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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    How do you deal with tools when going into big stores?

    I'm not exactly car free, though I don't own a car of my own. But anyway, at the end of the summer, I did a 60km round trip from the small town I live in to nearest major economic center. I stopped at Walmart to say hi to my Mom, and then look around for a while. When I was leaving, the greeter lady informed me that I was not allowed to have a backpack with me, and that in the future, I should leave it with customer service. However, the thing is that I just don't feel entirely comfortable leaving my tools and supplys in the hands of complete strangers. Granted, it may not be that big of a deal to leave them there, but it still is annoying. (I suspect that it might help if my backpack had a zipper so that they could tape the zippers together with that special Wal-Mart tape, and be able to tell if I had opened it since I came in.) Oddly enough, I was in a mega mall once in Calgary with my backpack (again, on a bike ride with a couple of friends), and none of the stores in that mall I visited seemed to have much of a problem with that.

    Anybody else have similar problems in big stores? How do you deal with such problems? Do you use different kinds of storage containers? And what about things like panniers? Do you just leave them on the backs of your bikes (If I had a pannier, I would be very afraid to park my bike and leave it on for fear that some yahoo would come along and steal it)? If you have any other such related storys, feel free to share them.
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  2. #2
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    Yes, I find it strange than they allow hand bags (some larger than any backpack could ever be) and purses, but no backpacks. Annoying.

  3. #3
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i freaken hate that. so much, in fact, that i avoid places that make you check a bag before entering. it's basically saying: "we don't trust you enough not to steal".

  4. #4
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    I've gotten over my paranoia about putting packages in the store office and now even when they don't insist I ask if I can leave my panniers in the office, especially when I'm doing a multi store trip and the panniers are partially loaded.

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    Does the bag have eyelets or something where you can zip-tie it shut before you check it? That way, you'll know if the bag has been opened if the zip tie is broken or missing. It's not fail-safe, but it deters crimes of opportunity.

  6. #6
    nub Brad M's Avatar
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    I think the "greeter" is more of a theft deterrent than a customer service thing.

  7. #7
    Dare to be weird!
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    What I do is just check the backpack (1) whenever asked or (2) if there's a prominent sign, no big deal. It just means the greeter got told to make people check backpacks.

    If a store doesn't have a sign up front stating a bag check policy, I don't just volunteer to hand over my pack unless specifically asked. Whoever you hand it to might not know what they're supposed to do with it.

    Bag checking is mostly enforced in downscale places such as dollar stores and those little stores with bars on the windows. Wal Mart, did you say?
    Last edited by Platy; 01-27-06 at 07:24 PM. Reason: Change word

  8. #8
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    What I do is just check the backpack (1) whenever asked or (2) if there's a prominent sign
    I don't mind checking my backpack, but I never do it unless specifically asked by a person. Very rare occurrence.
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    Senior Member attercoppe's Avatar
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    Well, for starters, I just wouldn't go to Wal-Mart, but that's a topic for a different thread. I don't recall ever having been in an establishment that required checking one's bag (at least not while I was carrying one). If I enter a store with my bag, or a bag from another store, I will sometimes ask if it's ok for me to bring it in, or if they would like to hold it while I'm there. They've always politely said that it wouldn't be necessary. It depends on the place - what they sell, how the store is set up, the employees, etc.

    I doubt your age helps - you're in high school, right? The fact that you don't frequent the place - maybe have never even been in there - probably doesn't help either. Many store employees, especially at WM where many may be retirees, view anyone under say, 25, as punk kids.

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    I just walk in.

    I don't check my bags. I once got asked to leave my bag. I camly said, "That is fine, I will just need a form of ID and major credit card please"

    They let me go, with my bag.

    (BTW I'm not car free but I love lurking here)

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  11. #11
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    i picked up a package from amazon at the post office then cruised over to an auto parts store....the alarm went off when i walked in...this was around xmas time...you should have seen the looks i got from the customers and clerks....it would have been a classic scene in a movie of ben stiller...everybody was like 'xmas brings out some bad folks too'...

    i definitely think about my backpack and where i go with my bike....alot of people look at you as derelict

  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    i freaken hate that. so much, in fact, that i avoid places that make you check a bag before entering. it's basically saying: "we don't trust you enough not to steal".
    It's basically saying: "we don't have sufficient trust in our security cameras to catch anyone who steals.

