Receipt checkers aren't there to catch shoplifters


Past performance is not indicative or future resul… OH GAWD! We are so fucked…


Something tells me Beschizza is the sovereign citizen type to constantly ask “Am I being detained” at a sobriety checkpoint.

You have to show a receipt to exit? The horror.


Except the purpose of a sobriety checkpoint is to check up on you. Not the faithfulness of your bartender’s cash register usage.


Thank you, it’s not! It’s a great example of the classic entry-level position where you get to learn and practice almost everything that makes the business run well.

Some days you’re scheduled to show up before opening to get everything ready, other days to stay after closing and help get everything shut down. In addition to bagging, you’re the one that does the price checks, fetches replacements if an item breaks or is noticed to be defective at checkout, helps the elderly/sick/overwhelmed out to their cars, rounds up the shopping carts, keeps the entry/exit clean and clear, etc. You’re also the one responsible for any outside displays.

You also do the maintenance and cleaning (trash, sweeping, changing lightbulbs, cleaning restrooms) that keeps things nice. You fill in for people in almost all departments - cashiering, stocking, produce, floral, bulk, etc. when they’re on break or shorthanded. You might help the managers do the counts at the end of a shift or help train the new cashiers on the different types of produce - what gets weighed and what just has a code number, etc.

If a display gets knocked over, or someone gets injured, or a fire starts outside, etc. You’re likely to be the first responder. If one of the other employees is worried that their ex might show up or just afraid of leaving alone late at night or something, you’re the one walking them to their car.

It’s not a prestigious specialized job, but it’s a good one with a lot of variety that gives you the full inside-view of the business and the experience to move up into any position you want. Best job I had as a teen, and the only one with any real responsibility where you were expected to take initiative.

That’s almost certainly a big part of it. The friend-of-a-cashier discount can really add up fast if it gets to be something that all the cashiers do for all of their friends (or even just each other).


You made several excellent points, which I wish I could “like” separately.


Your skepticism of my edge fills me with such a dark rage that I’m going to go listen to Depeche Mode’s Black Celebration, their angriest album (in that it is almost as angry as it is depressed).


I work for Costco. The major reason that we check receipts is to catch double scans which are common with modern bar code scanning systems. We know that you are just trying to get to your car and get home, but we need to make sure that your order was rung up correctly and you were not overcharged.


I don’t know what i should think the real explanation is, but this rings a bit hollow.

I think it would be trivial for the barcode scanning system to require cashiers to verify the quantity of an item when two or more of the same sku are scanned in sequence.

As a one-time cashier and current software developer, I’m pretty sure this could be done efficiently.


The term “curator” came to mind, but some might suggest that term carries too much implication of, well, implication.

(Rob gathers and selects and presents it to us, like a good curator should, of course, but some say no act of curation can ever be independent or unbiased.)


Agreed in principle. But, in all my several decades of shopping in UK, I have only once been asked to show a receipt after completing my shopping. And that was B&Q shortly after they introduced self-service tills. I think the person who tried to check my receipt died shortly afterwards (if looks could kill) and as a direct result B&Q have stopped that shit, presumably after finding out how the supermarkets here had been auditing self-serving shoppers for years without the world ending. So why is it a thing in USA? Are UK stores so much more lax re QA? (I doubt it)

  1. In this agreement, the following words shall have the meaning set out in this clause:

1.1. “Shit” shall mean any merchandise, goods or other items offered for sale by us.

See, all fine. :slight_smile:


It rings less hollow if you consider that everything that’s rung up twice is an opportunity for a nefarious clerk to steal one of the things they double-scanned. That’s more damaging to Costco in the long run than the (presumably very rare) situation of someone buying a TV, getting it accidentally rung up twice, and then somehow not noticing until they got home.

And it is the sort of thing that will occur to a checkout clerk at some point in the dregs of a shift. (I spent many an hour as an at-risk teen dreaming up increasingly baroque ways to steal a soda from the convenience store I worked at. I mean, I could have just taken one–and occasionally I did–but it was more fun to come up with ways to do it as The Perfect Crime.)

So if you want an appropriately cynical explanation that doesn’t rely on warm fuzzy feelings for the customer, those receipt-checkers are there as a form of security theater for the people wielding the scanner a few yards away.


I knew a bank teller who said their whole team would put any drawer overage in a jar and backfill from that jar when one was short. Over time the errors in both directions cancelled out almost exactly.


That’s clever. The way those tags work is the ink vessel is weaker than the grip on the pin holding it, so a brute force attempt to remove it results in the ink being released. The condom trick puts the main force right along the shaft of the pin so the weaker portion isn’t stressed. Like getting something off a kebab skewer in one piece.


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