I'm sure most of us have shared the all-too-common experience of being nearly accosted as we leave a Wal-Mart (or other similar place of business), only to be asked for our receipt as we leave, as if we are in the process of stealing whatever we may have in our cart. Yesterday afternoon, I was doing just that with several largish bags of dog food in the cart, when the young lady at the door provided just the opening I needed by saying she needed to see my receipt.
Of course, I could hand her my receipt as is standard procedure, but that wouldn't be any fun, now would it? It would have been even easier to do so than normal, because I was actually walking towards the door with my receipt in my hand, as I often do.
It is worth noting at this point that at my typical store, this is generally enough to get through without being bothered. I'm not sure if the employees are lax in their duties or simply afraid of being accosted by someone who doesn't want to go through the procedure.
But in this case, before I could even think it through, I was asking her why she needed to see my receipt. To this simple query, she gave me an answer which seems all-too-obvious, but left the poor woman at an unfortunate disadvantage. She told me that anything that wasn't bagged needed to be checked. Naturally, the 20-pound dog bags weren't in bags of any sort (shopping bags, I mean, and I assume she meant the same). I pounced.
You see, I really don't have too much of a problem with the checking of receipts, but on some days I just find it annoying. If I had been purchasing only dog food, it was one thing. But I also had another bag of items that was bagged as it should have been, meaning I had been through the line. Surely even a non-observant cashier could notice the several bags of dog food in the cart.
Plus, I was running a bit behind schedule. So being detained and presumed guilty just grates on my nerves. Sometimes, I just feel like being annoyed. On the plus side, I was in a good mood. So I promptly suggested she get me bags of the appropriate size so I could get this over with, and she told me that they didn't have bags large enough to hold my purchase. It was on.
After a couple of quick rounds of banter, during which I held up the line - yes, I really did this - I asked to see the manager. If they are going to insist on questioning me about items that aren't bagged, I was going to demand to get bags for everything. And since I was the first one to the door, I was darn well going to be the first one to leave. It goes without saying the people behind me weren't happy about it. By the time the manager showed up, there had to be six people behind me that were increasingly unhappy. It was sweet.
This is when I started to get irritated, because the first thing she did was lay the blame squarely at the feet of the woman at the door. That's just wrong, and I quickly corrected her, saying that the woman had done a wonderful job, and it was the policy that was causing the problem. When the manager realized that the line was rapidly growing (as was the scene that I was causing), she told me that I was free to go. They never did check the receipt.
Did I pay for the dog food? Of course I did. It would never enter my mind to not do so. But it seems to me if you didn't want to, this would be an easy way to get by without doing it.
What bothers me is that they have a policy where they check you out if you don't have bags for everything, but they don't give you bags for every item you purchase. Okay, I understand that some things are pretty large. But they have the little stickies that they put on things you bring back in the store - what about putting them on when you leave the store (a different color, perhaps)? That seems to make sense to me.
We have - or used to have - a policy in this country where you were presumed innocent until proven guilty. Is Wal-Mart really such a force that they can change this? Have we really become such sheep that we'll accept anything, just to get a lower price on a 2 gallon jar of pickles? That's sad.