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Friday, February 5, 2010

Receipt After Me, "I Am Not a Crook."

Imagine, if you will, you are shopping in your favorite vanilla flavored big box store for some goods that were made overseas. You check out at the cashier, paying for every item and upon being handed your receipt, you shove it into the bottom of your pocket or purse beneath three pounds of crap. Then, you walk three feet to the exit where some poor bastard is standing by the door. As you make your way towards the exit, the greeter or whoever it is stops you by, asking to see your receipt.

Now, you have two options. You can drop your bags and dig around in your pockets for that receipt or you can say, “No thank you, and keep walking.” In either case, you may find yourself spending more time in the store than you planned.

So, what is it about a receipt checker that has all the net heads and geeks online so much in a tizzy? This is a hotly debated topic, well…at least over at the Consumerist where every other story is about someone being “detained” at a big box store like Walmart or Best Buy. After all, the ramifications are pretty low in comparison to what people think is one step away from having to carry papers like some Eastern Europe Cold War era country.

The idea behind checking of receipts is about theft and loss prevention. Although, a lot of places will tell you that it is a movement to ensure, you the consumer, are not ripped off on your purchases. Frankly, I don’t see how that works because I was already ripped off when I paid the prices I did for the items in my bags. But that it is another story about whether I should really keep shopping at stores that I feel are expensive. Yet, is there really any correlation between some Joe Schmoe who is being paid minimum wage to check my receipt and the total disintegration of the Constitution of the United States? No. This is about defiance of authority, rallying against corporate greed and just being a dick. But hey, I love doing all three when it suits me.

Frankly, I shop at Best Buy, pay for my items and then instinctively have my receipt at the ready when I leave. It’s almost Pavlovian conditioning when I see a yellow shirt at the door. Yellow shirt, receipt out and ready. Never did I imagine I could just say “No, Thank you” and be on my way. I never realized I was within my rights to refuse showing my receipt at a regular store. Now, I know full well when I go to Sam’s Club that I have to show my receipt when I leave. I signed up for that when I bought a membership there. But there is nothing that says I have to show my receipt to the yellow shirt at the door of a Best Buy. And even though affiliated with Sam’s Club, I am not obligated to show my receipt to the sleeveless smocked ones at the doors to Walmart. Actually, I’ve never had them check my receipt going out.

The short answer is the motto of the Greek Goddess Nike who says, “Just do it.” Who really cares? I don’t believe I’m surrendering any rights by doing so. But there are these fanatical constitutionalists who believe that receipt checking is one step away from putting up the Berlin Wall.

The long answer is that, sometimes, I just don’t feel like being a team player and hate these intrusive disruptions to my flow…sounds like a urologist needs to be called. People who have the sole job of keeping me from leaving some place are that much more the enemy. When I shop in the mall and that greasy guy at the kiosk tries to sell me crushed oyster pearl cream or a nail file made of diamonds or that stupid octopus thing that massages your head, I leap into action.  This just happened over the Christmas holiday.  He saw me moving quickly and actually ran, RAN, around the little cart and attempted to get between me and a store and said, “Sir, can I show you this…blah blah blah.” To which I said, “No, thank you” He then continued to press by saying, “Well, then can I ask you a question.?” To which I said, “Actually, no you cannot,” and went about my way.

These guys are ten times worse than any receipt checker, but it’s that running of interference when you are in motion that grinds my gears. I know the guy at the door of the big box store is just doing his job and nine times out of ten they really don’t even check the receipt so I could hold up one from another store. But every so often you get that one person drunk on authority, or as Cartman calls it, a-thor-it-tye. This is the a-hole that causes me to dig deep in my pocket and pull out a middle finger. This is the guy I am willing to go rounds with just because he shot first with a snotty attitude or look of entitlement. He is the one I will say, “No, Thank you,” to and hope he tries to get all super cop on me. Perhaps I will try it, once, just to see what happens. You will probably read all about it on the Consumerist….or the police blotter.

So, what are your thoughts on receipt checking? 

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