Papers Please: Arrested at Circuit City for refusing to show ID, receipt

Boing Boing reader Michael Amor Righi says,
Today I was arrested by the Brooklyn, Ohio police department. It all started when I refused to show my receipt to the loss prevention employee at Circuit City, and it ended when a police officer arrested me for refusing to provide my driver's license.

There are two interesting stories in one which I thought would be of interest to Boing Boing readers. The first involves the loss prevention employee physically preventing my egress from the property. The second story involves my right as a U.S. citizen to not have to show my papers when asked. (Despite having verbally identified myself, the officer arrested me for failing to provide a driver's license while standing on a sidewalk.)

Here are two blurbs from my blog post which summarize both parts of the story:

"I've always taken the stance that retail stores shouldn't treat their loyal customers as criminals and that customers shouldn't so willingly give up their rights along with their money."

"I can reluctantly understand having to show a permit to fish, a permit to drive and a permit to carry a weapon. Having to show a permit to exist is a scary idea which I got a strong taste of today."


Update: Some very thoughtful debate about the rights and wrongs in this story in the BB comments forum, including one by a BB reader identified as an attorney: Link, and this one and this one, by Boing Boing community goddess Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Previously on Boing Boing:

  • TigerDirect: check in any time you like, but no receipt? You can never leave.
  • 299

    1. Costco routinely asks to see your receipt before you leave and MARKS it with a different colored marker each day. There is a posted sign explaining that this is to prevent anyone from buying something, then coming in and sneaking out with another of the original product using the first receipt. Of course, if someone did this, they could presumably return one of the products for a refund and thus get something completely free.

      As a reformed shoplifter, I understand this procedure completely–and don’t mind it at all. Now, if Circuit City doesn’t mark the receipt at all, I don’t get it–it’s just plain stupid.

    2. Under what circumstances must I provide ID if requested by a police officer? Is there a page on the Web that definitively discusses this? I’ve often wondered if a driver’s license is required for walking down the sidewalk.

    3. Yesterday I witnessed a very frightened-looking gentleman of south asian or middle eastern descent being sternly informed by a member of the NYPD that he would be arrested if he couldn’t produce ID. This was outside the turnstyle of a NYC subway station. I almost yelled at the cop but thought much better – I’m not sure if NY state has a statutory requirement for producing ID.

      I would sign in, except that the police have taken my information before, and I’ve caused them trouble in the past (a false arrest case arose from their response to me once).

      In a further frightening development, which I was wondering how to make public note of, a club/bar I went to tonight incorporated a sort of rough “show-ID stand here for the computer-camto take a picture of you to run through some hipster-verifiability/terrorist-watch list sort of procedure. At first this didn’t bother bc i thought the use of technology sort of novel, until I got realized that these clubsters had in a sense taken my identity as a security deposit for entering the club (along with the $10 cover).

      There is simply no such animal as privacy anymore, and any notion of our rights in the face of state inquiry (or shopkeeper’s privilege, a term a law student friend introduced me to, if that is accurate…) has at least radically changed if not evaporated since earlier seemingly more innocuous times. You know, when we tried not to be quite as bad as the totalitarians we were railing against.

      One more note: my brother receieved a $50 ticket for having his feet up on the edge of a subway seat. When I see the police enter a train car I am on, I sit quietly, practically holding my breath, my belongings held tight, hoping they don’t decide I’m doing anything illegal. Oh and then there fun thoughts that run through my head when they search my messenger bag for small packets of whatever malicious gizmometers they think I’m going to let loose on empty trains…I bet I could keep going…

    4. According to the Ohio Patriot Act, which was passed in 2005, requires “individuals to show identification or provide personal information in specified situations”. Those specific situations are detailed in Sec. 2921.29.

      Sec. 2921.29. (A) No person who is in a public place shall refuse to disclose the person’s name, address, or date of birth, when requested by a law enforcement officer who reasonably suspects either of the following:

      (1) The person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a criminal offense.

      (2) The person witnessed any of the following:

      (a) An offense of violence that would constitute a felony under the laws of this state;

      (b) A felony offense that causes or results in, or creates a substantial risk of, serious physical harm to another person or to property;

      (c) Any attempt or conspiracy to commit, or complicity in committing, any offense identified in division (A)(2)(a) or (b) of this section;

      (d) Any conduct reasonably indicating that any offense identified in division (A)(2)(a) or (b) of this section or any attempt, conspiracy, or complicity described in division (A)(2)(c) of this section has been, is being, or is about to be committed.

      (B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of failure to disclose one’s personal information, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

      (C) Nothing in this section requires a person to answer any questions beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth. Nothing in this section authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person for not providing any information beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth or for refusing to describe the offense observed.

      (D) It is not a violation of this section to refuse to answer a question that would reveal a person’s age or date of birth if age is an element of the crime that the person is suspected of committing.

    5. If I recall correctly a Terry stop in a US State that has a stop-and-identify law requires a person only to give only their name (Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada). Photo ID is not required. Ohio is a stop-and-identify state. If this person failed to verbally give his name then he was on the wrong side of the law. If he only failed to show ID after verbally stating his name, then all he should need to do is cite 542 U.S. 177.

      As for the stopping of a person for failing to show a receipt, stores are usually allowed to stop and hold people only if they suspect theft. Failing to show a receipt is not reason enough. This reader will have to look up the applicable laws but it is probable that the loss prevention employee violated the unlawful restraint law.

      The first step in any case is to get a lawyer.

    6. It would be nice to have him quote the law he’s basing things on – the one that shows they can’t ask to look in his bag. It would give anyone else doing similar things a bit more ammo to back up their actions.

    7. This just in: Recaltricant e-dork messes with low-paid service employees, is later arrested by other low-paid service employees. Mentions on Internet, street cred increased. Film at 11.

    8. According to the Brooklyn Ohio ordinances, as I read them, one can be detained but not restrained.

      There is also an ordinance stating that a person must disclose their name, address, and DOB to any cop that “suspects” them, though I do not see an explicit mention of physical ID.

      Personally, I’m with the guy – I often refuse to show my receipts on the way out of so-called “big-box” stores, depending on how exit conditions appear (so I can be positive I can avoid exactly the kind of restraint mentioned – I’ve never been stopped but I have been yelled at many times!)

    9. Circuit City and the cop are both going to lose on this one, bigtime.

      First, he was illegally detained by the CC manager, and then “not showing ID” is *not* a valid reason to get arrested in Ohio.

      Watching how this plays out should be very interesting. The Austin, TX CompUSA stores stopped checking receipts at the door in ’99 or early 2000 after a large outcry and many complaints from the “nerd community” resulting from some overzealous rent-a-cops chasing people out into the parking lot or preventing them from driving away with their purchases.

    10. That’s absolute shit.
      What could you do if you have no ‘papers’?

      I know that I don’t normally prepare for a trip
      to Wal-mart by going through a mental checklist that includes all forms of photoID….

      I make sure I have $$ to make a purchase if required and beyond that and housekeys there should be no further required personal inventory to enter the real world and be in public places.

      Since you’ve been arrested your local shopping establishment your name is now on no-fly lists and your personal finances & phone calls will now be scrutinized by teams of overpaid .gov employees.

      My personal advice…..
      move up here to Canada :-)

    11. I’m kind of tired of these stories. What’s the harm in showing a damned receipt?

      The only reason I can see that anyone would refuse (assuming they’re not stealing anything) is to try to one-up an authority figure and feel like they have some power.

      Grow up. Just show the effing receipt and stop causing scenes.

    12. What I don’t like is people who choose not to play by the store’s rules. You are on someone else’s private property – not yours. If you don’t want to show your receipt, return your merchandise and don’t shop there. Order your products online if you wish.

      Businesses are private property. Just because you bought a piece of merchandise there doesn’t give anybody the moral right to suspend the property owners right to have guests follow their rules (even if it is “the law”).

      It is not as if people at large are ignorant that they may be asked and yes even required to show their receipt. Just because some person thinks their rules trump those of the business they shopped at doesn’t make it so.

      Next time Boing Boing posts yet another of these outraged shopper stories about a person who thinks it is an imposition or an intrusion to provide their receipt I would suggest they ask: Whose rules apply – the business whose private property someone volunteered to enter or some scofflaw who thinks they can impose their personal set of rules on someone else’s private property?

      If you don’t like a rule or you don’t want to provide your receipt at a given business, don’t do business there – please, it is just common sense.

      Thane Eichenauer – Tempe, AZ

    13. I’m not sure how Circuit City’s LP system works, but from my experiences in the field at (insert large American retail chain here), you can PROBABLY at least get the guy who stopped you fired (or at least in a bunch of trouble) for having a bad stop. Use your Google-fu (or some well-placed phone calls) to find out who the district manager of Loss Prevention is in your district, and tell him what happened – chances are he won’t be too happy. Bad stops make the store look REALLY bad, especially if something like this gets media attention. If revenge is your cup of tea, this guy’s toast.

    14. I agree you may have them with the “no ID” aspect of your defense, but refusing to produce a receipt is just irresponsible and stupid.

      Produce the reciept (papers as you refer to it), have a smug snooty smile on your face, and give them attitude if you want. But the reality of the situation is they are legally able and rightfully so to ask for your ‘papers’.

      This isnt the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, where ‘papers’ didnt mean such a menial thing as a reciept from WalMart. Your comparison of ‘papers’ is insulting to citizens that had to live in those countries/times.

      Dont take a minor inconvenience and compare it to a life or death situation of the iron curtain.

    15. I must agree with Thane. You’ve entered private property – private property filled with many interesting things of high value which quite a few people might want to steal. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable that they want to see your receipt for any goods you’re carrying to make sure you’ve paid for them before you leave. The author of this article didn’t have to show ID to the store staff to get out, just the receipt for an easily-stealable item purchased from those private premises.

      This is not an invasion of privacy. The receipt doesn’t have your personal details on it. It doesn’t have your card number on it (or at least it shouldn’t – if it does, stop shopping there and make sure you burn the thing instead of throwing it away when you no longer require it). It doesn’t have your sexual preferences encoded in the layout of the text. So what’s the big deal? Some attempts to reduce or prevent crime to infringe on our rights, and these need to be considered carefully, but this doesn’t – it’s just an unfortunate sign of the times we live in.

      That said, though, after the utterly pointless incident with the security guard which led to calling the police, the police officer really needs to get straight on whether there’s a legal obligation to produce ID or not. Obstructing the police I can understand, but there’s no justification for actually needing to know who someone is at that point. Since the author handed over the receipt to the police officer when asked, and the store manager confirmed nothing was stolen, that should have been the end of it – with a chat from the police officer about private property and the prevention of retail theft. The arrest does appear rather over the top, but the situation should never have arisen in the first place.

    16. Thane – Unfortunately, the law appllies to private property too, rendering your entire argument null. Thanks for trying, though.

    17. In an age where CCTV has total blanket coverage (I live in the UK so lemmetellyou, I *know* about being watched all the time,) there is no excuse for customers to be assaulted by random stop ‘n’ searches or requests for proof of purchase from whoever the store decides should do it.

      There is no excuse for the store to not have cameras looking into every corner of their store, along with tags and gate alarms — this is just common sense security practice and is an acceptable way to prevent shrinkage and unsuitable behaviour. In 2007, we accept that if we choose to visit one of these places, we’ll be watched while we shop, and that’s fair enough.

      With that in mind, it’s not acceptable, if the company is following sensible practice, to harangue shoppers and bully them into becoming Stepford customers — ‘come in, spend money, covet new stuff then leave with a reminder that we are the boss’. These stores aren’t the boss, and no matter what the political climate says, the age old rules of business *and* good manners still apply: the customer is king, the customer is always right, the customer is a person who has the right to shop elsewhere.

      Business, specifically big business is the reason we are in so much mess these days — debt, war, famine, political corruption are all caused by greedy corporations buying power, and what happened in this story was caused by a company overstepping the line of decency and by a police officer (a police force) twisted by big business into behaving like hired security and not knowing enough about the law and it’s fundamental principles. If a citizen does not comply with an order, no matter what the order, they get arrested, sprayed, tazered or shot. There is no reasoning with this.

      There is, however, a course of action to beat this. Stores need customers to spend money. If a store treats us badly, don’t go there, don’t spend your money. Think about what it says about a person who learns that a business is treating us in this way and yet still goes and spends hard earned money with them. By shopping in these places, you condone their actions.

      Boycott the store, tell people why, shop elsewhere. It’s simple, it’ll save you money and it’ll hurt the bullying corporations where it hurts them the most.

    18. Thane is wrong. pricvate property or not, they dio not have the right or any reasonable excuse to search your person or your belongings- the fourth amendment applies no matter where you happen to be. The store is perfectly within reason to ask, but never, ever to force.

      It goes without saying I have no plans to ever set foot in another circuit city store.

    19. Even though you’re entering private property, it doesn’t give the store a right to act unlawfully. If a store printed a policy and posted it on their front doors stating that it had the right to molest your children, how would you feel if they did so? Would you “just not shop there”? C’mon.

      My civil rights are important to me. The past 6 years notwithstanding, I’m still not used to them being violated so casually and often.

    20. As a privacy researcher I am always troubled by such stories.

      I am a big fan of ACLU literature titles like The Rights of the Suspect, etc. I wonder whether they could be prevailed upon to provide a Right to Privacy title to clarify for us non-lawyers exactly when we are legally obliged to divulge which pieces of our identity.

    21. A follow-up thought: does anybody here know of an existing such project, or have the resources to start such a project? I know many people who could contribute expertise, but on the cryptographic and technological side not the legal side.

    22. Ha ha.. not in Ohio dude. Welcome to a post-9.11 world. They changed the law now under retarded terrerism concerns that says you have to give SSN, Name, Address. You could have said you don’t have ID on you, but you still have to provide info.

      Papers, please.

    23. Is this really a violation of fourth amendment rights? When I’m asked to show my receipt while leaving a store the employee usually takes a quick glance at the receipt and then a quick glance at my cart. There is no really no “search” and if I did want to conceal something to steal I probably could. The customer should, of course, be allowed to refuse to show a receipt and circuit city obviously handled this poorly but even to call something like showing your receipt a slippery slope of any sort seems a bit silly.

    24. Once you’ve paid for the item, it’s your own property, and you have a right for that to be secure and not have to justify it to anybody that you actually do own it. If they can’t get their act together to be able to tell that you purchased something without searching your belongings, they really need a better system.

      As to what is lost in complying, well, aside from the basic right of not being treated like a criminal, in some cases, there’s a time factor. If it’s not just a random check because they may have suspected something, but large numbers of people are having their bags and receipts inspected, you’re waiting in a line to leave with your property.

      Yes, the store is private property, and the private property is free to set any ground rules they wish – and their recourse if you choose not to obey those rules, like the owner of any private property, is to ask you to leave or, in extreme cases, ask that you not return. They’re not a law unto themselves.

    25. Circuit City has no right to protect its property on its own premises. The police officer doesn’t have the right to carry out the functions of his duty.

      Blogger has the right to rush out the door with a bag full of unaccounted for goodies. Blogger has the right to “play dumb” and ignore calm and reasonable requests to show his receipt on CC property. Blogger has the right to waste public emergency response resources for minor quibbles he instigated.

      Blogger’s a douche.

    26. what most of you are missing is that most “shrinkage ” is due to employee theft. If an employee, lets say a cashier, is suspect, it is safe to assume that they might not ring some things for certain customers. this being the easiest way to get said product out of the store. highly undetectable theft, that is unless you start checking receipts.

    27. Why is this news? If you’re entering private property, you’re agreeing to play by the rules of the store. One of those rules may very well be that they reserve the right to check your bags and your receipt to ensure that you aren’t shoplifting. If you’re concerned that this is equivalent to being treated as a criminal, then vote with your wallet rather than a polemic on how a store is infringing on your “right and freedoms”.

    28. Michael, while I agree with your actions in spirit, and actually applaud you for standing up for your rights, I think you may be in a bit of trouble here. Sadly, I’ve been in retail management for more than 10 years, so I’ve been through this a million times. Basically, there’s something usually referred to as ‘Shopkeepers Privilege’ which allows the proprietors of a store to take reasonable action to protect their property, employees and well being. Now ‘Reasonable Action’, can of course be interpreted many ways, but I’ve never heard of a judge who didn’t side with the store owner over searching someone’s possessions if they suspected the person of shoplifting. It’s sad, absolutely, but that’s the way the laws are written. The law is set up to protect people’s property at the expense of their rights. The reason places like Circuit City check your bags as you leave is so that if they discover you are taking something with you without paying, they can deal with you in their own way (usually a Polaroid in the back room and being banned for life) because it isn’t actually shoplifting until you leave private property. It is much less expensive to deal with shoplifters this way than to send someone to court.
      Believe me, I wish we lived in a world where this wasn’t the way it is, but there are plenty of selfish folks who will take anything that isn’t nailed down. Blame them, don’t blame the poor dupes at Circuit City who probably make minimum wage and hate searching your bag as much as you hate having it searched.
      I realize you live in Brooklyn, Ohio – I live in Brooklyn New York. Cops ID me all the time, especially since 9/11. The gestapo undertones of ‘Papers Please’ bother me, but I’m willing to spend a day in jail on principle, so for that I applaud you. Good luck, I really hope this works out in your favor.

    29. I’m all (a) not showing your receipt and (b) fighting the need to show a government ID for everything, but for heaven’s sake — fight one battle at a time. You want to make a point to the retail store? Then cooperate with the police so the retail store will understand that the law won’t back up their b.s. A couple of times of cops showing up and doing nothing will dissuade the store from calling the cops. Sure, the police can be heavy handed and often behave unconstitutionally, but which evil were you trying to fight right then?

    30. Basically, there’s something usually referred to as ‘Shopkeepers Privilege’ which allows the proprietors of a store to take reasonable action to protect their property, employees and well being. Now ‘Reasonable Action’, can of course be interpreted many ways, but I’ve never heard of a judge who didn’t side with the store owner over searching someone’s possessions if they suspected the person of shoplifting.

      You haven’t been paying attention then. These situations happen often enough that it has been shown the law is clearly on the side of the customer. A shopkeeper can stop you if they have reason to believe you’ve stolen. Not the case here. Google on “illegal receipt check” and educate yourself.

    31. See Hiibel v. Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), reaffirming the right not to provide ID if one provides an accurate pedigree instead.

    32. Showing a receipt is a privacy invasion?

      An employee already touched and recorded everything on that receipt and there is a digital record of it.

    33. What is with all of you “If you’re entering private property, you’re agreeing to play by the rules of the store.” people?

      While some membership-based stores make you sign such an agreement, there is NO SUCH contract you sign when you enter a Circuit City. If they want to tell you, a paying customer, to never return, THAT is within their rights if you refuse to “play by their rules”. But barring actual reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred that’s about it.

      Last I checked, being the “loss prevention” flunky at the bigbox doesn’t grant any supralegal rights.

      BTW, one thing you do NOT want to do is so much as touch them lest you be accused of assault (and thus provide them with suspicion of a crime).

      Here’s an approach I’ve been wanting to try:
      “No, I will not show you. If I, a paying customer, am treated like a criminal any longer, I will, however, turn around and walk back to the service desk and show it to return my entire purchase.”

      Another fun one might be to go at a really busy time (say Black Friday) buy the cheapest possible item, say a pack of gum or whatever,
      put the receipt in your pocket, but walk out with a fanny pack just stuffed with random receipts and crap, then go through each one, “no this doesn’t seem to be it”. When the line backs up behind you, one wonders how many people will decide they don’t want to show their receipts either.

    34. About a month ago I was about to purchase a camera in a Circuit City. Although I was paying cash, they would not sell it to me unless I gave them my name and address. I refused, and will never shop at Circuit City again.

    35. First rule. You don’t need to be a dick. Second rule. In this day and age of everyone and their little kid trying to find some way to scam a store, hack it’s website, get around its rules – then yes, in some instances you may get asked to show you have proof of purchase of an item while on the private property of a business.

      I would also challenge that the shopper indeed did something while on the premises to raise such interest in the floor personnel. They don’t want to hassle people this much – on a whim – or on a personal vendetta to GET HIM because they are just a bunch of draconian bastards.

      Also, if a cop asks you to show an ID… show it to him. You purposely created a huge scene in a store… in order to get away with something? Make a personal political statement? … the officer has every right to find out who you are and assess whether or not you should go to with him… and I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he took you downtown.

      Finally. Having been a manager in similar big box kinds of stores for over a decade, I can tell you with 100% conviction, that this guy is lying about something. There IS ALWAYS more to the story and its usually because a guy willing to create such a scene is up to something and is trying to get away with it, or he’s literally one of those fruit bats that you have to put up with and then eventually kick out for good because they have no concept of … uh… the real world.

      There is a huge hunk of story here left out, and what story there is here has been embellished for effect. GUARANTEED.

    36. “Freedom, privileges, options must constantly be exercised, even at the risk of inconvenience. Otherwise they fall into desuetude and become unfashionable, unorthodox — finally irregulationary. Sometimes the person who insists upon his prerogatives seems shrill and contentious — but actually he performs a service for all. Freedom naturally should never become license; but regulation should never become restriction.”

      — from Emphyrio, by Jack Vance

    37. This is insane – remind me of the Communit area in Eastern Europe where you had an ID on you and present it when required by police!

    38. They do this in the Chicago area at Best Buy too. The thing that pisses me off is the guy checking receipts is about 50 ft from the checkout, and there is no merchandise displayed in this cattle chute. So between the point where you paid for your merchandise and the point you’re checked for having shoplifted, you have no opportunity to shoplift, and are in the sight-line of the guy doing the checking (if he can bother to stop chatting with his female co-workers, or his friends that have stopped by for a visit while he’s on the clock). Not to mention the sensor gates they have up to detect anti-theft tags.

      So what’s the point? If you’re going to shoplift, you’re going to place whatever you’re stealing on your person at some point while you’re in the store. And unless you’re really, really dumb, you’re not going to shift it to your bag at the checkout counter to your bag in plain sight of the checkers and “theft prevention” personnel.

    39. What a peculiar practice; this showing of the reciepts at the door.

      I have never heard of anything quite like it. Isn’t that why God invented checkout counters?

      Most european stores have electronically tagged wares, and great big magnetotrons (whatever) that check for signals at the exits.

      But _goons_ in the door — on the way out — that check your shopping bag against recipts?

      I’m sorry, but that is just too absurd :)

      Anonymous, bemused Norwegian

    40. In general, Boing Boing has taught me that these kind of BS “preventative measures” are wasteful and ineffective.
      How much time do you think is collectively wasted by retailers all over the country in order to violate every American’s rights? How many shoplifters does Santuru catch by asking for their receipt?
      It takes much longer for a problem to be revealed, if the user base doesn’t provide enough feedback (the customers need to make a fuss about their 4th amendment rights). What this guy is doing is frankly, part of the standard playbook of civil rights advocacy and is actually one of the methods that still kind of works. At least one of you naysayers wished we could live in a world where the laws are written to protect the citizenry: cases like Michael Righi’s help us get there.

    41. This guy is a “rights troll”.

      Just because you sometimes can act like an ass-clown and still be in the legal right doesn’t mean you should.

      1. People sometimes shoplift from Circuit City
      2. Circuit city doesn’t WANT to piss off their customers, but
      3. They need to do something about shoplifting so
      4. They ask you to show your receipt as you leave

      It seems pretty reasonable. What is this guy’s problem?

      And he gets bonus clown points for putting his family (waiting in the car) through this whole ordeal.

    42. I have read the comments in both this and the linked thread, and the one above by emilydickinson bothered me the most. I couldn’t stop reading it, looking for the meaning behind how this person, who has been in retail management for more than ten years (“Sadly”), has apparently come to live in a way where he or she sees all his fellow citizens as possible thieves.

      I live and do business in a small Oregon town. I own a retail shop, and I would never think of treating my customers in a way you seem to accept as the status quo. Everyone around me I see as neighbors and peers of mine, whether or not I have met them. If I was ever stupid enough to suspect someone of stealing or deceit without a damned good reason, I would probably lose a good part of my business, because word would get around that I treated so and so that way. That’s the social part of things here. Now the legal: I have never dealt with “Shopkeeper’s Privilege”, because we just use common sense. If I ever had a shoplifter in the shop, I would call them out on it, and ask them to put the item back, asking them just what the hell they thought they were doing. I would strike up a conversation with them, trying to find out why they thought they needed what it is they wanted to steal. This is a small town, and we really do look out for each other. Around here, that would be considered a “Reasonable Action”. I suppose that wouldn’t go down too well in Brooklyn (lol), but that is how things work here. And no, this aint Cecily, Alaska. We do have a fair share of property and other crime. We do have a drug problem. But we don’t run around looking at each other with suspicious eyes.

      Look, I used to live in the city. I left because I couldn’t bear living in a place that required me to bow to rent a cops and worship the police anymore. As you say, “The gestapo undertones of ‘Papers Please’ bother me…” but apparently not enough to get out of Brooklyn and out of the rat race. As Lily Tomlin once said, “The problem with winning the rat race is you’re still a rat”.

      I suppose your other alternative would be to work for the entertainment industry, because that’s how they seem to look at everyone now – as a potential thief.

    43. I don’t know, I think it’s stupid to call the police and then refuse to cooperate when the cop arrives. I can see this dude now, yelling “Attica! Attica!” and raising his Disney/Pixar video game in a defiant revolutionary gesture as he’s lead away.

      Give me a break–there are plenty of people the world who are actually being persecuted, tortured, and oppressed, this guy just wants attention.

