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Old April 30, 2010, 02:26 PM   #1
rantingredneck
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Beware the self-check lines.......(awareness issue)

My wife and kids and I were in Wal-mart the other night picking up some groceries and a few other things. My wife likes to use the self-check lines. I don't particularly care for them as I'd rather not pay a store for the priveledge of being my own cashier, but that's me........

So she was ringing up our groceries and such and I was moving bags to the cart and keeping an eye on and herding kids. My son needed a "talking to" and I stepped to the side with him for a moment to take care of that. I was down on his level for a minute and out of the line of sight of anyone approaching the register. As I stood up I see a young guy who was headed right toward my wife at an angle suddenly snap his attention toward me and veer off away and head quickly toward the doors. He made eye contact with me and sort of smirked and grinned for a minute as I think he knew he was busted, but didn't really give a damn.

So, in deconstructing the situation, I'm almost certain his intent was to snatch her purse/wallet.

*Her attention was on the register and ringing up her groceries and paying.

*The aisles around the self-check are nice and wide allowing room to run.

*He was fidgeting with something trying to cram it into his pocket quickly. I didn't get a look at it, but I'm thinking knife. My wife's purse was slung at an angle. He could have easily cut the strap and dashed though.

*From his perspective she was a single mom with daughter whose attention was elsewhere = easy mark. (Until I stood up).

Now, I will admit that my paranoia could have got the better of me here. He may have intended to hit on my wife in some fashion. She is attractive and it wouldn't be the first time some random guy in public asked for her phone number or hit her with some cheesy line.

What I will not believe, however, is that he was just innocently passing through.

*He was in her personal space by the time I busted him.

*He had to angle considerably out of his way to cut through that particular check out line and then go back toward the door.

*The look he gave me on the way out the door said "Yeah I was up to no good, so what of it?"

So this leads me to a few conclusions..........

I have another reason now to dislike self-checkouts. Your attention is much more focused on the machine than it would be the cashier ringing up your stuff. The aisles are also wider, nearer the door, and present a better avenue for escape for those up to no good.

I have even more appreciation for why off body carry (purse for women, man-purse for guys) is not ideal. Granted there are times where it's OK, and I do it often myself (usually with a second gun in my pocket or on my belt), but you have to recognize the downsides as well. Had my wife been purse-carrying (she wasn't and doesn't yet have her permit anyway) the guy could have snatched gun, purse and all.

And last but not least, as aware as I am, I almost missed this......Watch your surroundings folks.........
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Old April 30, 2010, 03:15 PM   #2
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In Wal Mart? A snatch and run needs an open door to get out. Wal mart here has 2 folks at each door checking reciepts (another reason I dont go there much) I would like to think they would try to stop anyone doing this. Maybe they would step aside.

Be aware, that is number one on my list and has been since the early 70s.
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Old April 30, 2010, 03:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Wal mart here has 2 folks at each door checking reciepts (another reason I dont go there much) I would like to think they would try to stop anyone doing this. Maybe they would step aside.
Most of the door staff here are women in their 70's. I'd imagine the 20 year old guy would have had no trouble evading......
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Old April 30, 2010, 03:26 PM   #4
Don H
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Quote:
Wal mart here has 2 folks at each door checking reciepts
I've never had anyone check my receipt at Wal-Mart--must be a regional or local thing.

There is usually an older person at the exit to tell me to have a nice day, though, if he/she isn't chatting with someone else.
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Old April 30, 2010, 03:38 PM   #5
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Walmart door-greeter/receipt-checkers ain't stoppin a dang thing!

I just got a mental image of Earl Campbell running through that guy's chest! LOL

In all seriousness, you may have thwarted a crime (attempt) or maybe she was gonna get "hit on". Perhaps, if you could provide us with a photo, we could give you a better answer!

