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Witnesses describe combative situation after Walmart employee asked to see receipt

The 26-year-old Batavia resident accused of hitting a Walmart employee on Christmas Eve, yelled several obscenities at the 70-year-old woman before punching her in the face, according to several witnesses who made statements to the police.

The statements are contained in the court file of Jacquetta B. Simmons, of 106 Ellsworth Ave., Batavia, charged with two counts of assault in the second degree.

Th statements are from a dozen witnesses who describe the alleged incident either in detail or made the same general observations.

The altercation began, according to reports, when the employee asked a companion of the suspect for a receipt for merchandise in a shopping bag he was holding. Both of the customers refused to produce a receipt, according to the reports, at which point the employee reportedly grabbed the bag from the man.

The employee and a manager said they were enforcing Walmart policy, but numerous online articles say blanket policies have proven legally treacherous for retail stores.

More than a dozen statements about the alleged incident are contained in the court file of Simmons.

The employee, Grace Suozzi, was taken to UMMC where she was treated for injuries to her eye, jaw and cheek, including bone fractures. Souzzi's glasses were also broken when she was hit.

Suozzi gave a statement to a trooper while at the hospital.

"I was working at Walmart on register 2 when I asked a man for a receipt," Souzzi says in her statement. "The man said that the bag was the female's who I was checking out. The man and the woman both refused to show me the receipt, which is the company's policy. I paged my manager about three times. I walked around and took the bag from the man. The female grabbed the bag from me, yelling at me saying the F word every other word. I grabbed the bag back and the bag tore."

According to Suozzi's statement, customer service managers arrived at the register and the argument continued and, as Souzzi put it, "the female decked me."

While Suozzi states she was upholding store policy, several online articles indicate if Walmart's policy is to detain and require a customer produce a receipt for a purchase without suspicion of theft, it may be violating the customer's rights.

The Washington Post wrote about such policies in 2007 and The Legality, an online law journal, examines the issue in some detail.

According to online accounts, receipt checks must be voluntary and customers cannot be detained unless an employee has a specific belief that a theft may have taken place.

A spokeswoman for Walmart said the company may release a statement later on its actual receipt check policy, but meanwhile she referred The Batavian to a loss prevention expert with the National Retail Federation, based in Washington, D.C.

"Of course," a customer may refuse to produce a receipt, said Joe Larocca, but a store may also refuse service to customers, and a customer who isn't cooperative may find himself barred from the store in the future.

Every retail chain has its own policies, Larocca explained, but they're all active in aggressive loss-prevention measures.

A retail store employee can detain anybody the employee reasonably suspects of theft, Larocca said, and stores are legally protected when an actual theft is suspected.

Nationally, retail stores lose $35.3 billion to theft each year.

"The number of consumers who complain are just a handful of people," Larocca said. "By and large, customers regard the request for a receipt as reasonable. They recognize that stores must protect their merchandise. Everybody recognizes that losses in the store mean higher prices at the registers."

But online stories indicate there are times when customers challenge an employee requesting a receipt for an item purchased, such as an account in The Consumerist of a man who remained calm when confronted by Walmart employees in Virginia and eventually walked out of the store with his purchase despite never showing his receipt.

Witness accounts from Christmas Eve, however, indicate Simmons was anything but calm during the confrontation.

"Cashier Grace was working at register 2," wrote a store manager. "She asked to see a customer's receipt for a bag of merchandise they had. The woman refused to show a receipt. Then the woman began swearing loudly at Grace. The woman grabbed the bag out of Grace's hands and then punched Grace in the face causing Grace to fall to the floor."

A customer wrote, "... they were surrounded by the CSM's (customer service managers) ... they were trying to talk to her but the customer was furious and swearing and she tried to take the bag from Grace's hands so all the stuff dropped on the floor. Finally she punched her in the face and threw Grace 10 feet away."

Nearly every account describes Simmons yelling obscenities at Souzzi before allegedly hitting her.

Witnesses say Simmons was with an unidentified man who in one account tried to keep Simmons calm and in another was yelling into a mobile phone.

The accounts of store managers also indicate they believe it is Walmart's policy for customers to produce a receipt upon demand.

One manager wrote, "I was called over to register two today and asked by the customers why cashier Grace wouldn't let them leave without seeing a receipt. I told them I know that Grace had done the right thing and that we couldn't let them leave without a receipt. They started to get rude and loud and I called (another employee) over to help with the situation."

It's unclear from the statements if Suozzi was engaged in a systematic process of checking receipts, or engaged in other activities and singled out Simmons and her companion for some reason. It's also unclear why Simmons and her companion had a bag full of previously purchased merchandise while at the cash register.

The court file contains no statements by Simmons nor her companion.

State Police have said that Simmons did have a receipt for the items in the bag and is not accused of stealing anything from Walmart.

The Batavia resident is out of jail on $40,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court again Jan. 23.

Simmons is charged with two counts of assault, 2nd, one for allegedly causing serious injury and the other for allegedly injuring a person 65 or older.

As a first-time offender, Simmons is facing a possible sentence, if convicted, of two to seven years in prison.

The statute making assault on a person 65 or older a Class D felony was passed in 2008.

NOTE: On Sunday, we published a story with a witness statement saying Simmons was smiling after she was cuffed. We've heard from several other people who contradict that statement, describing Simmons conduct in widely differing accounts, from hysterical, to angrily yelling, to calm and emotionless, but nobody else reports seeing her smiling.

Doug Yeomans
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Doesn't the store have video of the incident? The dark camera domes are all over the ceiling at WalMart.

