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Avoid Self-Serve Checkouts, Lawyer Warns, or It Could Cost You ‘Thousands’

Using a self-serve checkout counter could get you framed for stealing, warned one lawyer on social media.

Attorney and influencer Carrie Jernigan, who often shares legal advice to her 1.2 million followers on TikTok, has alleged that stores are using security footage at the register to accuse innocent customers of theft.

“As a criminal defense attorney, I advise most people to steer clear of self-checkout,” Jernigan says in a video that’s racked up over 2 million views.

The lawyer says there are “three groups” of people being charged with shoplifting using self-checkout.

The first group is those “with the intent to steal.” Though sophisticated thieves still get away with this, weight sensors and cameras have made stealing more difficult.

The second category she calls the “theft-by-mistake” group. “These are the people that I genuinely think just forgot to scan an item,” she continued, listing an example of accidentally leaving something at the bottom of the shopping cart. Despite the potentially innocent mishap, these folks do frequently face charges, “because … the big-box stores aren’t going to spend their time and resources trying to figure out if you did it on purpose,” Jernigan said.

The third group is the people she called the “truly innocent.”

“Most of these are not getting charged day of,” she explained. Rather, their predicament begins when someone in the asset protection department of a store starts counting inventory, perhaps days, weeks or months later, and “comes up short.”

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

“So they will begin watching hours of video to see the last person who checked out with the Mario Lego set because they’re two short or an Xbox game. And, for some reason, they pinpoint that they think you did it,” she explained.

According to Jernigan, megaretailers like Walmart usually have to present very little evidence to get an affidavit for warrants on the charges.

“The charges that could land you up to a year in jail,” she cautioned. “You have to spend thousands of dollars hiring a lawyer and we have to go through grainy video footage to try to determine what all you bought that day.”

Jernigan urged people to pay with a card for larger purchases and always keep proof of purchase.

19 Comments
  • ROBERT LAWRENCE says:

    WHY USE A SELF CHECK OUT? IF IT IS YOUR INTENT TO STEAL,” YOU SCUM BAG”, JUST PUT THE CONTRABAND IN A BAG, OR LEAVE IT IN THE CART AND JUST WALK OUT WITH IT! THE GREETERS, CHECKERS OR EVEN STORE SECURITY, DARE NOT; STOP, ACCOST, WAY LAY, DETER, ACCUSE OR EVEN TOUCH THE ALLEGED OFFENDER! IF THE VALUE OF SAID ITEMS IS LESS THAN SOME ARBITRARY AMOUNT, RECENT PAST$500. TODAY I THINK IT,S ABOUT $900. YOU WILL NOT BE PROSECUTED! SUCH IS THE STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE!

  • STACY says:

    I call BS! Here in California they made it legal to steal as long as it is under $950.00. How many times have you seen video of black guys taking a cart load out of Walmart & Walgreens on T.V. while nobody does anything to them? I have seen multiple videos of that. Nobody is going after them later on and pressing charges. The truth is Walgreens actually closed stores with high theft in cities like San Francisco. They didn’t go after the thieves and instead closed the store. Walmart going after people I have never heard of either. Walmart and other big stores have actually admitted that going after people is costly so they kind of just don’t do it.

    I feel these big stores who refuse to hire employees to actually provide great customer service when they make millions/billions in profit, deserve what they get.

    I get so pissed off every time I got to any grocery store and they have one or two freaking checkers working and a huge line of people waiting to check out! They have 10 self checkouts and 2 checkers. Phuc them and their crappy service and refusal to provide decent jobs in the community! What a bunch of jerks running these companies. Greedy jerks who don’t hire employees deserve to get ripped off.

    I work full time, I take care of a household full time and I want some damned customer service when I shop! I don’t need another job! I need help! I am sick and tired of companies like banks, grocery stores, insurance companies, medical offices and every freaking thing be self service. You gotta be your own doctor, lawyer, ins agent etc. these days. Nobody ever has the staff to serve their customers. It is absurd!

    So yes, you are going to make me self check- out a full cart of groceries because you won’t hire someone to help me in the store then a ribeye or two won’t get scanned. It’s my fee for doing my own customer service. Try hiring employees, security and stop forcing everyone to do the work your business should be doing.

  • Rhett says:

    Really? Something to worry about? Who me?

  • Phil Barberg says:

    The stores save a fortune with Self Check. They can lay off checkers or just cut all their hours so they don’t have to pay benefits. Why don’t we get 10% off for doing their job and saving the store money? Sure, Self check is the best place to rip off the store and they know it. But the store does not lose money on shoplifting. Most retailers add 20% to their wholesale markup to cover “shrinkage” shoplifting. So everyone pays for the shoplifting! And the store never loses profit. Don’t you love it when the guy at the door wants to check your sales slip. Several colored bags of stuff that they never go through. Are the scarecrows trying to intimidate us? I once missed a 99 cent cucumber in my cart that didn’t get wrung up. The next time I went to the store I asked them to charge me for the missed item and the checker said don’t worry about it. Maybe because it was a vegetable which go bad quickly and they end up throwing a lot away. I never use Self Check myself because I don’t believe in laying off checkers so the store can make more money.

  • Russell says:

    Having NEVER been hired to check myself (or anyone else) out of the store, this will not be my problem. Hint, I have never assumed someone else’s job either. I just do not do that.

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