What right do stores have to search you or your belongings? Or perhaps better asked, what right do I have to ignore some minimum wage goon at Best Buy?
The background to this question is simple: After purchasing something, you are expected to show your receipt to the chucklehead at the door, who then signs off on your receipt. At the register, I had put a couple of things in my backpack and left the rest in my shopping bag. When asked to be shown the other items (by the door-patrol), I refused permission to search in my backpack. The store was crowded, the line at the door was backing up, and after a minute of verbal going-back-and-forths, I simply walked away. I’m 31, have never shoplifted in my life, and did nothing to warrant their searching my property other than to walk into their store. There was nothing illegal or embarrassing in my backpack. I was just in a hurry, and did not feel like giving up yet another small piece of privacy and dignity.
When I was there this past weekend, I noticed that there is an 81/2 X 11 piece of paper (quite small in comparison to the rest of the storefront) that said ‘We reserve the right to search all packages.’
So, lawyers and WAGers, anyone have the SD on where the line is between my right to be left alone and the store’s right to protect its property? Can they, merely by displaying a sign, demand access to anything and everything I have in my possession? What about such a small, easily overlooked sign? Do I have the right to refuse them? Can I insist that they call the police to do it? Do I have to wait in the store for that? What about just in their own shopping bag, after I have paid for the merchandise? If they don’t have the right, but some punk has it up his ass that he does, what can I do to protect myself from his nosey hands? If he touches me, can I get away with (of course, after politely telling him to let go) popping out his kneecap? Can I have him arrested for assault (or is that battery)? Would I have legal recourse against the store?
Sheesh… a lot of questions. All I remember from my retail days (ten or so years ago) is that we were told by our corporate loss-prevention department not to touch or ask to search anyone unless we had direct knowledge that the person had shoplifted. Anything you have to say / think on this will be appreciated. BTW, if it makes a difference, I live in the District, and the BB is in Virginia. And please don’t excoriate me for shopping at Best Buy. I have to rely on the Metro, and it is one of the few places I can get to. Thanks!
Once in a while you can get shown the light
in the strangest of places
if you look at it right…