$35.3 billion per year? I'd like a breakdown of those numbers. How much of the theft is attributable to employees?

marc solis
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Thank you Howard for posting an update on this story, now everyone that was bad mouthing one another can get more of an idea of what happened now that the employee's statement was told and not from all this hearsay. One last comment in the story, where it says "It's also unclear why Simmons and her companion had a bag full of previously purchased merchandise while at cash regisgter". Has anyone on here checked out at the Photo Center, Electronics Center, In Store Pick Up or even the Pharmacy and then had more shopping to do and did the final checkout up front? I have plenty of times and never got asked to see a receipt for what was in the bag in my hands or in cart. Just saying.

Bob Price
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Wow-it's nice to see some statements from the events. As much as it may infuriate people,Grace might end up losing her job over this incident. Other greeters/cashiers from Wal-Marts around the country over the past few years that have "engaged" a customer ended up being terminated. Does anyone know if Ms. Simmons had checked out through register 2 or a different line?

Frank Bartholomew
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Mr.Larocca and NRF surveyed 103 nationwide retailers and found returned merchandise fraud cost retailers another 14.37 Bil. annually. No wonder s*#t cost so much.

Kyle Couchman
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After yesterday, I found out some details that I found disturbing so I went and checked them out with a friend who was one of the witnesses. Much to my dismay she said that her husband was one of the people who stayed to give his eyewitness account. Seems the facts her husband related differ quite a bit from what Michelle related to us. Specifically when she was handcuffed she had burst into tears and her family had surrounded her. My friends husband is most certain that she did not in any way "smile" from the time she threw the punch to the time the was placed in a car to be processed wherever they do such things.

After my talk with Marc in person I now understand the frustration from his point of view and mine as we had different facts. I can admit my response was mostly based on hearing that Ms Simmons was smiling, the conflict between myself and Marc was because I was mostly victim to the misunderstanding due to inequities of text communication vs in in person communication. But I'm glad that face to face meeting can easily clear up in a civil manner any misunderstandings.

marc solis
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Thank you Kyle for the comment. It would be easier to comment on a story once we all get true facts from the source.

chuck Ward
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Even if she had bought stuff at a different part of the store that doesn't give her the right to punch an old lady in the face. Honestly i think that some fault falls on the cashier for grabbing the bag from the lady. But the crime in this case doesn't fit the punishment. i just hope Walmart doesn't fire her for it. They've fired people for a lot less. i hope Ms. Simmons gets a lot of time in jail. Maybe the judge will see some of the community outrage and not accept any pleas.

marc solis
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Are Door Bag Searches Legal?

Yes, as long as the inspection is voluntary. No, if the bag check is involuntary or coerced. This is a rather fine legal distinction that is subject to misunderstanding and abuse. Basically, nothing in the law gives the merchant the right to detain a customer for the purpose of searching a shopping bag unless there is a reasonable suspicion of retail theft. See my web page on Shoplifting: Detention & Arrest for more details

A customer can refuse to have their bag checked and simply walk out the door past the bag checker. Hopefully the bag checker has been trained to know that they cannot force anyone to submit to a bag search without cause. This is important because the expectation of the bag checker is that all bag contents have been purchased. The worst thing that could happen is that an aggressive bag checker would forcibly detain or threaten a customer who refused to comply with the voluntary search

Shannon Laurer
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I guess I just have to ask why not simply show your receipt and be on your way? Every situation "you" put yourself in is determined by how you present yourself. If you are swearing and refusing after a request I would assume it would send up a red flag for those whom questioned you. I also have to wonder what in the world would possess you to hit an elderly woman in the face when you are able to prove yourself "right"! Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm..........

Mark Potwora
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Simmons no matter what should of never punched Ms. Souzzi..As far as taking the bag away from her that doesn't seem right either..The manager should take some blame ,...
A customer wrote, "... they were surrounded by the CSM's (customer service managers) ... they were trying to talk to her but the customer was furious and swearing and she tried to take the bag from Grace's hands so all the stuff dropped on the floor. Finally she punched her in the face and threw Grace 10 feet away."....They should of stepped in and excused MS.Souzzi and took over..Ms.Simmons is wrong and should be punished for it..But WalMart also will have to share blame for telling employees to enforce a policy that might turn out to be unenforceable...Another thing that was reported wrong it turns out that she was a cashier and not the greeter not that it matters,...I quess thats what happens when you rush a story you don't have time to check all the facts..Alot of hear say......

Frank Bartholomew
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Mark, not trying to be a smart arse, but you should edit your post, spelling error.

Jeff Allen
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Shannon says "I also have to wonder what in the world would possess you to hit an elderly woman in the face when you are able to prove yourself "right"! " That seems to be the real mystery here.

Kyle Couchman
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Mark.... Yes I do think that it makes a difference if she was a cashier and not a door greeter, the dynamic is significantly different. To adress Marc's point I to have purchased things both at the electronics, and pharmacy. Even the layaway, but I dont ever recall them not stapling the reciept to the bag as a minimum or the bag stapled shut. I remember as a cashier at a walmart type store that we were supposed to look for bags like this that had been opened up and rolled over or such and treat it like a possible theft. BUT the policies then were to call a manager and delay the customer, and let the manager and store security handle it.

