more time and creates more exasperation than grinning and bearing it... And if you just can't bring yourself to grin and bear it... (warning: novel concept ahead!) don't shop there!

I guess they deserve each other- Walmart and the stand-up-to-walmart guy... but where he really gets off base is when he turns his ire at Costco:
One problem with this receipt-checking system is that on busy days it forces customers to form long lines at the exit. On some of my visits, I decided to roll past this line with my items, now that I owned them, and head straight to my car.


As I suspected, there were about a dozen customers in line for “receipt review” at the exit. That represented about six extra minutes that I wasn’t being paid for, and so I rolled toward freedom. The employee “reviewing” receipts left the line and cheerfully said, “I’m going to have to see your receipt first.”

Adopting her happy demeanor, I replied, “And you are going to have to chase me in order to do so.” Sometimes it’s worth being an ass just to see the response on people’s faces. Not only was the receipt lady registering total bewilderment, but several customers in line for the same hassle appeared equally baffled. One woman glanced at me with what looked like total contempt. Her response was invigorating, although I’m not sure why. I continued toward my vehicle, where I was greeted by a man who looked and sounded like “security.”

“Was there a problem at the checkout, sir?” he asked.
“No, actually, checkout was great,” I said. “Very efficient. But leaving the store was a little shaky. In fact, there’s definitely a problem there.”
“What’s wrong?”
“Well, for openers, I don’t like being treated like a shoplifter.”
“Sir,” he solemnly stated, “No one is treating you like a shoplifter.”
“Really? Then why, exactly, am I having a conversation with store security, who just happened to reach my vehicle at the same time I did?”

But there's a difference between the likes of Best Buy and Walmart vs. Costco. Principally at Best Buy and Walmart, if you've paid for the goods, you're within your rights to walk right out of the store. It begs the question whether or not you really want to press your luck with your municipal, county or state laws that may or may not make this a legally defensible course of action... Choice A: Save yourself 5 seconds, spend your time and energy in such civil disobedience, potentially get accosted by security, make a scene, give a guy who makes minimum wage more grief than he's paid for, get law enforcement involved, and potentially even go to jail (maybe the cop is just as misinformed about your rights as the Walmart employee?). Clearly, if you must shop at these stores, I think you need to come to a realization that saving that $1.32 on that $599 TV by shopping at Walmart is the price of admission, which includes being accosted for your receipt at the door.

Why doesn't this apply to Costco? Well because at Costco, you agreed to that price of admission when you signed up for a membership! Right next to where you agreed that Costco has the right to "inspect any container, backpack, briefcase, etc., upon entering or leaving the warehouse", you also agreed that in order "[t]o ensure that all members are correctly charged for the merchandise purchased, all receipts and merchandise will be inspected as you leave the warehouse." Oh, and "Shirts and shoes are required" too.

If this rubs you the wrong way, I'm sure Costco will be happy to prorate your remaining membership refund.

Otherwise, I don't know why people don't realize that there is a law of cost conservation:
The paucity of your positive shopping experience is roughly proportional to the amount of money saved at said shopping establishment.

Khan Klatt

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