    To be honest I can't say I've encountered this problem very much outside a few rather tacky department stores (i.e. K-Mart). Even then I usually just walk in with the backpack and nobody bothers me. If it ever became a recurring problem, I'd probably just find somewhere else to shop.
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  13. #13
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by derath
    I just walk in.

    I don't check my bags. I once got asked to leave my bag. I camly said, "That is fine, I will just need a form of ID and major credit card please"
    I like that attitude! I also refuse to leave my bag behind, or have it fastened shut by an employee. If a store can't trust its customers, let them install a theft-prevention system instead of hassling me about it.

    I am seldom asked to leave a bag (and its a backpack, not a school bag dammit!), but when I am I inform the employee that unless the store will be responsible for the contents, including full replacement cost with new items, I am not leaving it. That content sometimes includes $2500 or more in photo equipment. And I want a receipt signed by the employee accepting the bag. Never happens, they just roll their eyes at me and waive me through.

    I don't think many stores here are still asking to see/secure/kidnap bags. Its very unpopular with the customers.

  14. #14
    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    if i'm asked to hand over MY belonging i just keep walking and invite them to walk with me and shop. when i go in a store i'm quick to be in and out, and usually walking at a quick pace. if someone is yelling SIR SIR in a crowded store, i don't feel obiligated to turn around. i know that's rude, but i'm just getting my tasks done.

    i also point out that purses, and strollers contain much more "stuff" than my simple rack trunk or messenger bag that's usually with me.

    also on above note, when leaving walgreens with me prescriptions the door alarm always goes off for some reason. in all the times that happens i never linger and turn around and just keep walking. no one has ever followed me out to the parking lot. if they request a receipt i'll be happy to show, but just because a bell goes off doesn't mean i am going to slow down and be "whoopsie daisy how can i help"

    *but i never ***** about the store policy to employees or hassle them. it's not their rules, and in the above examples since i walk fast with a purpose, they usually just leave me alone

  15. #15
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think store security people have the peception (true or false, I don't know) that young students do a lot of shoplifting. They ask all customers to check their backpacks so that they can ask the students.

    I usually point out that it doesn't make sense to take my backpack, then let (usually) female customers shop with their big handbags. The greeter usually agrees--they would really have to agree, since it makes complete sense. Then they sometimes lt me proceed with my backpack, sometimes they don't. I dont' really think the employees are going to steal anything, I mean you would have to be a tad paranoid to think that, wouldn't you? So, I'll give it up if they continue to insist, but I do make a minor stink about it. Like james, I don't try to make the employee feel bad, especially since they have always been courteous to me.

    Something to think about: Do you believe that those security cameras are all real, or that they all work? Some are hoaxes, and many are not hooked to recorders.

    Now, the whole issue is a much bigger problem at high security locations like courthouses and federal buildings, where you have to pass through a metal detector. My tools have held me up pretty badly there. Sometimes they tell me to go outside and hide them, especially an all purpose tool that folds like a pocket knife. I have better luck since I started keepin the tools in a little pouch in my backpack, instead of scattered all over.


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  16. #16
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Now, the whole issue is a much bigger problem at high security locations like courthouses and federal buildings, where you have to pass through a metal detector.
    Try taking in pro photo gear! Tools, wires and cables, lead-acid battery pack.... the poor security guards don't even know what they're looking at! That is a different scenario than stores, however. First, I go to a store to spend my money - I expect to be well treated - whereas I go to a secure building to work, so the money is going the other way. Second building security is professional, applies to same rules to everyone (e.g. purses vs. backpacks) and anything they hold will be kept securely. Stores apply arbitrary and often discriminatory rules.

