Walmart Worker Issues Warning to Shoppers About Self-Checkout
Employees can see more than you realize when you're checking out.
Self-checkout is one of the more convenient aspects of shopping—especially if you're only picking up one or two things, and want to be in and out of the store. But there are also certain security measures in place at these retailers, and if you regularly use self-checkout at Walmart, an employee has a warning for you. Read on to find out what you need to be wary of when scanning your own items.
Employees know when items aren't scanned.
In a recent TikTok video, a Walmart employee let customers know it's not a good idea to try to skip a scan at self-checkout. The Walmart associate, who uses the handle @brebre42010, filmed a video of herself with text overlaid that reads, "Me watching people steal at self checkout as if my phone doesn't notify me for every missed scan."
The TikToker has turned comments off for the video—meaning other users cannot leave feedback and previous comments are no longer visible. But according to The U.S. Sun, before switching them off, @brebre42010 did comment to confirm Walmart associates have devices that alert them when shoppers aren't scanning items.
She isn't the first employee to warn about these devices.
This isn't the first time Walmart employees mentioned this security measure. Last year, former employee Athenia, who uses the handle @obeygoddess, took to TikTok to warn shoppers that these devices make it easier for Walmart to catch thieves.
"Do not steal from Walmart self-checkouts … you will get caught," she said in a viral TikTok video, explaining that these little handheld computers give employees "the option to pause your self-checkout at any point."
The TikToker said, "So at any point on this device, if we click the number, it will show us your entire order and everything that you've so far scanned in, and if we suspect that you're stealing, there's going to be an option at the bottom that says 'pause transaction.'"
Once it's paused, the customer's screen will freeze or show an error page, she explained, meaning they need to flag down an employee for assistance. The ex-employee adds that at her store, Walmart associates would then "pretend like something is wrong with the machine" and have that customer check out with a cashier instead.
Smile, you're also on camera.
This isn't the only anti-theft measure in place, as other TikTokers noted that Walmart has cameras pointed at self-checkout counters, which are strategically placed to spot people who try to walk away with merchandise they haven't paid for.
"The slightest hand movement that looks like you're stealing, that camera catches it and it puts in on the screen," employee RéJean Allen said in an Oct. 2021 TikTok video, per the Daily Dot. "And then it will replay your video back of when you're trying to steal something if you didn't scan it."
You should proceed with caution at self-checkout regardless.
As a conscientious shopper, you may think this doesn't apply to you, but in reality, an innocent slip-up could get you in trouble with the law. People have been cited for petty theft at Walmart before—even though they claimed they made an honest mistake.
To avoid confusion and any potential run-in with asset management, attorney Carrie Jernigan recommends using self-checkout only if you have a limited number of items, and always using a debit or credit card instead of cash.
In a TikTok video discussing the dangers of using self-checkout, she also said that being slow and intentional when scanning can help prevent any missed scans. And if you want to go the extra mile, hold up each item to the camera before scanning and putting it in your bag.