I just saw a clip on my Facebook feed where a uniformed store security was following anti-shoplifting protocols for a store and asking for a receipt check. I don’t know why I put myself through these painful videos because they tend to just get me angry. I was angry because the customer who filmed the episode was obviously being obnoxious on purpose and trying to start something. His capturing of the event on his phone made that apparent. I was angry that the security officer did not have a better response to the “customer” and the manager who was called over was less helpful. By the end of the two or three minute clip I wanted to snatch that phone and break it. When the store manager decided to just let the obnoxious customer just leave the video recording continued and the manager and security officer asked him to stop and he wouldn’t. I could not tell if there was a Sensormatic security system in use in this store but if there was I would have liked to see what would have happened if the alarm had sounded.
During my tenure as a Loss Prevention Manager I came across similar situations and empathize with the Security Officer. There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer to this problem. I have looked at number of websites with lawyers giving advice to “legal” websites. The interesting thing is on one website with several lawyers giving their input some say a store has a right to briefly detain those suspected of shoplifting and recommend you stop and show a receipt. They argue it helps keep prices lower for everyone. Others say you are not required to stop and that they keep walking. Others give a short response saying that if you are offended don’t shop there anymore. One response did say that stopping for a receipt check is a requirement of membership for club type stores like Costco. There are even testy debates on websites about whether you are required to stop for a Sensormatic security system or similar alarm activation. Does this qualify as grounds for reasonable detainment?
To be perfectly frank the issue is there is no federal guideline. Each state has their own laws governing ”Shopkeeper’s Privilege” and what is a reasonable detainment. Anti-shoplifting laws are not universal and therefore as a store owner it is incumbent on you to be familiar with the laws of your own state. This brings up the question of whether it makes sense to even have a person at the door to help prevent shoplifting or a Sensormatic system to discourage thieves?
I believe it is in the best interest of stores to have an anti-shoplifting system in place. This is no different than having closed circuit television cameras, camera domes and monitors in a store. They do help deter impulse thieves. These are the people who come in and without a lot of forethought decide to steal as a thrill or on a dare or even peer-pressure. A Sensormatic security system with towers at the doors and merchandise with security tags is usually enough to make these people change their mind about stealing. Even some of the shoplifters who are stealing for drugs are stopped when they realize a security system is in use. The only ones who may not be deterred are the hardcore criminals or organized crime groups who you may not want to be dealing with anyways other than through customer service.
What about a receipt checker at the door? Most people are going to be cooperative and willing to show a receipt. There are some who are going to refuse. I can only suggest that if you are going to have someone at the door you have a consistent policy of only asking for a receipt on exposed merchandise (meaning merchandise not in a bag from your store). You also need to ensure if employees are responding to a Sensormatic security system alarm that your employees are trained on how to do so properly. Never accuse someone of shoplifting simply because an alarm sounds. It could be a cashier failed to remove a clothing security tag from a shirt or jeans. The great thing is if you aren’t sure your employees are trained properly on alarm response or you don’t have a Sensormatic system, Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. offers training and if you purchase an anti-shoplifting system from them you get FREE training to go along with it.
There is no easy answer to the problem of receipt checks. Hopefully I have given you a few helpful tips on how to try to resolve the issue. It is important to keep in mind that most honest shoppers will be willing to show receipts in order to help stop shoplifting and keep prices low.
A Sensormatic security system is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.