Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Yes, they can check my reciept

There is a new partiularly rabid strain of libertarian thought going around right now regarding the current practice of many stores to check your reciept on the way out, as a way of preventing theft. I have some sympathy when these policies are applied overly strictly at retailers like Circuit City and Best Buy. Especially as in the case of a recent Circuit City customer who was arrested for refusing to produce a reciept. (Technically, he was arrested for failure to produce ID, but CC did everything in their power to force the issue.) However, you always have the alternative to NOT give your money to these retailers. (If you don't have another local electronics store, remember Amazon.Com or any number of small internet retailers are only a click and UPS away.)

But the newest strain of this meme is fury over big-box retailers like BJ's and CostCo doing the same thing. This truly makes no sense, for a simple reason. YOU SIGNED A CONTRACT WITH THE COMPANY THAT GIVES THEM THAT PRIVILEGE. The way that stores like BJ and Costco keep down prices is by buying in bulk, and minimizing staffing. They lack sophisticated security systems or an oppressive watchful staff to prevent shoplifting, and instead place a single pimply-faced person at the door to check your reciept against your cart. This is annoying, but hardly a violation of anyone's rights.

So, let's all calm down out there, okay? If you feel a need to express your annoyance at these practices, complain to the local manager or the regional directors of the stores in question. And don't patronize any place you feel violates your rights. But stop making a Federal Case out of a hung over teenager earning minimum wage checking reciepts.


Sean said...

i read the original story about the guy at CC and all I came away with was that the guy was being stupid. With credit card and identity theft on the rise (or at least stabilizing at a high rate) it only makes sense that a store would want to verify that you're leaving with only what you bought and that you are in fact you. I don't like having to show my id or my receipt at the door, but it's one of the ways the stores use to keep prices lower (or at least lower than they could be). But when it comes to Costco, it makes even more sense that they would do this sort of thing - not to mention the contract you sign. It's impossible - maybe not impossible, but very difficult - to run a security system that monitors an entire warehouse like that. This is only a way of making sure they don't lose more money than they need to.

People that complain about these sorts of things remind me of the guy in "The Great Divorce" that kept insisting he'll have his rights and ended up spending eternity in the gray city.

cxx_guy said...

I wouldn't consider this a Libertarian issue.

A law requiring this practice would offend Libertarians, as would a law forbidding it. Either way is wrong.

If you don't want to get naked, stay out of nudist resorts. They're private property and their policies are well known.

shadowmom1 said...

I shop at BJ's and they check the receipts on the way out. It is no trouble for the customer.
It makes sense at stores where you can check yourself out and could easily bypass the scanner with multiple items.