There has been a lot of controversy lately about Walmart self-checkouts and showing your receipt as you exit the store. Is it something you are legally required to comply with or just an 'ask'?

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I've seen many comments where people say that they can't be bothered with showing their receipt to the exit greeter, especially if they used self-checkout because they aren't getting paid for doing the work of a store employee. But, does that justification hold water?

Why Do Stores Require You To Show Proof Of Purchase When You Leave?

Stores like Sam's Club, BJ's, Costco, and Walmart as customers to show their receipts before leaving. What's the justification? Well, many retailers have experienced an increase in thefts. I'm sure you've seen videos, especially recently, of large groups of thieves swarming stores and leaving with unpaid merchandise. According to the National Retail Federations' National Retail Security Survey 2023,

This year’s study found that the average shrink rate in FY 2022 increased to 1.6%, up from 1.4% in FY 2021. When taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2022, that shrink represents $112.1 billion in losses.

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Are You Legally Required To Show Your Receipts When You Leave Walmart In New York?

If a Walmart exit greeter asks you for your receipt in New York State, do you have to provide it? According to The Hive Law, New York is one of five states where you are required by law to show your receipt if asked for it.

New York, California, Florida, Illinois, and Washington require you to show it. If you don't, it could be probable cause for shoplifting. Walmart employees in these 5 states can detain you and call the police on you.

In these states, not showing your receipt is probable cause for shoplifting.

In New York, Penal Code § 155.25 defines petit larceny says that it is a class A misdemeanor,

A person is guilty of petit larceny when he steals property.

The moral of the story is that if you are asked for your receipt when leaving Walmart in New York there could be real legal repercussions if you don't provide it. Even if there is no crime committed, you could end up with a hassle and a headache by choosing not to provide your receipt.

***This article is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel.

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