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Walmart greeter

(May 4, 2016 update: Walmart now says greeters, and separate “customer hosts”, will now be deployed in all stores. “This pilot program was successful so we’ll begin rolling out these changes to all of our U.S. stores by mid-summer,” Walmart announced this week. What follows is the original article from June 19, 2015.)

Remember the kind, elderly folks who would welcome you to Walmart with a smile upon your arrival – and then block the doors, politely demand to see your receipt and snoop through your stuff before allowing you to leave?

They’re baaaack!

Walmart is reportedly moving greeters back to the front doors in several hundred locations, in a test designed to make its stores feel friendlier and its associates more helpful.

Oh, and to help decrease shoplifting, too.

Walmart greeters had long held the dual role of saying hello as you entered, and then stopping you before you left to look at everything you bought and scribble on your receipt with a highlighter pen. But in 2012, they were moved further inside the stores, so they could give directions to shoppers or assist other associates in keeping things tidy.

You know, to make them friendlier and more helpful. Unfortunately, they were no longer helping to stop all the shoplifting.

“People started walking out the door with cartloads of stuff,” overnight stocker Barb Gertz of Colorado told the Wall Street Journal. Her store is one in which greeters – along with “asset protection customer specialists” – were redeployed to the front doors earlier this week.

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One change between then and now, is that the employees will have handheld scanners in order to check in items that are being returned before you head to customer service. Otherwise, it’s unclear whether the new-era greeters will do more to deter theft than just glancing at and drawing a yellow line on your receipt. A more effective and perceptive greeter might, for example, be suspicious about someone with a cartful of bags and a receipt with only a few items on it, or a receipt showing the use of a fistful of questionable $10 coupons at a self-checkout that resulted in a zero balance.

But mostly their very presence – not their ability to wield a highlighter – is believed to deter theft.

It’s also believed to aggravate, insult and offend many shoppers who ranted about being stopped at the door during Walmart greeters’ heyday.

“It irks me to no end when you leave the register, walk 20 feet and the greeter is standing there like a pit bull with her highlighter demanding your receipt,” one shopper vented online. “I never stole anything in my life. They’re treating everyone like criminals,” another complained.

Some have even reacted a bit more severely. There have been several cases of shoppers who ended up attacking Walmart greeters – including an infamous 2010 incident in which a Wisconsin woman was arrested after arguing with, and allegedly shoving, a 100-year-old greeter who asked to see her receipt.

Love it or hate it, “the people that check receipts are not paid enough to put up with everyone’s attitude,” an anonymous Walmart greeter once wrote online.

And now the return of receipt-checking greeters means we get to deal with all of this pleasantness, all over again.

So if you get stopped on your way out the door the next time you shop at Walmart, welcome back to the future. And try to take the news the way the greeters themselves are – with a smile.

Image source: Walmart

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32 Comments

  1. Dale

    I get hassled all the Time in the cottonwood AZ wall mart for my recite .
    If they are not standaing by the door they have yelled at me as I exit , Sir I need to see your recite. I just tell them no and keep going.
    I use to shop wal mart only , now I only go if I have to.
    Don’t get me wrong I never minded showing them a recite for a bike or TV , but I will not show one for my food items . Wake up wal mart you are losing more money by doing this then in theft.

  2. I am not defending Walmart Policy .But i wish to say this Many times Ive seen items boxes opened and contents taken ie Steal item leave some then I as the consumer Paid full price for a half empty item .The point is theft .While it seems like No big deal Stolen items Cost the consumer in the long run .Which companies deduct as Losses .they dont Really loose we do as a consumer and maybe even price increase due to the Loss .While I agree it’s Anoying and you feel like your being Attacked .So that inconvienece may deter theft not all but some.you dont have a right to shop there you dont like it shop on-line or go else where.

  3. I just left a new Wal-Mart in south Sacramento, and after purchasing $200.00 (approximately) for groceries and misc. we were stopped the greeter/ receipt checker. My wife usually just walks passed them and goes on her way. But because we had two unbagged items, my wife accommodated them this time. So while she was looking at the receipt, I asked her if she would check all the items to the receipt. She of course responded that they would never be able to check every customers entire purchase for large quantity of merchandise. So, I then asked what do you check for? Her response “as the time and the date on the receipt” Now as we are leaving, I am telling my wife the next time I come in with a large quantity of merchandise, I will DEMAND that they check everything that I purchase. Because if the have policyto verify your purchases, then make them do their job, or invalidate the POLICY all together. Between now and Christmas I can probably do this about 6-7 times.

  4. Walmart is open to the public, they can ask to see your receipt, but you legally do not have to show it because you have not signed a contract with them. I understand they do it to prevent theft…however, I know I have not stolen anything so I, on leaving the store, politely decline to show my receipt.
    I have two Walmarts in my area, one is in a middle to upper middle class neighborhood, one is not…Only the store in the less desirable neighborhood checks receipts. Walmart has cameras…everywhere…instead of receipt checking, which can be aggravating for many different reasons, maybe they should hire actual loss prevention employees that, you know…prevent loss!