As for the confusion well today it seems that news online travels so fast that we get raw details before true facts emerge, so its gonna happen that misunderstandings occur, however the true mark of decent people vs the ignorant is the ability to admit mistakes and errors in judgement when the facts become clearer. I jumped to some hasty ones on this and will be the first to admit this and beg for forgiveness Smile

The new facts Howard posted this evening change the situation a little, but Ms. Simmons still in my opinion seems a selfish and volitile person who needs a full reckoning with the consequences of her actions. I too feel that the judge should not allow a plea and set a maximum to this. Maybe with all the national attention he might do so. But I plan on being in the court and sending a letter or email to the judge saying so because I want to know that people will be held accountable for their actions.

I hope wal-mart does the right thing by Grace, because it seems she was carrying out store policy as she understood it, and she was assaulted in the performance of her duties and in the presence of 2 managers as well.

I think its time to let go of this for me now.....until the court date anyways unless some incredible revelation occurs.

Bob Harker
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Doug, experts say that 50-60% of theft is "internal" or perpetrated by employees. I thought that sounded high at first, but if you think about it, the shoplifter comes in, hits, and leaves. The dirty employee is there day after day after day - until caught.

Most employee theft occurs between 6 months and 1 year of employment. Before 6 months they are not comfortable enough. After a year they have either seen too many coworkers get caught or just basically good, honest human beings.

Side note: One would think that hitting a 70 year old woman hard enough to cause fractures could be considered a hate crime.......

Mark Potwora
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Kyle i share your view on this...The management at Wal Mart should not do anything to Grace as she was carrying out what they told her was policy....The accounts of store managers also indicate they believe it is Walmart's policy for customers to produce a receipt upon demand......Either it is or it isn't ,not that they believe it is...I am sure WalMart will be reviewing this policy..No job is worth getting punched in the face ..Employees shouldn't be put in that situation...It should be up security personal to check bags ...To tell the cashier that it is their job to enforce this seems a little much..Instead of a greeter at each door maybe a Security Guard should be hired for each door..Why do they need a greeter.....Also a side note ,just last week i bought something in electronics dept at WalMart,they never stapled my receipt to the bag or stapled the bag shut.I also bought other products in the store an paid for them up front .No one ever asked to look into my bags as i left......So maybe another policy change should be that they do staple the bag and receipt to the bag if buying from some where else in the store...

Michael Moran
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Maybe if Walmart would stop using the elderly and/or cashiers as security guards this wouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have been her responsibility to police the doors while also cashing people out. How about Walmart hires some actual security to worry about that...people who are trained on if and how they can engage the customer when they are trying to leave. Enough penny-pinching, I think they can afford it.

Edit...Just realized I said essentially the same thing as Mark

Daniel Jones
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The answer, of course, is to organize a union in Wal-Mart (unions don't kill industry, Washington does with bad trade policies). Then again, if we could just find a cure for the common cold too....

jennifer draves
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I know that producing a receipt can get annoying... but to go to the extreme and punch an elderly lady in the face is just absolutely ridiculous and outrageous. Period.

Kyle Couchman
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I like the Jeff Dunham way of dealing with this, Hire his dummy Walter.... "welcome to Wal-mart.... git your shit n git out." Plus Wlater being made of wood could probably break Ms Simmons hand.

John Roach
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This is easy. If you don't like having to show your receipt, go to one of the other stores.

I go to Wal Mart and usually never have to show it. But if asked, then so what, I show it.

There is no justification to assault an old lady, period.

Kyle Couchman
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I agree John, seriously though some people just dont have the social skills or discernment to be out in the public. Now I want to clarify before I say this that there is no inferance that this attitude is related to a person's race as I have seen it in poor asian people and rich & privledged college students. But some people just think the world revolves around them and look at others as a necessary evil to be dealt with. They get uptight and emotional and lash out and since they have had this type of attitude sometime, their family enabled it to grow to monstrous proportions by avoiding or justifying things instead of teaching respect for others.

On the thought made here on this story being rushed into the site. I dont think that its so, we as participaters in this forum sometimes lose the distinction between the story out in the world and our discussion of it here. Frankly I dont know how Howard does it and find it commendable that he does, as well as providing us beautiful pictures and up to date news and such. I have been on lots of sites since my days of chatting and posting began in my late teens and early 20's with AOL 2.0 (oops did I just date my fossilized self?) And have seen examples of overly screened forums and chats, and unmonitored chats n forums. Howard has found the perfect balance and come up with cyber gold from lead. I feel he deserves the merit and kudos he recieves for this as his rules are very simple and allow much expression and discussion without being too restrictive. Yet very rarely does he have to resort to screening.

As a local example of contrast I noticed that a local newspaper/website (we all know which Daily I refer to I think) I noticed no coverage of this wal mart incident, when it was finally posted I put a comment there asking why did I find out from national news about this incident before they even posted anything about it themselves. Not surprisingly it never got published to the comments section. However another poster's "edited" comments did make it in there and there was an editorial repsonse as well. It exemplifys the attitude over there which is so 180 degrees from Howards that its no small wonder people chose this as a primary news source. If they edit comments like this why is it not reasonable to look with suspicion at the same attitude filtering the news as well. I go there just to compare Howards stories to their versions to come to this discernment.

The editorial response the other site gave to the 1st post on this particular story best exemplifies why I choose to support Howard over the other and wouldnt be in the least bit sad to see it fade into obscurity like AOL 2.0 did Smile

Doug Yeomans
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Having a cashier or a door greeter asking for a receipt hardly distinguishes them as a security guard. They don't have the Paul Blart uniform or attitude. What should Walmart have their elderly employees doing? You sound like one of those people who blames the victim for the crime committed against them. Example: "Well, if the guy didn't wear a gold watch and nice clothes, he wouldn't have gotten mugged!"

