Do You Legally Have to Show Your Receipt at Walmart in NY State?
Can you just walk past the Walmart worker asking to check your receipt on the way out the door? If you live in New York State, the answer may surprise you.
We've all been in the frustrating situation of being treated like a suspected criminal after checking out at Walmart. I remember shopping at locations in Fishkill, Newburgh and Middletown years back when happy check-out clerks would ring up your items for you while a smiling bagboy placed them in complementary bags.
Now, I'm usually waiting in a long line to get to a series of self-checkout kiosks that monitor your every movement with cameras. Making the wrong arm gesture while placing an item in your reusable bag will trigger all sorts of alarms and a response from a very unhappy employee who has to come and make sure you're not trying to pull one over on the scanner.
Can I See Your Receipt Please?
After checking yourself out you're then subjected to the humiliating experience of proving that you didn't steal anything. Walmart, along with several other retailers, now stops you before you leave the store and demands that you hand over your receipt. A worker will then look through your items to make sure each item was properly paid for.
While businesses like Best Buy and BJ's have been following this procedure for years, people seem to really get bent out of shape when it happens at Walmart. I'm sure there's some psychology behind why shoppers get so furious when their receipts are checked. I assume it's because no one likes to be accused of shoplifting, and that's essentially what these businesses are doing every time you leave their store.
Do You Comply With Walmart's Receipt Policy?
Whenever the topic of checking your receipt at the door comes up, there are always those brave social media warriors who insist that the practice is "illegal" and that they never stop for security. They claim to roll their cart right past the Walmart employee and leave the store because of "freedom" or something.
Most likely, that scenario has never happened. Their stories about giving the middle finger to the elderly Walmart worker are probably as truthful as their computer-generated cartoon profile picture that makes them look 40 lbs lighter and 20 years younger than they really are.
The law is very clear when it comes to showing your receipt when leaving a store. But it all depends on where you live.
Do You Legally Have to Show Your Receipt When Leaving Walmart?
In most states, it's not against the law to refuse to show your receipt to a Walmart employee. However, that's not the case in New York State.
According to The Hive Law, there are only five states that have different laws about shoplifting enforcement and New York is one of them. For most of the country, store employees cannot force you to ask to see your receipt because it's essentially an excuse to search your cart. In those states, it's illegal to accuse someone of shoplifting without probable cause, and as long as there's no evidence to suspect you of stealing, refusing to show your receipt is well within your 4th amendment rights.
New Yorkers Must Show Their Receipts When Leaving Walmart
Unfortunately, residents in New York, California, Florida, Illinois and Washington are required to comply when a store employee asks to see your receipt before leaving. Those states interpret your refusal as a probable cause of shoplifting. Store employees can legally detain you and call the authorities if you live in one of these five states and refuse to show proof that the items in your cart are paid for. In the rest of the country, however, you can legally avoid showing your receipt and there's nothing the store can do about it.
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