When we go shopping, we pay before we leave the store. That’s true no matter the store and no matter the method of payment. Leaving the store without paying would be considered shoplifting, but sometimes it’s not that easy.
Have you ever used self checkout at a store? Some people prefer the option of scanning the items in their cart by themselves. Sometimes we choose self checkout when we don’t have a lot of items to scan, or when the line for self checkout is much shorter than other lines.
Sometimes self checkout can be confusing or not all that user friendly, especially if you don’t use it all that often, but there’s usually an employee nearby to answer questions or assist with the checkout process as needed.
An Alabama resident named Lesleigh Nurse used self checkout to pay for some groceries at her local Walmart store. She scanned the items correctly, and she thought she had gone through the process of paying for her groceries; however, before she left the self checkout machine, the machine froze.
When Nurse was about to leave the store, she was stopped and accused of shoplifting. She explained that she paid and then the machine froze, but the store’s employees had her arrested.
A year later, her case was dismissed, but the drama was far from over. She ended up getting letters from a Florida law firm threatening to sue her if she didn’t pay $200. That’s more than the price of the groceries she supposedly tried to steal. She refused to pay, but she didn’t ignore the letters either. Nurse ended up going to court to sue Walmart.
According to Nurse, the letters from the law firm were sent on behalf of Walmart. According to the law suit, Walmart “engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely accusing innocent Alabama citizens of shoplifting and thereafter attempting to collect money from the innocently accused.” Within a two year period, Walmart made hundreds of millions of dollars with this practice.
While Walmart’s lawyers argued that everything they did is legal in Alabama, the jury still sided in favor of Nurse and ended up awarding her $2.1 million.
Have you ever been falsely accused of shoplifting? If you received a letter in the mail telling you to pay $200 or you would be sued, would you pay it? Does it surprise you that the jury decided in favor or Nurse?