Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Civil Rights Experiment

So, I've decided to run an experiment. This experiment consists of me executing my constitutional rights. Mainly, the 4th amendment. My right to be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. This mainly consists of radical loss prevention tactics at large stores (i.e. receipt checks). These receipt checks violate my 4th amendment rights, and are supposed to be voluntary. They can not harass you, detain you, ect. If they tried, that would be considered false imprisonment and/or assault and battery.
I'm sure you are wondering why I would even do this. First of all, this is a horrible consumer practice. You're basically accusing everyone of shoplifting. Guilty until proven innocent?? I think not. In order for them to detain you and place you in citizens arrest they have to have probable cause. Probable cause for shoplifting includes all of the following:
1.) They must see the shoplifter approach the merchandise
2.) They must see the shoplifter select the merchandise
3.) They must see the shoplifter conceal, convert, or carry away the merchandise
4.) They must maintain continuous observation of the shoplifter
5.) They must fail to see the shoplifter fail to pay for the merchandise
6.) They must approach the shoplifter outside of the last point of sale

Secondly, I see no reason why I should consent to this. Often the receipt check is a huge hassle and I have to find my receipt that is somewhere in my purse. Sometimes there are even receipt check lines exiting the store. Why should I have to waste my time on poor consumer practice?

You might argue that this helps deter shoplifting, I disagree. Have you ever seen someone shoplift? Do you really think a wal-mart greeter is going to be able to stop them or that a receipt check is going to deter them? I think instead of basically accusing everyone of shoplifting as they exit, they should look into hiring more employees (or more competent employees ) and train them on what to look for. If anyone can show me any statistics on receipt checks actually detering shoplifting, then I will gladly change my mind. Target and other places seem to be doing just fine without them.

Now, onto my documentation... (hopefully I'll start recording this soon).

12/23/2008 7:20 PM Wal-mart
Took Justin to the Wal-mart on Parmer lane and IH-35 to get some christmas shopping done. Justin attempted to obtain a video camera. Of course, the video camera was behind lock and key. We waited 10-15 minutes for someone to help us. Got the video camera and purchased it on the spot in the photo department. It was placed in a bag. We continued shopping. I bought John a few small gifts and proceded to checkout. I paid for the merchandise, and went towards the front door. The door alarm goes off and a intimidating woman comes rushing to block my exit and states "let me see your receipt". I say "no thank you" and attempt to steer the cart around her. She grabs the cart and says in a louder voice "Do you have your receipt?!?!?!!!". I state "Yes. Now I have to be going. Would you let go of the cart?" This time she yells "NO! SHOW ME YOUR RECEIPT!!!" I then grab my bags out of the cart and start heading towards the door. She's freaking out and yelling at me as I'm grabbing my items and other (security?) people come running up. I state "I purchased my items and now I have to be going now." Then I proceed out the doors to my vehicle.

Thoughts: Well, that lady was hardcore and definitely not in the right. She harrassed me, and may have falsely imprisoned me by grabbing my cart. Although, I still need to do some research on wether or not grabbing the cart is false imprisonment, since it is technically their property. I wish I knew a lawyer or paralegal that I could confer with.

12/23/2008 8:00 PM Wal-mart
Took Justin to the other wal-mart closer to our house (Ben White and IH-35) to get a christmas gift that they were out of stock at the Palmer wal-mart. We went in, didn't grab a cart since it was one item, and went to purchase the item. (it was a vaccuum cleaner.. but shhh don't tell. It's my christmas present.) We went to the checkout near the door and purchased the item. I put the receipt in my pocket and headed towards the door. The door man came towards me and asked for a receipt. I said "No thanks, I'm good" as I kept walking. He then looked a little confused and started speaking much louder "Hey! Stop! Hey you!! Stop!!!" I kept walking and he yelled "SHOPLIFTER!!!" I was already out the door by this time, and turned around. I came back inside and asked if he had just refered to me as a shoplifter. He stated that he did not and was trying really hard not to talk to me. I stated that I had other people who witnessed such and in doing so he was defamating my character. I then asked him for his name which he gave, and the name of his manager, which he didn't know. I then left because I didn't want to deal with complaining about someone before christmas.

Thoughts: Wow, they really should train these people on what they can and cannot do. Defamation of character anyone? Ugh. I really really need to record these.

More adventures coming soon!!!

All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they should.
-Samuel Adams

1 comment:

Corey said...

I commend you on your experiment, but I have a legal nit to pick. A mandatory receipt check is illegal, but it has nothing to do with the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Bill of Rights protects citizens from the government and its agents. Wal-Mart employees are private citizens just like you and me.

Every state has a "merchant's privilege" clause in its shoplifting/larceny law that allows stores to detain suspected thieves when they can meet the established legal standard of "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion." PC is the most stringent standard to meet, but even reasonable suspicion would entail more than refusing a receipt check.


Good luck!