    44. emilydickinsonridesabmx writes “[SNIP] Now ‘Reasonable Action’, can of course be interpreted many ways, but I’ve never heard of a judge who didn’t side with the store owner over searching someone’s possessions *if* they suspected the person of shoplifting.”
      “IF” is the key word here. A retailer normally has no cause to search my possessions just because I purchased something in their store. If a clerk or loss-prevention person has reason to suspect me of shoplifting, by all means stop me, we’ll call the cops, examine the evidence, & go from there. Otherwise, once my transaction is complete, what I bought is mine. Shopkeepers Privilege does NOT give you the right to search my stuff just because I’m in your store.
      Also note that the ordinances quoted by chemical orphan require probable cause for a retailer to detain someone. I suspect that the retailer in question will soon be facing a civil suit. Simply purchasing something in a store is nowhere near a reasonable interpretation of probable cause to suspect someone of shoplifting.

    45. “One of those rules may very well be that they reserve the right to check your bags and your receipt to ensure that you aren’t shoplifting.”

      Nope. Not in my country. As someone above said, *maybe* if it is a membership store and you have waived those rights, with a signature, before entering the premesis… but not Circuit City.

      i just hope he enjoys the loot he gets from CC.

      Because he will.

      The store is not allowed to restrain him, they did. That is the job of the police.

      The police should not have arrested him for the stated reason, they did.

      That is the job of a good citizen.

      And the ACLU, who will looooooove this one.

    46. Get over yourself and go find a real injustice to fight for. There are plenty out there — this isn’t one of them. Grow up.

    47. The problem with the receipt check is that is it the basic idea behind it is flawed. It assumes all customers are shoplifting, to the person above mentioning “Shopkeepers Privilege” that only applies if there is a reasonable suspicion of theft (or attempted theft), so checking everyone who has purchased something is not reasonable, it’s a blanket sweep.

      Second it annoys your paying customers but I would argue it has no real effect on theft. If I was of a mind to shoplift the easiest thing to do it NOT TO BUY ANYTHING! Simply declare you don’t have a receipt to show and that you didn’t buy anything… like magic you can walk out of the store without a search but with something hidden on your person. So while your big screen TVs don’t walk out the door, just about anything else can.

    48. In Ohio if you refuse to show a ID then you can be arrested…its Ohio’s extension to the Patriot Act….I wonder if you had to show your reciept in Germany say around 1930-1940’s hmmmmm?

    49. As a business owner, you have to look at why company’s check receipts. If there weren’t a few bad apples who consistently ripped stores off, then company’s wouldn’t do this. Clearly the business community knows that this is not the ideal solution, but what else can we do? One person walking out with a several hundred dollar item could ruin the days margins, and make the entire days effort a waste. This isn’t really about trampling on someones rights as many of you think. This is purely about finding the best solution to avoid getting ripped off, because unfortunately most retail outlets do get ripped off on a fairly consistent basis. Any suggestions on how to avoid getting ripped off short of using CCTV, checking receipts etc? Anyone who answers “trust your customers” is an idiot, as this is impractical. That doesn’t change the fact that there are a few total morons out there who like to steal, and like ruining things for everyone. Perhaps this comment thread will result in a better solution so that people AND businesses can have their rights respected consistently.

    50. Way to fight the good fight. Don’t you have anything better to do? Here’s a crazy idea: Quit wasting everyone’s time any show them your receipt.

    51. Dude. It’s not like CC or the police asked for a blood sample or your first born male child. They asked you to dig into your bag or pants and show them a piece of paper. Even if you’re opposed to the idea on principle, what’s the big harm in complying with either of these requests?

      You making a stink like this is as stupid as the woman suing McDonalds for spilling hot coffee on herself. Except yours is worse because you’re attempting to portray it as some massive ‘police state civil rights’ cover up. When it just isn’t.

      Enjoy your stay in the Ohio court system.

    52. @Michael, I think it’s fair to say that any of us who share parts of ourselves online like receiving public attention to one degree or another. That includes you, that includes me.

      Whether or not this is the case with Mr. Righi, the real issue here is the law, and how Circuit City managers and law enforcement interpreted the law in this incident.

      I find these reader testimonies very interesting because IANAL, and I don’t know exactly what the laws are in these cases. I suspect they vary somewhat from state to state, and I suspect also that there’s some ambiguity, some degree of flexibility for interpretation. Does that change over time, as the general climate changes?

      Are some of us more stubborn about privacy incursions in small-scale situations where we *can* do something (say, refuse to show receipt or ID), because we know now about other, broader violations we’re powerless to do much of anything about (say, NSA wiretapping)?

    53. Many seem to make claims of the ‘rights’ if the store, yet fail to make specific references to those rights. Yet several have made very specific references to the rights of the accused with evidence of supporting SCOTUS decisions, yet that seems to be ignored.

      I agree that as described, the accused stayed well within his rights. I agree the stores do have a right to ask you to show a receipt, however they cannot demand a receipt. The exceptions would be where by prior agreement you gave them that authorization (notably in wholesale clubs such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Costco where they use the measure more as a means of marking the receipt to prevent you from returning and using the same receipt to remove additional merchandise).

      Refusal to show a receipt is not sufficient evidence of a crime. Unless this person was suspected of and accused of a crime, then there is no authorization or allowance to detain anyone and prevent their lawful egress.

      The police employee should have been more familiar with the law and certainly ‘stop and identify’ statutes. It is entirely unreasonable for them to make up charges as described.

      As a photographer, consumer, and general citizen I applaud your stance. People should not be forced to take unwanted and unwarranted actions merely because it saves time. While several commenters are throwing around terms of ‘totalitarianism’ and ‘police state’ without really seeming to truly understand their meaning, most seem to concur that as described in the post, this person’s actions were just. Whether this will bring about proper change or just be snowballed by abuse of the system, such as upholding the weak charges as currently listed, we will see.

      It is especially sad that many (in the bloggers comment section) cannot make a logical debate without resorting to name-calling and insults that seem to more prove their complete lack of substance in any arguments they may try to present.

      Boing Boing, pelase keep us updated. this would fall in line with other stories such as “photographer’s rights” where people are being hassled merely for taking pictures.

    54. Hey, any lawyers out there? Sure would be interesting to hear from you in this thread, and hear you identify yourselves as such.

    55. Although I completely agree with this guy and everyone who is for privacy rights, the Fourth Amendment is NOT applicable here.

      The Fourth Amendment only applies to government officials, not private citizens. You are not protected from any store by the Fourth Amendment. If the police are called, you are protected from search by the police, but then the police also have probable cause to search you if you refuse, so there isn’t much defense there anyway.

      But I still agree with the point a few people have made: When you enter a store you do not sign any agreement to abide by store policies, so you are not restricted by their policies. The only thing they can do is ask you to leave and, possibly, never come back.

    56. Michael,
      I applaud what you are doing. Stores and police do need to be reminded of the limits set upon them to prevent loss or harass citizens. I am far too lazy to fight this battle so I show my receipt and tell myself it is not worth the hassle to do otherwise. Fortunately there are those like you who do believe it is worth the time, effort and possible embarrassment to preserve our rights to privacy. A few legal losses against stores containing punitive damages or criminal charges filed for false arrest may induce them to design security into the store layout rather than making shoplifting such an easy task and compensating by harassing shoppers.

    57. @ Thane’s comment (#4), and others:

      The point is that once you bought it, you own it, and are therefore under no more obligation (than usual, barring actual suspicion of a crime) to produce proof that you own it, like a receipt. If it’s reasonable for the security guard to force you to produce a receipt for the blank DVDs in your bag, then it’s also reasonable for them to ask for receipts for the shirt you’re wearing, the sneakers on your feet, and the gum you’re chewing.

      Once it’s your property, it’s yours, and you shouldn’t have to justify that to just anyone.

    58. @#17 – the point is that there are cases where a shopper and a cashier collaborate to steal stuff. the guy at the door is checking the receipt against the goods not only because you might have slipped something in the bag post-checkout, but because the cashier may have not rung something up. this could have been a mistake, or it could have been fraud.

      also, didnt the supreme court recently rule that if a cop asks for your ID you have to show it? not that i agree, but i think it’s now the law that you have to produce your ‘papers’ if asked.

    59. The only person I would show a receipt to in that situation is the person who will give me my money back. It is entirely unreasonable to demand a receipt just twenty feet from where you purchased something, unless there is a real reason to expect that there might be shoplifting.

    60. I’m still amazed by the number of people following the “store has rights” and the “just do what they tell you and you’ll be OK” crowd. My best guess and hope is that it’s just youngsters who have been taught to be submissive, especially to the interests of retailers.

      I’ve looked into these cases over the years, and it’s a rather simple set of LAWS that apply in most cases (every one I’ve ever looked at actually, but YMMV).

      “Store rules” do NOT trump the actual laws of the community (fed,state,local,etc). A store employee must have evidence that you are stealing before accusing you of it and trying to detain you. It must be more that just a general suspicion (such as “he’s black” or “he looks shady”), and from what I can tell, it must be a direct observation of behavior consistent with shoplifting. Only then may they accuse you and detain you (in public). If they detain you without suspicion, it’s the store that is breaking the law, and if it’s done in public, they may be opening themselves up to lawsuits (false imprisonment, libel/slander for falsely accusing you in public).

      For the “you must do anything the store tells you since it’s their property” types… there is a grain of truth in that. You are obligated to try to follow the store rules on their property, however, the *only* penalty for not following the rules is that the store may ask you to leave and they may also ask that you do not return. That’s it…. no more, no less. They have absolutely no right to arrest you or otherwise interfere with you. If they try to, they are likely committing assault.

      YOU have a right be be secure in your person and belongings no matter where you are, and that’s the (real) law. They can’t take that from you just by claiming that they have their own rules that they like to impose.

      Is that simple enough for you kids to understand ? I think even Miss Teen America could follow that :)

    61. Many of the comments here remind me of the results of a poll taken during the height of the cold war, which asked random people what they thought of various paragraphs taken from the Bill of Rights. The poll didn’t identify the source of the quotes. The majority of respondents “declared them dangerous, un-American, even ‘red’.”) (source – George Seldes, The Great Quotations).

      The shopkeeper’s privilege allows the shopkeeper to detain someone until police arrive, ask them to leave, or bar them from returning. Anything else is voluntary on the part of the customer.

      Righi cited the section of the Ohio law that covers production of ID to an officer: it says explicitly that you cannot be arrested just for not producing ID. If you don’t think this is an important matter worthy of pushing for, that’s fine. Other people decided it was important enough to codify and enact. Police officers are there to enforce the law that is enacted, not the one that seems good to you.

      Membership stores often have policies that say they can review your receipt. The penalty for not complying is losing your membership; the policies don’t give them any more right to use force than do the shopkeeper’s privilege rules.

      At Costco, I show my receipt. Everywhere else I say “No, thank you” and haven’t had a problem yet.

    62. In order for ‘Shopkeepers Privilege’ don’t you need probable cause
      Unless they have SEEN you conceal the merchandise, they should not be attempting to detain you.

      But yea like some of the other people have said, in order for everyone to just have a nice day, we should probably not whine and continue to let large corporations slowly erode our rights. I mean who is protecting the box stores from the little guy? (sarcasm)

    63. The charge of obstructing official business, Ohio Rev. Code § 2921.31(A) will probably be dismissed. There is an Ohio case directly on point, State v. McCrone, 63 Ohio. App. 3d 831, 834-835 (1989) that held that failing to produce a driver license is not an affirmative act to constitute a violation of 2921.31(A). However, in State v. Lester, 2004 Ohio 2909 (2004), when a person handed a license to an officer so the officer could write a ticket for an open container, and the person snatched the license back, the ‘snatch’ was an affirmative act.

      The “Shopkeeper’s privilege” is a common law defense against a tort for false imprisonment. Ohio has made it statutory in Ohio Rev. Code. 2935.041. The statute requires probable cause. Probable cause for shoplifting is usually actually seeing someone shoplift, whether in person or on camera, or having an alarm go off when exiting. Refusing to show a receipt will probably not be considered probable cause.

      Costco is a slightly different case from Circuit City and the rest. Costco is a membership store for which the member has signed a contract. Among the terms of the contract is that “Costco reserves the right to inspect any container, backback, briefcase, etc. upon entering or leaving the warehouse.” Also “To ensure that all members are correctly charged for the merchandise purchased, all receipts and merchandise will be inspected as you leave the warehouse.” A customer refusing to agree with the terms of the contract is in breach of the contract, but this will only result in a contractual issue. It certainly isn’t criminal.

    64. “the moral right to suspend the property owners right to have guests”

      Uh, actually after he paid for the items they became *his* property and the store employee had no right to inspect his property. Also, they’re not guests, they’re customers – without which Circuit City wouldn’t have a business. They’d do well to remember that from time to time. The funny thing is they’d have lost less money if he *did* steal a 60″ Plasma HDTV than they will having to defend their idiot manager when he’s brought up on charges for False Imprisonment or at least for the civil suit this gentleman deserves to win. Maybe when they realize that violating people’s rights is bad business they’ll learn to appreciate the people responsible for their profits.

    65. That’s why i crumple up and place the receipt in my mouth before i exit. I never had a problem doing that, its my receipt. Once i pull out the receipt and try and hand it to these goons i get waved by, go figure. Fantastic store policy; ultimately a totally and utterly flawed notion.

    66. “Dude. It’s not like CC or the police asked for a blood sample or your first born male child. They asked you to dig into your bag or pants and show them a piece of paper. Even if you’re opposed to the idea on principle, what’s the big harm in complying with either of these requests?”

      Because principles only mean something if you stick to them when they’re inconvenient. Hey anybody can love the civil rights when they come cheap. Try asking a soldier how cheap freedom is. And no, the police isn’t wearing swastikas and asking for your blood sample. Freedoms don’t get taken away all at once, they’re eroded one Circuit City at a time.

    67. The relevant law in this case comes from two cases: Hiibel v. Nevada, and Terry v. Ohio. The combination of the two cases means that law enforcement officials may request to see personal identification essentially at will IF the state has a law that provides that power to the officer.

      Ohio has such a law. The text is as follows:

      § 12-7-1 Temporary detention of suspects. – A peace officer may detain any person abroad whom he or she has reason to suspect is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime, and may demand of the person his or her name, address, business abroad, and destination; and any person who fails to identify himself or herself and explain his or her actions to the satisfaction of the peace officer may be further detained and further questioned and investigated by any peace officer; provided, in no case shall the total period of the detention exceed two (2) hours, and the detention shall not be recorded as an arrest in any official record. At the end of the detention period the person so detained shall be released unless arrested and charged with a crime.

      Given this, Righi should have provided identification to the officer upon request. He should probably have also cooperated with the officer in supplying his receipt so that the officer could verify he was not committing a crime.

      However, as Righi also points out on his blog, nothing in that law provides the ability for the officer to arrest someone who refuses to comply. It simply provides the ability for them to detain the person for a period of up to two hours. Also, the law stipulates that an arrest must be based on another crime being committed. Since there was no other crime being committed, this doesn’t seem to me to be a legitimate arrest.

    68. I’m a lawyer, former prosecutor, and strong advocate for individual rights. I’m chiming in not to give any specific legal advice, but just some legal education to stimulate discussion. (See? Lawyerly disclaimer.)

      A couple of things seem to be missing in people’s consideration of the various issues raised. First of all, rights are not absolute, but exist in a dynamic tension with other people’s rights, legitimate public interests, and governmental interests. Classic example–free speech and the absence of a right to shout “fire!!” in a crowded theater.

      Secondly, most of the constitutional protections are about what the government can or cannot do to you, and not about what kind of relations exist between private citizens. This is not entirely true (for example, the oft-repeated saw “your right to express yourself ends where your fist touches my nose”), but is a good guide for thinking about constitutional issues. Always ask WHO is allegedly violating rights–is it a governmental action, or a citizen?

      So, given the two points above, ask yourself what kind of rights does a business have? Customers voluntarily enter their real property (the store), possibly handle the store’s personal property (the merchandise), and maybe engage in a business transaction.

      Does the store (legally, we treat corporations as a “person”) have a reasonable expectation that they will be allowed to protect their property from theft? Might they be allowed to minimally inconvenience others in doing so?

      It seems that asking a shopper to show proof that the items they are carrying off the store’s property actually now belong to the shopper and no longer belong to the store is not unreasonable. The store staff are not government actors, and they are not engaging in a governmental stop, search or seizure. Are they seeking to protect their own property rights by reasonable means? Opinions will differ.

      The production of ID is a wholly different set of issues, and there are a bunch of factors that play into the police demand for ID. States have widely varying law on this, and the federal constitutional law plays a role as well.

      One common element regarding the demand for ID is whether the police (or other law enforcement officers) have a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. “Reasonable suspicion” is a notoriously mushy construct, and often it may come down to the discretionary judgment of the officer.

      I do wonder why people are getting so worked up about these kind of issues, when it seems that so few people are actively challenging what seem to be clear examples of governmental encroachment into areas of traditional personal liberty and civil rights.

      Mr. Righi seems like a passionate, principled guy who could probably do more to advance his own rights (and those of his fellow citizens) if he channeled that energy into actively working for political change, better understanding his actual rights, and then acting constructively to challenge those who set and promulgate such laws and policies.

      He is right to the extent that he doesn’t believe in merely being complacent, which is surely too often the response to impermissible infringements on liberty and freedom. However, his choice of targets, the basis for his objections, and the change that he hopes to effect remains somewhat confusing to me.

      Once again (sorry about this, but my state requires me to be clear), nothing I have posted here should be construed or taken as legal advice, and anyone who is facing similar issues to Mr. Righi should seek legal counsel immediately (this would include Mr. Righi). I am not acting as anyone’s attorney in the above discussed matter, nor am I interested in doing so.

    69. Here’s how I usually go about this sort of situation. Say I’ve just purchased an item or items at a store [pick a store]. I have the receipt in the bag or in my hand, since I only bought it a few scant moments ago.

      When I get to the exit, someone asks to see my receipt. I know ahead of time that they’ll do this, so I usually just *keep the receipt in my hand as I walk towards the exit*. This is an act of common sense. The checker checks my receipt, matches it with my product[s], says the obligatory “Have a great day” and we go our separate ways. End of story.

      Note how at no time was I inconvenienced, restrained or arrested at any point in this situation, which took all of twenty-five seconds from start to finish.

      As for the police ID arrest, that was avoidable by simply showing his ID to the officer. It takes all of ten seconds to produce your ID if you have it with you. If you don’t have it with you, that might be a different story.

      This author’s entire situation was avoidable from the start, so who’s to blame if blame is important? The author of this tale. What exactly did he have to hide or was he just setting up this whole event so he’d have a tale of outrage to post in his daily blog?

    70. The Fourth Amendment may or may not apply to this person’s circumstances. Many people do not understand that he Fourth Amendment is a prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure by a government actor. The Fourteenth Amendment applied the Fourth Amendment to the state and local governments. However, the Amendment itself does not restrict private searches. They may violate other law, but it’s not a Fourth Amendment violation if Fedex opens up your package. So it’s a question of who’s a state actor? The police officer certainly is, so he’s subject to the Fourth Amendment. The store, empowered by Ohio statute to stop and detain, may or may not be. The store is private, but the government has given it powers. There’s cases that go both ways. He’ll need to prove a violation of Constitutional rights if he wishes to sue under 42 USC 1983.

    71. bgarland, thank you for your knowledgeable comments.

      it is the issue relating to the showing of ID to the police that most concerns me (some of my research has to do with next generation government issued ID).

      are you aware of a good lay-readable survey of the various laws governing the showing of IDs such as drivers licenses and passports?

      as you say, such things vary by state. as an international i would like to learn a bit about the spectrum of laws in the US.

      i am from new york city originally, and on a recent visit home from switzerland where i now live i was surprised to be asked for my id by a police officer as i was walking down the street during the middle of the day. i did not comply, but spoke politely, and managed to get out of the situation without showing ID, and also with out getting arrested.

      this sort of thing would not be tolerated in switzerland, one of the reasons i live here now.

    72. Re Posting #56 by Anon

      Anonymous said:
      “The Fourth Amendment only applies to government officials, not private citizens.”

      You need to go back and re-read the 4th Amendment:
      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE! Not the right of government officials, but the people. You and I. I don’t know where you got your education on the Bill of Rights, but it is sorely in need of remediation.

    73. Jeez, these comments duplicate in microcosm those on Righi’s own post. “Private property = exemption from the law” is my favorite. Remind me to shoot you dead next time you set foot on my property — after all, you agreed to play by my rules by being on my property.

      What? The law does apply even if I have legal title to my land? Well, hell, then STFU, moron!

      Preemptively, before somebody here starts whining about this “idiot” or “douche” or “child” or other quoted noun from Righi’s own comments wasting taxpayer dollars by frivolously calling 911 after being unlawfully detained: before complaining about wastage of taxpayer dollars, cast your eyes towards Mesopotamia, then, again, STFU.

      What I really don’t get is the level of emotion in the people telling him he’s in the wrong for making an issue of it. It’s beyond weird and right into scary. I think there are two components. First, I’m pretty sure a lot of it is fame envy (“Why, I could do that, but nobody pays attention to me!”). Second, some of it is the need to clap real hard and pretend excessive authoritarianism in America does not exist. Ipso facto, every abuse of power must be non-abuse if we look hard enough, if you’re following me here. Because otherwise we’d have to admit we have a problem. And that might turn us into liberals — and by extension, homosexual wimps who are crying for foreign domination. Or something. It’s always a little scary trying to fathom the authoritarian mind.

    74. I love the false dichotomy so many people have set up. Either he’s an annoying jerk who should get over himself or he’s striking a blow against corporate arrogance and petty totalitarianism. Why can’t it be both?

      Yes, he could have shown his receipt. Yes, he could have shown his ID. And he probably should have. But when he didn’t, he was free to go. Or he should have been. And now if he presses it, one overbearing cop and one low-rent assistant manager will get a little education.

      Good for him, I say. And so, probably, would George Bernard Shaw. After all, he said:

      The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

    75. From the web page of the Brooklyn Heights, Ohio Police Department, right below the picture of Joseph Kocab, Chief of Police:

      “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

      I am confident Chief Kocab will make sure Officer Arroyo is schooled in the law, the supervisor who approved the ORD:525.07: Obstructing Official Business (M-2) charge will be reprimanded and the Brooklyn Heights Police Deaprtment will have learned a valuable lesson.

      And for all the “just show the cop your driver’s license” folks here, I will repeat: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    76. @#72 (Tom Heydt-Benjamin)


      You are certainly right about where the interesting action is legally–it is about showing ID (and just wait until RFID is embedded in our ID, and RFID readers are embedded in door frames.).

      In terms of resources for non-lawyers, I would start with the ACLU and, both of whom have interest in this area. Also, you can give reading the Hiibel case a shot–it has got some nice summary of constitutional law on ID and is available from the U.S. Supreme Court website (542 U. S. 177 (2004)).

      You can also feel free to email me and I can think more about it (rather than take the comments here off into our own personal discussion), as my email is easily available on my website.

    77. I wrote about this over 4 years ago:

      I cant believe this is still happening

      Unless you signed a contract (CostCo, Sam’s Club, etc) you do not have to nor should you show your receipt to the door monkeys. Why? Once you have purchased the item it is your property. The bag it is in is your property. To allow an “official” of the store to check your bag and receipt is consenting to a search of your property.

      Why? Why are you giving up a civil liberty? You are consenting to a search without probable cause. Sure there are all sorts of excuses the store manager will give you. “We are looking out for employee theft” – Great, I’m not your employee. “We are ensuring you weren’t overcharged” – Bullshit. “We are . . . ” – Lying?

    78. People seem to be quick to start criticizing this guy. What they are forgetting is that an employee of Circuit City physically prevented a citizen who was not suspected of a crime from leaving. This is a crime. He called the police to intervene, and they ended up arresting the victim.

      If this guy had gotten mugged and when the police arrived, he was arrested for not having ID (no wallet) would you be criticizing him the same way you are now?

      To all the people who are in the “who cares just show your receipt / ID” camp: You may not care to excercise your rights, and not think twice about giving them up, but asking others to is about the least American thing there is.

    79. […If I ever had a shoplifter in the shop, I would call them out on it, and ask them to put the item back, asking them just what the hell they thought they were doing. I would strike up a conversation with them, trying to find out why they thought they needed what it is they wanted to steal…]

      As a shopkeeper, I thought you would know better… they HAVE NOT STOLEN ANYTHING until they have gotten past the last point of being able to purchase something in your store. To suggest that they have stolen, or that they are a thief or that they weren’t going to pay for it leaves you wide open for a lawsuit! (depending on your city / state etc. your mileage may vary)

      It this kind of sue for any grievance in the US that makes big box retailers behave in such draconian ways.

      Also, not all stores do this. The Circuit City near me doesn’t blink an eye as the rest of the mall traffic comes and goes with packages. Thus… the idea that this story isn’t actually … uh… TRUE… or to be nicer… completely accurate.

    80. welcome to my world :( Here in Brazil you need an ID card (called RG) very early in life. Police has the right to always ask for it, and as matter of fact, nowadays practically every commercial building in São Paulo you are asked to show your RG before you1re allowed to enter.

      Sad thing, and I’m really sorry to welcome you to my world :( Hope you can fight and defeat this thing. It is *not* a good thing, even if brazilians are to used to it to notice.

    81. Could the store not make it very clear that purchasing the goods also carries with it a contractual obligation to have your bags searched before exiting the property?

      It seems like if this was a contractual issue, that each party implicitly agreed to, by say having a sign at each checkout, that would allow the store to do what they wish.

    82. “Is this really a violation of fourth amendment rights? ”

      Yes. If they ask, and you volunteer, that’s one thing- but the minute they tell you you can’t leave, that’s a fourth amendment issue.

    83. Hy, nnyms, (n, nt y r y r y r tht n nd myb nthr) bt th thrs, STF nd g bck t mjrng n mstrbtn.

      Correction [in brackets]:
      “Classic example–free speech and the absence of a right to shout ‘fire!!’ in a crowded theater [where no fire exists].”

