Wal-Mart's Geriatric Reciept Gestapo

So, a friend of mine wanted me to head by Wal-Mart to help him load a desk that he was buying for his wife.

As we’re on the way out one of these geriatric harridans jumps out and demands to see his receipt.

Turns out he didn’t have one - the checker never actually gave him one. Oops. He goes back to get it while I look at the pictures of all the missing children.

He comes back a few minutes later without his receipt because the checker wouldn’t give him a duplicate for some reason. So, he tells Granny Bitchcakes that and she waves him on.

Wow. That was pointless.

It was also annoying.

I’ve got two questions here.

  1. What was Brunhilda supposed to do in that situation?

  2. Legally, is there any way for Wal-Marties stop a customer, who had already exchanged funds for goods so that they can demand their receipt? Besides rudeness, is there any reason to not tell one of these old bastards to just fuck off?


If the checker has not checked out another customer, a duplicate receipt can be printed from the original checkout. If the checker has checked out another customer, it can’t. The checkout can only reprint the receipt of the most recent order. The Cash Office CAN look up the order on its computer and print the receipt out but that takes about 10-15 minutes.

Brunnhilda did pretty much what she is paid to do. If possible, once alerted to the mistake about the receipt, the cashier should have just told her to wave the customer on.

Yes, they can stop & ask. They can’t forcibly detain.

Check out posts 90-96 here.


We do this pretty frequently here. The consensus is that no, they can’t legally detain you. The key is that most people don’t know this (or know and want to show good faith anyway). Generally in my experience making a swift exit with the air of someone who has somewhere important to go will dissuade them from even trying to stop you.

Why are you so mad at old people? Mad because they’re old? You will be too one day … if you’re lucky…

Just to clarify, they have no right to detain you unless you’ve already given them permission to do so. In other words, at some places (e.g. Costco) one of the terms of membership is accepting such a practice. (This is covered a bit in the thread that Random linked to).

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

And most of them are working because they’re desperate for the money or for human contact.

No, you’re not wrong, as long as it is assumed that there is no separate basis to detain. (In other words, refusal to show a receipt, by itself, is not a reason to detain.)

Usual disclaimers. Laws vary. General information and not reliable legal advice. See a lawyer licensed in your state for that. Although I’m probably right on the legal issue, see other thread for some potential practical problems if you blow by Walmart Grandpa Fred.

There’s been much said about these receipt checkers. By all reasonable accounts, they have no right to demand anything*.

I usually smile, politely decline and keep walking.
“No thanks! Not interested.”
If they have something else to say and they try to block my exit, the smile disappears and my eyes narrow.
“Are you suggesting I’ve stolen something?”
It’s never gone beyond that but various internet stories tell tales of arrests and lawsuits against the store.

*Exceptions typically involve probable cause to search and detain. This might be store personnel witnessing the shoplifting or a security alarm sounding.

Suggest that they look up the definition of “receipt” in the dictionary.

Karl, on reread, although I still agree with your restatement of the general principle, one thing you said wasn’t quite right. Even at Costco, with its agreed to in advance terms of membership, the store guard can’t detain you just because your refuse to show a receipt.

In the states I’m familiar with, he’d still need some sort of reasonable basis to detain. (and no one has been able to identify any state that has a different rule, despite the fact that this is thread #4 on the issue.)

What Costco may do is revoke your membership if you refuse to stop.

(Same disclaimer.)