Why should Walmart need security guards? Shouldn't people be expected to conduct themselves in a civil manner? Why did Jacquetta find it necessary to become so angry that she punched the cashier? Can't she control her temper? So what if the cashier touched her, if she did touch her. Even if the cashier is not supposed to touch a customer, she posed zero threat and didn't deserve to be punched so blaming her for the assault is idiotic.

Again, if you don't want to show your receipt, you don't have to, but you do need to be polite about it. "May I see your receipt?" "No thank you. Have a nice day/night."

I've done that many times simply because my hands were full and I wasn't going to put everything down to dig out a receipt. The greeter has never done anything other than give me a vacuous stare and I've never been banned from a store for refusing to show a receipt.

John Woodworth JR
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Morning Doug, I would believe that $35.3 billion per year, sounds right for National retail stores' theft.

John Woodworth JR
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So far, Ms. Laurer (Entry #11) saids it the best.

Kyle great comment post on the original article (Never Hit a Woman Rule).

Michael Moran
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Clearly you didn't understand what I was saying. I was in no way saying she was justified in punching her, nor was I saying it was Grace's fault. The only thing that is idiotic is your interpretation of what I said. I couldnt be anymore in support of the employee. That woman had no right to punch her (obviously). All i was saying was that Walmart shouldn't have put the employee in that situation. If Walmart wants bags and receipts checked, then yes, I do think that it should be security that does it. And as for your question of shouldn't people be expected to conduct themselves in a civil manner...yeah they are expected to but obviously those expectations aren't always fulfilled. Not all people are good.

Kyle Couchman
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Ok how about this Doug lets say you made a purchase in electronics. Maybe they didnt staple the bag or your opened it to put your hat, gloves or scarf into it. You shop some more then go to checkout. Do you feel it unreasonable for a cashier to ask to see a reciept for the bag from electronics? Do you believe in that case you have the reasonable right to refuse to show it? Its a matter of nuances, if the cashiere called management over and refused to check you out for other purchases until given a management ok? Would you consider her actions or yours reasonable? (This argument in no way is intended to absolve or excuse Ms Simmons actions) The way I read it and correct me if anyone sees anything to the contrary the gentleman with Ms Simmons had the bag in question and though it doesnt say so I think Grace may have been handed the bag when she asked the gentleman for the reciept for the items in the bag. Not snatched from Ms. Simmons, and as has been described the bag got ripped in the presence of 2 managers when Ms. Simmons attempted to snatch it from Grace's hands.

See how quickly things can go? how many agrravating points there are to frustrate a reasonable person from either side of the interaction?

Its not so easy as people think to deal with these low paying entry level jobs and the responsibilities. Add to that the mentality of customers, management and corporate mandates etc. Not as easy a situation to solve with no quick answers and a person of average sense of right and wrond and desire to do what heor she should easily getd thrown under the bus so to speak.

Jeffrey Houseknecht
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I think that a little common sense will tell anyone that if a cashier sees someone with a bag that is already in a cart they have no way of knowing how long someone has been wandering around the store and I think it is a very reasonable request to see the receipt to verify the contents of the bag have been paid for.You see the bad people of the world have ruined it for the rest of us,people do steal.It sounds like maybe the gentleman with her thought it was a reasonable request and handed the bag over,as I saw earlier that he was trying to calm her down,maybe to just tell her to show the receipt so they could be on their way.But when she refused,I think that does justify now thinking that something in the bag may not have been paid for and there is the possibility of theft and that gives the store the right to ask for a receipt to verify purchase.Like I said before, I have been asked to see my receipt and have no problem with that because I know that there are a lot of things that do get by without being paid for,like I said the bad people have ruined for the rest of us.

william tapp
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whats the big deal, i have been ask for my receipt and did not think nothing of it..unless your steeling then its no big deal to show your receipt

kevin kretschmer
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I have several acquaintances, all of which are of a libertarian bent, and this topic (being asked to show a receipt while shopping) happened to come up during a conversation we were having. Each of them said they absolutely refuse to show receipts at the door whenever asked. Something about an infringement on their personal liberty. I didn't understand it then, and still don't. Life is too short to worry about such trivial matters.

Jeffrey Houseknecht
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wonder what their thoughts on seat belts are

Paula Ferraro
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BJs asks to see everyone's receipts before leaving. Could I say "no" to their request? Wonder how this effects their rate of theft.

kevin kretschmer
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They are completely against the NYSDMV seatbelt law, and the new cell phone bans. In fact, a couple of them refuse to pay income tax, so they say. They work for themselves so I suppose it's plausible. I do know that should the Zombie Apocalypse start anytime soon they are more than ready to live quite comfortably "off the grid".

C. M. Barons
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THIS IS MERELY A QUESTION- NOT INTENDED TO DEFLECT OR IMPLY BLAME! Why have retail stores changed policy on receipts and bagging? Not long ago, the receipt was stapled to the bag as the bag itself was sealed with staples. Currently, the receipt is handed to the customer with change and the bag is NOT sealed. Aside from causing a clumsy juggling act, separating paper money from receipt before stowing in wallet- not stapling the bag allows customers to add items to the bag after checking out and the receipt ends up out of sight. NOT TO BE INTERPRETED AS BLAMING CASHIER/GREETER- If the receipt had been stapled to the bag, asking to see it would have been unnecessary.

Jack Dorf
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Paula, BJ's will call the police if you refuse and leave the store.

