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Recently I was involved in an incident in a well-known high street supermarket. I was embarking on a journey and felt in need of refreshment, so I entered said supermarket. There was quite a queue, but the automated machine was free and as I only required a soft drink I used it, placing in the exact change, item on bagging area, etc. All went well except that I did not get a receipt. I thought at the time that not having a receipt was not a problem, yet on leaving I was accosted by the security guard who asked if I had paid for the item. I said yes. He asked me if I had a receipt, I said no the machine did not issue a receipt. He instructed me to return to the machine, and I realised I was on the verge of being apprehended for shoplifting. As I was on a tight schedule I started protesting, loudly but firmly, because I wanted everyone in the queue to realise my innocence. "Why is it my problem if your machine doesn't work?I have places to be..." etc. They refused to answer this, never once directly accusing me of shoplifting, though this was the obvious implication. First the security guard messed with the machine, said something about the receipt in the machine which was from a previous transaction (the inference that I had stolen still ongoing) and then he called the manager and returned to his post. The manager then proceeded to mess with the machine. All the while I was loudly-but-firmly asking why exactly this was my problem and I had somewhere to go etc, was not being answered or directly accused of shoplifting, no doubt as they had been trained not to do so until they had me bang to rights. This went on for several minutes. Then the manager gave me the soft drink and said "that is yours now you can go." I said, "that's it is it? I get accused of stealing and that is all I get?" He said "no one has accused you of stealing sir" and I pointed to the security guard and said "Him! He accused me of stealing!" And then I went over to the security guard and took his name. When I got home from my evening's entertainment I wrote to the supermarket head office. All I got out of them was the apology I should have got (but didn't) from the manager and security guard. What is my legal standing on this? Am I obliged to take a receipt? What if (as in this case) I didn't get one? I have asked why exactly the security guard unneccessarily placed me under suspicion but have yet to recieve a direct reply!

Edited by ClarkGwent
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No, you are not required to take the receipt (although in this case it may have been good practice to alert a member of staff to the fact that the self-serve had not issued one), and the store security should have done nothing unless he had observed you to have not paid for the item. A suspect should be under constant observation from the point of concealment and through the pay point without paying before apprehending, and clearly he did not do this as he would otherwise have seen payment being made.

 

Unfortunately you can expect little apart from an apology and this should have been made at the time rather than through their Head Office, but sadly demanding that the security guard is sacked would probably not work, however warranted that may seem!

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Thank you. Such was the extent of the queue at this time that I couldn't really ask for a receipt/alert the staff as this would have been perceived as impolite, as queue jumping. I have been assured that said security guard (who works for a private firm employed by the supermarket) will not work in that supermarket again, though he has probably not been sacked. I still don't think this is enough and am taking the matter as far as I can, for what that's worth.

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Thank you ArtisanUK. No to the first yes to the second. I was detained via the temporary confiscation of my purchase. Also I was misled by the head office in their replies on two counts:- that the security guard was within his rights, and that I was not entitled to request the CCTV footage. They have reneged on the 2nd but not the 1st.

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On edit make that "No" to the touching a "perhaps". Certainly not forcefully, but then I am a well-built fellow.

I do not believe he would need to have touched you forcefully, as common assault may happen when there is no physical contact at all; it may suffice that you believed at the time that you were about to be struck or that you were about to be manhandled if you did not comply at once with the orders of the security troll.

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Sounds like number 13 of the Dos and Dont's is if no reason is given why you should return then ask why and keep on until a reasonable explanation is given. There should be no reason to return whilst someone "checks things out" - either they are asking you to return because they believe that a crime has taken place or they let you go.

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Sounds like number 13 of the Dos and Dont's is if no reason is given why you should return then ask why and keep on until a reasonable explanation is given. There should be no reason to return whilst someone "checks things out" - either they are asking you to return because they believe that a crime has taken place or they let you go.

Exactly.

 

One should also point out that "Because I say so" or "Because it would be better discussed inside" is not even approximately adequate.

 

I wonder what the security goon would have done - given that most of them are delta-minus semi-imbeciles - if one had protested loudly at being accosted, declaring in a loud voice, "I don't care what you say, I will not become your gay lover!"

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  • 4 weeks later...

So far:- I have requested the CCTV footage and it is conspicuous by its absence. I asked the Customer Services of said supermarket chain for email of their legal dept., and they claimed that their legal dept did not have an e-mail. Which seems a bit C20th of them! I told them I did not want to phone their legal dept because I wanted a written record of all communications.

Edited by ClarkGwent
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  • 2 months later...

Continued obfuscatory behaviour. Woman I was originally dealing with carried on with her nonsense, so I asked to be referred to her superior. He too carried on with said nonsense, stating that security guard had right to challenge me, that I had no automatic right to CCTV footage. I abandoned the correspondence for @ 1 month due to personal circumstances but have now looked at his last email. Pathetic amount of vouchers offered in compensation which I have now said I may just reluctantly accept but without prejudice and do not consider the matter at an end.

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  • 3 months later...

I have now requested that the offer of compensation, which has been upped to £50, be sent to me. The person representing the shop/chain says "I trust this is an end to the matter" but I have not said this. The £50 I consider mere compo for the trouble they have put me to via their prevarication and obfuscation. I said this was accepted "without prejudice" in an earlier email.

 

By the way:- friend of mine, a slight youth, prone to drinking. Wandered round same supermarket a week or three ago, after drinking (thinks:-) "will buy some fags but first what is in the bargains?"....blatantly followed by security guard (not the same one). Turns to security guard "why are you following me?" "It is my job" "It is your job to follow me?" "Yes" "You are an (minor gutter expletive deleted)!" AT WHICH POINT he was collared by the security guard and manhandled out of the store. I have been saying "get the CCTV" but I don't think he is convinced. What says anyone here?

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  • 3 months later...
There was quite a queue, but the automated machine was free and as I only required a soft drink I used it, placing in the exact change, item on bagging area, etc. All went well except that I did not get a receipt. I thought at the time that not having a receipt was not a problem, yet on leaving I was accosted by the security guard who asked if I had paid for the item. I said yes. He asked me if I had a receipt, I said no the machine did not issue a receipt. He instructed me to return to the machine....

 

And there's the key moment. You should have replied "Are you arresting me?".

 

They have no power to make you co-operate with their security processes - they can either arrest you and call the police, or they can let you go on your way. The aim of the store guard is to create a fictional grey area in between, where you are cowed and obedient. Don't allow them to do that.

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