      Judge: You’ve been charged with violating the Good Samaritan law. Why did you run from the theater and not warn others about the fire?
      Defendant: Because it’s illegal to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. And we sold out that show that day!

      This always floors me. You absolutely do have the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. There just has to be a fire. And I wish people who refer to this would provide the more proper example.

      /petpeeve :)

    84. Xeni you’re right that my saying Mr. Righi just wants attention was glib and ill-considered and I apologize for that. But otherwise I have respectfully to disagree because I don’t buy the whole “First they came for the shoppers at Circuit City and I did nothing because I don’t shop at Circuit City” gist of the argument here. But even if I did, the other Michael (pesky common names) is making a purchase with a credit card in a CCTV monitored store. If you go spend some time in a prison eventually you’ll start to feel like a prisoner.

      Personally I believe he should have showed them the receipt by using it to return the merchandise he just purchased and vowing never to shop there again. My problem with Mr. Righi is that he decided to call the cops instead. I believe that you then have to continue playing by those rules when the police do arrive. Instead he was uncooperative with the police too. So now he’s calling the ACLU to act as his arbiter. Is he going to give the ACLU identifying information when they ask for specifics or are they going to have to try to divine what the heck is going on, same as the arresting officer? He reminds me of RAW’s dictum that paranoids eventually find someone to persecute them.

    85. Hey, #56 (“You making a stink like this is as stupid as the woman suing McDonalds for spilling hot coffee on herself”) that McDonalds story has become distorted through time. You may not be aware that the woman who spilled that coffee had most of her skin of her lap/legs burned off, including her labia. She was permanently disfigured. The case has become a joke because people aren’t aware of how seriously she was maimed.

    86. #41: Spoken like a Big Box Retail Nazi. Personally, I could care less what your excuse is, once I’ve paid for whatever product you’ve sold, It’s mine and the absolutely *only* time I should ever have to show you a receipt is if I’m bringing the item(s) back for exchange/repair/refund. My standard policy on this sort of bullshit attitude is if the security geek at the door gets forceful about demanding to see a receipt, then I have him call a manager and demand a full refund. I’ve only had to do this *once*, and I made it very clear to the manager that not only was I not going to buy anything from his store ever again, I also made sure quite a few others refused him business again – one of whom was a corporate buyer who changed the account over to a competitor *and* got a better deal on the supplies they needed.

      Bottom Line: Your customers are *NOT* crooks. Treat them as such, and watch your business go down the toilet. Period.

    87. There’s an amusing sidebar to this story, one familiar to every American. I stood in line behind a guy buying beer in a Fareway. The girl at the register was about 17, and she was just as disgusted by this artiste’s forgery skills as I was. He’d cut out the old picture from a driver’s license, using an Exacto knife presumably since he still had ten fingers, and pushed a new photo into place (his own), carefully sealing it in with Scotch tape. The perp laughed nervously, but neither the kid at the register nor I were cops. He got his Bud. It all depends which way the cash is flowing.

    88. First, a brief statement of indisputable fact: there is no “right as a U.S. citizen to not have to show my papers when asked.” As the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Hayes v. Florida (470 U.S. 811), you can not only be forced to produce ID but you may even be forced to submit to fingerprinting even when an officer lacks probable cause to believe that you have committed any crime whatever. (From the case: “None of the foregoing implies that a brief detention in the field for the purpose of fingerprinting, where there is only reasonable suspicion not amounting to probable cause, is necessarily impermissible under the Fourth Amendment.”)

      It all turns on reasonable suspicion, which is a legal standard falling well short of probable cause. If Righi’s refusal to present his receipt to the security guy presents the officer with reasonable suspicion that Righi committed a crime, Righi’s going down.

      Righi contends that the officer was unable to find a decent statute to use for arrest and so made some sort of stretch by reaching for the obstruction statute; Righi’s wrong. The obstruction statute’s use in this way is routine, has survived judicial scrutiny on exactly this question, and no exception is going to be made for him. The various circuits are split on the question of whether one can be arrested merely for refusing to produce ID in the absence of some other elements that permits arrest. However, there is no disagreement that one can be arrested for violating a lawful statute. Here, the obstruction statute is such a lawful statute and Righi violated it, end of story.

      If the officer had no reasonable suspicion in the first place, Righi walks. If the officer does have reasonable suspicion, which here could come only in the form of the statements of the security guy, Righi loses. The case law on reasonable suspicion gives some succor to both sides, but it is most likely that Righi is going to lose.

    89. The Lawyer Falis To Address The Key Point

      The lawyer’s arguments are full of holes but the main one has to do with who owns what. A store certainly has the right to prevent loss and protect their property, but as soon as you pay for something, it no longer belongs to the store, it belongs to you. They have the right to ask you to show your receipt, but they do not have the right to demand it as a condition of leaving with your own property. Any suggestion to the contrary is absurd. That this isn’t clear to the lawyer in America is a bit disturbing.

      Now, if for some reason the store believed that someone was stealing, that would be a different matter. But they demand that everyone show their receipt of purchase as a condition of leaving the store with purchased property. You have the right to refuse, and exercising this right should not put you under suspicion of theft.

    90. Why make such a big deal about showing a fucking receipt?

      I’m sorry the guy got busted, and he’ll probably win out on that one, but whole thing could have been avoided…

    91. I’m in the middle here: I don’t see showing my receipt as giving up a civil liberty, but neither do I see it as necessary.

      What concerns me about Mr. Righi’s story is that this is not his first time shopping at Circuit City. Clearly he was aware of the policy, yet continued to shop there. I think this is more about being detained by an overzealous store manager (the security guard seems to have done what he was trained to, and may have lost his presumably low-paying job had he not). Also, a commenter above mentioned that he called the police, then refused to cooperate. Something is missing here; not sure what.

      — another NY’er, where there are bigger issues of civil liberty to deal with.

    92. This is one of those slippery slope things, to me.

      The technology exists – it’s just not evenly distributed – to do some scary invasion of the privacy.

      the mindset that “because I AM NOT A CRIMINAL, it’s okay for me to go ahead and let these guys do that.” has led to lots of bad things in life, already.

      basically, this guy got arrested for being an ***. that’s why the cop arrested him.

      being an *** is not a crime, yet. the reason all of these laws and rights exist is to make sure that just because somebody doesn’t like us, we don’t end up in jail.

      and, already the attitude that “I am not a criminal, therefore I want cops to be really assertive going after all those other people!” gave us such wonderful stoplight cameras, and all those lovely anti-terrorism laws that creep all over the spectrum.

      this whole notion that criminals are an “other” and therefore anti-crime laws don’t affect me is misguided at best, and flat-out dangerous at worst.

      this is an illegal search and seizure. this is an unlawful arrest. blaming the victim, no matter how much you dislike him, is very bad, indeed.

      j m mcdermott (awaiting my registration e-mail.)

    93. I am surprised to find that I am reading so many idiotic comments defending Circuit City and the police at BoingBoing. The whole “constitutional rights do not apply on private property” argument is something I usually read in regards to censorship/moderation on web-based forums.

      I wonder if the recent Lolcats (*barf*) articles have attracted the lame web-forum crowd to the BoingBoing?

    94. #100 raises a good point: there’s far too many people supporting Computer City in this, when it’s clear they’re totally in the wrong. This leads one to believe these “supporters” are:

      A) Totally clueless.

      B) Just trolling.

      C) Shilling for Computer City because they work there.

      D) All of the above.

    95. Re. @#92 – The woman and the McDonald’s coffee:

      Just to follow up, the reason this case is held up as the ur-case for frivolous lawsuits is that McDonald’s spent tens of millions of dollars on PR to hide their “reckless, callous and willful” (judge’s words) conduct.

      The full facts are worth reading:

      Although this refutation is pretty compelling, too:

      As for Mr. Righi, if his account is accurate, he called the police after he was illegally detained by the store. Then the police officer acted improperly and arrested him.

      If all this is true, I hope he fights the power all the way to the top. And I appreciate his courage in taking on this issue.

    96. Previously I was unaware of my right not to show a receipt when asked: I assumed, as most people do, that since they asked that they had the authority to do so.

      Obviously, now I see that they do not have the authority to do so.

      Thus, I will be refusing from now on. Why? Because rights are very, very difficult to destroy in one fell swoop. They must be eroded slowly, and their survival is dependent on concerned people noticing this erosion and fighting back.

    97. First off, I would like to say I support you fully in terms of dealing with the police, and if they don’t soon drop their charges I may have to donate to your cause.

      But in terms of Circuit City’s policy…there’s no problem with their policy IMO. They maybe carried it a bit too far, but so did you. I mean, I’ve never been in a circuit city that did that, only store I’ve ever seen do that is Guitar Center, but at Guitar Center, they have every right to check your receipt. I mean, at GC, they can’t even bag things, and you don’t exactly pay for them at the door. Anyone could walk in, grab something, and leave. The one I was at didn’t even have line-of-sight between the register and the door. At most stores it’s different, because you have to walk through the registers to reach the exit. But at stores where the cashiers can’t even see the door, I would say they have every right to check you bag as you leave. Unless the store is MASSIVE and you enter and exit on opposite ends, you saw the guy on your way in. You knew on your way in that your bag would be checked. If you didn’t want them to check it, don’t shop there. I would even go so far as to say that, by walking past the checkpoint on the way in, you implied consent to have your bag searched on the way out.

      What I’m wondering is what you do when there are roadside checks by the police. Those seem a lot more unreasonable than this (stopping everyone that goes past vs stopping people that come past with circuit city bags…checking your own person vs. checking something that about 3 seconds ago was theirs).

      – Brian Flowers (don’t wanna be anon, but hate registrations)

    98. To bgarland (#74)-

      I appreciate your comments, but am not sure I can square them with the facts (as retold by Mr. Righi). I’m most assuredly not a lawyer, but it seems as though you’ve somewhat negligently (or is it conveniently?) glossed over some relatively glaring points:

      1) At the time that Mr. Righi was required to hand over his license, he was already cleared of any wrongdoing (the officer had checked the reciept against his purchases). Does it make sense that the officer has the right to demand his ID after this point? Still the officer’s ‘discretion’?

      2) Upon declining to show his reciept, did the employees at Circuit City have a right to detain Mr. Righi and his family? If, as you suggest, Mr. Righi should have shown his reciept when Circuit City requested it, what should Circuit City have done in response? Perhaps call the police and leave it at that? You were curiously silent on this aspect of the encounter.

      You say:

      “I do wonder why people are getting so worked up about these kind of issues, when it seems that so few people are actively challenging what seem to be clear examples of governmental encroachment into areas of traditional personal liberty and civil rights.”

      And the answer to that is simple- many are disgusted by governmental and corporate encroachment into these areas on ALL levels, but are powerless to even begin to challenge them except in the most quotidian of circumstances. Hell, in many circumstances, it would seem that we can’t even know when our civil rights have been encroached upon. Would one be foolish for feeling as though it should be perfectly clear where the law stands on detainment of an individual (or family!) in these circumstances? Are we hopelessly naive in hoping for a clear indication of when it’s required to relinquish our IDs? After all- and this should be obvious -to blow it off by saying that it’s at an officer’s discretion is tantamount to saying that there is no law against it in ANY situation! Yikes!

      I can’t help but call shennanigans on this one- you’re gotta be either negligent with respect to the facts, drunk (hey, it’s labor day weekend) or a Circuit City shill.

    99. One thing I don’t understand …

      I live in Australia. Here, the US bill of rights do not apply (obviously). However, in every major store there is a prominent sign at the entrance that says something like “It is a condition of entry that you will submit all bags for inspection upon exit”.

      Is there no equivalent in the USA? It seems to me that this would set up a pre-consent (if I can call it that) to the inspection. At the very least, it would be unconscionable to enter the store on that condition then refuse to all inspection of the receipt and purchases.

    100. Full disclaimer: I work for Circuit City, and this isn’t a case of me supporting ‘the company’ (it’s treated its employees like crap too many times to engender that kind of loyalty in me, honestly) but rather the fact that as a retail worker this kind of thing bugs the hell out of me. I’d argue the same way if this were for Best Buy, the Apple store, or Victoria’s Secret.

      Stop making this an issue of personal rights. If you want to effect change, a smarter way would have been to return the merchandise for a full refund and make it clear to the store that you’re doing it because you don’t agree with their policy of checking receipts. Hitting the profits is going to be a much more effective tool than acting like a smartarse for no better reason than YOU DON’T WANT TO.
      What this guy did was basically making other people’s jobs difficult for no good reason and then hiding behind the fact that he was technically acting within the rules.
      Yes. That’s true. But that’s also what trolls do on message boards. You… you’re not a TROLL, are you?

    101. I don’t shop at either CC or Best Buy, but only because they continue, year after year, to treat their customers like shit.

      They have both been at the center of fraud investigations, investigations which have proven them guilty of fraud. They have each racked up thousands of customer complaints (the BB ones can be seen at and still people flock to them to save some money on a piece of equipment they will not be happy with in a few months.

      Find a smaller store more respectful of your business. Shop there. End of story.

    102. I really don’t care who you are: if you’re so incensed at being asked to show valid proof that the items you are leaving the store with are bought and paid for, then I’d advise you to *stop shopping at that store*. Nobody is tying you to a chair and screaming at you to confess, they just want to see the proof of purchase before somebody leaves with store merchandise. This is a highly reasonable request and the only legitimate way to prevent theft from the store.

      The officer was clearly in the wrong, and I see no issue there. But as far as I’m concerned, if you leave my store without showing me that you paid for items I’ve got every right to detain you and call the cops.

    103. Stores do not have the right to ask to see your receipt unless they are accusing you of shoplifting. If that is the case they better be able to back it up or face a lawsuit.

    104. Ok, this is hilarious…
      1) By entering private property you do not give up any of your rights
      2) Once the product is paid for and delivered to you, ie they had you the bag or the box, ITS YOURS! you have no obligation to prove to anybody that it is yours!
      3)Any attempt on their part to detain you or take from you your now newly aquired personal property, is a CRIME
      4) Don’t tick of the the police!

      p.s. Sam’s Club and probly the other wholesale clubs have part of their “Member agreement” that they reserve the right to check your receipt upon exiting.. if you dont like that dont join their club’s.

    105. I know for a fact a loss prevention person at ANY STORE needs to have a police officer there to even be able to restrain you from leaving the premises.

    106. So now they’re adding another method for deterring shoplifters? They already tag everything valuable and record most of what’s going on in the store with cameras, and now they spend more money to have a guy during busy hours create a line to leave the store.

      Why would a shoplifter who knew about this policy put items they did not purchase into a different bag?

      What about simply not having a receipt? Will a store have the gaul to accuse anyone who doesn’t purchase anything of stealing?

      I think it’s scary to give the right to detain me, why are people so willing to give it up?

    107. Maybe I am just getting old–but all this thin-skinned,where-are-my-rights,poor-pitiful-me,lets-get-a-lawyer-and-sue-somebody nonsense is really getting on my nerves. If you buy an item from any store, they will give you a receipt. That is the law, and they have to report the sale to the proper authorities (including their accountant/bookkeeper, of which I am one.) If the item is not reported as sold, and a receipt for sale given, they must pay taxes on unsold inventory. Therefore, they give you a receipt. The item is now yours. You should be proud to be the owner of such merchandise, and be willing to produce said receipt. (If not, why did you profer the payment for the merchandise to begin with?) If you are stopped for a traffic violation, you must produce your title to the vehicle. Why not show someone the receipt for a CD, or TV, or pair of pants that you bought and paid good hard earned dollars for–I don’t see the problem. Unless, as my friend Drew commented, (same Drew with FARK.Com?), you are simply trying to force some sort of lawsuit with a sleazy ambulance chaser and make a little profit. If you had produced the receipt, with a little smirk and a wave, you would have never been faced with a police officer asking for ID. This is a total no brainer to me.

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    109. supreme court ruled several years ago that it is not a violation of 4th amendment rights to have someone show their id when asked.

    110. A lot of you have responded saying that the store checking your receipt is not a violation of your privacy. You’re not paying attention. The receipt was just given to him by the store as a legal record of his transaction. The receipt belongs to him, and it’s up to him if he wants to show it to someone or not. Same applies to the property he just asked for. I believe I would have responded with, “I’d be more than happy to sell the goods back to you, along with the receipt, for twice the price, if you really would like to see it, otherwise it’s my property for which you have already been compensated and I intend to leave with it.” but that’s just my bit of humor added.

      Now let’s progress a bit further, here’s where the illegal bit took place, they illegally held him against his will, as well as illegally held his family against their will. That was the first crime committed in the story. That’s why he called the police, and that’s the point of contention here… they clearly did not have the right to effectively kidnap him.

      The cop was uneducated to the laws and made a bad judgment call on the ID issue, and possibly violated his 4th amendment rights by giving the retailer the receipt to look over (if i read that correctly).

      There’s a reason there are so many quotes about these personal freedoms by great people, they are important.

      Give me liberty or give me death. — Patrick Henry

      Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

      Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. — Thomas Jefferson

      The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men. — Samuel Adams

      You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can be free only if I am free. — Clarence Darrow

      The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. — Thomas Jefferson

      The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. — Thomas Jefferson

      The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group — Franklin D. Rosevelt

      Not specifically related to this incident, but one of my favorites, and definitely something to think about for you 9/11 bandwagon riding, fear mongering idiots.
      They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin

      How can we keep calling ourselves a nation of Liberty, and assault other countries in the name of liberty, and repeatedly state that our enemies are enemies of Freedom and Liberty, when in order to fight them we give of the Freedom and Liberty we are supposedly fighting for?

      People keep saying that we’re fighting on behalf of freedom and liberty, they’re right in that we should be, they just have the wrong idea about where the fight needs to be.

      If you don’t fight for your rights now, soon you won’t have enough rights left to be able to fight for them. You guys are justifying a private corporation holding a man against his will when they admit they do not suspect him of wrongdoing, they just want to impose their policy upon him, when he has not agreed to allow it. You people are the real terrorists. You’re terrorizing our freedoms, and what you’re doing is treason.

    111. Yes, you’re right pawpaw, that’s why I keep teh reciepts for everything I have ever purchased on me at all times, so I can prove ownership. I try not to shop at stores that ask you to see your reciept to get out the door, it’s just rude as far as I’m concerned. I just came and spent my hard earned dollars to purchase something from you, you are providing a service to me. I don’t feel that I should have to show proof of this to leave the premises. But I think being arrested for failing to produce ID is the bigger issue here. The cops will often try and use the “Failure to follow a lawfull order” guise to scare you into doing things they want. But when the order they’re issuing is in fact illeagal, it’s just a bully tactic. And the order to show ID for no reason when you are doing no wrong, is in fact, not legal per Kolender v. Lawson (461 U.S. 352, 1983) “Edward C. Lawson is an African American civil rights activist, who was the plaintif in the case of Kolender v. Lawson (461 U.S. 352, 1983) in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that a statute authorizing a police officer to arrest a citizen merely for refusing to present identification was unconstitutionally vague.” -wiki

    112. Showing a receipt to a store employee 15 seconds later is no more an invasion of privacy than showing it to the clerk who checks you out.

      I save my temper tantrums for something that’s actually worthwhile…like when I walk through the scanner on exit and it goes off for no reason.

      Now THAT I consider to be a defamation of my character.

    113. I’m just a law student, thus what I say is definitely NOT legal advice:

      A: The 4th amendment only protects you from search and seizure FROM government actors. It’s a common misconception that the Bill of Rights prevents private parties from violating the protected rights of other private parties – not true. There may, of course, be state statutory laws that give you some of the same rights as to private parties that the Bill of Rights grants you as to government entities, but that does not mean the constitution mandates this.

      B: Unless the store had a very valid reason for thinking that Righi was stealing property from them, they could possibly be guilty of false imprisonment. Generally, under the ‘hot pursuit’ doctrine, a person has the right to temporarily detain someone if that person has unlawfully taken some of their property at that moment and is threatening to leave with it, and they only have the ability to detain for as long as it takes for the authorities to show up. Generally stores only detain someone if they have an eyewitness to theft. I would advise Righi to to retain a lawyer to investigate his likelihood of a successful tort claim.

      C: Despite the overheated rhetoric on this forum, the officer did nothing wrong in asking to see identification. As has already been mentioned, ‘reasonable suspicion’ applies here – a doctrine that i’ve best heard as characterized as ‘the mini-me of probable cause’. Under reasonable suspicion, the officer had the right to frisk you for his safety (as you may be hiding a weapon) and detain you temporarily to ask you questions in order to see if there is probable cause to arrest. Refusing to comply with his orders hindered his investigation of seeing if there was P.C. to arrest you for theft, so it is a proper arrest for Obstruction.

      D: For non-legal issues: I’d advise Mr. Righi that life is much easier if you take a more non-confrontational stance when asserting your (perceived) rights. There’s a world of difference between refusing to show a receipt, and transferring your proper irritation with CC to belligerence to an officer of the law.

      Again: Not legal advice. If you really think you were in the right, retain an attorney. Righteous Indignation only gets you pats on the back on the internet and an ulcer. If you want results, your best bet is the legal system (for better or for worse).

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    116. Showing a receipt to a store employee 15 seconds later is no more an invasion of privacy than showing it to the clerk who checks you out.

      I save my temper tantrums for something that’s actually worthwhile…like when I walk through the scanner on exit and it goes off for no reason.

      Now THAT I consider to be a defamation of my character.

    117. The store risks being sued for detaining you without good cause. Unless they saw you hide merchandise they are in trouble. There is case law saying if the alarm goes off even if by accident they can ask but beyond that they need to be sure. His mistake was with not cooperating with the cops.

      I was stopped at Walmart and refused to show a receipt. They said that items were not in a bag, the clerk was at fault. I said call me a crook or let me go. They let me go because the cashier remembered me but I would refuse to show a receipt UNLESS an electronic alarm went off and you are in good shape. Just do not expect a street cop to understand the law and do as they ask, it will support the lawsuit against the store when the officer testifies that you had no store property.

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    119. The Supreme Court already ruled that you must provide identification to any law enforcement officer that asks for it.

    120. “Mr. Righi seems like a passionate, principled guy who could probably do more to advance his own rights (and those of his fellow citizens) if he channeled that energy into actively working for political change, better understanding his actual rights”

      I’m not sure that is correct. I think by taking a stand that few people are willing to do he will generate publicity that may help his cause and he has created an excellent test case for a public policy legal org like the ACLU.

      You may be a lawyer, but you failed to to several important things in your post, namely discuss the applicable state law, which is the only area of immediate issue.

      In california, for instance, private guards and shopkeepers can detain people only as citizens making citizen’s arrests, IIRC–and then only if they witnessed a crime and not just on general I want you to show me your bag principles.

      Second, the Idaho law on showing ID is very specific and generally specific laws over rule general ones like obstruction. It seems clear that the OP is completely in the right. I’m not sure I buy your self-proclaimed “strong individual rights” support since you haven’t given any in your post!

      As one of the posters cited in the OP’s blog comments, notes that bag searches are legal as long as they are **voluntary**:

      “A customer can refuse to have their bag checked and simply walk out the door past the bag checker. Hopefully the bag checker has been trained to know that they cannot force anyone to submit to a bag search without cause. This is important because the expectation of the bag checker is that all bag contents have been purchased. The worst thing that could happen is that an aggressive bag checker would forcibly detain or threaten a customer who refused to comply with the voluntary search”

    121. I provided training for a national big box retailer a few years ago and I got a fair bit of inside info into that world.

      The majority of shoplifting (what they euphemistically call “shrink”) comes from employees, not customers. Like a two-to-one ratio.

      And it’s this info that makes me so angry about spot receipt checks. More security theater in action.

    122. I myself like many others whom have already posted here used to work in a retail electronics store, and started in loss prevention standing at the door checking receipts.

      Our main concern was people putting large objects that would not fit into the bags, such as computers still in the box, into their basket and walking out with it. Believe it or not, people actually try these things and get away with it. We’d also ask for their tech papers if they were taking out a fixed computer, as we’d had people literally steal other customers’ computers off the front desk for the tech department and walk out the door with them. So, at least in that sense the ‘asking for papers’ was meant to protect customers, and of course ourselves from liability.

      There were of course very specific rules about checking receipts and papers. 1) always be polite and non-confrontational (obvious but some people that do that job can be absolute assholes) 2) never, ever, under any circumstances, touch the customer to restrain or block them from leaving the store, whether they showed their receipt or refused. While I never had to do it, one of my coworkers was very sure once that a person was stealing a video card, but all they did was discretely follow behind and take the license plate number. There is nothing illegal about taking down publicly displayed information to turn over to police if having reviewed the CC tapes revealed that shoplifting had occurred. 3) and lastly, make it quick, don’t take more than a few seconds, and never look into personal bags such as purses. Obviously this is not a super effective system at catching shoplifting, but it serves to discourage those from trying the truly brazen and blatant thefts I mentioned above.

      This is, obviously, very annoying for customers sometimes, and turns some people that might otherwise shop at the store away to other venues. So the question is, why do stores like these do this?

      Unlike some stores, margin on most of the electronics for the store itself is rather small, otherwise it can’t be competitive against other local stores and not to mention the internet and places like newegg. one stolen computer, say a high end Mac for example, could ruin profits for that day, particularly if business had been on the down swing when it happens. A stolen cable? Meh, those actually have high margin to make up for the things that don’t. These stores sell computers more to get you to buy the accessories with high margin on them, not to mention the extended or replacement warranties which are basically all margin.

      Some I’m sure are going ‘So what if the store doesn’t make profit for a day or two? The company has millions.’ not knowing that the store itself is responsible for its own losses. If a store is not being profitable there is one place they can make it up: Employee hours. I had coworkers dropped down to 1 hour a week because there was simply no budget to pay people to work more hours.