Kevin your friends are 100% wrong. While on store property they have every right to ask to see a receipt. Your friends are a little bit more than bent to the left, I would say they have fallen over all the way. In no way does that infringe on their personal liberty. LOL

Simmons obviously has issues. She either felt she was being asked to see her receipt because she was black and being targeted or she just wanted to be a jerk and not act like an adult. Any person with half a brain knows there is a possibility of being asked to see your receipt especially if you already have a bag when you reach the check out.

There is a real likelihood that she will face jail time, which will be well deserved, and she may also face civil lawsuit by Mrs. Suozzi. Which in my opinion she should pursue.

Jack Dorf
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CM, You don't think it would be easy for someone to steal items before or after lets say a purchase in electronics and then go over to where they sell staplers or carry a small one themselves and restaple their bag and leave the store? They leave the bag open so the store employee can check your purchase. I was asked on several occasions after getting groceries and having pop or beer on the bottom of the cart. They want to check the receipt to make sure it was paid for and I have no problem with this what so ever.

Brenda Gill
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Here's an alternative for those who feel that it's a personal infringement on their liberties when asked to submit to having their store receipt checked against their purchases - don't shop there. If you don't agree with a company's policies then don't support them.

I have yet to be asked @ A to Z in Indian Falls, Batavia Resturant Supply, or by Chuck @ Clor's.

Just saying ...

Doug Yeomans
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I have no issues with being asked to show my receipt and almost always comply. It's only when my hands are full and I've tucked my receipt into a pocket do I politely decline. If I were stealing, loss prevention would be on me in a second. Even if Grace or anyone else had grabbed my bag for refusing to show a receipt, it wouldn't have ended with a punch to the face. I can assure you of that! It probably would've made me laugh for her being feisty. My buttons are all in the right order and I have a level demeanor. (hotheads can't carry concealed!) Tongue

Michael, you said it again. Walmart shouldn't have put her into "what" position? They made her a door greeter/cashier and that's somehow irresponsible on the part of Walmart? I'm not following the logic. If they made her a floor sweeper and some idiot pushed her out of the way for blocking an aisle, would you still say that they shouldn't have put her into that position? Just wondering?!

C. M. Barons
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Jack, I was asking a question. I believe I established that in big, capital letters. ...But you go ahead and argue; I'll watch.

marc solis
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Jack Dorf did you read my #10 post it says it all. Two wrongs dont make a right with Grace grabbing the bag and simmons punching her. Also my post goes along with Kevins comment of not showing a receipt, it has to be voluntary and you can refuse to show it. Grace should of not went around the counter and grabbed the bag, after simmons paid for what she had and left the register grace could of called LP on a suspicious bag. Grace was the cashier and not the bag checker. So a number of things went wrong. Dont get me wrong im not sticking up for anyone I would be pissed if it were my grandma, wife or mother but cant say simmons just showing a receipt would of solved everything. To all that saying simmons didnt show because she was hidding something like theft, police report say all items were paid for and no theft was found after their search also this is simmons first offense meaning she is not a thug beating up everyone and is arrested all the time for crimes. Sometimes when your caught in the moment and feel offended or being accused you know that hot in the face feeling sometimes your actions move faster then your thoughts. I always picked on a guy at work cause he would move all around and do crazy things and I onlys told him his body is moving faster then his brain lol. This is my opinion and thats all. Everyone will have their own thoughts on the situation.

Michael Moran
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They shouldn't have put her in the position of having to check bags and receipts. Once again, I consider that a loss prevention/security job. I don't know why you aren't following me. I didn't say anything about her not being a greeter/cashier or Walmart being wrong for having her in those jobs. When I said "position", I meant it in a situational sense, and not literally a position, as in another word for job.

Jack Dorf
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CM, I'm not arguing with you. You asked a question and I answered as to why stores have changed their policy. Sorry if I worded it a way that seemed to be argumentative.

Jack Dorf
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Marc you state: "I would be pissed if it were my grandma, wife or mother but cant say simmons just showing a receipt would of solved everything."

Get serious if she would have showed proof of purchase that would have been the end of it. Is it really that big of a deal for here to show her receipt.

I do believe Grace should not have grabbed the bag but that is no reason to punch a person in the face.

How do you know that this is her first offense?

marc solis
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Did I read it wrong?? "As a first-time offender" it says it in the story above. State Police have said that Simmons did have a receipt for the items in the bag and is not accused of stealing anything from Walmart. She did not need to show a receipt and if Grace felt the need to check the bag and got denied the request then LPM should of been called and not taken it into her own hands. Bottom point is two are at fault here and nothing we say and argue is gonna change anything that happened.

A customer can refuse to have their bag checked and simply walk out the door past the bag checker.

The worst thing that could happen is that an aggressive bag checker would forcibly detain or threaten a customer who refused to comply with the voluntary search.

Jason Murray
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What I buy is my business. Untill it says on a big sign when you walk in, "all bags are subject to search, and all customers are subject to detainment", I will refuse to show my reciept if I dont feel like it. Mind you I would be polite about it and say "no thank you" and continue out the door. Usually I do show my reciept but sometimes my 3 yr old is not always in the best of moods and the sooner I can get her home the better

Charlie Mallow
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John has a point about shopping where your treated right. I don't shop at BJ's for that exact reason. If you not like being treated as a criminal, don't shop in places that treat you like one. Walmart treats their customers like dogs, they always have and they do it by having someone's grandparent do the dirty work.

No matter how mad this lady got, she shouldn't have touched that elderly woman and that's why she's in deep trouble. If the Walmart employee was wrong that is still no reason for an assault.

