Now that grocery and retail stores have installed self-checkout machines nearly everywhere making the shopper into the checkout clerk, it was just a matter of time before retail outlets started holding their new, unpaid employees accountable for their mistakes.

TikTok Attorney’s Advice: Don’t Use Self Check Out

Last year Criminal Defense Attorney Carrie Jernigan went viral on TikTok when she warned shoppers not to use the self-checkout machines.

Carrie breaks down three groups of people being charged with shoplifting after using self-checkout machines. Those committing intentional theft, someone who makes a simple mistake, and the long-term claim filed by the retailer much later, weeks or months after the shopper has left the store.

See Carrie's complete analysis here:

@carriejernigan1 Reply to @afamily20202 ♬ original sound - LAWYER CARRIE

Retailers Striking Back

Carrie says retailers are beginning to crack down much harder on theft, and no longer make the distinction between whether the act was intentional or a mistake. Carrie notes that if you’re unable to prove your innocence with a receipt or other means, you could be in for a long, difficult road. Attorney’s fees and more could cause major complications.

Photo by the blowup on Unsplash
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

Problems Right Here in Arizona

It’s happened right here in Arizona, and these so-called “Retail Thieves” do not always fit the typical profile.

According to KGUN9 News, a woman in her 60s was shopping at a Tucson Walmart last year. As she was leaving the store, she was approached by two employees who grabbed her cart and ushered her into an interrogation room.

They told her she was being arrested for shopping lifting. The shocked woman alleges she had no knowledge that she was leaving the store without paying for her items, not realizing a few of the items had failed to scan at the self-checkout.

What may have been a simple mistake cost the woman not only embarrassment and emotional distress but may cost her legal fees as she tries to clear her name.

Photo: Val Davidson/TSM
Photo: Val Davidson/TSM

Arizona Weighs In: Your Thoughts on Self-Checkout

What do you think about using self-check outs? I asked you on our Facebook page and got a surprising range of answers.

Many of us choose to use them when we only have a few items, because it’s convenient. Others choose to use them all the time because it gives control over how our groceries are packed into shopping bags.

And there were some of us who declared we will never use them, citing reasons like protecting employee’s jobs and not wishing to do the store’s job for them.

Whatever the reason, I think it’s worth considering that stores have installed these machines in an attempt to cut down on labor costs, but the cost product attrition and legal prosecution may outweigh the savings. It’s certainly got me rethinking their use.

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