      Was the person in this case a bit overzealous? By what we’ve heard, it would seem so. Losing one or two expensive items to an asshole who will probably never come back is still preferable to losing a good customer that will come back and continue to spend their money in your store, always. But can we not understand, a little, why these guys might take it a bit seriously?

      So next time you’re in one of these stores, and say to yourself “Why isn’t there enough sales people, or cashiers, or techs here to help me?” it is a good chance that loss was too high or profits too low and they had to cut jobs or hours.

      I’m not arguing that checking receipts is right or wrong, I merely want to try and shed some light for those people who have never worked that kind of retail job. These guys that a lot of times are not making much can have quite a bit of crap shoveled on them by “the customer is always right” (which in a LOT of cases is just not true). I had a man call me evil and several names besides not fit for polite ears because I would not do a return on something that was far out of the return policy, or any reasonable return policy for that matter. There are always those customers that actually cost a store money, rather than contribute profit because of that attitude.

      As for the police officer and the I.D. thing…

      No one should have to show I.D. in my opinion unless they are A) making a purchase of substances which have age restrictions, or paying by written check, B) Driving a vehicle and have been pulled over, for whatever reason, or C) have been caught in the act or are reasonably suspect of having committed a crime. I also hate the Real ID Act, and cheer those states that are refusing to allow it. In this situation I’d probably refuse too just to make a point, but however much I disagree with it, so long as I am treated with respect and politeness I show my ID when asked to do so by a police officer (very rare, but it has happened a couple times).

      Thank you for your time and consideration of my words, whether you agree with them or consider it all just bunk. If there is but one thing I can ask, it is to remember that the person in the blue or red shirt facing you is a fellow human being, and not the scum from the inside of a toilet like so many people treat them. If you show them respect, they will often times go that extra mile for you. Honey and vinegar, as it were.


    123. #40 posted by Anonymous , September 2, 2007 7:11 AM:
      About a month ago I was about to purchase a camera in a Circuit City. Although I was paying cash, they would not sell it to me unless I gave them my name and address. I refused, and will never shop at Circuit City again.


      Stores will ask for all sorts of personal info including email addresses, zip codes and phone numbers for “marketing” reasons. You don’t have to give any of this information of course. Radio Shack was notorious for this a few years ago. I always assumed they were selling it to direct marketers so I’d give them phoney info.

    124. I think everyone is missing the more interesting story here. Why did he decide that that was the time for such an action? Whether he’s right or wrong-whether he’s the next Rosa Parks or just an obnoxious jerk giving a working stiff a hard time- Michael knew trouble would result from non-compliance.

      Oh perhaps some may say he knew a confrontation would result but who would guess he’d go to jail? But when the cop came and he pulled the same stunt it was like he was asking to go to jail. He couldn’t have chosen another day to stand up for his civil rights? There were no other opportunities til that day? Michael, it was your goddamn sister’s birthday you obnoxious prick. What the hell is so wrong with your family that you would rather go to jail than go back home with them? Civil rights my ass, this whole argument is a cover for some nasty familial dysfunction.

    125. The constitution is what keep this country together and we should protect it with all our might. They has always been few bad aples among us that from time to time try to trample the constitution. Even if the constitution is temporaly violated the constitution always prevailed. But it make no mistake. It does not hapen magically and are the wotking of people like the writer of this post. Even if the aproach seen a little bit ankward to some layers the net result is that its work in keeping the eyes of the people open to this very important issue. I believe this is one of the most important issue at a time when members of our governement is trempling the constitution by allowing tortures, assasinations, renditions and electronic surveillance on his own citizen.

      Those claiming that these practices are helping against terrorism are wrong. It does exactly the oposit.

    126. “ould the store not make it very clear that purchasing the goods also carries with it a contractual obligation to have your bags searched before exiting the property?

      It seems like if this was a contractual issue, that each party implicitly agreed to, by say having a sign at each checkout, that would allow the store to do what they wish.”

      That sign means nothing

      They ask to see the receipt and I refuse, all they can do is ask me to leave.

      You are under no obligation to show a receipt to the dumbass at the door. He can not physically stop you from leaving.

      I don’t stop at the door to show anything. I didn’t steal anything. And unless you want to get knocked the fuck out, I’d advise you not to try and physically stop me from leaving.

      You are more than welcome to give up your rights, I on the other hand am not.

      I don’t consent to a search of any kind

    127. Showing the receipt shouldn’t be that big a deal…just DO it! as the person above me stated you bought it be proud of it, Now however not so much to change the subject (but I will)What I most despise in stores is when they ask for your area code or even worse your phone number! Now thats just effing crazy. I now only give the local time and weather phone number when asked for it, Sure you can say their just using this info to figure out where and who they draw to the store…but do they sell this information? does the government get ahold of it?

    128. @107 – The reason you purchase an item is to use it, give it to someone, stomp on it, etc. It is not necessarily to be proud of owning it and thus excited to prove to any willing challenger that indeed, its yours. If someone is challenging your claim of ownership in a legal forum and has the proper standing and basis to make that challenge, then you should have to show the receipt as a point of evidence. As many have pointed out, that would be a claim that you are suspected of having shoplifted. It becomes a whole other game then.

      I happen to show receipts because where I live, it is not just the “big box” stores that do it – many retail establishments do it, and I am sure the police here would be very quick to find some way to make your day worse if your pushed the challenge. So much so that it becomes a disincentive to act, and that is why I must respect mr. righi for actually taking a stand – it seems that today, just taking a stand is a risk in itself. Its not the nature of the transgressions against this guy that is most problematic – it’s true to an extent that he is being a pain in the ass. But as mentioned above, that is not a crime (yet) and he gets points for being pissed that his rights to be a dick are being trampled upon. And that should be a strong point to the people who criticize him as such – shouldn’t we be willing to defend this guy’s right to be an annoyance since it falls under the same set of rights that allow us to freely (and sometimes anonymously) criticize him for same? It almost becomes a parody of itself, to think what these people would be saying if they lived in a fully authoritarian state:

      guy: “my cousin disappeared!”
      apologist 1: “guy, do you still have your ration tickets? this happens every day! quit being a pain in the ass!”
      apologist 2: “jeez, why are you crying for attention? i mean, you are property of the state! you should know better! what are you, american? you want to sue somebody?”

      and so on…

    129. #78 says: “THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE! Not the right of government officials, but the people. You and I. I don’t know where you got your education on the Bill of Rights, but it is sorely in need of remediation.”

      Sorry #78 but you are wrong. The Bill of Rights under the U.S. Constitution guarantee the rights of the people from government intrusion (made applicable to states vis-a-vis the 14th Amendment). Your fourth amendment right is to be protected from “unreasonable search and search and seizure without probable cause” by the GOVERNMENT — not by your neighbors or your fellow citizens (against whom you may have a private cause of action in tort, should someone ‘searches’ you or seizing you/ your belongings without consent). You need to read each of the amendments in context: they are essentially a promise made by the government not to engage in certain acts against its people–thereby giving rise certain rights (e.g., no unreasonable search or seizure without probable cause).

    130. I just don’t get why they’re asking the people with bags for receipts. I think the people walking out of the store carrying nothing are way more suspicious!

    131. If you are stopped for a traffic violation, you must produce your title to the vehicle.

      That’s the point – in your example, you are being stopped *because you have broken the law*, and therefore the police have every right to ask for the car’s registration (as well as your license, since you are operating a vehicle). Walking out of a store with a bag does not even constitute reasonable suspicion of anything, let alone actual law-breaking. Since Mr. Righi was not accused of shoplifting, the CC employees had no right to detain him.

      Another poster put it best – everyone who doesn’t mind showing their receipt at the door, fine. Go ahead and enjoy. But don’t ask your fellow Americans to give up their enshrined liberties. That’s about as un-American as it gets.

      Finally, for those demanding a boycott of CC – I think it may be better to wait and see what CC’s official reaction is to this issue. Give them a chance to make this better. If they don’t, then it’s time to consider a boycott.

    132. While I do agree that in AMerica we should be able to travel from point A to point B without beeing stopped and asked for our “papers” without reason, to refuse to show identification to a police officer, AFTER they have been summoned by loss prevention officers, is incredibly stupid. This is not the 1960’s. The “anti-establishment” era is over. The “unfariness” of having to show I.D. is offset by the greater unfariness of being tossed in jail for being an idiot.

    133. To all the freedom haters who say you should comply because its practical i say the same applies to the LP people. Ask to see the receipt, but if they refuse, just let them walk. Its practical and actually lawful. Grow up sheep, store owners are not gods.

    134. Wow… let’s all just give up our rights so that we can have a nice day. Insane.

      How long until we have to start carrying a portable filing cabinet of receipts with us? Do I really own all of the things that I am walking out of the store with? What if the store sells the same items?

      All you lemmings who just want to have a nice day and don’t really care how your rights get violated – you have that freedom. Please, just quit getting pissy with the rest of us don’t want to just lay down and be violated.

    135. The store issue is minor. Yes these entities are annoying and the better policy is to not shop there. I think the fellow who noted that standing up on these issues when faced with feeling powerless against a society sliding into totalitarianism is right.

      Comparing the police demanding papers to Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, may be an overstatement, but not as much as I wish it were. Since 9/11 we Americans have been in a rush to throw away the freedoms we profess to embrace in the name of an illusory security.

      I’ve traveled. I’ve been to the Soviet Union (and more recently to post-Soviet Russia). I’m been to China. And I’ve been to a lot of other places, and let me tell you – we sure aren’t the free-est folk out there. Not even close.

      Now while I can appreciate the pragmatism of the go-along-to-get-along mentality here, I applaud someone willing to inconvenience his life to make a stand for individual rights. Wake up folks!

    136. Umm…if we didn’t live in a society where loss prevention was required, then you have the right to complain.

      Why not go to the cashier where you just bought your merchandise and have them tell the LP person.

      Show some tolerance and patience…we will be experiencing an attack soon so muster up your liberties and free-speech then.

    137. “Jst shw th fckn’ rcpt, mrn.”

      Jst gt fckn’ cl, mrn.

      Jst bcs Y dctt tht smn shld d smthng tht sn’t rqrd f thm dsn’t mn w shld ll fllw n lckstp, cnt.

    138. re: Matthew Walton

      You’ve entered private property – private property filled with many interesting things of high value which quite a few people might want to steal. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable that they want to see your receipt for any goods you’re carrying to make sure you’ve paid for them before you leave.

      The problem with this is the following:

      Why should I have to pay (with my time and self-respect) because a big box store refuses to set up their store correctly…The modern store (a la Circuit City, Macy’s, JC Penney, etc) has cash-wraps all over the store. and thus creates their own problems which they solve by requiring customers to show receipts upon exit. Macy’s, Penneys and most other retail outlets do not even ask for receipts unless their loss control department suspects shoplifting. However, the process of setting up employees by the doors to solve a problem the stores themselves created must be stopped!

      The ONE THING that Fry’s does that no other big-box store (except costco) does (and it is also the one thing that totally goes against any kind of requirement for a show-receipt policy) is that they have a method of egress that goes DIRECTLY from the register OUT THE DOOR–with no other method of leaving the store.

      The issue with Fry’s is that you do not have to have purchased anything and GET PAST a register clerk to leave the store. At least Costo has a method that is essentially, buy item, pay for item, go through the checkout area to the exit. Fry’s method does not make you go through the checkout method.

      Anyway…my point is that you CANNOT steal ANYTHING on the way out of the store if there is no way to get past the register without paying for an item.

      The supreme court has on many occasions told a business to change the way they do business when it infringes on personal liberties. They call them to the mat and make them comply with the greater law…American’s With Disabilities Act sound familiar? Even stores that cater to non-wheelchair-bound customers must have wheelchair access (for instance). The Courts *can* and *do* make buisinesses comply.

      The personal rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and other federal, state and local laws are NOT superseded by the laws governing personal property. Hence your argument that you MUST comply with their rules no matter how illegal they are is false. Can you possibly think that a store whose policy is to stop and search *all* blacks (for instance) would not immediately be given a cease and desist order (or the equivalent) by the courts?

      The gist is that NO STATE or LOCALITY has ever given any retail outlet permission to stop me and search me on the sole supposition that I could’ve stolen something – if I have not given you previous permission to do so (in the form of a membership agreement). You must have proof. Supposition *cannot* be the deciding factor if you stop and search everyone — that is saying that you suspect everyone and BOY would the supreme court take you down for that! Stopping and searching everyone is proof to the courts that you do not have proof for any one situation. You have created a history of searching everyone therefore you have no right to search me and say “he might be shoplifting”.

      Design your stores so there is no way for a person to get items out of the store without going past a register clerk and then fire each and every register clerk that does not issue a receipt and/or issues a receipt that is missing an item the person has on them.


    139. My rspns s bsd n “Mr Rgh, th wvr f ths tl.”
      Rdrs: Mr Rgh hs lnk t hs blg whr y cn rd th tl f pprssn frm hs pnt-f-vw nd lnk s y cn dnt fnds fr hs cs, bt ddly ngh ws th wndrfl lnks t prss rtcls tht dntfs hm s yng smrt ntrprnr wh wns $500,000 bsnss nd h bght hs frst hs t th g f 19. n hs blg, h wrts hs fthr hd t pst th $300 bl. Nw whr ws Rgh’s chckbk…t th ffc. BB rcntly hd nthr smlr stry (dntcl n sm rgrds) bt Tgr Drct whch sms mr rlstc. Nbdy wnt t jl nd nbdy ws tkng dntns.

    140. Ww! Rlly? ntrnt tgh gy gts hssld fr ctng lk dck n Crct Cty. Ths s th stry?

      vryn pstng hr shld b s prd. Y r ll stndng p t th vl rcpt plc. ‘m sr ll th flks n Drfr r chrng tnght, knwng tht brv frdm fghtrs sch s y r stndng p t sy n mr. Tkng hrd ln s tht thy mght nvr gn b skd fr thr rcpts gn.

      Hr’s tp, f y dn’t lk th str’s prctcs, dn’t shp thr. Whn y g n thr t by ssn 3 f Np Tck nd cm t lkng fr fght stp whnng whn whn y fnd n.

      Th nly thng ths ncdnt prvs t m (yt gn) s tht mrcns r slwly trnng nt bnch f slf-cntrd, nttld, whnrs. Tht ppl fl s hssld whl w spnd r rdcls mnt f dspsbl ncm n frvls trnkts s bynd blf. jst wsh n f th fndng fthrs ws hr t hnd t cpl f bll shts, nd rmnd y tht thr r mch mr wrthy thngs t gt p n rms bt.

      (h, nd sv yr brth, th rcpt ss hs nthng t d wth pst 9/11 wrld r th ptrt ct r n ncrsd nvsn f prvcy. t hs t d wth smn tryng t mk thmslvs fl mpwrd nd mprtnt by stndng p t str scrty grd. Try blckng th pth f tnk, r stndng p t rmd sldrs wh cn kll y wtht rprcssns nd mght b bt mr mprssd)

    141. I have learned something from this dicussion that is startling to me. I’ve learned that a good share of people do not know their rights, the constitution or the laws. I am a recent law school graduate, although I am yet to be licensed attorney(I’m still waiting on the bar results), and because of this I feel I have a better understanding of the law than most everybody that posted.
      Stores do have a right to ask you to show a reciept, this is a right protected by the 1st ammendment freedom of speech. As long as you aren’t inciting unlawful behavior, engaging in obscenity, using fighting words or yelling fire in a crowded theatre when there isn’t a fire, you can say what ever you want. And if the store wants to ask you to produce your reciept, they can ask all they want. This issue is if they can force you to produce it if you refuse.
      Stores are not bound by the Fourth Ammendment. The restrictions search and seizure were only applicable as to the federal government until the Courts interpreted the 14th ammendment as incorperating the 4th and therefore it became binding on the states and subdivisions of the states(couny and city officials). In fact, this was such a well established principle that before the 14th ammendment it was common for federal officers to have state officers conduct searches and seizures without a warant or probable cause so the feds could use it in court, because the exclusion of evidence obtained in violation of the 4th ammendment only applies to evidence obtained in violation of the 4th by those whom the 4th is binding on. There has never been a decision or indication the 4th ammendment could be binding on private individuals. In fact the only state I know of that uses 4th ammendment principles to keep out evidence obtained by a search by private individuals is Texas, which does this through their rules of evidence and not a law that makes it illegal. Therefore, the store in searching people’s belongings without consent is not violating the 4th ammendment unless they had a state actor, such as a police officer, doing the searches. Now if the individual involved had refused to show his reciept to the police and the police based a search soley on that there might have been a 4th ammendment issue, but he consented to the police’s request.
      As for detaining him. A private entity(individual, business, coorperation..etc..) has the right to protect their property, however, they must have reason to believe a crime has been or is being committed. If they see you put stuff in your pocket and try to walk out the door, yes they can detain you, but only by using the minimal amount of force necessary. This is called a citizens arrest. However, if they detain you without a reasonable suspicion(good reason to think you have stolen) they can be liable for a number of torts.. mainly false imprisonment. We have a fundamental right to go where we want. We cannot be forced to stay somewhere against our will, the only defenses to this are protection of property, lawful detainment pursuant to an enacted law or a common law right that hasn’t been superseded by a statute. In this case, there is no law saying if you don’t show a reciept upon leaving a business you can be detained and merely refusing to show your reciept without other facts to cause suspicion of theft, there is no common law (and in most states now, statutory right) to detain and use reasonable force to detain to protect your property.
      The comment that something isn’t theft until you leave the property is just wrong. The common law definition of theft was the taking of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive them of that property. When you pick up an item you are taking it, when you put it in yoru pocket or who knows where else with the intent of keeping it when you are not entitled is having the intent to permantley deprive. Now, this being said technically when you pick up the item without intending to pay for it and take it from where it was you are technically guilty of the crime of theft, the problem is prooving that intent, so most stores will wait till you are out the door, because then proving the intent is much easier.
      As for being arrested for not producing ID, if there is a state law saying it is a crime to not produce ID when asked by a police officer, then yes, constituationally you can be arrested. I don’t remember the name of the case, but it was out of Texas where a lady was arrested and taken to jail for the offense of not wearing her seat belt. The Supreme Court ruled this was ok, since it was technically an offense… However, in the case the Ohio statue, if the above quoted statute is an accurate reflection of the Ohio statute in effect, there are state level issues with the arrest, as the state seems to explicitly prohibit arrest for merely refusing to produce ID.

      My point with all of this is don’t assume you know what you are talking about, just because you think something makes sense and don’t read a statute, or constitutional provision and decide you know what it means just from the language. Before you open your mouth(or put your fingers to the keyboard in the case) look into the issue, otherwise you’ll come off looking like an idiot like the poster on #78… That person is the one that needs to be educated on the Bill of Rights, not the person he/she was attacking.

    142. Too bad you allowed comments, now I realize that a huge number of the people reading BB along with me are idiots.

    143. Th cnstnt mntns f Nzs, Gstp, nd thr lk cmmnts mks m lgh ncntrllbly.

      Y s, ws brn nd rsd n st Brln.
      Fr 30 yrs, lvd ndr th pprssv rgm tht rs frm th shs f th Thrd Rch. My yngr brthr nd hs wf dspprd whn thy rgd wth plc ffcrs. Th d f lvng my prtmnt wtht my dntfctn nvr ntrd my mnd. Y cld b stppd, ntrrgtd, btn, trtrd, nd klld, fr s lttl prvctn s lkng t gvrnmnt gnt th wrng wy, nt tht thr ws rght wy.

      Whn cm t mrc, th fr cm wth m.
      Whn fnlly rlzd tht cld gt cff wtht b ccstd fr n ccntng f my ctns fr th pst wk, ws vrjyd.

      ftn shp t wht y cll “bx str”. Thr r sgns t th rgstr tllng y t shw rcpt t th dr. Thr s n prsnl nfrmtn n th rcpt. Fv scnds, nd ‘m t f th dr. hv nvr bn stppd t th dr, bt, thn gn, dn’t cs scn t th dr.

      Ws Mr. Rgh trtrd? Rpd? Btn? Wr hs fngrs ct ff? Wr hs lgs brkn?


      T qt Mr. Rgh –

      “Tdy ws rrstd by th Brklyn, h plc dprtmnt. t ll strtd whn rfsd t shw my rcpt t th lss prvntn mply t Crct Cty, nd t ndd whn plc ffcr rrstd m fr rfsng t prvd my drvr’s lcns.”

      Why dd h rfs t shw th rcpt?
      Ws t t mk shw f hs prsnl rghts?
      r ws t t b fckng sshl?


      “Thr r tw ntrstng strs n n whch thght wld b f ntrst t Bng Bng rdrs. Th frst nvlvs th lss prvntn mply physclly prvntng my grss frm th prprty. Th scnd stry nvlvs my rght s .S. ctzn t nt hv t shw my pprs whn skd. (Dspt hvng vrblly dntfd myslf, th ffcr rrstd m fr flng t prvd drvr’s lcns whl stndng n sdwlk.)”

      Hw dd th mply rstrn hm?
      Ws h pt nt hdlck?
      Ws h n chkhld?
      r dd th mply smply blck pssg?

      ls, th plc ffcr skd fr D whn h rspndd t th cll s tht h knw Mr. Rgh ws rlly Mr. Rgh.
      s nyn vr bn stppd by n ffcr nd h hs NT skd fr D?

      Mr. Rgh wntd cnfrnttn, nd h gt n.

      Hr’s tp –


    144. This is a response to post #41. I can see it being somewhat reasonable that the store would ask to see the receipt before exiting with a purchase. However, your blatant assumptions that the customer did something wrong are rather appalling. How are you SO sure that it wasn’t exactly what you claimed it not to be, that the LP person may have wanted to hassle the person on a whim? Maybe they had a bad day and were using their position of power to make someone else’s just as bad. Odds are very likely this is not the case. (Notice I said “Odds are very likely”. I am not making a definitive statement on something I do not know completely about, as you seem so easily able to do) You said there are gaps in the story and that may in fact be the case, but to make such bold assumptions to fill in those gaps and then to GUARANTEE them is rather stupid, to say the least. Besides, what good is your “GUARANTEE” anyway? You posted anonymously (as I am), so your “GUARANTEE” is absolutely worthless if your statements are proven to be wrong. Are you willing to face any repercussions if that is the case? If not, than you should simply stop making statements like that. And your belief that people should hand over their rights because someone in a position of power asks them to is rather troubling. If the customer knew they had the right not to have to produce a physical ID and chose to exercise that right, no one, not the LP officer, not the police officer and not you, can tell them otherwise. A store being on private property gives them the right to make their own rules to be on that property, but not to make their own laws. If their rules are in conflict with laws, then they are in the wrong. Simple.

    145. Several states (more than half, I think) have laws requiring you to produce ID if requested by a police officer… if you live in one of those states and a police officer requests your ID, you may be legally arrrested. A lawsuit about this went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the constitution doesn’t give you any right not to be arrested for not producing ID if the law requires it. Which I think is BS, but you can thank yourself for electing republicans to appoint the supreme court justices.

      So, if a cop asks you for ID and you simply refuse to provide it, you’re an idiot.

      As for the employee, once you’ve bought stuff in a store it’s YOURS, and they have no rights whatsoever to prevent you from leaving, so if a store employee tries to prevent you from leaving, whip out your cell phone, call 911, and report that you’re being held against your will. Then SHOW THE COP YOUR ID for god’s sake, and insist on pressing charges. And get a lawyer and sue the employee and the store for violating your civil rights.

    146. Is the sheer (shear?) number of sheep in this thread frightening to anyone else? It just goes to show how easy it would be to require internal passports for travel, for example. The vast majority of the people in this thread seem like they’d simply say “sure, Mr. Officer, I’d be happy to wear this badge.” There is a shocking misunderstanding of what private property rights actually entail, as well. I always wonder how we ended up with the government we did and the answer is blatantly obvious by reading a thread like this.

    147. Whether or not one should show a receipt (and by consequence, assume to show the contents of one’s bags in order to confirm that the receipt is in fact a document of purchase for the contents of the bags) as something done in good taste, good sense or just common conformism is not the issue.

      The issue lies around the fact that a business does not and should not have the right to inspect your personal belongings.

      What if, in addition to the stuff I bought at a store I had also bought a sex toy at another store and was too embarrassed to show it? What if I was carrying an attache case with confidential business or government documents that the employee had no right to see?

      Yes, people steal from places. But that is a condition that a retail store has to accept. It is a risk they are legally obliged to take to stay open. They are not legally entitled to detain any person they so accuse of potential shoplifting.

      Stores like this need to be kept in check. Such violations of personal rights are becoming far too much a de facto way of life.

    148. Remember, this is happening in the same country that will require you to be reported to the Federal Government if you spend (or carry) over $10k in cash …btw the Best Buy door monkey loses it when you remind him that the receipt is in the register you just walked away from…

    149. The headline is false. He was arrested for refusing to show ID to a cop (legitimate), explicitly NOT for refusing to show a receipt, by his own admission.

      No cop can arrest anyone for refusing to show a receipt to a McClerk at the door, as U.S. case law precedents back up the fact that, unless a store employee SAW someone shoplift with their own eyes, they have no lawful cause to justify detaining a customer against his will (to do so would constitute the crime of unlawful imprisonment).

      The fact that Circuit City posts their “Stop and Inspect” policy at ther door does not make it lawful. Wal-Mart pulls the same nonsense all the time. It’s unlawful. Not illegal, but unlawful (not forbidden, but inconsistent with existing laws governing the use of citizen’s arrest).

      Sue the bastards. They’ll settle out-of-court, and you’ll get the satisfaction of costing them a bundle in corporate lawyer’s fees (typically billed at $400/hr.). That ought to make you feel better *grin*.