Tim Howe
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its national

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/12/28/wheres-the-holiday-spirit-70-year-o...

John Roach
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Stores are private property and have much greater leeway to stop and ask for your receipt than say a government official. You can refuse, but that give them probable cause to lagally detain you if they want. Instead of generic web sites, ask a cop or a lawyer.

marc solis
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Have you asked a cop or lawyer John??

John Roach
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Marc,
Yes. I asked a cop I know in Tonawanda and a very good friend in North Tonawanda who is an attorney and does not mind my questions.

dennis wight
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i think Marc is Simmon's boyfriend...

marc solis
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Ummm thats funny my Lawyer says they can detain but until cops show they are to check the bag. When in hand its your personal property a search without proper authority's will be in violation of your rights. So what your saying my house is private property "right" I own it. So if a stranger goes on my porch and has a bag in hand and I see them put something down their pants, as long as I feel that person stoled something off my porch I can search their body tell them to open the bag and take off their pants?? NO that will cause a confrontation, you call the police and describe the person and tell them what direction they were headed if they left the scene before they got there. Im Just Saying.

Frank Bartholomew
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At the conclusion of most transactions at a wal mart checkout, the clerk hands you your receipt, and your change,and a thank you. You now have the receipt in your hand, what the hell is the problem?

marc solis
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Come on Dennis why were you with her last night I dont go for your sloppy seconds?? Sorry but she's not my type I have a sexy wife already, but hay I wouldnt mind getting to know her later when this is all settled.

Jeff Allen
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C.M. if I had to guess why stores don't staple the receipt to closed bags anymore, I would assume someone cut their finger on a staple, sued the company and won an outrageous settlement. Charlie, love your comment about having someone's grandparent do their dirty work, so true yet so tragic. Either hire actual security just abandon the "greeter" position altogether, it has out served it's purpose.

Frank Bartholomew
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Charlie, customers treat wal mart employees like dogs, and wal mart has all those cameras to make certain employees follow wal mart policy. Under this constant scrutiny, maybe Grace was fed up with rude customers, and couldn't wait to be home on Christmas eve with her family.

John Roach
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Marc,
If you see somebody go on your porch and steal something, you have the right to go and take it back. You can not use deadly physical force, but you can take it back. You have the right to hold that person until the police arrive also.

As for your lawyer, good for him/her. Seems to be a difference of legal opinion. We'll know if the accused slugger tries using that excuse as a legal defence, right?

Bea McManis
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Marc wrote:
"I always picked on a guy at work cause he would move all around and do crazy things and I onlys told him his body is moving faster then his brain lol. This is my opinion and thats all. Everyone will have their own thoughts on the situation."
From the very start, with the posts you erased, you have worked hard to make sure that Grace will get fired from her job. You have defended the attacker over and over.
"Sometimes when your caught in the moment and feel offended or being accused you know that hot in the face feeling sometimes your actions move faster then your thoughts"
So, we excuse this behavior because she was 'caught in the moment"?
Apparently picking on someone is okay in your book. In my book it is bullying.
It would take a bully to be on the side of another.
Can we take it that you filed one of the police reports since you were an eye witness to the event? Have you been contacted by her lawyer to speak in her behalf when she goes to court?
"...but hay I wouldnt mind getting to know her later when this is all settled.". Nuff said.

Lori Silvernail
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I'm not really following the argument that somehow checking a recipt is a "violation of privacy". Geesh, were any of you concerned about these rights when the checker was scanning your items? Horrors! They even TOUCHED your things and may have brushed your hand when they gave you back your change!

I always have my receipt handy and probably 90% of the time I head towards the greeter with it and they just say, "have a nice day!" It's Walmart's right as far as I'm concerned, to be sure that the checker actually billed me for the 12 pack of toilet paper on the bottom of my cart.

If you don't like Walmart's receipt checking policy, go support K-Mart or Target.

marc solis
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Yes you have the right john but if someone has the sense to steal from a persons house then theres a 50/50 chance there will be a altercation. I know what I would do but Im speaking in good terms here. Nuff said on this one.

marc solis
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Lori im talking more about bag checks not receipt checks.

Charlie Mallow
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I went to Target in Rochester very early last week. It was so early they were having their staff meeting in the front of the store. I overheard the store manager telling all the employees not to confront shoplifters because their safety was far more important than anything in the store. He mentioned this three times telling them to report it and let security take care of the issue. Security was just that, an off duty police officer.

Frank, I'm pretty sure the Walmart employee was doing exactly what she was told to do by her employer. Walmart is guilty of putting this lady in a very dangerous spot. It's a dirtbag company that treats their employees worse than their customers, that obvious.

Lori Silvernail
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Oh, ok Marc. Actually, I have NEVER had anyone look into my bags at Walmart! They take the receipt and I have always believed they were just looking for the unbagged items on the receipt. How strange that after all these years and the hundreds of times I've been there that I'm just now hearing about bag checks!

I guess I still wouldn't have any issue with them doing that. Sam's Club actually checks every single thing in your cart. I have no problem with that either.

John Roach
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Charlie,
Any idea why so many of their employees stay so long? The victim here has been at WalM art for many years, so why would she stay if she was treated as bad as you say?