  17. #17
    THC Freedom Fighter karmical's Avatar
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    the places i go into that have check in places for packs & bags all have signs posted saying that they are not responsible for anything of value and ask you to remove said items before checking in the bag, if you have a lot of stuff they will let you keep your bag, i have done this more than once.

    i generally make a point not to have anything of value when i go to places like that, its really not that hard to do. but in the event i am carrying high value items, i ask to speak to a manager and show them what i'm carrying like video and recording equipement and they let me in with my bag every time i ask.

    i even once showed a manager a half pound of marijuana that i had with me, and was let in with my bag, though she was more than a little rattled, and to this day looks at me with a strange look.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    Here's a pick of the mentioned backpack. I suppose that its ability to be used for theft could be argued either way. It's more open so even if its tied up, I can still slip stuff in. But by the same token, if its already full of my gear (a 2L waterbottle, a couple of extra pedals just in case, my music, and some tools basically) then it would be easier to check and make sure that I didn't steal anything. But I was only informed of this policy after we were leaving (and my mother, who works there, didn't even ask me to stow it somewhere. Then again, she does trust me...)
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  19. #19
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    Given the amount of shoplifting and professional boosters I can't totally blame them. On the other hand if they aren't going to trust me why should I trust them? If a store is going to institute such a policy then I think it only fair that they provide, free of charge, a wall of lockers at the front of the store for you. Let it be a monument to how they feel about their customers

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    It sounds to me that the Mall-Wart lady was singling you out for some reason.

    I just ignore them and walk in. Ninty nine percent of the time they will leave you alone. The other one percent I ask why I should trust them if they do not trust me? I've never had to give up my bag.

    Although one time I was in a store and they demanded that I take a basket. Walking around empty handed was not allowed...

  21. #21
    Senior Member ReptilesBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad M
    I think the "greeter" is more of a theft deterrent than a customer service thing.
    I was one for over two years and yes that is it exactly. It is also a way to up the number of handicapped workers to fill their government quota without actually giving them anything useful to do (I am handicapped and thus got the job at the rip old age of 18).

    I guess they think the thief will not be mean enough to attack a cripple or geriatric (trust me they are dead ****ing wrong on that one) and seeing someone like me or the more traditional elderly greeter when walking in the door makes their bloated customers feel like they are shopping at a company with morals. *Laughs hysterically*

    That is one of the most degrading jobs you can ever have. The customers hate you because you momentarily arouse them from their stupor to politely ask if the want a cart and welcome them to the store, your fellow workers hate you because they think you are getting off by doing much less work for the same pay (trust me, you are not), the management hates you for the previous reason and that they are actually the ones paying you for your measly duties.

    The funny thing is that your fellow workers make your life a living hell until any of them (the so called "normal" employees ) have to take over for you for even 15 minutes. It is amazing that nearly every single time a non-greeter had to cover for me for even a measly 15 minutes (and heaven forbid longer) when I got back I was treated to a good 10-15 minute discussion about how much the job sucked and how they could never handle it for the 4-8 hours I normally do. After that I often got a great deal of respect from them from then on out.

    The biggest problem of the job is the mind-numbing boredom that drags on throughout the entirety of your stay at work that is broken only by the many sources of hatred mentioned earlier. Basically growing up in a hospital bed prepared me well for a job with little physical movement and virtually zero mental simulation (it is primarily designed for geriatrics after all). And no playing games in your head is not even remotely the secret to surviving it, mind games might help you last 15-30 minutes and after that you better find a long lasting distraction or to be blunt you are ****ed.

    And if any of you doubt that so help me God I will put on the old vest and prove it to you!

  22. #22
    Tour de World SteveFox's Avatar
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    Ya, i noticed that i got hassled a lot when i look like a student or look like i fit in the "stereotypical youth" catagory. i find that if im wearing my bike helmet, i get away with a lot more because cycling is usually reserved for the stereotypical " mature adult"...and its those "punk kids" that they need to worry about right?.....wow i cant stand that stereotype lol. i dont like stereotypes in general.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReptilesBlade
    I was one for over two years and yes that is it exactly. It is also a way to up the number of handicapped workers to fill their government quota without actually giving them anything useful to do (I am handicapped and thus got the job at the rip old age of 18).

