Compulsory bag inspection at the grocery

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At one of my preferred grocery stores, the cashiers always ask to look into my backpack before checkout. I realize it's not just me; it's anyone with a backpack, although I've never seen that ask to peer into a purse. Regardless, I seriously don't like being treated like a criminal.

 

What would happen if I refuse? I suppose I could find out by doing so, but that would probably be asking for it. What could they do? Refuse to sell me their goods? Ban me? Call the cops and embarrass themselves?

 

I have though about asking the cashier, "Do you think I have stolen something?" or just flat out saying, "I haven't stolen anything; I am not a thief." Where would any resistance land me beyond a shitload of hassle?

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Shops in Germany lose millions each year through shoplifting, the inside of a store is not public property, so the owners have free reign to do pretty much anything they can to prevent you from stealing. I'm used to it and I don't even think about it.

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I guess that the only thing THEY could do would be call the police, confirm you are not a thief and probably ban you from the store to avoid this happening in the future. As it seems you go there a lot maybe it is not the best idea. : P

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They will usually, ban you from the store and call the cops. Some places also charge a fine/fee for the xtra hassle.

Bottom line, welcome to Germany. Get used to it.

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I realize it's not just me; it's anyone with a backpack

 

noticing a trend here? if you felt you were being singled out I could possibly understand the rant, otherwise, get over it(and yourself)...

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One of my friends always says something like, 'I didn't nick anything today' because she finds it all offensive and has a point to make. I want them to feel free to use any sensible method to catch shoplifters and so until they start strip searching, am not complaining. The point is that shoplifters look exactly like you and me.

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I have always found German stores' preoccupation with shoplifting to be completely out of proportion to the actual size of the problem.

 

There are plenty of places to hide items other than in the main pocket of a rucksack, so as well as being annoying and offensive such searches are also a complete waste of time. Store detectives and CCTV is the correct way to tackle the problem (in as far as there actually is a problem), not treating your customers like criminals.

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In the US I saw doormen ask for the id of a man obviously in his sixties. They explained they ask everyone so none feels singled out. Sounds reasonable to me.

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Actually, they do not have any right to ask that, unless they have a definite suspicion about you having shoplifted, so if it bothers you that much, I would either vote with my feet and shop elsewhere or just say no

and edit, they cannot ban you either if you haven't done anything

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As far as I know in some shops the employees are oblightet to ask you to have a look in your bags , if they refuse to do that they may be in trouble. They don´t do that just for fun. So I don´t take that personally ,so I have developed the habit to allow them always a bief look (unquestioned), no reason to wast words on that :rolleyes:

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I don't really blame the cashier, which is one reason I don't actually do anything aside from bitch about it on Toytown.

 

Getting carded and having your personal possessions gone through are two different things IMO.

 

I'm about to head to the grocery store but I'm going to go to the one that doesn't treat me like a criminal. Take that, jerk store which I have not named!

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That has never happened to me in Munich, but it happened recently in Stuttgart. I was thinking of going back to that shop with just a huge dildo in my bag. :P

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leave the backpack (and rolling suitcase) in the car or at home? :)

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You must be American, poohsan. We are a very car-centric people, aren't we? The backpack is where the groceries go because I don't have (or need) a car. :)

 

For further clarity, the backpack is already open when I get to the cashier, and she (it's always been a she) makes a big deal out of asking to look in, have me move stuff if she can't see the bottom. What's usually at the bottom, you ask? Grocery receipts, of all things.

 

Last week there happened to be a bag of fennel seed from an Asian market in my backpack and the cashier just about flipped. I said the chances are slim that you sell this exact product with Asian markings all over the package and a price tag that says 1€. Good thing she didn't see the week-old package of Fisherman's Friend...

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At least they let you bring them in here. In the places I lived in France you weren't allowed to bring them in. If you showed up with one, you had to leave it at the front of the shop, usually unattended, which made me more than slightly uncomfortable when I was in Paris, but no one stole my bag so it was okay. Some of the supermarkets here let you leave things like that at the info desk, if you don't really want for them to look in there, maybe you should look for a place that offers that service. I have had them ask to look in big purses/messenger bags. It is nothing personal, as some of the others said some supermarkets require their employers to do it, they are just concerned about their own job, rather than what you have in your bag. Sure there are loads of other places you could hide things to steal from a supermarket other than a bagpack, but you could fit a lot more in there than say in pockets, etc.

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Get a "Pop up" Grover or something and when you open you back pack... the cashier will shit herself!...

 

Make sure someone is videoing it though... :lol:

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Thats strange for a grocery store. For an electronics store, I suppose they might be wary about bulky baggage. But then again, I see loads of old biddies using a cloth bag to put their groceries in, then pull it all out again at the checkout. Why they dont use baskets, or if they are frail, trolleys, is beyond me.

 

It could be that your store location in particular has a historic problem with shopflifting, or it could just be a Head Office rule cascaded to all the stores.

 

Personally, I've not experienced the bag search unless the alarm went off and they didn't deactivate the tag properly at the checkout. Ive even walked out of places with the alarm going and "I" have to make the effort to track down somebody in the store, because despite there being an abundance of staff, nobody seems bothered enough to rush to the store front.

 

A lot of stores have lockers at the front where you could dump smallish bags, but whereas years ago this was an enforced door policy, most places nowadays have opted for a 'use the lockers if you feel like it' approach.

 

One thing I am guilty of though, is my attitude to packaging. If I didnt plan my shopping route right, or if I forgot something off my list, I will consolidate all of my shopping into my shoulder bag by removing all the packaging, then squeezing every last cm into my bag so I dont have to go to the next shop with my arms/hands full - very annoying in clothes shops. Sometimes I feel like, theyve got my money, they can damn well take the responsibility for disposing of all the superfluous packing I didnt ask to carry around. I ain't sorting it all out when I get home. Definitely becoming a grumpy grumps, methinks.

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I see loads of old biddies using a cloth bag to put their groceries in, then pull it all out again at the checkout.

I do this, but I hope I'm not classed as an old biddy yet! Usually it's because there are no shopping baskets left or I was only going for one thing then end up buying up half the shop. I'm also very self concious about using my own cotton bag to put stuff in before paying for it in case I get accused of shop lifting.

 

I have never been asked to open my backpack to anyone in any of the supermarkets I use in Berlin. If I was asked I would probably just let them see inside as there is nothing of interest in it, but then I come from a place where we once had airport style x-ray machines and metal detectors to check you weren't bringing any bombs or incendiary devices in with you.

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I take backpacks in all the time. Never been bothered about it. They also seem to have mirrors in some shops so that they can just look up to see if stuff is in your reusable bags.

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