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Dear PoPville – Safeway Checking Receipts Before Allowing One to Exit

by Prince Of Petworth October 12, 2011 at 10:30 am 197 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

You may have already covered this with the SW Safeway, but the receipt checking has been rolled out at the L Street location too (Sexy Safeway, if one goes by the nicknames to identify the location). Ed. Note: CityVista Safeway

I’m through this location frequently, since I walk past it going home most nights and usually run in at least twice a week to pick up something random that I need for dinner that night or an item that I forgot. So usually 1-4 items picked up, and I’m usually quick to get in and get out so I can get home as early as possible. They just began their receipt checking in maybe the last week or so. The first time I smiled and said no thank you when she asked to see my receipt. She said–nicely–after me, “ok, next time then.” The second time, I did the same. Smiled and politely said no thank you, to which the checker snapped that it was store policy. I told her I wasn’t required to show her anything and kept walking. Seems they’re trying to get more aggressive at this point, but they still allow me to proceed no problem with just a quick, no thank you.

Last night I show up and it looks like a border crossing. They have at least 4 employees posted in the area between the starbucks and the elevators. There is a whole line of products that divide the area in two and people are being funneled into the narrower passage along the elevator wall so that it’s nearly impossible to exit without being physically blocked by the receipt checkers. I notice a distracted receipt checker on the side closest to the starbucks, the area they seemed to have designated as the entrance to the store, and walk right past. I glance out of the corner of my eye as I walk out the door to see the guy trying to wave me back and saying something although I’m out of ear shot at that point. I can see that they’re going to make it extremely difficult for anyone to pass without getting into an altercation, and they have no right to do so. They may ask me for my receipt, but I have every right to decline.

I’ve emailed the general customer service email and they’ve told me they’ve forwarded my complaint to the store manager and the district manager. I’ve also sent their twitter account a quick note since that method seems to get faster responses for other companies. I explained that it’s my personal property after I’ve paid, that I don’t need to stand in line for someone to glance at my receipt, and that I don’t appreciate being treated like a criminal whenever I shop at safeway.

If they’re concerned about shoplifting, then they need to redirect their resources in a way that will actually prevent shoplifting, not in a way that harasses every single customer who walks through their doors. I can see the situation escalating to the point where they block me (or anyone else who refuses this ‘policy’) or lay a hand on me to prevent me from leaving. It’s interesting that the instituted this policy here only after the Giant closed down. It’s gotten crowded enough in this location that I really don’t need to wait on yet another line for someone to search my bags before leaving the store. They’ll lose a customer fast (and I’m sure many others) if they continue this policy.”

Do you guys think the receipt checking is unreasonable? I think they do it at the Rhode Island Ave Home Depot as well. Would you stop shopping at a store that required you to show a receipt before leaving?

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