  5. Walmart is not a club store. You are under no obligation to show a receipt. this is America, NOT COMMUNIST RUSSIA. Resist now or be slaves forever.

    • Thank you very much! I have a dark complexion, I am a 66 year old Hispanic woman. At the Walmart I usually shop at the return area is very close to the exit. While waiting in line for return services I observed the receipt checker not asking every one for their receipt. Well maybe it’s just spot checking? No it’s more like profiling. So the next time I walked out of the Walmart I politely refused to show my receipt on principle. The young receipt checker started to hassle me he really needed to see my receipt. I stated to him I did not pay for membership and did not see any sign work stating I needed to show a receipt to exit. You want to come out to the car I will show you my receipt when I open my bag to load my purchases. He says well from now on they want to see your receipt. And I walked out to my car and left.

  6. I was stopped yesterday after paying for $90. worth of grocieries and it was only about 20″ from the register I came out of. The “greeter” asked for my receipt and looked it over for about 2 min then let me go, never looking through my bags. I cannot figure out what the reason was for since he did not go thru my bags, but it was truly humiliating! I am going to try a new grocery store next week.

    • I would encourage you to continue going to the same store and stand up for your rights. There are no laws which say you have to show your receipt. If they detain you, then this is called false imprisonment, and you may have a legal case. They cannot look at your items unless you are being suspected of shoplifting. When they ask for your receipt, say “No thanks,” and just keep walking.

  7. Eileen Watts says:

    I will never shop at Walmart again because of this harassment and infringement on my time. I spoke to a manager because of the way I was treated and he blew me off. I called corporate and was assured a return call and received none. You no longer get my business Walmart.!!!

  8. I worked overnights 20 yrs, have a back problem from lifting heavy merchandise, so i took this position as customer host/assets protection.
    I thought ok say hi, bye to customers. Check reciepts here and there…ok, well ive been told off by so many customers because i have ti check reciepts..mostly bottom of cart items and large items, and make sure to call for motorized carts , we never have enough and customers take it out on us, ..you can try and be as nice as you want, and some will literally snatch the reciepts from you befire you can even look, in the whole most are honest customers, but you wouldn’t believe how much of the stores merchandise walks out the door unpaid. Yes they should put a warning on every reciept and doorthat the hosts are back, but also if i bought something in my home that was expensive, i wouldnt want a theif taking it, so you have to somewhat protect yourself…on the whole most my day is uneventful, but every 4- 5 days you get told off by customers, saying they’ll call the 1 800 # because i couldnt get them a motorized cart for them within expected time…most co- workers who have done this job in the past, would shrill at the fact of relieving us for breaks.

  9. I had one try to stop me today not more then an hour ago funny thing is I told her no thanks walked by this is lockport new york, she then yelled its the law i continued but politely said yes Legally I don’t have to stop and show you my receipt. She is one of them type that try’s to bully the customers into showing them it. Most of the greeters don’t bother asking at that store unless your coming out the door with bIg electronic stuff Like a TV,Game system ect. Management knows me because I shop there every night after work to get me some thing for my dinner that i have around midnight.

    • Your comment was hard to understand, due to lack of punctuation. the statement, ” then an hour ago funny thing is I told her no thanks walked by this is lockport new york,”

      makes absolutely no sense.

  10. Shop at the other grocery stores. Walmart is turning into a monopoly. Stand up for your rights. They also racially profile the people they check. Take your money elsewhere and give your business to the local grocery stoes.

    • I disagree. Keep shopping at Walmart and stand up for your rights. We need to let these people know that this harassment will not be tolerated.

  11. Kevina Redwine says:

    Made me stop shopping there! Spent $582 dollars, greeter is looking at me pay for it by the register. He then scurried to the entrance and asked for my receipt! I should have returned EVERYTHING right then and there but I chose to take my business elsewhere. What a HORRIBLE policy!

  12. I was assaulted by a greeter today after spending $800 in the store. The greater grabbed my arm and snatched my bags from me scratching and bruising my arm.

    • Talk to a lawyer about this. You may have legal grounds to sue that person and Walmart.