    150. If you walk into a store that has a receipt checker and decide to continue to shop, you have consented to their rules which includes them reviewing your purchases. If you don’t like it, get people of like minds to write the store and let them know you’re not shopping their, but don’t be a dick to their employee, continue being a dick to the cop, and then bitch when you get thrown in jail.

    151. When you asked the state to give you one of THEIR drivers license, you signed paperwork which said you would surrender it to their agent when requested. In other words your license is state property and has to be shown to a police officer when requested. Now if you don’t have a drivers license that is another story.

    152. to refuse to show identification to a police officer, AFTER they have been summoned by loss prevention officers, is incredibly stupid.


      Several states (more than half, I think) have laws requiring you to produce ID if requested by a police officer… if you live in one of those states and a police officer requests your ID, you may be legally arrested

      You are both missing a couple of important points. One, “loss prevention” didn’t call the police, the OP did because he was being unlawfully detained by Circuity City personnel who admitted at the time that they did not suspect him of stealing but physically prevented him from leaving the parking lot based on the erroneous belief that they can detain anyone who fails to capitulate to their demands–demands based on form rather than any suspicion.

      Second, the OP is specifically not in one of the states where the police can demand ID. In fact, the relevant state law specifically says they can’t.

    153. I’m amazed at how few people bother to read the article before posting. He said he didn’t provide a receipt, and was prevented from leaving the store.

      He told the officer his name and address, but was arrested for not producing an ID. these are easy win’s for a first year lawyer. You are not required to provide ID. The cop can arrest you for refusing to give your name, but not for refusing to show an ID. He can arrest you on suspicion of shoplifting.

      To all the asshat posters. rtfa. please pretty please

    154. After reading all that has been said, one point has slipped by everyone, even those that claim legal expertise and qualifiers. The SCOTUS decision did not aalow arrest for failure to produce an ID if requested by law enforcement. There is no statutory requirement that anyone who is a citizen is required to carry upon their person any means of identification. You don’t have to be able to prove anything to law enforcement when it involves a Terry Stop or other LEGAL detention. What the SCOTUS decision said was that you had to identify yourself verbally, and the purpose of your presence at that particular time and place. Nothing else was required. Any further action on the part of law enforcement would be based on circumstances in evidence.

      If the facts are as stated by the OP, his lawyer will get a nice payday, and he a good settlement, from both the town and CC.

    155. Mst f y ppl r rdcls. hv t gr wth Mr. chnr (pst #14): Y r n str, y r sbjct t thr rls. f thr plcy rqrs tht ppl shw thr rcpts n th wy t th dr, sck t p nd d t. f y dn’t wnt t, dn’t g thr. Jst st n yr bsmnt nd by vrythng y wnt n-ln. Thn y wn’t hv t dl wth ths knd f njstc.

      Bt hv qstn fr vryn hr: Whr n th S cnstttn s thr tct dclrtn f rght t prvcy? nd hw s plc ffcr skng t s pht D n nvsn f ths s clld ‘rght’?

      Jst smthng t thnk bt.

    156. ” m nt ctng s nyn’s ttrny n th bv dscssd mttr, nr m ntrstd n dng s.”

      wll, cnsdrng yr sttmnts… dn’t thnk y’d b mch hlp t th dfns nywy…

    157. j m mcdermott is absolutely correct. Constitutional protections apply ONLY to STATE action, not private action.

      Also, Circuit City is NOT private property. It is privately owned, but it is a public corporation, operating with a retail sales permit, engaging the public in a commercial activity, therefore, acting as a public entity. Once the doors are open and the public invited the argument of “private property” is no longer applicable.

      If this were a Sam’s Club it would be different because that is a member’s club. There is a tacit agreement that if one joins a member’s club that they will abide by store policy. If that policy is checking receipts upon exiting the store then you can either surrender your membership, have it revoked for violating policy, or not shop there. In this case, Circuit City has a right to protect it’s property (merchandise) with private security, but in order for that private security to detain a person suspected of attempting to permanently deprive the store the use of that property (intent is a requirement for a crime otherwise it is a tort and a civil matter), it has to believe such was the case as determined by a “reasonable” person. Once it is established that the person did purchase the item and the store persists in detaining the person then that act arises to unlawful imprisonment and possibly battery and the injured party can sue the store and the security guard.

      I do not show my receipt. I continue to walk out of the store and ignore the guard or whosoever requests a receipt. I know I paid for the merchandise. At that time it becomes MY property. I do not have to justify or prove ownership for MY property to anyone, no matter how trivial or inconvenient such request may be. What if the police came by your house and knocked on the door asking to see receipts for all of your expensive electronic equipment because it is something that is often sold stolen and public safety and necessity would be best served if all ownership of electronic equipment could be substantiated? Should someone submit to such a minor inconvenience?

      If the store wants to try to stop me, and the security guard assaults me, and I am shown to be in the right then I have a little windfall for my troubles. If the guard uses unwarranted force to restrain me then I can resist with like-force if I feel such force to pose a threat to my life or safety, and such retaliation is justified. The store has a substantial burden to meet to justify any detention or apprehending of a suspected thief. Those assailed by store security are within their rights to defend themselves since they own that property and the store is attempting to unlawfully detain them without proof. Refusing to justify your ownership of property does not meet the test for suspicion of theft.

      Most people are ready to submit to whatever presumed “authority” may cross their path, but then again most people check their reasoning, individuality, and self-respect at the government indoctrination camps from which they gestate into compliant, obedient and servile drones. The police have NO authority to arrest someone on command of the store absent any proof of a crime or injured party. That cop can also be charged with unlawful imprisonment, although the system protects its own malfeasants and successful prosecution is unlikely. The best approach is to not patronize establishments that enforce the “presumed guilty” policy, but there is no crime in asserting your right to acquire property. If Circuit City makes this policy known to the public and they engage them nevertheless then that is a contract that consumers would be expected to comply with, but still gives Circuit City NO authority to act unlawfully.

      Mark McCoy

    158. Regarding the argument that receipt checking doesn’t mean our rights are being gradually eroded: receipt checking is only the most recent development in this arena. First they added the electronic scanners around the door. Those always make me cringe when I walk through them, even though I’ve never shoplifted in my life: a computer may suddenly decide to sound an alarm, complete with flashing lights, accusing me of being a shoplifter. It’s happened to me several times, and I’ve heard people brag of taking tags from items and planting them on people for fun (and of course, it may also merely indicate that a tag wasn’t properly deactivated by the cashier). I always feel sheepish when it happens, and want to prove my innocence to everyone in the area. But then I remember that it’s a precious right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Eerily Orwellian: “Unthinkable to disobey the iron voice
      from the wall.”

      Cameras also started appearing a while back. Those bother me too, although I don’t have a good argument against them.

      Next came receipt checking. I’ve been interested to hear from the legal types that the 4th amendment isn’t interpreted as being relevant to private parties, although I suppose it makes sense. But I presume there’s a legal basis for being able to refuse searches of my property by private parties, even if I’m on their property? Could someone cite that perhaps?

      But more particularly in response to the point that our rights aren’t actually eroding, a local CompUSA now has a sign in the window that claims they “reserve the right” to search personal bags of customers in the store.

      So if you do feel that these encroachments aren’t reasonable to protest, at what point would you start complaining?

      I don’t think this argument has to be black and white: that either he’s a bored jerk or forestalling the apocalypse. But I always get uncomfortable when people want to paw through my stuff, so it was surprising to hear that others not only don’t mind that, but seem to be upset that *he* minds. Everything else in a store happens voluntarily: I can come and look, they can ask me to leave if they want, I can choose to give them some money in exchange for some stuff. It’s an ancient interaction that only very recently seems to include their ability search me before I leave the premises. That’s the part that bothers me.

      Now, people also argue that I should just take my business elsewhere. That works up to a point, and I do indeed avoid such stores when I can, although it has become increasingly difficult to do so. I also drive sometimes rather than flying when it’s practical as a “vote” against invasive, excessive “security” measures. And I cancelled my Costco membership because of their receipt checking. I also sometimes take a stand publicly like this fellow so that people will notice that it’s something new that we had better protest if we don’t want it to continue.

    159. In many municipalities, there are certification courses that loss prevention personell and managers may voluntarily go through in order to become in effect deputized while on the premises of their employer. Some municipalities, including one I formerly worked in as the manager of a retail establishment, referred to this status as being a “special”. Upon having satisfactorily completed the required certification, a “special” can pursue actions up to and including detaining, in plain sight, a person suspected of shoplifting. You may not detain or restrain someone in an area outside of third party observation. Refusing to provide a receipt for merchandise one is attempting to exit a store with is sufficient grounds in a preponderance of municipalities to constitute suspicion of shoplifting. Depending on the laws in your locality, the crime of shoplifting has occurred the moment you move past the last point of sale. Whether or not you have a legal obligation to provide the receipt is up for debate depending on your local statutes. What is not oppen for debate is the rights of Circuit City to refuse you to purchase items at any of their locations and to refuse you admittance if you are not willing to comply with their publicly posted loss prevention policies.

    160. Th fct tht n mrcn bsnss cn gt wy wth hrng smbdy t stnd t th shp xt nd chck ppl’s bgs shws hw fr y gys hv flln.

      Nt tht thy wldn’t d t vr hr (K) f thy thght thy cld gt wy wth t, f crs. t’s jst fnny t m tht n r CCTV-rddn scty ths wld b cnsdrd nvsv whrs t’s prfctly fn n th “Lnd f th Fr”.


    161. Search without probable cause.

      It’s that simple people.

      It’s amazing how stupid people are when they get on the internet.

    162. That’s Ohio for ya! I was once arrested at a small town Wendy’s for simply asking that my food be a notch above cold, and for the inclusion of their shoddy BBQ sauce. My request of course was met instead by 3 squad cars after the manager went what can only be described as insane. Quite a funny story I do say, those crazy Ohioans, ho ho!

    163. In *former* Nazi Germany, I get this “show your receipt”-stuff from time to time. My solution is to deny, ask the shop-goon to call the police (as they are the only ones that are a) authorized to search and b) they are unlikely to snuggle some little “unpaid” gizmo into my bag., and wait.

      If he does, he’ll have to pay the police deployment because of “false alert”, which is relatively costly (depends on the police station, between around USD 100 and USD 500)

      This way, I potty-trained the retailers around my vicinity. *I* won’t get stopped anymore :)

    164. Sorry, store rules mostly have zero legal force.

      Private property owners can NOT directly dictate your behavior. Most places they can tell you “Do as we say or leave immediately.” In a large but smaller number of places they can add “and don’t ever come back.” That’s it. They can’t really directly prohibit much.

      I can think of exactly one place (Fairfield, CA) where a city ordinance makes disobeying posted rules disorderly conduct.

      This is all state or even local law, but there’s usually a “merchant’s privelege” statute, it’s just that it generally does NOT include the right to be wrong. You can stop a shoplifter, many places you can use minimal force to detain them, some places even execute a citizen’s arrest. Problem is, the minute you screw up and nab an innocent, you’re hosed. Most places “probable cause” only protects sworn peace officers, NOT anyone else.

      Which is why many stores have policies describing very precisely the circumstances–if any–where their employees can detain people. Losing an iPod now and again is way, way cheaper than an illegal detention lawsuit.

      Don’t mess with real cops. They’re a lot harder to get disciplined, a lot better at coming up with obscure things you’ve done wrong, and a lot more credible in court, even when they’re completely spewing B.S. They’re smarter, better trained, and a lot less likely to make the kind of stupid legal mistakes that make disobedience attractive in the first place.

      This is all general advice from a non-lawyer. It would be rather reckless to make a stand without very carefully researching your state and local statutes yourself.

    165. Why not just run around punching people in the face? Freedom of expression man! It’s performance art!


    166. Hmmm, according to half the commentators on this thread, it is OK for me to do a strip search of anybody that comes onto my property.

      I am now looking to buy a store that attracts a lot of good looking ladies. Anyone have any ideas?

    167. I got kicked out of a Best Buy because I walked in the exit door. It opened as I approached so I went in and started shopping. One of the “security” people followed me to the back of the store and told me I had to leave and come back in the proper door!

    168. “supreme court ruled several years ago that it is not a violation of 4th amendment rights to have someone show their id when asked.”


      “The Supreme Court already ruled that you must provide identification to any law enforcement officer that asks for it.”


      The Supreme Court said it is legal to require you to identify yourself. This has nothing to do with showing ID. Just state your name. Why do people not get this?

    169. As a person who works for a large retail chain, I can well understand any stores receipt policies. Thieves are in abundance, and constantly finding new ways to do their business. We are constantly being ripped off, and often have no recourse. We do not check receipts on the way out, but if we did, it might lower the incidence of ‘no receipt returns’, which more often than not is a stolen item. We don’t give cash on these returns, but we issue a store credit, which is then used to buy merchandise, which comes with a receipt, and then is returned for cash. I have people who sit and watch for those who just drop their reciepts, or throw them away as they leave the store. Then these receipts are harvested, matching product stolen and then returned. So, yes, while we don’t want to be suspicious of customers, we are being forced into it. We all pay for these thefts, employees in profit sharing bucks, and consumers pay higher prices. If you are not doing any thing wrong, what then, is the harm in just showing your receipt? This is not only to curtail shoplifting, it is also for the protection of those honest folks out there, who still believe in paying for what they get.

    170. My apologies if this has been said before, a very long and interesting thread.

      There has been much discussion about legal rights for the consumer and the store, but I’d like to add an additional perspective to help define this discussion. In the past, I’ve worked as a loss prevention specialist and trainer for well known clothing stores. Retailers invest millions of dollars in new ways to prevent and detect theft in stores, from plain clothes security to multi-camera setups, everything has been tried and done.

      This particular situation is a common and IMHO a lazy mechanism for loss prevention. Concealment of an item on store property is generally not considered a crime unless it is removed from the property. (A common scenario is grocery shopping with your own bag and not with a store approved cart/bag.) Putting something in your pocket or acting suspicious will throw up flags, but if this item is removed and paid for before exiting the store, nothing need be said or done.

      Here is the reason why we now have to provide a receipt upon exit of the store. Many times a security / LP officer will witness concealment personally or by video. If this officer losses visual contact with the suspect while still in store, there is a window of opportunity to allow the suspect to ‘correct’ their situation or drop the item. If this does happen (ditching the item or paying for it without being seen), and he/she is approached off store premises, there is definite grounds for legal action by the suspect (defamation of character). This scenario has landed many retailer in hot water because of poorly trained staff and security eager to make a bust. On the flip side, people who understand this loophole will exploit the situation and force retailers into a legal battle often ending in a settlement.

      The main LP rule for retailers is to never give your customer the ‘opportunity’ to steal. Good training will allow any staff member to detect malicious activity and stop it from progressing into a full blown theft. This is usually done with really good customer service, not stalking or physical apprehension. (I noticed you liked those shorts so much you put them on under your jeans, would you like to pay for those as well?). What cannot happen in large stores like Circuit City is individual service by sales staff. The ratio of customers to staff is so great that stores need to secure product by sensor, case, cage or other means. Asking for a receipt is the final security measure to prevent inventory from intentionally or accidentally leaving the store.

      This method of theft detection is lazy and counter productive to the company. By ‘intimidating’ the customer upon exit does more to damage the experience of shopping then to save the company money. What this gentlemen did was a noble act for the cause of ‘better shopping experience’ (if there is such a thing) but his actions will not persuade them to change their methods, short of a boycott based on LP procedures. (And, don’t get me started on the process of checking your bag at the door.)

      The store has a right to protect their property and his hasty exit was obviously construed as malicious by the employee. What happened after exiting was a classic example of bad training. Based on the rule of witnessing the theft and not losing visual contact, did the employee have any reasonable evidence that he stole something? Not at all. I believe the item was in a Circuit City bag, which should be enough proof that he had passed through checkout clerks (yeah, you can fake that, but thats not the case here). What would happen if he did not speak English or was hearing impaired? Also, the employee was not prompted by other staff members to delay his exit because of a possible theft. If an elderly lady walked out without stopping, would the employee’s internal theft alarm have gone off? probably not (mild profiling happens). This is why the method for showing a receipt does more harm then good. The employee was setup to make a bad call and the manager didn’t have the training to ask the employee if he saw a theft. They should have let it slide. There have been many tragic cases of zealous employees chasing suspects off store property to reclaim items, to then be attacked and injured by the suspect or accomplices (not worth the minimum wage!). This is a big liability issue too.

      About the police ID thing, it’s been addressed, but you’d hope police officers have enough smarts to rectify situation through mediation rather then force of law. Would this have been solved if the officer asked to verify the receipt in private? Probably. Moral of the story is: shop at places that put you first and avoid stores that don’t. Know your rights and use customer feedback hotlines or websites to express your opinions or suggestions. It’s direct and anonymous so you won’t be singled out by store staff. Remember, you wanna give them your hard earned money! You deserve a little respect.


    171. Ths s Fk!!!!!

      Th gy s jst tryng t rs fnds v PyPl fr hs wn prsnl gn.

      Thr s n plc rprt!!!!

      Nvr hppnd…


    172. …The sheer number of sheep…
      Yes – that is what is frightening to me.
      Could we not give up our legal rights simply because it would “be easier” or “not a big deal to show the receipt” ?

      The other frightening thing is the realization that I have no real idea what rights I have, what rights are being eroded, what rights I never actually had… hmmm…

    173. The reason we are inundated with laws many of us see as restrictive to our civil rights is that asshats like this prick make scenes and scream “Gestapo” over matters of little or no concern. Collectively, these acts result in more detailed and restrictive laws, not more freedom.

      The first anonymous was right. Show the fucking receipt, walk out the door, enjoy your purchase, and start a move toward a more civil society where people do their best to get along.

      Ever notice that the people who most preach tolerance are the ones least tolerant of the rights of others, especially businesses? Hypocrites.

    174. If stores were designed so that once so that all customers have to walk through a checkout counter to exit, and then said customers are directed out of the store, this becomes a non-issue. When shopping at Lowe’s, there is an employee at the exit, but they only stop you if you bypass a checkout with merchandise.

    175. Clsd crct fr pstr #133:

      f y rlly r rcnt lw schl grdt, g bck t frth grd fr sm rmdl spllng trnng, lk mndmnt nd rcpt, fr xmpl.

      Mght hlp y d bttr th SCND tm y tk th br xm.

    176. “Chust show ze nice man your receipt. Vhy muzt yew make zuch a fuss? Iz it zat yew must haf some attention? Pleez don’t be unreazonable. Ve only vant to be zure you haven’t been very, very, naughty. Perhaps yew do not love freedom, iz that it? Yew must show uz ze papers! Vhere IZ YOUR REZEIT?! YEW ARE NOT ZE PATRIOT, ARE YEW?! YOUR PAPERS! SHOW UZ YOUR PAPERS! DETAIN HIM! DETAIN HIM! CALL THE MINISTRY OF FATHERLAND PROTECZION!”

      By all means, be good Germans. Don’t rock the boat. For heaven’s sake don’t let a little inconvenience bother you. We must protect our “freedom”. What’s one more checkpoint?

    177. I’m not sure why the refusal to provide receipt is so important as a defense of personal rights…the same people who refuse to show receipts are likely willing to get fingerprinted for Disneyland entry, or to show ticket stubs on reentry into a movie. It is simply loss prevention. That said, the actions of the officer, and the general laws requiring ID to be displayed when requested are overkill. Officers are expected to act on probable cause, which there was none here in my opinion. The most the officer should have done was to escort the customer out of the store.

    178. As to the detention by the store security guard, you likely have a claim for false imprisonment against the store. The elements are (1) the restraint of the plaintiff against his or her will, and (2) the unlawfulness of the restraint. (1) is apparently not an issue. As to (2), one question will be whether the store can invoke what’s called the “merchant’s privilege,” which gives them limited rights to detain customers suspected of shoplifting (the scope of that right differs from state to state). In any case, your refusal to show the receipt, without more, should not make you a shoplifting suspect. Another point to consider: Your contract with the store very likely ends when you made the purchase, that is, at the cash register. Thus, whatever “contractual rights” for the detention (which occurred later) the store wants to assert are significantly weakened if they are available at all.

    179. You could have shown your receipt. It was really no big deal. I’m more concerned about the cop wanting your papers. But had you shown your receipt you could have avoided all this. The cop should have asked “to see some identification” not a driver’s license.

      If you can’t abide by Circuit City’s rules, you should not be allowed to shop there. That is their store and if you don’t like their loss prevention rules, shop elsewhere.

    180. One of our local shopping malls took a long time to die, but before it croaked, the Suncoast video store did a long graceless dying swan — including accosting me on my way out of the store exactly once. As I recall, the excuse for opening and looking inside my Suncoast plastic bag was that the clerk had “forgotten” to deactivate the device that triggers the door alarm — although clearly the clerk had pushed the desk button to trip the alarm himself as I exited. He found nothing, no extra merchandise, nothing but a receipt which clearly showed I’d paid the pricey Suncoast markup for a DVD I actually did want — but he cost himself my good will.

      What I realized is, if you often frequent a store, but seldom buy, the mindset considers you a clever shoplifter who has not yet been caught, instead of a valued customer.

      Eventually, the Jack Webb attitude (and Walmart) killed this store. I was sorry to see it go. I enjoyed visiting the shelves on my mall walks, but never buying, and always always making eye contact and very large, slow gestures when I put my reading glasses in my pocket, or took them out. When they failed, the whole shebang absconded over night. Nothing left but empty windows, empty shelves, and the blank stares of a few unnotified part time employees. Nice.

    181. Costco’s receipt checking isn’t just to prevent theft. The first thing they do is check that the number of items in your cart matches the number on the receipt. More than once this has caught items that the CASHIER missed, in one case to the tune of $200.

      If you have a toddler in your cart, the receipt checker often draws a smiley face on the receipt. My daughter then sticks it to her chest, explaining that she’s giving it mommy milk.

    182. ww…

      cn’t blv rd th whl thng…


      ppl cn fnd nythng t gt pst vr…

      gd lgc pnts n bth sds, lts f bs ls…

      brngs t mnd th ld syng bt hw mch y chng th wrld, whn y rmv yr fngr frm wtr…

      nnyms bcs f 1st nd pssbly lst pst…

      Wllm . Yts
      Sn Mrtn, C

    183. This is not Nazi Germany
      The whole thing could have been avoided
      Chief Joseph,
      should have to play by their rules
      Rosa Parks,
      Just wanted to get attention
      Brown v Board of Education
      It can’t happen here
      SO . . .
      Just go home and read a book
      Fehrenheit 451
      Mein Kampf
      Just go home and google
      John Stuart Mill
      Jeremey Bentham
      Thomas Paine
      Just go home and watch a movie
      Minority Report
      Truman Show
      Hotel Rwanda
      Show that strager your receipt for
      your tampons
      your birth control
      your AIDS medication
      your book on anthrax
      your bullets
      your vibrator
      your morning after pill
      your Kosher groceries
      your Koran
      your Torah
      your Bible
      You have to play by their rules

    184. As mentioned above Costco checks the receipt of every single person exiting their stores. A private business has every right to do this. They don’t have the right to look in your purse or bag or whatever, I should think, unless you’ve been seen doing something suspicious, but they can make sure you’ve paid for their stuff. It’s THEIR right! If you don’t like their policy it’s your right not to shop there. Once the police got involved it seems that you became a suspect of a crime and then they can demand ID, can’t they? It may seem silly and annoying, but welcome to the real world.

    185. h mrc. Lnd f “rghts.” Rghts rghts rghts rgthts rghts. Fn. Wnt t tht wy? Thn dnt cmpln whn y nd p wth n ncvl nd nffcnt scty bcs y blv tht th str dsn’t hv prmssn t tk rsnbl prctns gnst shplftng, s th str’s crtnly r. Mn, y r cnt.

    186. I am not a lawyer, an activist, or a blogger. What I am is a quiet, concerned, and, right now, an enraged citizen. Describing myself as enraged when posting in response to a post about being ‘hassled’ by CC LP and a misdemeanor arrest may seem over the top to some but I don’t think it is.

      I am concerned with what the topic of the post is about.

      I am enraged by some of the comments telling Mr. Righi to essentially bend-over and drop his pants.

      This story isn’t about a customer who made an LP guy have a bad day. And it’s not about an LP guy on a power trip, or a Cop with the same dillusions. No, this story is about what your rights are and whether you should be allowed to excercise those rights when you believe there is a good reason. If the store personnel had a good reason to suspect Mr. Righi of theft they could have detained him legally as a citizen’s arrest and let local Law Enforcement handle the matter, but they didn’t have that reason. If the Police Officer suspected Mr. Righi of a crime they could and should have asked for Identification, but they didn’t have that right under Ohio Law because there was no suspicion of guilt. As long as Mr. Righi complied with the law by providing his pedigree (not photo ID) when asked there should have been no arrest. Because Mr. Righi was law-biding, I think it reasonable that he expect his rights to be upheld instead of trampled.

      Because I like to keep a low profile (and not because of my innocence or guilt), I usually will take the 5-seconds to show the receipt in my hand to store help as I leave or the 15-seconds to fish it out of my pocket or bag and brandish it, but that is my choice and no one else’s. After reading this post I may think twice about so readily complying with a non-neccessary measure that does nothing the store LP department shouldn’t already have been providing due diligence toward. I hope some of you will think about this the next time you wait in a line to pay money in exchange for a product and then are asked a for a receipt at the door: The store pays it’s LP department to watch you on CC TV and walk around the store looking for trouble. If they want to go beyond that, they have the right install other security systems to protect their products and they have the right to ask (but not force) you to show a receipt. What you do is your decision. Always remember that and don’t let anyone give you flak for standing up for your rights. If they don’t understand why you are standing up for your rights, they will be just as oblivious when an important right is taken from them. And letting your rights go unused is often seen by the current Authority as a right that can be taken away without much notice.

