For a few years now, The Consumerist has been documenting skirmishes between customers and employees who refuse to take "no thank you" for an answer. Shoppers reported being physically detained, having their paid-for items taken away, and being threatened with arrest (although sometimes it was the shopper who called the cops, as one guy did after a manager took his merchandise).
The Consumerist makes the argument that this is a civil liberties issue. Indeed, while the law varies from place to place, U.S. retailers generally aren't allowed to detain you unless they have good reason to believe you've stolen something -- and refusing to present your receipt doesn't constitute probable cause.
"In general, the store can't force someone to show their receipt," says Joseph LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for the National Retail Foundation, which calls itself the world's largest retail trade association. "The checks at the door are really designed to be a preventative measure and a customer service measure."
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