As Walmart, Others Ramp Up Theft Crackdown, Shoppers Push Back Against Increased Surveillance

As Walmart, Others Ramp Up Theft Crackdown, Shoppers Push Back Against Increased Surveillance
Cover Image Source: Walmart had to close 24 Stores nationwide | Getty Images | Joe Raedle

Retail giants like Walmart and Target are taking steps to crack down on theft, resulting in customers calling shopping there too much of a hassle. Many have taken to social media to express their annoyance with showing receipts. One such debate on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, sheds light on the current shopping situation in popular chains like Walmart. One user uploaded a basket full of toiletries and captioned it, "I be addicted to this kinda s**t" to which one person responded, "Why do y'all shop at Target I don't get it," they wrote. "Walmart got the same s**t for cheaper."


Also Read: Viral Video Shows Fired Walmart Employee Trashing Store, Stirs Debate on Poor Management

Another user took to the platform to respond to her question. "I don't get time to be followed so obviously," she wrote. "If you gone follow me do it secretly, damn," she added. "Walmart will watch you check out then 'check your receipt.' I'm good," she continued. 

Walmart has long been criticized for checking receipts at store exits like Costco and Sam's Club. However, people simply do not agree with this tactic of Walmart as Costco and Sam's Club both operate on a membership model while Walmart doesn't. "Am I mean for always walking past the people that want to see your receipt at Walmart?" asked one person on X. Many came to her defense, writing, "Nope. I do the same" while another wrote, "Absolutely not and after the no bag law passed, they feel entitled to play these security games."

Many Walmart employees have also taken to social media and spoken about the whole receipt situation. "The person checking receipts is only allowed to ask you for your receipt if you have anything in your cart that is not in a shopping bag," one employee wrote.


While the shoppers are not legally required to present their receipts at the exit gates, the truth is that some of these companies are struggling with theft. Back in 2022, Walmart's CEO publicly said that the company would have to close stores if theft didn't slow down. Unfortunately, for the chain, they ultimately had to shut down 24 stores nationwide.

Also Read: Here's why Walmart has Agreed to pay $45 Million as Settlement to Customers

Therefore, even though the consumer perspective makes sense sometimes, there's no denying that the chains are left with no other option. According to the NY Post, retailers lost close to $100 billion in 2021. The publication said that this epidemic of theft is not only impacting the bottom lines but also the operational strategies of massive companies ranging from Macy's, Target, Walmart, and Ulta. 

Woman in Supermarket | Pexels | Anna Shvets
Woman in supermarket | Pexels | Anna Shvets

Also Read: Disappointed Customer Shares Cake Decorating Fail from Walmart, Goes Viral

However, the fact that consumers are always feeling the sense of being watched is ultimately going to harm the retail giants' sales. "From the consumer’s perspective, the feeling that everyone is watching you, suspecting you of shoplifting, creates a negative atmosphere," says Angela Y. Lee, a consumer psychologist and professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern to The New York Times. 

But looks like the surveillance is only going to increase with time. Retail giants like Walmart, Target, Lowe's, Kroger, CVC and Macy's are teaming up with the best technological companies to develop better and faster surveillance systems and other AI-powered tech. While the sense of being watched will only rise with time, there's a good chance that you won't be asked for receipts once they have better tech to prevent thefts.


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