      • That’s assault…Walmart has no right to ask to see your receipt and they most certainly have no right to touch you.
        So far I’ve been able to walk right out without showing my receipt…but I’m always rehearsing my come back if someone tried to detain me…and it involves using the words attorney, sue and false imprisonment! 😉

  13. WallyHarrassed says:

    You all have it all wrong 🙂
    The FACT is that unless and until Wal-Mart makes it a corporate policy and prints it on the back of their receipts and or posts it prominently throughout the checkout areas of the store for all customers to see without obstruction, that the condition of sale of merchandise to you REQUIRES you as part of the contract between you and Wal-Mart that you execute by way of trading them items of value (your money) for their items of value (Their products), then you are under NO obligation whatsoever to stop for a greeter, loss prevention, etc. on the way out that door. Let me repeat: If they don’t make it a condition of sale that you must present your receipt on the way out and be harassed, then you do NOT need to stop. WAY too many people just accept it b/c it’s what they’ve been led to believe is the ‘normal thing to do’.
    Just last night I purchased an item from the electronics dept and was severely harassed on the way out the door. I was in a hurry anyway so I was just booking it to the front, bag i hand. “Greeter guy” starts yelling that “Sir, I need to see your receipt”. I simply replied it was in my pockets and kept on trucking. He started after me repeating louder and louder that he needed to see my receipt to which I turned and replied: “You have probably 600 cameras in this place. I paid for this item and I’m not stopping. Go check your cameras if you have any questions.” He was noticeably irritated and was still milling around the front of the store when I drove past on the way out.
    It’s THAT easy. Pay for your stuff and leave. You do not need to ‘heed’ their requests for a receipt, to search your cart, your bags, etc. I subsequently called and was put on the phone with a “Support Manager”, whatever that is…. Didn’t have time today but I’m going to be calling their regional. I buy PLENTY of stuff there and am just tired of the harassment as well…. It’s even worse when you try to go in to return something. I’ve almost mastered that though… Just put it in your pockets or under a jacket until you clear the vultures at the door and take it out on the way to Customer Service. The whole area is generally covered in cameras so if they give you any crap just make them go pull up the footage of you pulling the bag out of your pocket.

  14. I was stopped at the door not 15′ from the register yesterday after spending over $300. I’ve never been so insulted in my life and will be taking my business elsewhere. I did receive an apology from their Corporate Office but they need to find a better way to deal with loss prevention than humiliating paying customers.

    • Joe Schmoe says:

      That is the way to deal with those bastards !!! DO NOT shop there and tell them why !!! I will NOT set foot in their stores, just to be insulted to spend money !!! Someone else has the same thing elsewhere !!!

      • Who cares! Most of you freak out about the littlest things! Go nuts when it happens or not …or shop somewhere else or not… When it come right down to it people steal. A lot of people steal. What’s freakin 5 secs for a receipt check. It helps keep prices low when it actually does stop thieves.

        Freakin whiners!

        Meh

        • I used to work retail there is no evidence it stops or even slows it down. Try to check things out before you decide your kind of the block. go to a communist country if you don’t want to have rights. Oh yea that’s right people like you want to become slaves of corporations and governments.

        • simon sinclair says:

          I had a 16mo and a 5yr old with me,The baby was begining to fret as i left the store. My wife was ill in the hospital and I had just spent $196.17. Then I had to wait in line for over 8 minutes while an 80+ yr old “greeter” took time to check every item of the 12 customers ahead of me trying to exit.Finally I couldnt take it and just prepared to go around the line and she wanted me remain in line til she got to me (5 more) I told her (politely) no and left after telling her she could either give me money back or let me go.They have cameras and if I stole something then arrest me but I am not going allow my baby to keep crying.Customers behind me cheered and the “greeter” let me go. That’s not being a whiner but being an irritated customer who wasn’t going to allow my child to suffer. By the way trying to make me wait is ILLEGAL unless I am suspected of a crime;as a military lawyer home on leave I know this.

        • People like you will eventually throw out the Constitution. It’s about OUR RIGHTS.

        • Really? It does nothing to help prevent loss…half the time, the person checking only looks at the receipt. Besides, if you’re going to steal something, are you really going to put it right on top of the items you purchased for someone to see? Of course not!

    • Keep shopping there and let them know that you won’t be harassed.

  15. I should add that I fully cooperated with everything this ‘greeter’ demanded of me.
    I do understand loss prevention, I really do. But to upend all of my bags, search through food items and then stalk off like she was p***ed off that she couldn’t find anything stolen, well, that’s way over the top. As I said I will be exercising my right to choose and I will no longer choose to shop there.

  16. On my most recent ( and will be the last) trip to Walmart, I went through a staffed register ( not a self checkout). I had 6 bags of items and one fairly large item which could not be bagged. On the way out a ‘greeter’ stomped toward me with her hand held out like a traffic cop. She demanded my receipt and proceeded to upend ALL of my bags into the cart. Eggs, bread, fresh fruit, all in a heap in the cart. She went through everything, comparing it to the receipt and when she couldn’t find anything stolen, she thrust the receipt at me and stalked off. The episode lasted 20-25 minutes and I did not say one word. I was really afraid I would be arrested. I will never return. This was in the Walmart super center in Bellevue NE

  17. Walmart has nothing called customer service. All they have is customer abuse and neglect.

  18. You don’t need to stop…and should not. Once you’ve paid for the merchandise, it’s your property. If Walmart’s people touch you or block you in any way, have them arrested.

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