And, checking bags and receipts is not the same as confronting a suspected shoplifter. This site has reported many instances where shoplifters were reported to the police who made the arrests at Wal Mart.

marc solis
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Bea Im sorry I shouldnt have used I always picked, Im far from a bully. If you worked with us it was more of a joking matter.
Me trying over and over again to get Grace fired, I dont know neither one of them Im making comments just like everyone else.
You cant tell me not one time in your lifetime you did not pick on anyone??????? So dont give me that. Everyone has picked on someone one way or another.
Im not a bully Im a grown adult with house wife cars and have said simmons was wrong for punching.
I was there along with 200 other people would you like to see my receipt?
Finally your last part that was me being a smart ass to the person I replied to.
Remember Bea these are comments dont judge the book by its cover so dont judge me on what I write from who I really am in person. Its ok for everyone else to make comments oh I know why well I'll leave it at that. Nuff Said

marc solis
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charlie also at Lowes they told us from the start of hire and in training do not engage or follow a suspect or we would be fired we are to call the LP manager.

Charlie Mallow
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John, where are Walmart employees supposed to go work if they are unhappy? The local toy, shoe or clothing store, perhaps? I know a few people and at least one that you know who we're treated unfairly at Walmart. Asking for receipts isn't the right job for an elderly woman, it's dangerous. My point is pretty clear from the result of this incident.

Shop at Target.

Charlie Mallow
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Marc, we're you told to harass customers by asking for reciepts? Or perhaps the store manager sent the oldest woman in the store to do that?

Who thinks is reasonable to task the most elderly people to do security work?

John Roach
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Charlie,
How about Target or K Mart? And if treated that bad, and paid as bad as some people say, then yes, the local toy or shoe or clothing store would be better. Why not leave if your treated like a "dog", year after year? I only know 3 people who work there, but they have never told me they hate the job or are treated like a dog. I knew a fourth person who quit, but that was because she could not get the part time hours she wanted.

And one incident hardly makes a case. Can you refer us to how many elderly employees at Wal Mart are assaulted each year? This seems to be such a rare event as to draw national.

Please email me the name of the employee you say I know who was treated so bad, ok?

John Roach
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Charlie,
Just to be clear, that elderly lady was not the only person doing checking and not everyone there is elderly.

Charlie Mallow
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John, all I know is every Walmart I walk into has an elderly person at the door, in the line of fire. I can't be the only one who noticed. One elderly lady being hurt is one too many. I would like to know why Walmart is the only place with a defenseless "Greeter"? How does that fit into their profit margin?

I'm also not against big box stores but, I see fault in Walmart policy.

John, I sent an email to your Rochester.RR account.

Jeff Allen
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John, unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. In a previous post, I linked videos to three other assaults on elderly Walmart employees. If you Google it there are many more. Why Walmart continues to put older people in these situations is beyond me.

Doug Yeomans
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You still don't get it. Why should she not have been given the position of being a door greeter/cashier/receipt checker? It's a job and like I said, if she was a floor sweeper..oh forget it. You're never going to get it.

John Roach
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Charlie,
Could it be that Wal Mart is more willing to hire the elderly or handicapped? I do not see that many of either at Target. You give no reason whty Wal mart emplyees do not go to Targer or K Mart, or BJ's, if treated and paid so bad.

And true, one is too many, but one does not make a trend.

Waiting for your numbers on how many have been assaulted.

I responded to your email. I will contact her and ask if she was treated like a dog every day as you say.

John Roach
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Jeff,
Young employees get assaulted also. Would you be happier if she was unemployed? No, of course not. Read Doug's post, #75.

Bob Price
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Wal Mart has many different greeters-young/old/handicapped. Grace was a cashier that day,not a greeter. All we can go by as o now are the witness statements. If the video is ever released publicly(anyone know if that would happen?),that would clarify the situation. Now that someone mentioned it-I don't recall seeing any elderly or handicapped working at the Target here in Batavia-discrimination????? As far as security at Wal Mart-I believe they had a company come in on Black Friday night-there were many people w/ vests on(that I had never seen at that WalMart),ad they were checking EVERY receipt that night-just a quick visual and a highlight marker on the receipt. I wonder if Ms. Simmons was there that night? I don't recall any assaults that night......

Jeff Allen
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John, that's my point, the whole concept sets up people young and old to be put in circumstances where they get accosted verbally and physically on too regular a basis. I don't want to see these people out of jobs, I just think the whole practice of putting them in pseudo-security jobs is not wise or safe. My dad was hired as one of Walmart's first greeters in Batavia, he retired from there a few years back. That position changed greatly over the many years he worked there and not for the better. He enjoyed the job and did it well but also put up with more and more crap from rude customers as the retail environment changed. I cringed at some of the encounters he related to me and I'm thankful he was never a victim of a physical assault. There are plenty of other ways older employees could contribute to the success of these stores and i think Walmart needs to rethink how they have their older employees tasked.

Frank Bartholomew
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I think the door greeters at wal mart keep honest people honest, and I also beleive wal mart has the same policy as most retailers,common employees are not permitted to accost shoplifters, that task is managerial.
Anyone who sides with the perp in this case must be crazy, how can punching a 70 year old woman be defended by anyone with normal brain function.

Kyle Couchman
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I think I must interject here I look at this conversation and I am remined of the old saying about the three blind men describing an elephant. One thinks its a snake like animal, one thinks its a cow like animal one thinks its a worm like animal all based on where they touched the elephant. Now we have us discussing the so called elephant called wal mart. Looking at the conversation we are talking about topics we dont really see ourselves. We are talking and giving opinions base on our blind friends who tell us what the elephant is like.

You get what I am trying to say here. Sams Club and BJ's arent targwts or Wal marts and not fair to throw into this discussion. They are "Club" stores where you pay for a membership, you also sign a membership agreement which does have language that you can have your reciept checked and that not complying with their rules can reslut in your membership being revoked and you not being allowed in the store.