    I guess they think the thief will not be mean enough to attack a cripple or geriatric (trust me they are dead ****ing wrong on that one) and seeing someone like me or the more traditional elderly greeter when walking in the door makes their bloated customers feel like they are shopping at a company with morals. *Laughs hysterically*

    That is one of the most degrading jobs you can ever have. The customers hate you because you momentarily arouse them from their stupor to politely ask if the want a cart and welcome them to the store, your fellow workers hate you because they think you are getting off by doing much less work for the same pay (trust me, you are not), the management hates you for the previous reason and that they are actually the ones paying you for your measly duties.

    The funny thing is that your fellow workers make your life a living hell until any of them (the so called "normal" employees ) have to take over for you for even 15 minutes. It is amazing that nearly every single time a non-greeter had to cover for me for even a measly 15 minutes (and heaven forbid longer) when I got back I was treated to a good 10-15 minute discussion about how much the job sucked and how they could never handle it for the 4-8 hours I normally do. After that I often got a great deal of respect from them from then on out.

    The biggest problem of the job is the mind-numbing boredom that drags on throughout the entirety of your stay at work that is broken only by the many sources of hatred mentioned earlier. Basically growing up in a hospital bed prepared me well for a job with little physical movement and virtually zero mental simulation (it is primarily designed for geriatrics after all). And no playing games in your head is not even remotely the secret to surviving it, mind games might help you last 15-30 minutes and after that you better find a long lasting distraction or to be blunt you are ****ed.

    And if any of you doubt that so help me God I will put on the old vest and prove it to you!

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahhahaha! Great post!

    I've only gotten hassled for my backpack @ compUSA of all places.....everywhere else no problem.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ReptilesBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ___
    Bwahahahahahahahahahahhahaha! Great post!

    I've only gotten hassled for my backpack @ compUSA of all places.....everywhere else no problem.
    I am glad you enjoyed it. Every letter of it is the truth and I had to put a great deal of time into making it.

  25. #25
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReptilesBlade
    I was one for over two years and yes that is it exactly. It is also a way to up the number of handicapped workers to fill their government quota without actually giving them anything useful to do (I am handicapped and thus got the job at the rip old age of 18).

    I guess they think the thief will not be mean enough to attack a cripple or geriatric (trust me they are dead ****ing wrong on that one) and seeing someone like me or the more traditional elderly greeter when walking in the door makes their bloated customers feel like they are shopping at a company with morals. *Laughs hysterically*

    That is one of the most degrading jobs you can ever have. The customers hate you because you momentarily arouse them from their stupor to politely ask if the want a cart and welcome them to the store, your fellow workers hate you because they think you are getting off by doing much less work for the same pay (trust me, you are not), the management hates you for the previous reason and that they are actually the ones paying you for your measly duties.

    The funny thing is that your fellow workers make your life a living hell until any of them (the so called "normal" employees ) have to take over for you for even 15 minutes. It is amazing that nearly every single time a non-greeter had to cover for me for even a measly 15 minutes (and heaven forbid longer) when I got back I was treated to a good 10-15 minute discussion about how much the job sucked and how they could never handle it for the 4-8 hours I normally do. After that I often got a great deal of respect from them from then on out.

    The biggest problem of the job is the mind-numbing boredom that drags on throughout the entirety of your stay at work that is broken only by the many sources of hatred mentioned earlier. Basically growing up in a hospital bed prepared me well for a job with little physical movement and virtually zero mental simulation (it is primarily designed for geriatrics after all). And no playing games in your head is not even remotely the secret to surviving it, mind games might help you last 15-30 minutes and after that you better find a long lasting distraction or to be blunt you are ****ed.

    And if any of you doubt that so help me God I will put on the old vest and prove it to you
    !
    Very interesting and well put. You've inspired me to live a good life. Otherwise I might have to spend eternity workin as a greeter!

    Did you hear the joke on "Weekend Update" last night:
    In a nationwide poll, 56 % of Americans agreed that Walmart is bad for the country. The other 44 % work there.


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