      Mr. Righi, even though it may have been easier for you to show your receipt and it would certainly have caused much less hassle for all parties concerned, you chose to do what you are entitled to do under the law and that makes the CC LP and the Police Officer the offenders in this story, not you. What you did wasn’t noble, courageous, or valiant. It was what everyone should be doing but isn’t.

      -Adam F
      Fairfield, Ohio

    187. yes, the store did many things wrong.

      they can ask, but not require, to see the receipt or the bag.
      if you decline they must let you go
      they cannot stop you or block you or get in front of you or touch you or impede you. unless they are officialy citizen’s arresting you.
      ditto for blocking you and your family car in the lot.
      nix, nix, nix, nix, nix.
      they should know better…that’s supposed to be part of their job, to know the rules and customers’ rights, and let the police handle arrests.
      on the other hand, you yourself have made two major mistakes afterwards, which i did not see mentioned in the comments i read.

      you PUSHED the manager? and you admit it in writing?
      naive, naive.

      be prepared to be sued yourself for assualt and or battery

      all the rest is trivial.

    188. Why d ppl cr s mch bt ths typ f thng? Wh gvs sht f smn skng t s yr rcpt s “vltng yr rghts.” nlss y’v gt smthng t hd, cn’t ndrstnd ny lgc bhnd rfsng t shw rcpt whn rqstd.

      Pt yrslf n th mply’s shs. Thy sk t s th rcpt t mk sr nthng ws stln. f y sddnly gt ll pssy nd rfs t shw t t thm (lt m gss – y’r th sm typ f prsn wh tks yr cff bck t th cntr t Strbcks bcs thr’s 1/8th f pmp t mch vnll n t), thy’r gng t sspct tht y’r crmnl. Sspcs ctns gnrt sspcn. t’s nt hrd t fgr t.

      Cnsdr ths: Nxt tm smn sks t s yr rcpt, shw t t thm, f nly s gstr f plt rspct. Why mst y mk thr lw-pyng jb vn mr nnyng by bng tght-ssd bt “prvcy vltns?” Jst b plt, tk th 2 scnds t shw thm tht y’r nt crmnl, nd thn lv th str nrrstd by th plc.

      Whn stp p t cshr wth bg frm nthr str vlntr t shw thm my rcpt s crtsy. Hnsty sn’t bd plcy, s rcmmnd y dpt t nd stp bng whnng bstrd whn t cms t yr prcs cvl rghts.

      Th fct tht y gt rrstd bcs y mntd yr hgh hrs th scnd thy rqstd yr rcpt mks m lgh. f hd bn thr ‘d hv lghd ll th hrdr. nly dts gt rrstd.

      f y ct lk n sshl y’r gng t b ntrdcd t th plc – nd f stry. Grw fckng bckbn.

    189. I am not a police officer, but I work in an Emergency Room and asked an officer babysitting a patient about this situation. From his perspective it was the officer that had clear chance and probably a responsability to downgrade the situation. What the officer should have done is talk to the manager and ask if there was a reasonable belief that he had shoplifted or if the search was asked of everybody. As others have said, the store needs to have a reasonable belief that the person has been stealing and cannot ask everybody leaving the store to see inside their bag and see their recipt.

      It seems to me that the officer is more at fault than the store because A) the officer did not call into dispatch to verify the person from their name/DOB B) did not talk to the manager to confirm and/or view the video to verify the accusition of shoplifting C) and didn’t take proper actions to simplify the issue before arresting.

      These issues are fairly simple and it isn’t unreasonable to let them look in your bag and reciept if there’s no delay. Had this been a lineup of people such as airport security, I would be much more understanding, but it’s a few seconds that would have simplifed the situation. Which makes the offendee partially to blame as well.

      Situations like this is not a government neglecting civil liberties on a whole, but seems to be a local neglectance of common sense, courtesy, and how a business can poorly handle situations such as this. Had the security guard not overreacted or had management handled the situation differently or had police taken more time to understand the situation, this would not have happened. Quoting Trey Parker “well, it was a team effort, and I guess it took every player workin’ together to lose this one.”

    190. By the poster’s own admission, he said he ignored the security guy’s request to review his receipt and just kept walking to his car. So, immediately he has made the guard suspicious. At that point, I believe they are in their rights to pursue the matter as a potential shoplifting case. Let’s assume the poster is not guilty of shoplifting (I’m not sure I’m 100 percent convinced), he could have defused the situation by simply showing his receipt. The burden at that point would have been on the manager and guard to apologize profusely for their treatment.

      But to compound an already bad situation, the poster calls the police and refused to show his driver license. It’s at this point I perceive the poster to be a complete pain in the ass who enjoys being a pain in the ass for the sake of it.

      He wasted a police officer’s time, shamed his own family (who he admitted were all traumatized by his actions), and he’s a personal rights hero for all this?

      Not in my book.

    191. Next time do not engage in conversation with the lowly employee. Just keep walking. I did this at a Wal-Mart and of course the lowly employee was not happy about it, but there was nothing that he could do.

      Once you pay for the items at the cash register, it no longer belongs to Circuit City. The title of ownership transfers to you the buyer. As far as I am concerned they no longer possess any legal interest in the items that you just paid for.

      As for the ID issue, once you accepted the states drivers license or ID, you have just lost some of your rights, and have now become a legal fiction or entity in the eyes of the law. You are now a person, a legal entity that can be controlled, regulated and taxed. When your parents got you a SSN, they just made you subject to all federal laws including the IRS tax laws. The police do have a right to ask for your ID, even for walking on the sidewalk, unless you know the right questions to ask the officer. An officer can ask to speak to you, you can either accept his offer or tell him that you don’t want to talk to him and walk away. I know because I have done it. I am also a former cop from CA, so I have seen both sides.

      When you claim that you are a U.S. citizen you are telling everyone that you are a 2nd citizen and not a 1st class state Citizen. Most people do not know or understand the law because they are willingly and willfully ignorant. They do not have the courage to look in the mirror and face the truth. They are more concerned of whos going to be the next American Idol, or whose going to win the next sports championship.

      We are not a nation of laws, we are a nation of commerce, contract law is the highest law of the land, anything and everything is a contract. When you go to a restaurant there is an implied contract for goods and services. Your SSN, drivers license, birth certificate, voter registration, marriage license, checking and savings account, credit cards, vehicle registration are all contracts that bring you under the authority and control of the city, county, state and federal government.

      In order for you to become a 1st class state Citizen you must cancel all of your adhesion contracts with the city, county, state and federal government. It will take dedication, studying the law and due diligence on your part and everyone else who wants to regain their true unalienable, God given birth rights. This will take a good 5 plus years of solid study to learn what you need to know in order to get out from under this oppressive system.

    192. So Mike:

      You don’t want to show you ID to the Police but you do need an email to submit a comment to your website. Suddenly in your geeky, adolescent, mind, you need some sort of validation for your website because of the BIG BAD SPAMMERS. Now cops come to a 911 emergency scene in a similar situation where people are murdered and has a guy that doesn’t comply to a simply command. “Who are you and do you have any way to confirm this?”. This is basically an “email address” used for the last 5000 years – proof of who you are.

      If you are so paranoid about your identification to the state, have a fake ID made, give a wrong name and address.

      I think you wanted to look all cool in front of your family you haven’t seen for a while. You made them cry. Mission accomplished. You are cool.

      The people posting in favor here are left wing wackos. Have a family shot in the back of the head by a criminal and their views will change.

      A poorly paid, under trained Circuit City employee trying to make a buck asks you for your receipt and you “Say no” on their property in their bag, purchasing their goods. Are they coming at you when you are outside their parking lot – NO. Have they accused you of stealing NO. They are adding a sampling method to those to buy stuff and then return to the store because they forgot their keys (and the IPOD they didn’t pay for) inside the store. Slip the IPOD inside the bag because everything inside a Circuit City bag is paid for == RIGHT.

      Maybe it is good to hide a small $300 item like a digital camera underneath the shopping cart which you removed from it’s box in the Car Stereo section (you know – the room with the glass doors hidden from view).
      You then reach down to fix the wheel after you purchased you goods and place the camera in your bag.

      But oops, Circuit city wants to verify that everything in your bag is paid for before you leave their property. But you cry 4th amendment because it is you right as an American to have a camera follow you everywhere you go in the store to confirm that you did not steal anything. n fact, your $145 dollor video game (you know the one you paid for in 2007 prices)but the price has increased due to the personal theft deterring escourt you have (and everyone has) while they shop inthe store.

      And then you confront a cop who has to deal with real issues in the street and a bunch of stupid people (which you are now labeled as one).

      You are young and dumb. You have yet to realize the world is NOT perfect and you must choose to fight your battles.

      You will find that your appeals to the ACLU will be responded with deaf ears.

      Here in Bay Area we have Fry’s and they do this check, Fry’s will gladly allow you to return your items (everything in the bag) if you don;t want them to check it. I agree, show items in the bag or have everything returned. No money changes hands.

      For the left wingers, do your duty – Help the homeless with your own money.

    193. mrcns nd thr cvl rghts frm th tm whn th whl ws frsqr…

      H cld hv jst shwn th rcpt, bt nstd chs t rn wy nd bstrctd th cps by dng thr rglr wrk, by cllng thm nd thn dnyng t shw hs drvr lcnc (nd mkng t snd lk h hd n).

      H’s my prsnl hr fr bng sch dtc. Lk tht stdnt gy n tht lbrry wh ws gttng tsrd bcs h ws fghtng th plc s wll. :-)

    194. This persons statement “As a reformed shoplifter, I understand this procedure completely” says it all. Basically, a criminal (excuse me – “reformed” criminal) crying about how society and the police are oppressing him and treating him badly. It’s always someone else’s fault never taking responsibility for their actions. CRY ME FARKING RIVER!!!!

    195. If he was an alien, he would be required by law to always carry his green card with him. So a resident non-American has to carry papers all the time, and Americans don’t…

    196. Oh my my guys,

      What a thread. Look, pick your battles. If you really feel as though there is a deliberate abuse of power on anybody’s part, then please, feel free to stand up to it. Did an officer come up and start questioning you without cause, demanding identification? Then yes, fight it; ask if you’re being accused of a crime. That’s inappropriate. Is it just an officer trying to do his job by responding to a call? If you like the idea of maintaining order and helping the police to protect peoples’ rights, then why not just help the guy do his job? After all, summoned to the scene of Circuit City, he would reasonably assume that he was dealing with yet another of countless shoplifters he’s dealt with, and not the stray freedom-fighter. Don’t begrudge him this perfectly reasonable stance.

      Ideals of liberty not withstanding, pragmatism is most important in these situations. While one is technically free to behave in all kinds of disruptive or confrontational ways such as this, in nearly all cases, especially for middle-class Americans, it’s truly best to attempt to cooperate. Note that I don’t mean by this “submit to authority.” I mean “cooperate with your fellow human being.” We’re all in this together, shopkeepers, police, and customers alike. If you don’t like Circuit City’s policy, the best way to change that is not to shop there. Presto, you don’t have to deal with it. Get your friends not to shop there. If you Really Truly Care about stopping the Circuit City threat, then go ahead and get arrested, start a media circus, organize nationally, and launch a crusade. But BoingBoing-spread online comment threads are hardly effective, and I somehow doubt you plan to pursue this issue on a national scale after you settle this in, or out of, court.

      After all, the best way to limit abuses of power is to reduce the very power of these authorities. If there were not 911 calls being made to summon an officer of the law to settle your short-sighted “I have my rights” dispute, we would have much less need to keep police rosters stuffed to the gills. Fewer bored officers committing TRUE violations of privacy rights at night. For everybody’s sake, reserve law enforcement for true emergencies, and you’ll have a better place to live and fewer intrusions of privacy.

      In short, you’ve got spunk, but eventually I hope you’ll see that in the end it’s NOT all about you and your personal individual rights, or even about those of every other Circuit City customer in the USA. Rather, it’s about the successful and mutually beneficial functioning of every party involved. Being a good citizen starts with trying to get along with every other good citizen WITHOUT the need for government-sponsored (and potentially oppressive) intervention.

      Yuri Broze

      PS. I know Wiki’s not actually an authority, but see if you agree with the idea of Shopkeeper’s Privilege, from the perspective of a shop owner.'s_privilege

    197. I avoid stores such as Frey’s that do this because I find it insulting. These checkpoints often back up into a line, too. There’s something crazy-making about not being allowed to walk out of the door because you haven’t been checked as a thief yet. I’m not rude to the poor soul doing the work, but I don’t stand in line — I just walk out.

      I don’t expect that these checks often find anything. I’ve heard that it is really about intimidating potential shoplifters. That’s why stores often have someone greeting shoppers as they enter the store — that’s been shown to reduce shoplifting as well. It’s certainly much more pleasant to get a “hello” as you enter the store, then to be hassled as you leave.

      I’ve heard that if a clerk at Nordstrom’s suspects that someone is shoplifting, they become very friendly, attentive and helpful. This is a tactic that “fails well”. If the person was shoplifting, they stop. If they weren’t, they probably spend more.

      I wonder if Fry’s has ever experimented with swapping attentive service for annoying checks, and seen how their shrinkage changes?

    198. Would not the point be made more strongly to the store if you simply said “If you want to see my receipt that badly, you can accompany me to the service desk and look at it to your heart’s content while I return everything I just bought here, because I will no longer patronize a store that views every customer as a thief.”

      Just sayin’.

    199. I never allow employees of stores to search my bag or receipt when I’m leaving. I always say, “No thank you, I got everything I paid for and walk on out.” Yesterday, at Fry’s, I saw people actually standing by like sheep at the exit, bags and receipts in hand, because the door nazi had stepped away from his little podium. I just chuckled at them and walked on out.

      I’m a pretty big guy, so nobody ever gives me any crap about it. I would have kicked “Joe” from Circuit City’s ass all over that parking lot, though. At least the cops would have had something legitimate to arrest me for.

      As for showing my ID to the cops. I would have complied. Cops carry guns and generally don’t take too much bull. Plus, they are usually not the brightest guys around.

      What I don’t understand are the pussies posting here who think it’s a-ok for these stores to stop you at the door and search through bags. You guys are pathetic.

    200. An interesting thread. Like others here, I’m surprised at how emphatically many commenters condemned Michael Righi for not letting the Circuit City employee see his receipt, or for not giving the police officer his driver’s license. MBlitch, #59, is right: this is related to other important issues, like the rights of photographers to take pictures of not-otherwise-restricted objects, scenes, and locations. It’s all part of our rights and expectations when we’re out and about in the world.

      If you don’t think that matters, you’ve never been in a city where a few small remote fenced-off areas have been designated “free speech zones,” and the rest of the city has been declared to be operating under a bizarre new set of laws under which free speech, the right of the citizens peaceably to assemble, and the requirement that police officers have probable cause to suspect a crime in order to stop and question someone, have all been thrown out the window.

      Considering how many people now live in areas where casual socializing is done at the mall, rather than on public property, you’d think they’d be more concerned about what their rights are in privately owned retail space.

      Some comments I commend to your attention:

      Anonymous 117, about working in Loss Prevention in a large retail outlet.

      Anonymous 133 (who is either a law student or a lawyer — she’s waiting for her test results) for a complete discussion of the legal issues involved.

      Anonymous 143, a consultant on retail loss prevention, on issues of store organization, staffing, and training.

      BGarland #74, a lawyer and former prosecutor, who doesn’t understand why Righi made the fuss he did, but runs through his own analysis of the pertinent laws and agrees that Righi was in the right.

      Anonymous 41, who channels every store manager you’ve ever loathed. He doesn’t seem to have clicked through and read Righi’s account of the event, but he’s ABSOLUTELY SURE that Righi is lying, and is Up To Something.

      His opposite, Anonymous 48, plays the laid-back store manager operating in a laid-back region. Peace.

      Anonymous #66 and Michael #79 rant really good rants.


      Another thing I found interesting is that checking receipts at the door isn’t primarily intended to catch shoplifters, though that’s a consideration. The big reason the system is in place is to catch employee fraud at the cash register.

      In its simplest form, this consists of a confederate of the employee bringing an expensive item to the cash register where the employee is working. The employee pretends to ring up the sale, but doesn’t actually do so. Then he bags the item and his confederate walks out with it.

      I don’t know if there’s a good way to catch this kind of fraud, except by having someone standing at the door, checking receipts.

      That makes it a completely different transaction. Instead of checking me to see whether I’ve stolen anything, the store is requesting me to help them curb employee theft. The thing is, they never act like I’m the one doing them a favor, and they act like their request is a justified demand. I dislike that.

      One last thing: Jann #132, who doesn’t like having her receipts checked:

      Design your stores so there is no way for a person to get items out of the store without going past a register clerk and then fire each and every register clerk that does not issue a receipt and/or issues a receipt that is missing an item the person has on them.

      And how do you propose to check whether the cashiers properly generate these receipts?

    201. By the way, I’m thinking about not releasing anonymously posted comments that duplicate comments that have already been made three or four times in the thread.

      Say something new. Respond to the ongoing discussion. Don’t just react. Because if you’ll go back and read the thread they way you should have in the first place, you’ll find that we already have all the basic first reactions covered in depth.

    202. I’m never lucky enough that they try and stop me. I was recently at a store where the tag-detector was obviously tuned wrong and beeping at most people as they left. My eyes lit up, but alas, it did not toll for me.

    203. I am a retired chief of detectives and a retired retail security supervisor. I have a question for some of you about those loss prevention people. Why does the store hire them? Why are they there? By law, they can’t stop you physically; they can’t even suggest you are stealing unless they watch you steal something then let you get past the last checkout.

      They are there becaue the store’s insurance company requires them to be there. If you have no store security people, your insurance carrier won’t pay shrinkage claims – it’s that simple. Insurance companies expect the presence of these people to discourage theft – not to catch it. In fact, virtually all stores and insurance companies forbid them trying to stop you. Insurance carriers know that you can never prevent theft, but you can minimize it by a strong human presence. Security cameras provide some deterrence, but not as much as a person who keeps crowding you when you are trying to slip something under your shirt.

      My people were told told to do just that – crowd a suspected shoplifter. Let them know who you are and that you are watching. After awhile, they get frustrated and leave. If they did get away with something, we just filed the insurance claim and moved on.

      Personally, I don’t show receipts except at Costco, because I agreed to do so when I signed up. I know that the vast majority of shrinkage is employee theft – and I’m not your employee. On the rare occassion I have been agressively challenged by a stupid door checker, I ask for the manager. If the manager is also stupid and insists on a receipt, I show it. I then walk directly to customer service and return the item.

      And, don’t trust that any police officer will benignly uphold the law just because it’s the right thing to do. The average cop just knows as much law as the department teaches him – from its’ own point of view. The guy or gal on patrol just wants to clear the call. Street cops are like emergency room nurses – great during trauma situations when the case is clear, volatile, and requires decisive action. But you don’t want the er nurse doing your heart bypass, and you don’t want a cop making judgements about a basically civil dispute.

      Patrol officers do what is practical and expeditious at the moment – called street adjudication. At heart, many, many cops are fascists … they believe in rules, even the rules they make up as they go, so protect yourself at all times.

    204. Okay, I’m not reading this whole comment thread. Way too huge. But being asked to see the reciept is nothing new. They’ve been doing that at stores like Wal-Mart since well before 9/11. I don’t see anything wrong with that and only the most anal, ridiculous person would. I’m a private guy, and even I couldn’t care less. I just bought the stuff there, so why do I care if they want to look through it?

      Now, if they wanted to search me and the store wanted to see my ID, then I’d have a problem. Unless I was doing something suspicious, I see no reason why they need to see that.

    205. I disagree with those who suggest we roll over and do whatever a store, or any other company tells us to do. The US … and, by extension, the rest of the world, is quickly becoming a corpocracy – a case in which the corporation becomes more powerful than the state. It’s already a fact in may third worlds nations where large multinationals effectively run the coountry, control the military, etc.

      I refuse to show a receipt after making a purchase. I call the manager. If the manager insists, I do show the receipt … then go directly to customer service and return the item.

      Believe it or not, it can get much, much worse here in the US. You talk about showing a receipt to get out? How about showing a driver’s license to get in? … “Sir, we’re going to make a copy of your ID for your protection. In case something is stolen, we’ll know exactly who was in the store when it happened and will quickly be able to eliminate innocent people like yourself.” You think it can’t happen? Think again.

      Remember, only a few short years ago, no store would dare insult a customer by asking to see their receipt at the door. Then a few electronics and big box retailers started. Now more stores are doing it. Soon, it will be the rule, not the exception, unless we object.

      But, object before you go into the store. Send an e-mail to the company headquarters telling them you object and promising to stop shopping there until the policy changes.

    206. Ever since paper receipts were invented as proof of purchase, their only purposes are to a) check if you actually bought the merchandise, and b) to validate refunds & exchanges.

      If they ask to see your receipt and you refuse and try to leave (with merchandise) of course they’re going to call the cops. Otherwise criminals would do exactly what you did, minus the “actually paying for it” part.

      And now that you look totally suspicious, you refuse to show cops your ID! Wow, what a stand against “the man”!

      You’re a punk, your liberties were only intruded upon due to your own idiocy, and in the end WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL WITH PROVING YOUR INNOCENCE?

      What an idiot!

    207. I had this very thing happen to me at a Wal Mart. The greeter asked to my receipt. I told him no thank you and then out steps Rambo. He told me I had to show him the receipt.

      I refused nicely stating that I had purchased the items and once the transaction was completed Wal Mart had no further interest in my personal property. He then proceed to grab my cart and said I was not going anywhere without showing my receipt. I smiled and said that he better order lunch because I was not showing the receipt.

      He then attempted to take my cart back into the store. I explained to him that he now has a problem. That he has detained me against my will, he has taken private property from me, and that was attempting an illegal search.

      I then asked for the manager. He informed me that he was the asset manager. I started laughing and asked him to get the store manager cause he was fixing to get his asset in a bunch of trouble.

      So the store manager comes up and we discuss the issue and he cries about theft. I told him that was not my problem. I further explained that I was now leaving with my property and that if he wants to have me arrested then fine but there would be some major problems.

      So to those who say just show the receipt. BULL. Once you have purchased items and the sales has been completed the items are your personal property. They have no right and just because they have a sign posted does not give them that right.

      I ask you this question in closing. If a cop comes to your house without a warrant and wants to search your house would you let him? Would you let the same Wal Mart employee look in your car? Your purse? Would you allow the mailman to search your garage? Of course not. Then why would you let someone delay you from your normal routine just to look at a poorly printed receipt?

      Remember once you give up a right, any right, you will never get it back.

    208. I don’t know if there’s a good way to catch this kind of fraud, except by having someone standing at the door, checking receipts.

      Individually tagged/numbered items (barcode or RFID) and video of the registers. Then when item #12345 is scanned for checkout on lane 6 at 12:34 you know it. Then when item #23456 shows up missing you know it is the one on the video at 4:56 on lane 2 and not the other one.

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    210. Lots of good stuff here, although most of the discussion was covered in the comments stemming from the “TigerDirect” incident from 8/24/07 (as seen at Consumerist). But there WAS one point made earlier that I found unique.

      #154 says that Mr. Righi should have shown his driver’s license (i.e., his ID) to the officer. I’m inclined to agree—but not because the officer has a right to ask for ID. In fact, after reading this whole thread, I’m still not sure what the current law says on that issue. If I’m reading the thread correctly, it used to be that we didn’t have to show ID in the past, but then Osama bin Laden took that right away from us. Or something like that.

      Anyway, I agree with #154 because if Mr. Righi called the officer himself, with the intention of pressing charges for unlawful detainment, then he should cooperate with the officer who responded to his 911 call! I mean, you called him, why not cooperate with him? Give the officer anything reasonable he asks for, like the receipt (which you say you did give him when he asked, so he could inspect it) and your ID (which, for some reason, you refused to give him when he asked), so you can proceed with your goal of pressing charges against the silly folks at CC who clearly don’t know what they’re doing.

      It seems to me that, while Mr. Righi was clearly correct under the law in not having to show his receipt to the security guard at CC, he let his ego get in the way of cooperating with the police that he himself called, and needlessly complicated the situation.

      In closing, I’d just like to add that I really hope the ACLU doesn’t waste any of their limited resources on this case.

    211. Y dt, f crs thy’r gng t rrst y f y rfs t shw cp yr D. f smn skd m t s my rcpt ftr prchsng smthng, ‘d gldly shw thm! Fr wht rsn wld y rfs? Bcs yr t frkng lzy t tk t t!? r y fl ll hgh nd mghty nd wn’t jst bcs y fl y dn’t hv t? Yr fl. ‘m gld y gt rrstd, bcs yr bvsly n rrgnt stbbrn bstrd, nd t nt cmply wth cp! Y wr skng fr trbl thr! Y cld hv vdd ll tht trbl f nly y wld’v shwn th dmn rcpt nd D. nd lk whr t gt y! lgh t y. Mrn.

    212. I agree that the cop was completely out of line.

      My problem is with the checking of the receipt. You see, had there been some sign posted at the entrance warning potential customers that their receipts would be checked, then each consumer would have been able to decide to shop or not shop there. The problem for me is that the checking of the receipt occurred after the transaction. It’s not as if this was part of the deal to be agreed upon by both parties.

    213. Im too laze to sign in, but here is my info;

      Corey Mondello
      Boston, Massachusetts

      Do you al remember the college student who was tasered multiple times for not showing his id.

      I know it was at a school, and he was clearly a student…I believe those who tasered him were just being bullies, like in this story.

      To make a generalization; security people arent regular cops usually, and if they are, they hate their jobs and are most likely bullies….

      Sad…but true.