Having worked in retail (and some moonlighting in wal mart) They arent that bad to work for, but there are people in all positions above and below associate level that can make work pleasant, or not. I mean most of us have even had a management change at sometime in our career where someone who made our life good/bad was switched out or retired and the new guy was better/worse. As for door greeters you think the janitorial staff, the replenisher/stockers or even managers dont have as much confrontation as the door greeters? There are Jaquettas everywhere in almost all retail environments, grocery stores, pawn shops, office supply stores and furniture outlets too. Its a fact of life. The one thing I think we all can agree on is that no matter what, the incident in question here, Grace's actions while they may be of questionable character and actions they were still within reasonable limits in accordance with her training and known store policies. Jacquetta however was not, not within any definition of reasonable customer behavior, or even societal behavior for that matter. So extremely inappropriate that the additional violence she sprinkled into the mix has caused in all of us such a gut feeling of disgust and outrage that this incident spread like wildfire across the country and even outside of it.

Wonder how this little black eye to Batavia is gonna make Mr. Hydes job of selling Batavia to businesses harder, why it might even affect his yearly bonus....oh the humanity (The previous sentence was brought to you by.... sarcasm and frustration as well as BS ) Smile

John Roach
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Kyle,
You make the point clear. The hate Wal Mart types just overlook what you point out.

Question, why don't we see the elderly or handicapped at Target or K Mart, like we do at Wal Mart?

Kyle Couchman
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Purely speculative here but Kmart has been struggling since sears took it over, and for economy of operations just about everyone fills in several jobs a cashiere will do restocks. Stock people will do janitorial and maintenence etc. Putting even healthy capable middle aged people is a risk at best but I know in other places I have been in insurance factors in as well...especially in todays environment where meds and conditions put more of a burden on the health insurance providers.

As for Target, dont think it jives with the public image they create in addition to the work model above (again speculation as these two stores I havent been in as anything more than a consumer)

Bea McManis
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Frank wrote, "Anyone who sides with the perp in this case must be crazy, how can punching a 70 year old woman be defended by anyone with normal brain function."
I guess it is defended when one excuses her actions as being "in the moment".

John Woodworth JR
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Hey Kevin you should ask your friend how that infringes on their personal liberty. It is just like people stating, it is their constitutional right to smoke in public establishments.

Jack Dorf
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Well said Bea!

Duane Preston
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The greeter position at Walmart it probably one of the few positions where an employee can sit on a stool. This is why we see more elderly people as a greeter. It is not so much as Walmart placing the elderly in this position as it is the employee picking or "wanting" this position.

John Woodworth JR
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Right on Bea, it is just the lack of respect. It is such a simple request that, "being in the moment ", could not justify Ms. Simmons' action

Shannon Laurer
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What everyone seems to be forgetting in this whole "older person put in a vulnerable position" is that she at the time was surrounded by other management that had come over because of the scene the "puncher" was creating, they were all trying to calm the situation, this was said by witnesses, this "puncher" then CHOSE the 70 year old as her victim, she could have easily struck anyone else standing around, including her companion, but she CHOSE the elderly cashier. In reading the reported info this was not a "hit and run" situation, this scene was going on long enough for management to appear and witnesses to gather! Let's hope that if any of the charges get dropped (which would suck) that the one for causing harm to an elderly person sticks!!!!!

Jeff Allen
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All this talk about who infringed on who, who was at fault, what led to this in the first place, this wrong policy, that wrong policy, this frustration, that frustration. I'm gonna find me a copy of "Falling Down" with Michael Douglas and watch it tonight.

http://youtu.be/a2YRMixW9u8

Frank Bartholomew
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Charlie, I don't want to defend Wal mart but, It has been my expierience that Wal mart treats their customers like gold, (pun intended) .
Customers bring their garbage from home and dump it at wal mart. Customers clean all the junk out of their cars and dispose of it in the parking lot, Customers urinate in the parking lot,
Customers crap on restroom floors, toilets, walls, despite sanitary seat covers readily available. Customers remove merchandise to the restrooms, take the item(Drunk out of packaging, conceal items, throw packaging on floor and urinate on it. Customers vandalize restrooms, plug the urinals with paper, taping the photo eye on the faucets and simultaneously plugging the drain so overflow is imminent.
Wal mart has had to find ways to cope with all of the B.S, greif, lawsuits, garbage, and some of the worst members of our society, and they have to do this in a balance as not to offend customers, their neigbors, pretty much everyone thats lawyered up.
We, the customers have ourselves to blame, we created this, because for some reason, many of us get caught up in a "moment", and it seems wal mart is a "favorite" target.
I sometimes think we despise wal mart, hate spending our $ there, but in this tough economy, some are forced to stretch every dollar. Wal mart is 1 trip, food, meds, the whole package of basic needs and staples, and on average and quality, the price is reasonable.
Regardless of any relevent circumstances, or moments, we all have to take ownership of our actions. Had this young women not gone off at wal mart, it would have manifested itself in some other circumstance.
It is not Wal Marts fault that a young lady with some serious issues punched a senior citizen in the face. Put the blame where it belongs, on society.

Charlie Mallow
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Frank, I never got past what you said customers were doing in the parking lots, restroom floors, toilets, walls and packaging.

Not sure Wallmart is my kind of place, I'll stick to Target. Besides where else can you buy a $4 Hot Chocolate but, find a whole bag of socks for $5.

Frank Bartholomew
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Charlie, I love Starbucks as well, and you can find some decent deals at target.

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