[internetworkers] [TriLUG] security goons at TigerDirect in Raleigh: "No, thanks!"

Cristóbal Palmer cristobalpalmer at gmail.com
Sat Jun 2 01:31:41 EDT 2007


On 5/31/07, Magnus <magnus at trilug.org> wrote:
>
> You think you cede all rights to your personal property as soon as you
> walk in the door of a private company?
>
> Once you pay for the goods, the bag and its contents are as "yours" as
> your underwear.  Would you feel imposed upon if they insisted on
> inspecting your underwear?
>
> If they want to have cameras on their premises, fine.  That's their
> right.  But I will assert my own rights as well.

Firstly, the connection to Linux here is tenuous at best. As is being
discussed in another thread, this would have been a much better
discussion to *keep* on the INW list:
http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/internetworkers

I agree with others who have said that discussions like these cheapen
the TriLUG list. I appreciate that you sent it to the INW list, but I
object to the inclusion of the TriLUG list as another initial
recipient. Please help adjust the signal:noise on the TriLUG list by
directing such mail only to INW. People replying to the TriLUG branch
of this thread should also take note of which list they are sending
to.

Secondly, your argument above is a slippery slope that just doesn't
hold. Most people aren't offended by having their (shopping) bags
checked. *Everybody* would be offended by getting frisked. There's
just no way we'd slide from the former to the latter in a retail
setting. I've never been in a store that asked to check a personal bag
at the door. If they're afraid you'll lift something with a backpack
or whatever, they'll ask you to leave the bag with an attendant. Ever
shopped in on Broadway in Manhattan? Also, your disparaging remarks
about the person at the door and characterization of that position as
a "security goon" signals to me that you know you have a weak
argument. If you're resorting to name-calling in the subject line,
it's hard to take your argument seriously. Your story seems to be
merely a vehicle for a libertarian stance, which reduces the
argument's believability further.

Thirdly, stores have fallen into having people check bags at the door
because nothing else holds up in court. If you (a retailer) try to
push shoplifting charges against somebody with a big jacket who has
umpteen expensive items tucked in pockets who is caught in the
*middle* of the store, you'll lose. To be a shoplifter you have to try
to leave the store with them, and the *only* place inside the store
where you (the retailer) can confront shoplifters and hope to have a
legal leg to stand on is at the door as the person is trying to exit.
I speak as someone who has worked in retail, someone who pushed for
explanations for things just like this.

I'm not saying it's a good idea to have people checking shopping bags
and receipts at the door, but what would you do, as a retailer, to
stop hemorrhaging inventory out the front door? Putting people who
check receipts at the door is a rational decision by rational
management.

What you should hope for (rather than the unemployment of a bunch of
low-level employees doing their jobs) is a society where shoplifting
is severely frowned upon, rare, and prosecuted effectively. We are
(relatively speaking) an obscenely wealthy nation. I find it offensive
and shameful that there are so many people I've talked to who don't
view the theft of things like an apple or a pair of sunglasses as
wrong. You seem to be more or less in agreement here in your reply to
Shawn William Taylor's post, so don't think I'm accusing you
personally of anything.

Fourthly, the bag check is also supposed to be a check on the
cashiers, who are one of the most common points of corruption in
retail (again, others have already mentioned this in this thread).
Many cashiers have been caught lifting merchandise with the help of an
accomplice posing as a normal shopper. Perhaps you forgot that
Wal*Mart mistrusts and abuses its employees more than it mistrusts and
abuses its shoppers.

Just in case I'm not being clear, I'm *not* trying to defend Wal*Mart
and other retailers with onerous policies that dehumanize both shopper
and employee. What I'm doing is pointing out the logical, justifiable
reasoning used in setting the policy(ies) you object to, as well as
the flaws I see in your argument. If you want to make this argument,
please write more carefully and include links (as I see you've done in
another reply) at the outset.

To end on a lighter note, non-fans of Best Buy should definitely check
this out, since they make a lot of your points very artfully and
comically:

http://www.improveverywhere.com/2006/04/23/best-buy/

Speaking as an individual and with Sincere regards,
-- 
Cristóbal M. Palmer
administrator!!! please hope me!


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