    214. All these people saying “just show the receipt” are effing idiots. Once you’ve handed money to the cashier, everything you just purchased is YOUR property. No need to prove that to anyone, especially the store you JUST purchased the items from. If they are that concerned, they can check their register logs and watch the CCTV tape to see you paying for your purchase. It’s that simple. As far as being arrested for failing to show ID, I will simply quote N.W.A. – F*ck the police!

    215. When a story like this is posted, people always come out of the woodwork and say “if you didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to fear”.

      What if, as you’re leaving the store, you throw your purchases in a knapsack containing the “Dealing with your AIDS diagnosis” pamphlet you just got from your doctor, or your “Coping with your rape trauma” booklet, or the emergency pregnancy test from the pharmacy nearby.

      Just because you haven’t committed a crime doesn’t mean you have nothing to hide.

      In particular, if you live in a small town, the random person searching your bag may not be so random. They may know you, or your family, or your friends.

      Then, of course, there’s the slippery slope argument. Today it’s a look at your receipt and a look in your bags. Tomorrow it’s a walk through a metal detector. The next day it’s a pat down, or a IR body scan, looking through your clothing.

    216. Bottom-line, if you don’t know what your rights are then you don’t have any. I don’t care what the Supreme Court says I have to do to satisfy a police man’s request for identification. The Supreme Court does not make law; they do not determine what is a “reasonable expectation” for me; they do not set the standards under which I must suffer at the hands of the state; they do not dictate ANYTHING to me pertaining to my relationship to my supposed “servant” government. I do not have to identify myself to ANYBODY I choose not to.

      FYI, you have a right to defend yourself against aggression by police. As in:………..

      Your Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest

      “Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an
      arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind.
      306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United
      States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court
      stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder
      which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the
      law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the
      officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the
      officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be
      nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show
      that no offense had been committed.”

      “An arrest made with a defective warrant, or one issued without
      affidavit, or one that fails to allege a crime is within jurisdiction,
      and one who is being arrested, may resist arrest and break away. lf
      the arresting officer is killed by one who is so resisting, the
      killing will be no more than an involuntary manslaughter.” Housh v.
      People, 75 111. 491; reaffirmed and quoted in State v. Leach, 7
      Conn. 452; State v. Gleason, 32 Kan. 245; Ballard v. State, 43
      Ohio 349; State v Rousseau, 241 P. 2d 447; State v. Spaulding, 34
      Minn. 3621.

      “When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a
      right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel
      by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self
      defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State,
      57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.

      “These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an
      arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by
      the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private
      individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v.
      State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75;
      Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.

      “An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted
      to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in
      defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and
      battery.” (State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260).

      “Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a
      case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a
      wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self-
      defense.” (State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).

      “One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as
      he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped.
      Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of
      an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without
      resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

      “Story affirmed the right of self-defense by persons held illegally.
      In his own writings, he had admitted that ‘a situation could arise in
      which the checks-and-balances principle ceased to work and the various
      branches of government concurred in a gross usurpation.’ There would
      be no usual remedy by changing the law or passing an amendment to the
      Constitution, should the oppressed party be a minority. Story
      concluded, ‘If there be any remedy at all … it is a remedy never
      provided for by human institutions.’ That was the ‘ultimate right of
      all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply
      force against ruinous injustice.'” (From Mutiny on the Amistad by
      Howard Jones, Oxford University Press, 1987, an account of the reading
      of the decision in the case by Justice Joseph Story of the Supreme

      As for grounds for arrest: “The carrying of arms in a quiet,
      peaceable, and orderly manner, concealed on or about the person, is
      not a breach of the peace. Nor does such an act of itself, lead to a
      breach of the peace.” (Wharton’s Criminal and Civil Procedure, 12th
      Ed., Vol.2: Judy v. Lashley, 5 W. Va. 628, 41 S.E. 197)

    217. To Teresa Nielsen Hayden, regarding your post #214-

      You suggest that the commenter in post #74 (bgarland) posted an opinion that is favorable to Mr. Righi. Since you are highlighting his opinion on this thread, I’d like to ask that you re-read his post- it strikes me as being pretty clearly not in favor of Mr. Righi.

      With respect to showing a receipt, bgarland says:

      “It seems that asking a shopper to show proof that the items they are carrying off the store’s property actually now belong to the shopper and no longer belong to the store IS NOT UNREASONABLE.” (caps mine)

      Regarding showing a license:

      “One common element regarding the demand for ID is whether the police (or other law enforcement officers) have a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity. “Reasonable suspicion” is a notoriously mushy construct, and often it may come down to the DICRETIONARY JUDGEMENT OF THE OFFICER.” (my caps again)

      Neither of these rather vague and seemingly (to me) unlawyer-like observations are ringing endorsements for Mr. Righi’s position.

    218. Anonymous #233, please stop shouting in all-caps. I can hear you perfectly well in U&lc.

      There’s no mystery. I agreed with part of BGarland’s comment.


      I should probably apologize to some of the people who were taken unawares by the disemvowelling. Not all of them will have seen my announcement that I was going to give short shrift to the fourth or fifth iteration of arguments that have been made earlier — repeatedly, in most cases — and been thoroughly thrashed out in the subsequent discussion.

      I haven’t had many spare moments to catch my breath and talk generally about moderation since the new comment system came online, but here’s a point: I’m strongly in favor of people coming into an existing thread and responding to the ongoing conversation, not just to the initial post. When so many commenters are saying interesting things, it seems wasteful and unkind to dismiss them. Besides, if you read and speak to the conversation, instead of just the initial post, more interesting things will get said.

    219. Theresa (#234)-

      Anonymous from #233 here… didn’t mean to shout through caps, just didn’t know how to highlight things otherwise. I suspect you might have missed the reason I highlighted them, though- it had nothing to do with whether or not you agreed w/bgarland, it’s because you characterized bgarland’s post in this manner:

      “a lawyer and former prosecutor, who doesn’t understand why Righi made the fuss he did, but runs through his own analysis of the pertinent laws and agrees that Righi was in the right.”

      All I’m saying is, it seems pretty clear that he doesn’t believe that Righi was ‘in the right’. It’s a small point in the context of such a large thread I suppose, but seems like it takes on some relevance when the post’s being referenced by moderators.

    220. Why am I already paying – in mark-up – for the expensive security systems, cameras, etc, just so some poor goober barely making a poverty wage can ask me if they can look in my bag and see my receipt? The security expert posting here says it is an insurance requirement, but no one expects it to curb theft. I worry about corportism marching across the globe, but at a very basic level I find it degrading to be questioned at every turn. Yes Costco does it – but it is done so benignly that I figured it was just some way they could keep their “club mebership” status. It’s like each little erosion of our privacy is preparing us for the corporate state – and fearing authority in its many forms. Resist people. You will be surprised how effective it can be if done right. Flash Mobs to Circuit City!!!!

      I don’t shop at those chains anyway. I can proudly say I’ve never shopped at Circuit City and only 3 times too many at Walmart.

    221. The attorney’s point was interesting.

      On the second point based on the fact that the person had refused to show his receipt I suspect that the officer had probable cause. As the attorney said it is a mushy concept depending on the officer and the court.

      On the first does the store have the right to make a policy that says they will verify a customers purchase as they leave the store. Of course they do. Just as they have a right to place cameras or security guards to help prevent theft in their stores.

      It seems to me the person is trying to make news rather than make a point. If you do not like how the business is conducts itself towards its customers, it is your right to vote with your wallet and buy someplace else.

      No one made you walk into their store and buy anything. They did not according to your article beat you about the head with sticks or create some type of bodily harm to you. I suggest you shop via the internet or at a store that does not examine receipts of customers as they leave.

      It is your right to go elsewhere as it is their right while you are on their property to inspect packages within reasonable limits.

      They do not have a right to place hidden cameras in bathrooms or changing rooms where an expectation of privacy is a reasonable thing. They do not have a right to strip search an individual on their premesis etc. These boundries may sometimes be gray, but not in this case. Asking to see your receipt is not unreasonable search as is claimed here.

    222. Anonymous #235, he didn’t see why Righi picked the battlegrounds he did, but he agreed that Righi was legally in the right. There’s kinds and kinds of right.

    223. @#234 posted by Teresa Nielsen Hayden

      “Anonymous #233, please stop shouting in all-caps. I can hear you perfectly well in U&lc.”

      He was just using **emphasis** without HTML. Providing emphasis in a quoted passage is a common and legitimate practice that helps make a point clearer, when done correctly. It was pretty obvious that this was not a case of unbridled “shouting” and calling him out on it seems even more unnecessary than the shouting.

      “Not all of them will have seen my announcement that I was going to give short shrift to the fourth or fifth iteration of arguments that have been made earlier — repeatedly, in most cases — and been thoroughly thrashed out in the subsequent discussion.”

      Reading all of the posts is the Mod’s job. While it is desirable to have all posters read the full thread, 234 posts in a flat rather than nested format is a lot of posts.

      If the mod system is proving unwieldy that is probably a sign of a design that needs improving. I doubt that constant exhortations by an frazzled mod are really going to help the situation as long as the structure of the system encourages it.

      If you want people to read the threads, or at least get the idea then you need a threaded system like, say, slashdot.

    224. Dear #238:

      The comment box states HTML tags may be used for style.

      I agree, though, the comment using caps to provide emphasis was hardly shouting. Laughable for someone to suggest that.

      And I further agree with your comments about the need for a comment system like Slashdot.

    225. 1) I used to work for Circuit City.
      2) I also refuse to show my receipt when leaving a store.

      The reason Circuit City and other retailers have an employee check your receipt at the door is to prevent their cashiers from putting items they didn’t ring up in your bag. This is one of the most common causes of “shrinkage” — merchandise getting out of the store without being paid for. Employees conspire with a friend to steal expensive items. I saw a young lady taken out of the store in handcuffs for doing it once.

      However, there are other solutions to shrinkage besides invading the privacy of every customer. But, they are more expensive: 1) having a second employee watch every transaction at all registers; and 2) use camera surveilance to record all transactions.

      The stores choose the least expensive method even though it is the most inconvenient for their customers. Paying one employee $7.50 an hour to rummage through your bag is obviously easier and more cost effective — if you don’t consider the negative impact on customer service.

      Now here’s the kicker! Research has shown that the employees who check receipts are so inattentive and bored out of their minds, they just go through the motion. Most of them just let stolen merchandise go through the door anyway. They don’t even bother to read the receipt. They just glance at it and let the customer go on his merry way.

      Both my brother and I avoid stores that check bags and receipts. If we have to shop at one, we just tell the employee at the door, “No thank you. I have everything I paid for.”

      The fact is, once you pay for an item it becomes your property. No one has the right to search your bag or demand a receipt.

      Try this. Take a canvas shopping bag into the store with you. After you buy an item, put the receipt and the merchandise in the canvas bag. I promise no one will ask to check your bag. They can be sued for even touching your personal property. And they know it.

      I’ve only had one bad experience at a Walmart. They sent a security guard after me and my brother’s three small kids (we were buying those foam swimming pool tubes).

      I asked the guard if there was any reason why he suspected me of theft. Did he have a witness?

      The kids were so embarrassed, they still talk about it. But, they learned a lesson about civil rights that day.

      I do let them check my receipt at Costco. It is one of the things you compromise on to be a member. However, I have never seen one of their employees actually look at my receipt and compare it to the dozens of items in my cart — EVER. They just draw a line on my receipt with a marker. I could have the crown jewels in my cart for all they know.

    226. I’m a retired Veteran of the Armed Forces and I have to say it’s a sad thing when the Freedom’s we defend are so easily forgotten in the simplest of actions/expressions by those at home.

    227. #239, Skep:

      Anonymous #233, please stop shouting in all-caps. I can hear you perfectly well in U&lc.”

      He was just using **emphasis** without HTML.

      How long have you been using the internet, that you aren’t familiar with “all caps = shouting”? Even people who don’t hang out online tend to read all-caps text that way.

      Providing emphasis in a quoted passage is a common and legitimate practice that helps make a point clearer, when done correctly.

      Guy, I started out as a typesetter in the mid-70s. I’ve been an editor for decades. I’ve also been a copyeditor, a proofreader, and the head of production for a midsize trade publishing house. I didn’t write the book on copyediting, just part of a book. And I’ve published more pages than I can count of text where boldface and italics weren’t an option, and all the emphasis that wasn’t in the language had to come from the keyboard.

      Feel free to go on lecturing me about basic typography, if that’s what makes you happy.

      It was pretty obvious that this was not a case of unbridled “shouting” and calling him out on it seems even more unnecessary than the shouting.

      I am of course sorry that you think so.

      “Not all of them will have seen my announcement that I was going to give short shrift to the fourth or fifth iteration of arguments that have been made earlier — repeatedly, in most cases — and been thoroughly thrashed out in the subsequent discussion.”

      Reading all of the posts is the Mod’s job.

      Yes. Wherever did you get the idea that I hadn’t?

      While it is desirable to have all posters read the full thread, 234 posts in a flat rather than nested format is a lot of posts.

      Yes, but most of the participants are fast readers.

      Let me introduce a new concept here: conversation. It’s where you read or listen to what other people have to say, and respond to it, ideally with something relevant to the general topic. I think it has a lot to recommend it.

      If the mod system is proving unwieldy —

      The mod system started out unwieldy, and is growing less so. It’s new software.

      — that is probably a sign of a design that needs improving.

      What it needs is to be executed in full. We’re getting there.

      I doubt that constant exhortations by an frazzled mod —

      Not constant; hardly frazzled. Not new at this, either.

      — are really going to help the situation as long as the structure of the system encourages it.

      The system needs to stop being anonymous. Beyond that? These comment threads are still shaking down. People are starting to get a feel for them. Once we get out of Anonymous mode, we can even get to know each other. That’ll be good.

      If you want people to read the threads, or at least get the idea then you need a threaded system like, say, slashdot.

      Nope. It’s hardly the only way to do it, and I’m far from convinced that it’s the best. I prize good conversation. Threaded systems break it.

      I could be wrong. But then, so could you.

    228. I’ll have a look at it, but my initial reaction is that I don’t see how it’s an improvement on typing “That’s interesting, Fritz 243; I’ll have a look at it.”

    229. Once you pay for it, the bag is your personal property. Going through it is no different than going through your purse or pockets.

    230. “Its always been the law to have to show an id when requested.”

      Not in the United States of America it hasn’t.

    231. Something along these lines happened to me back around ’99. I refused to show my receipt to the guard at CompUSA here in Austin. this is what Bill referenced back in post #11. The guard followed us out through the parking lot yelling and scaring my kid quite badly. My 3y.o. at the time was so scared of the man chasing daddy he walked into a pole hitting his head quite hard. I then exploded at the guard and his manager who had since come out. they decided they now had a very upset parent on their hands and decided walking away was the best bet. After that incident I posted to the local usenet group and lots of people started breezing past the guard at CompUSA here. I’ve never been back personally.

    232. I just recently went through the trouble of getting a state ID. I’ve been without official ID since 2003. When anyone (besides a police officer) asks for ID I show them my FOID (firearm owners id), which usually shuts them up. When a security guard asks to see what I’m carrying at a store I just say ‘have a nice day’.

    233. This is reasonably off-topic, and may well get deleted, but I’m going to say it anyway.

      In quite short order, I have found Ms. “Teresa Nielsen Hayden/Moderator”‘s attitude very tiresome.

      1) Lacking any decent information on how to emphasize portions of one’s text, it is not unreasonable that one might choose UPPERCASE.

      Yes, yes, large blocks of it are hard to read, and considered shouting in many circles, but I doubt anyone who isn’t a typographical legend in their own mind objects.

      2) On that topic, spare us the litany of your credentials. This is the internet, there is always somebody who is doing it better and has been doing it longer than you.

      3) The “disemvowelling” is cutesy and juvenile. If a post is worthless, just remove it.

      4) It’s 2007 — how about some better tools!?
      You’ve already pooh-poohed threading, and having automatic links back to what you might be referring to, so let’s just go with the most basic aspect:

      (You may use HTML tags for style) — What’s an HTML tag? Which tags? With which options? To what result? Not so much as a link to a page to tell you.

      Well, assuming you already know enough to guess at a few HTML tags, you can click on the “Preview” button and try it out — and WAIT WAIT WAIT — while it reloads the whole page. Suckitude. Plenty of sites have a see-it-as-you-type-it preview pane.

      And finally, if you want a conversation you’re going to want people to come back. Otherwise all you have is drive-by serial blathering. Who is going to remember, for each comment page, which comment# they stopped reading at? Am I going to know that last time I was on this page there were 217 comments, so I can pick up again at 218? No. Am I going to reread the whole page to try to figure out where I left off. Not likely. This is the kind of mindless record keeping that computers were invented for. Look into it.

      Sign me almost looking forward to my banz0ring.

    234. Leaving any store with bagged merchandise is reason to believe a customer has made a purchase in good faith — with hard earned cash or credit.

      I will not patronize fascist companys (like Best Buy, Circuit City, or Wal-Mart) that demand I show my receipt after I’ve already paid.

      Instead I will patronize merchants that treat their customers with a simple modicum of respect.

    235. Leaving any store with bagged merchandise is reason to believe a customer has made a purchase in good faith — with hard earned cash or credit.

      I will not patronize fascist companys (like Best Buy, Circuit City, or Wal-Mart) that demand I show my receipt after I’ve already paid.

      Instead I will patronize merchants that treat their customers with a simple modicum of respect.

    236. For the folks who think the person is being ridiculous, you’re right and wrong. Yes, it is much easier to just show the reciept (or shop elsewhere if you are bothered by this), but speaking as someone who has had to visit Lowe’s (and there is no other comparable place near me, so it’s a must that I have to go there) at least twice a day for Labor Day preparations, it can be quite annoying.

      It’s one thing if you are pushing a cart and/or there isn’t a bottleneck, another completely if you’re hands are full and you “forgot” and put the receipt in one of the bags, and there’s 30 people all waiting in the queue for the ONE “greeter” (as Lowe’s calls them) to check your receipt. By the second day, I took to simply walking out the door. Let them yell bloody murder, I’m not stopping.

    237. Has anyone pointed out that this could all be avoided if Circuit City hadn’t provided a bag? They put his stuff in a bag that conceals it’s contents and then demand he show them the contents of the bag.

      How stupid.

    238. Thn chnr, yr cmmnt s s rtrdd t mks m vmt n dsgst. Whr dd y lrn bt th lw nd th rghts f mrcn ctzns? nvrsty f rtrd lnd?

      Frst f ll, .S. lw ppls n ll .S. trrtry, rgrdlss f whthr r nt smn hppns t b lsng t frm th gvrnmnt t tht tm (v prprty txs). Y crtnly knw ths f y cnsdr yrslf lbrtrn.

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      trd t mk “rl” n “my prvt prprty” syng tht nyn wh stps ft n my lnd s sbjct t nl rp nd rgn hrvstng – smhw tht sn’t lgl, dn’t knw why.

      Bttm ln s, dn’t shw my rcpt t ny f ths 5 dllr n hr flnks nd nthr shld y. t’s n nvsn f yr prvcy, vlts yr rghts s n mrcns, s ffnsv (thy r ccsng y f thft by skng t s yr rcpt), nd bv ll ls, WSTS YR TM T JSTFY TH XSTNC F SM GRBG JB.

    239. Think about why these stores even need to ask customers to show receipts as they leave. It’s because big-box retailers are highly efficient money-making machines. They make their money by 1) selling things cheaply, with low margins, to compete for customers; and 2) from the efficiencies of being huge and offering massive quantities of product with relatively light staffing. 2) creates a very impersonal shopping experience, with the result that nobody working in the store has any continuous awareness of what any customer is doing, as might be the case in your local mom-and-pop electronics store. So given that their profit margins are so low, and they have no idea what is going on in their store, the logical way to minimize shoplifting is to use a show of force at the exit door.

      It’s not the receipt checking that is messed up here. It’s the whole system in which customers dying for the latest electronic gadget are lured in by low prices and treated like crap so that a store can efficiently separate them from their money. And oh, by the way, put any smaller local stores that do care about their customers out of business. As far as I’m concerned, if you choose to participate in that messed up system, the least you can do for humanity is show your receipt on your way out.

    240. There are some things that have been said once or twice that I feel the need to re-emphasize.

      First off: Mr. Righi was the one who called the police, in response to illegal detainment on the part of the LP guard. The police officer had no reason to demand credentials (notice, credentials differ from identification—an officer may ask you for identification, but not necessarily for credentials), nor search through his bag. That’s not to say that Mr. Righi shouldn’t have at least somewhat complied with the police officer—I’ve always been told that it’s far better to comply with a cop and fight it later than it is to get shot and not be able to challenge anything.

      Secondly: The LP guard stated more than once that he/the store did not suspect Mr. Righi of shoplifting. That statement right there means that there is nothing further that the guard can do and that there is no cause for any further action. The cop should have realized this, too, and immediately demanded that Mr. Righi be released.

      I feel that it’s important to point out once again, too, that once the exchange of money for the goods takes place, the items in the little plastic bag are no longer merchandise, but rather are now the property of the person who exchanged that money for the goods. The store and its employees cannot demand inspection of that which no longer belongs to it. The most the store or its manager can do is to state that the person may no longer shop there.

      I was at the office one day and got my shirt quite dirtied up, but didn’t have a spare, so I drove to the nearest Target to buy a new one. When I asked the employee at the counter where the nearest bathroom was so that I could go change, he whimpered that I wasn’t allowed to take merchandise into the bathrooms. I informed him that since I had now purchased the shirt, it was no longer merchandise and was now my property. He had no answer to that. I was validated in my belief, too, because when I went to the bathroom there was a sign above the door that stated that customers were not allowed to take unpaid merchandise into the bathroom.

      I’ve read through this whole insanely long page and have seen a lot of people asking what the big deal is about showing a receipt. My only answer is this: I don’t show my receipt simply because I don’t have to do so. That’s the only thing you need to know and it’s ultimately the only thing that matters.

    241. OT:

      I could be wrong. But then, so could you.

      Certainly. I, perhaps, just find you rather publicly pushy for a mod. Perhaps I’m simply not used to the style.

      "He was just using **emphasis** without HTML."

      How long have you been using the internet, that you aren’t familiar with "all caps = shouting"? Even people who don’t hang out online tend to read all-caps text that way.

      You are suggesting that I’m a noob for disagreeing with your implication that the poster was "shouting" in rude manner? His polite parentheticals ("(emphasis mine)") suggested that he was not attempting to be rude. The blog has no UI for formatting, yet you still thought to call him out for a mild use of all caps? It seemed unnecessary then and still does. You are, it seems, defensive about it.

      "Providing emphasis in a quoted passage is a common and legitimate practice that helps make a point clearer, when done correctly."

      Guy, I started out as a typesetter in the mid-70s. I’ve been an editor for decades. I’ve also been a copyeditor, a proofreader, and the head of production for a midsize trade publishing house. I didn’t write the book on copyediting, just part of a book. And I’ve published more pages than I can count of text where boldface and italics weren’t an option, and all the emphasis that wasn’t in the language had to come from the keyboard.

      …and I would guess that you are an excellent copy editor. But that has nothing to do with whether you were being needlessly impolite yourself. We’ll have to disagree on that point.

      Feel free to go on lecturing me about basic typography, if that’s what makes you happy.

      Thank you for your permission. Of course, I wasn’t trying to lecture you on typography, orthography or even semantics, I was trying to say that the poster hadn’t been doing anything worthy of your public rebuke and was explaining why I thought so. As a veteran of not only the publishing industry but blogging, I would suspect that you agree the tone of the blogger and of a mod who frequently posts opinions and criticisms of the the posters sets some of the tone for the comments forum. The example of calling people out over trivial matters of form is a practice that seems over the top. But, as I’m sure you could point out, you have decades of experience..

      "It was pretty obvious that this was not a case of unbridled "shouting" and calling him out on it seems even more unnecessary than the shouting."

      I am of course sorry that you think so.

      Hmm, why is it that sounds like sarcasm to me rather than some sort of constructive dialogue? I suppose it could just be me. After all, "I could be wrong. But then, so could you."

      "Reading all of the posts is the Mod’s job."

      Yes. Wherever did you get the idea that I hadn’t? While it is desirable to have all posters read the full thread, 234 posts in a flat rather than nested format is a lot of posts. Yes, but most of the participants are fast readers.

      No, I got the idea that you read all the posts. More, actually, since you also read the ones you don’t choose to post. Nowhere did I suggest that you hadn’t read the posts. My point was that it is the mod’s job to slog throughout the 200+ posts not the readers.

      Let me introduce a new concept here: conversation. It’s where you read or listen to what other people have to say, and respond to it, ideally with something relevant to the general topic. I think it has a lot to recommend it.

      Again with the sarcasm. Is that the tone you hope to engender in the forums? Somehow, I think that whole paragraph is a tad self-referentially ironic being that the purpose seems to be sarcastic rather than to have a conversation.

    242. J-O-H-N, Skep, there are clearly some issues on which we disagree. We could discuss them, but I’m starting to doubt that’s going to happen, because your escalating responses are out of all proportion to the original cause. From here it looks like you’re trying to pick a fight with me.

    243. J-O-H-N, Skep, there are clearly some issues on which we disagree. We could discuss them, but I’m starting to doubt that’s going to happen, because your escalating responses are out of all proportion to the original cause. From here it looks like you’re trying to pick a fight with me.

      I might think to say the same the same to you. It, is a matter of perspective. I will leave it for disinterested parties to ponder.

      Thanks, however, for posting my concerns rather than doing the easy thing and letting them fall to the trash.

    244. One finally note, which given how far this has fallen off the front page may never be seen, but for what it is worth: yet another flaw in this comment ‘system’ is there is no way, (at least no obvious way), to delete your account.

    245. thank y’all for the explanations of the xyz posts.

      i had thought, after several attempts to decipher them, that it was just some new language the kids with their cellphones and tiny keyboards were using.

      i gave up, too young and too smart for me…

      and please, we might want to stay anonymous, we might not want to know each other, when i had earlier given the store all the information they need to sue the storyteller.

      but still, this is america, anyone has the right to incriminate themselves.

    246. Anonymous #258, posting anonymously was intended for whistleblowers and the like. Remind me, once we’ve got user registration set up properly, and I’ll see whether anything visible can be connected to you.

    247. re my #258

      no, it was not intended for whistleblowers etc.

      the opposite, in fact.

      a heads-up to the original person, and anyone like him, a warning, to, next time, “keep your blog shut”.
      it was also intended to be semi-humorous, but apparently that didn’t come across…

      and, changing the subject,
      still semi-humorously, perhaps,

      when a discussion of legality has become of typography, you might not want to continue it indefinitely.

    248. s tht sm f y trds hv n mbtns t vr b n ntrprnr. Cs f y vr hd bsnss t wld b vry pplr bt y wld g bnckrpt wth n mnth. Bcs y wldnt stp ppl t th dr cs tht wld b vltn f thr cvl rghts.

    249. I agree — when it turns into a discussion of typography, we are flying over the water in a graceful arc, looking down at the shark going by below us.

    250. A response to:

      About free speach issues. The keyword you’re looking for is “private public spaces”.

      As more of the public spaces we live in every day become privatized from malls to food courts, to lobbies, to Disney world it becomes and interesting.

      The issue is particularly apparent with security guards in large cities threatening people on the sidewalks for anything from taking pictures to whatever.

      There were some interesting cases (mentioned on boing boing I think) a few years ago about ousting kids for wearing anti-war t-shirts in a mall, one of which was a lawyer who decided to take the bait.

      The best thing that can be done is to a) publicize, and b) critical mass rally… mass photo shooting, mass bicycling… it’s always a we’re here, we’re going to do/be whatever it is in our right to be… get used to it… sort of thing.

      What I love about critical mass (we are traffic) is it forces car drivers into the second class absurdity that is everyday bike riding. When the tables are turned many behave poorly often creating laughter and insight… though I wonder if those bad actors ever get it.

    251. How about this one. In Boston, the transit police have been asking people to show them the contents of their bags. The people are not picked by suspicious activity, but simply picked at random. If you refuse to comply, they ask you to leave the station. I have heard of people not complying and leaving the station, but not of anyone refusing to show their bag and refusing to leave the station.

      A co-worker of mine said that they could do this, because it’s just like submitting to a baggage check at the airport. Comments?

    252. They’re doing it in NYC too, and they’re going to some effort to make it genuinely random. Aside from that, it seems like a complete waste of time and effort. Better they should be checking the shipping in the harbor.

    253. I live in Brooklyn Ohio and shopped at this store. It always seemed assnine to me that the person who stands by the door is only about ten feet away from the register and can clearly see everyone paying for thier items. You turn around take five steps and he asks for your receipt. Many a time i felt like saying you just saw me pay for the items. However never knew of this story until it appeared on the front page of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The paper called a legal expert and the OHIO ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE. It seems very clear that Michael Reghi is right and Circuit City and the Brooklyn Police department is in the wrong. Here is a link to the story just click on thursday’s front page to read the story. Beware it will only be up until next thursday the 13th when it will be replaced with that weeks front page.

      again click on thursday

      Some items of note from the story.
      Quote from the article
      “A store asks me to open my bag what are my rights?
      Customers have the right to say no, said Leo Katz a Case Western reserve law professor and author of “Know your rights”. Thats why store emplyees and secuirity guards usually ask permission. Secuirity Guards are allowed to search you without a warrant in three specific instances said Jennifer Beindisi, a spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney general Marc Dann. Thats at the border, in the airport, and BEFORE ENTERING PRIVATE PROPERTY.” (not leaving that is the law).

      “If an employee suspects you have shoplifted. thats probale cause to detain you and call police-but not to search you, according to OHIO LAW.

      Not probable cause is being seen taking items removing tags or the alarm going off. NOT SIMPLY WALKING OUT THE DOOR.

      “We have the right to inspect parcels leaving our premises” circuit city spokewoman Jackie Pereman said. This is common practice in the retail industry designed to hold down costs and prevent shoplifting. We think most customers understand this.”
      Brooklyn Police seem to agree.
      “If you dont like their policy at a particular store, dont shop at that store” Deputy Cheif Scott Mielke said.
      But is this stance legal?
      No according tp Law experts, the Ohio Attorney Generals office and the ACLU.”

      end quotes from the Plain Dealer

      Ok people are you versed on your rights now? If you like to comply and show your receipt fine that is your business. If another citizen prefers to exercise his rights dont lambaste him.

      ” A people who will not stand up for thier rights do not deserve them “— Thomas Jefferson

    254. I have been in Loss Prevention for many years and agree this man’s rights were violated by a retailer’s employees. I work for a retailer that also checks customer’s receipt when they leave.
      The customer does not have to show us the receipt and I have only had a few refuse.

      Checking the receipt is not to stop losses due to theft, it is to assure the customer they got what they paid for. On many occasions I have had helped customers by catching mistakes on their receipts.
      1. Over charged for an item due register errors
      2. Double Charged for an item due to employee error
      3. Given the wrong product by the employee doing the sale.
      You name it can happens.

      I did have one customer who refused to let me see his receipt and left the store I told him Thank you for shopping and hope to see you again. I didn’t expect it to be 3 hours later with the item he bought being left in a lock up device. He was not happy about it but could only laugh when he came in the door. I apologized to him for the inconvenience and took the item out of a case for him and said I hope to not see him until tomorrow or next week. Ever since he has been a loyal customer and now willingly hand his receipt to Loss Prevention before they ask.

      Good Luck with you case and I hope you get what you deserve and the people who wrongfully detained you get what they deserve.

    255. After all the publicity this is receiving, who knows if the police officer can even show his face in public without being humiliated.

    256. Why is this guy making such a big fuss over something so trivial? Yes, it’s annoying having the store treat you like a potential shoplifter, but it takes 10 seconds for them to search the bag, especially since he only bought 2 items. By refuseing to let them search his bag, he made himself look suspicious, and the manager just wanted to make sure he wasn’t stealing anything. The receipt dosn’t have any important information on it, like social secuirity number or credit card number, it just proves that you bought something legally.

      Then, he had to argue with the officer. So what if the officer wanted to see your driver’s license, lots of stores or palces ask to see some form of ID and the officer just wanted to make sure he wasn’t a trouble maker. Saying you’re somebody doesn’t mean it’s true, anybody can say they’re Tom Smith. He say what if he didn’t have a license, well he needed ID to use his credit card, didn’t he? Why didn’t he make a fuss about needing to show ID for that.

      Overall, he’s an idiot for making a big deal over nothing. He could have shown his reciept and that would be the end of it. And he has the nerve to ask for money! He got himself in this stupid mess, why should we have to help him for his stupidity?

    257. Well, for starters; I’ve already wasted much more time on this post than it was worth. Though entertaining to a minor degree, I’ll write it off as practicing making posts for future economic benefits or for issues that warrant the amount of time I spend reading ‘much more important’ posts.

      Bottom line, this practice has been going on since before 9/11 in some high crime areas and to pretend CC or any other Intlmegacorp gives a shit about your dubious civil rights to start with is a joke. They want your money and have to balance that with the jerks who want their stuff for free.

      Of course, that doesn’t give the self-important goon in a uniform the right to detain you, and the cop should have just let it go with the receipt check. I DO AGREE that it is important to stand up for my personal rights but since I’m not a lawyer nor proficient in quoting law, this is just a minor inconvenience and usually I will show a receipt if asked. Funny, here in Raleigh, NC I have never been asked by any big box store except Sam’s club. Not Walmart, Home Depot or any other I can think of. As a matter of fact, I recently asked the ‘door person’ if they needed to staple my bag when I realized I had to go back into the store to use the bathroom and make another purchase and I had to insist they do it because they said it was unnessasary! Stop being such a little whiner about a minor inconvenience to deal with the dirtbags who are making this a problem for all of us.
      If you want to fight for your civil rights, how about getting educated about what the Federal Reserve and the Nazi/Bush/Medellion cartel has ALREADY done to this country and stand up against those who would shoot you for your stand instead of those who will only force you to go elsewhere to buy your little toys.

    258. Not looking for trouble but I think I can say
      I’ve pretty much read it all
      (both here and a couple of other comment systems)

      and I find it very interesting that while many
      have an option as to if the store or LEO have
      the law/right to do whatever they did
      (this is all still hearsay to a degree)
      and many have an option as to if Michael
      should have done what he did.

      I’m more interest in the question of if the
      the store or LEO should have such a right?

      and if Michael Amor Righi has the right
      to question that? as I would

      I feel we are looking at this backwards.
      Even if there is a law, if it’s wrong that
      doesn’t do anything but make this a more urgent matter.

      I don’t see how quoteing law for one side
      or the other shines any light on the real
      question, After all a law could be added tomorrow,
      that could directly say that the store has the right
      to shoot you for failing to do whatever….
      that you can punch anyone who attempts to hinder you egress…

      Does the law make either one right?

    259. To #278

      You mention Leo quite a bit but ignore the fact the Ohio Attorney General said Reghi was acting in his full rights. The State Attorney General is the authority on state law. So it is not a matter of opinion. Sure the law can change but not tommorrow. It will take a vote from the state legislation branch to create a new law. It takes longer than a day to do that. Bad laws are unclear and open to interpretation. Good laws are clear and black and white. There is no law that says a private citizen can search you with or without probable cause. If there is probable cause they can detain you for a law enforcement officer to search you. If there is no probable cause they can not detain you. All this banter back and forth is onlty due to people not understanding the law. So they are confused as to wether it was legal or not. Once Reghi paid for the item it is his property and noone is allowed to demand to inspect it. If this law didnt exist what stops them from looking in his wallet and pockets? Or anything else that belongs to him.

      You make it sound as if laws are ambiguous and can be taken ether way. that is not true. The law is clear and the Ohio Attorney General backs it up.

      Again any change in the law has to come from legislation not a policeman or private citizen who decides to interprete it wrong (Although i think he was just ignorant of the law). That why we have a court system the Judges are there to apply the law fairly and thats why we have higher courts and an appeliate system.There are a number of checks to make sure the law is applied correctly and fairly.

      If you want a discussion of wether the law is just or not. IMHO I believe it is. I dont want some store employee stopping me and searching me yes searching my property (my bag) is searching my property. Stores have the right to detain anyone seen shoplifting, removing tags etc.. As they should but stopping and searching everyone who leaves the store is an intrusion upon innocent people and is morally wrong.

      Just dont try to diminish the law as it is written by mention LEO as if he is just some yahoo and not even mentioning the Attorney general Marc Dunn who is the top authority on law in Ohio.

    260. Hearsay is unverified information heard or recieved from another (i.e. a rumor). I believe the Plain Dealer verified thier source. I really do not believe they will print quotes from the Attorney generals office and not verify them.

      “You say I don’t see how quoteing law for one side
      or the other shines any light on the real
      question, ”

      If you cant see the importance of reading the law as it applies to this case or any other case……well I’m not going to explain it to you.

      Also you say “After all a law could be added tomorrow,
      that could directly say that the store has the right
      to shoot you for failing to do whatever”

      Does that mean I can drive on the left hand side of the road today because the law might change tommorrow? Or because law is a matter of opinion?

    261. I actively boycott stores that have a policy that they should “prevent” theft by treating all customers as criminals and seemed to have missed the boat on the whole innocent before proven guilty deal that we’re all ingrained with as one of our blessed American rights. That’s going to have more of an impact if a lot of people do it than bothering to argue it out with the law or worse, lame authority figures with power trip issues. For the ones that say just show the receipt and get on with it…they need to study history and learn how not standing up for your rights is worse than making a “scene” by demanding that people uphold your rights.

    262. Every time I purchase something available at Circuit City, I show them my receipt.

      I buy my stuff elsewhere, and I show Circuit City how much I don’t spend with them. I scan receipts from other stores and send them to their head office. Their fax number in Virginia is 804 527-4164.

      I will not shop at one of these petty authority big boxes.

    263. To all you “what’s the big deal” people: The big deal is this – No law in any state grants merchants the right to demand to see a customer’s receipt and search his/her property. Detaining a customer absent reasonable suspicion, and no, a refusal to acquiesce to the request doesn’t count, constitutes the crime of false imprisonment. Yet these businesses insist on ignoring the law and behaving as if as if they have the power to follow their own law.

      Should there be a law that makes the receipt check mandatory? The answer is it doesn’t matter because there is no such law. If the corporations want to change the law, they should do what the rest of us do when we want to change the law – go through the political process. If you or just woke up one day and decided we were going to ignore laws we didn’t like, and enforce laws we thought should be on the books but weren’t, we’d be in jail in a heartbeat. Why should it be any different for a corporation.

      If you live in the U.S. and you’re not concerned with corporations acting as if they’re above the law, then you haven’t been paying attention. This is a symptom of a much bigger problem.

    264. It’s customers like this that make our day!!! Let me make it very clear that I do NOT for Circuit City; I work for another big box retailer. Nonetheless, I think most big box retailers work in basically the same way, so I believe my experience at ‘Other Retailer’ is relevant.

      The minimum wage people working at your local CC do not make policy; they are told what to do and are threated with loss of employment if they do not follow the directives of the home office. In my experience, the employees don’t like harassing the customers any more than the customers like being harassed. In fact, most retail employees would avoid ANY interaction with customers if they had their druthers. Retail employees pretty much hate their customers and will do anything to speed along any employee-customer interaction. The first sign that you have a ‘issue’ will precipitate a call to bring the manager on duty over to deal with you.

      If you disagree with the policies of Circuit City, call, email, or write to Circuit City home office. Often. They might change their policies, and at the very least you’ll get a coupon for a free something-or-another. If, the other hand, you just need to feel superior to someone (boss been picking on you all week?????), go the store and make an ass out of yourself battling wits with the LP guy.

    265. In response to the commenters who won’t buy something because they are asked to yield their personal information- I worked at an electronics store that requested this information. I encouraged my customers to give me an address. It doesn’t have to be their address. Sometimes the customers wouldn’t or couldn’t be creative enough to make up an address themselves and I would do it myself. I wouldn’t extend this courtesy to irate customers.

      I would consider the receipt an affirmation of the purchase, so long as it didn’t have personal information on it I’d show it to them. Sure, maybe i’m not required by law to show it but what will it harm? I don’t consider it a breach of my 4th amendment rights, i consider the purchase to be complete only when i achieve building egress- just as theft is only complete when the same requirement is met.

      ID on the other hand- you get a look. Yes, i have ID. No you may not photocopy or reproduce it in any way. It’s mine- thanks.

    266. Fundamentally the store has a right to protect it’s property. But once I’ve paid for it, it’s my property. To many this is no big deal, but it really is.

      Some comments seek to justify the receipt checking as a valid loss prevention measure. When’s the last time your receipt was checked and the goon doing the checking actually compared the items you had were listed on the receipt? I’ve never had that happen. This is just feel-good propaganda to justify why stores can harass their customers and everybody thinks we’ve got effective security measures in place. Kind of like the random checks they used to do before boarding the plane. Did you ever notice how many times it was the little old lady that got singled out?

      I don’t think I want to go to court over it, but I’m tired of ineffectual policies in the name of a safer society. So, Lowe’s is off my retailer list due to a recent experience there. And I’ll be crossing off others as I encounter their “you’re a suspect” mentality even though retail fraud accounts for only 1.61% of their business. Sucks to be in the 98.39% I guess.

    267. Here’s a fact: Michael Righi is an arse (ass). Whether he is right to stand up for his “rights” is open to discussion, but in my opinion what makes him an arse is his misuse of the emergency services let alone what he put kids through by “playing dumb”. He didn’t play dumb – he was dumb. He should have been arrested for wasting valuable police resources.

      I wonder if he was mugged or attacked and the police came to his rescue whether he would abdicate his “rights”? I really dislike hypocritical people with double standards. You see, his profile is on Facebook yet he doesn’t seem to have a problem with Facebook’s policy of “owning” his assets and doing what they well please with them – where are his concerns (more founded I would have thought) with his “rights”?

      As far as suspicious behaviour, which from his account is unquestionable, it will always warrant a reaction. He should try behaving suspiciously in an airport and then, and only then, would he truly witness first hand an “assault” on his “rights”.

      When asked for his driver’s license, after all, perhaps the officer assumed that he was the driver and hence asked for the relevant documentation, a simple “I’m sorry I don’t have a driver’s license and I was not driving but I do have a social security number …etc. But no, he had to further his stupidity by further proclaiming his “rights” – from his post you get the idea that at the time he was actually not completely aware of his “rights”. Let’s face it, anyone of us has the opportunity to trigger this type of behaviour – but why would we? We have better ways of being known.

      As far as Circuit City, whether or not they should react and enter the conversation, is debatable. And how would you answer his complaint without fuelling the conversation further?

      I hope that Circuit City learnt a lesson, there are more arses out there… so you should remember that the customer is always right, or as I read once, who cares if the customer is right – it’s the customer. I learnt from my experience that sometimes it’s better to let go when you are faced with this type of person. The financial loss is minimal and it’s not as if other customers will suddenly see the apparent opportunity of becoming shoplifters.

      As for the police, I hope no one died or was unable to have the necessary urgent assistance as this officer wasted his time and American Tax Payers money. Shame on all those who are, or will be, financing his ludicrous crusade. In the end there will be no winners and no point made (at least not a favourable one).

      911, as we all know, is for EMERGENCIES. As for his lack of respect for his family, enough said. There are battles worth fighting – this is definitely not one of them. He should pay his fine, apologize to the police and then do whatever he thought with Circuit City.

    268. > What I don’t like is people who choose not to play by the store’s rules. You are on someone else’s private property – not yours

      No, you are an INVITEE.
      You were asked to come to that store and, perhaps, buy something.
      This does NOT give you permission to steal, of course.

      I resent having to show them my receipt. I’ve already managed to get by the cash register, having paid. I owe them no further obligation. I resent being called, by implication, a thief.

      Costco has always done this. I keep moving. If they can paw through my stuff without slowing me down, fine. At Fry’s, I simply walk past the line of sheep, waiting to be “checked out.” No one has ever stopped me. I notice that KMart has started doing this here in Oregon. They always use some cute little girl, so I don’t give her crap. Since I usually buy expendables I wouldn’t ever return at KMart, I usually just hand her my receipt and keep walking!

      > then I’d advise you to *stop shopping at that store*.

      That would be the ultimate solution.
      The stores should take note.
      It must be obvious, however, that the risk of a few lost customers is being outweighed by the loss through theft by your white trash, your assorted Mexicans and other “people of color,” punk kids, and so forth.
      Otherwise, they wouldn’t be doing this!

      from the to-be-attorney,
      > Stores do have a right to ask you to show a reciept, this is a right protected by the 1st ammendment freedom of speech

      Umm, sure. They could ask you to remove your clothes under the First Amendment, too. Whether you have to comply is another question.

      Isn’t this a lot like unlawful search?
      You must remember that?: Reasonable cause; reasonable suspicion; reasonable and articulatable cause, etc., etc.

      Shopkeeper’s privilege allows them to detain you under REASONABLE SUSPICION, for a REASONABLE TIME (20 mins., I think the Supreme Ct. decided), under REASONABLE CONDITIONS.
      Woe unto them if they are wrong!

      As far as the ID laws in Ohio, I have NO idea.
      In Oregon, they went out with the vagrancy laws. It IS illegal to give a false ID, however.


    269. A fiend of mine enjoys going into such big stores and pretending to be a shop lifter.

      He considers this his small contribution to the Downfall of Snivilisation.

    270. A deaf friend of mine went through a similar experience. As my friend exited the store, an employee shouted from behind her to “Stop.” Well, of course, she couldn’t see behind her back and she definitely couldn’t hear him. The employee took it upon himself to call some big giant of an employee to chase her down the parking lot yelling and screaming at her to “Stop” as she casually walked to her car with the items she had purchased inside of a Circuit City bag in hand. The big brute finally caught up to her, body slammed her up against her car, and demanded that she show him the receipt while he has her pinned. I wasn’t with her that day. The other patrons of Circuit City were witness to this brutal act.

      What would your opinion be in this sort of scenario?

    271. This is to #5 posted by Anonymous:

      Just learn to spell and punctuate, Moron! Pretending to be illiterate or actually being illiterate is NOT COOL! This is not your cell phone, stupid. Learn to write correctly or go back to your bedroom and playing on Second Life, while mommy brings you pizza. You can even pretend that you are taking part in real life…. Idiot!

    272. Just for info. There is a debate whether a business is private or public because they let the public in.

    273. Just for info. There is a debate whether a business is private or public because they let the public in.

    274. I get upset when reading this as I know some of the people that were involved with this indecent. I live in Aurora, which is within a half hour of Brooklyn Ohio where this took place. The Bainbridge CC store, which is closest to me, doesn’t have an LP associate as their “shrink” percentage is much much lower than the brooklyn location. I read someone say that they could at least have that person’s job. I want you all to know that person lost his job for doing what he thought he was supposed to do, which, admittedly was wrong. He had to go home and tell his girlfriend that he wouldn’t be able to buy formula the next week because he had lost his job. To the “move to canada” comment, I lived in canada for ten years… my personal philosophy has always been “when in rome, do as the romans” I work in retail, and you learn to identify the markers of theft. The person who originally wrote this article had left and re-entered the store multiple times, returning to his vehicle on each occasion. Who, in their right mind, wouldn’t watch him, or suspect him of theft? That particular store is a high shrink location, that’s what they watch out for, that’s why they have an LP associate. Not all Circuit’s do. If I act suspicious, I expect to be treated as a suspect. To the person who said that all they bring to a store is money to buy their product: “Sir, you committed a crime by driving there without your identification on you.” Driving in this country is a privilege which requires a license IE. an ID. If an officer of the law requested my ID, I would give it to them. I saw video of this indecent. I am not saying that the CC employee was in the right, he prevented the customer from entering his vehicle, that was wrong of him. However, when on private property, you either obey the rules of the establishment or GTFO. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Don’t cause a scene. Don’t get someone fired, don’t try and RUIN someone’s life just because you’re on a power trip. That’s just messed up. I hope that you feel real special knowing that someone had to borrow money to feed their newborn because you had to act like you owned the world.

    275. You do not have to show any private citizen (their property or business or not) anything that belongs to you (another private citizen). The second that receipt is in your possession it belongs to you. However, that property owner does have the right to eject you from the property or refuse your return for not complying with their rules.

      The above because more fuzzy if a sign is posted clearly upon entry onto the property.

      You do not have to stop and be searched by any private citizen (nor can they do so legally) without your consent. If you do not consent then they are actually detaining you (which will allow you to sue them if there was no good reason for violating your Constitutional Rights).

      Lastly, you are required to tell police who you are, where you came from, and where you are going upon request. You DO NOT have to produce Identification unless you are operating or in possession of something that requires a “permit”. If you did have to produce ID for walking, babies and kids would be breaking the law.

    276. @Thane Eichenauer September 2, 2007 1:03 AM

      Funny on your page you state,
      “Favorite quote: “Government is the problem. Freedom is the solution.” ”

      Oh, were to start..

      (“What I don’t like is people who choose not to play by the store’s rules. You are on someone else’s private property – not yours.)

      When I buy something it is now MY PRIVATE PROPERTY, now if what you are saying is that if I am still on their “private property” they have the right to look though MY PRIVATE PROPERTY? That would be like saying they can go though every thing in you car, wallet, pockets, etc. it’s on their property.

      ( If you don’t want to show your receipt, return your merchandise and don’t shop there. Order your products online if you wish.)

      Like you state “your merchandise” not theirs. Why would I return MY merchandise? I would if they would like to buy it back at, let’s say cost plus 15%.

      (Businesses are private property. Just because you bought a piece of merchandise there doesn’t give anybody the moral right to suspend the property owner’s right to have guests follow their rules (even if it is “the law”).)

      You are right, because I bought something it doesn’t give anybody the moral or legal right to suspend MY (as the owner of this merchandise) rights or follow “the law”. I would like to know when the “the property owners right”’ end, so an employee from ‘Wal-Mart’ can go into your house and check all the data on all the CDs you bought from them to make sure you are using them correctly?

      (It is not as if people at large are ignorant that they may be asked and yes even required to show their receipt. Just because some person thinks their rules trump those of the business they shopped at doesn’t make it so.)

      Wow, by “their rules” do you mean their RIGHTS?

      ( Next time Boing Boing posts yet another of these outraged shopper stories about a person who thinks it is an imposition or an intrusion to provide their receipt I would suggest they ask: Whose rules apply – the business whose private property someone volunteered to enter or some scofflaw who thinks they can impose their personal set of rules on someone else’s private property?)

      Again, I would assume you mean by “personal set of rules” you are referring to their legal rights and that they can be overwritten by “store policy”?

      ( If you don’t like a rule or you don’t want to provide your receipt at a given business, don’t do business there – please, it is just common sense.)

      I really like the common sense part. I wonder why there are so many laws for “private property” places that are open to the public. I tried to open a “private” club, you know like a members only club (you need to pay a yearly fee to be a member and by invitation only {NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC}) but on my “private property” I need to follow Dept. of Health rules, no smoking, building codes, sprinkler codes, occupancy codes, etc. I could go on for a long time but ‘common sense’ is not an option. Some how “the law” or as you put it “personal set of rules” got in my way.

      I am all for real common sense laws, I do agree with that if I want to do something and it does not effect anybody other then the people that choose to be involved why not?

      We have asses like you who will bend over and let a store stick a finger up you’re a$$ and have you just say “I got a good deal” others would say “why do I need to get a finger up my a$$ to get a good deal?”

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