Just kidding bro
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Old April 30, 2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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These days you never know, Wal Mart is a strange and scary magnet!
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Old April 30, 2010, 07:09 PM   #7
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HUH, I thought the Walmart greeters and exit checkers were well trained Ninja's using the deception of age and fragility as a disguise, you mean their not?
Walmart has its share of crime, but one would be an idiot with all the surveillance cameras, then again most perps are idiots. Yes you could have misread his intentions, but some criminals are brazen and unpredictable.
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Old April 30, 2010, 07:16 PM   #8
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While the observation is good, it isn't just self-check lines. Purse grabs are commonplace virtually anywhere in stores where folks leave them out where they can be grabbed by passers-by.

Quote:
*He was fidgeting with something trying to cram it into his pocket quickly. I didn't get a look at it, but I'm thinking knife. My wife's purse was slung at an angle. He could have easily cut the strap and dashed though.
Interesting that you decided that the guy was going to cut your wife's purse strap instead of believing that he was shoplifting some item and jamming it in his pocket as he made his way through the self check area. Cutting a purse strap and trying to make a clean getaway in Walmart would be tough. He would be counting on his cut to not be felt and then to be able to traverse the distance from the self check lanes to the doors unnoticed. That is pretty risky given what happens if he slips up and your wife were to notice and scream. Then he would have lots of people looking right at him. That sort of cut and snatch technique would be much better suited to the open parking lot where there are many less cameras and likely less witnesses.

Quote:
*He was in her personal space by the time I busted him.
He was using the display racks and your wife to shield his movements...jamming an item or items into his pocket.

Quote:
*The look he gave me on the way out the door said "Yeah I was up to no good, so what of it?"
Sounds like a shoplifter who knows you suspect, but knows you didn't see what he stole.
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Old April 30, 2010, 07:50 PM   #9
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DNS,

That's a good possibility and I did consider that, but given his abrupt change of trajectory his intentions definitely seemed to be directed toward her until he saw me. It was truly a surreal experience........
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Old April 30, 2010, 07:54 PM   #10
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Cable/Wire in purse strap
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Old April 30, 2010, 08:31 PM   #11
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I believe that no one would stop him. I was at a WW one day (one of the reason's I don't go there much) and saw two men start a fight. As everyones attention was on them, another one ran buy with a cart full of electronics, up two 2X4's into the back of a truck. The truck took off and the two guys "fighting" ran out to another vehicle that was waiting. The old people at the doors where just standing there stunned.
At this same walmart, I watched a guy walk up to the little cooler at the front of the check out lines, grab 3 sodas and just walk out. The cashier shouted "sir, sir" and just looked around with a dumbfounded look.
My conclusion is that they don't get "paid enough" to worry about it.
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Old April 30, 2010, 09:00 PM   #12
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Paranoid. why not wait untill you are outside??
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Old April 30, 2010, 09:12 PM   #13
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Don - I've only had my receipt checked on large/expensive items (eg, a minifridge). It's not for groceries or anything, it's for the guy moving a bigscreen TV out the door.

Personally, I'm not that much more distracted by running my own stuff than I am by running my credit card in a normal line.
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Old April 30, 2010, 09:34 PM   #14
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A similar incxident happened to me and my wife shortly after marriage. We were in a laundramat, I was sitting to the side hidden by a low wall. This thug white kid comes headed at my wife at a pretty good clip, till he walked by and saw me out of the corner of his eye. He then did a u turn and hustled on out the door. I called the locals, but we never did find him. She looked to be easy pickings,and pretty ones at that! I never figured if he was interested in her or her belongings.

Watch your surroundings!! Better sooner than later.
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Old April 30, 2010, 09:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
DNS,

That's a good possibility and I did consider that, but given his abrupt change of trajectory his intentions definitely seemed to be directed toward her until he saw me.
Yes, if he was using your wife as a screen from the lone self checkout Wal-Mart employee (usually 1 per the four checkout lanes), his intentions would be toward your wife. Nothing was beyond her to pose a threat to getting caught until you popped up. No reason to move toward a witness. So sure, his intent was toward her as a direction, not as a person to attack.

It would be fairly uncommon for a person to attempt a cut, grab, and run in a grocery store like that. Everyone knows Walmart is full of cameras. The trick is to maintain a low profile and not have your actions noted. Attempting to cut a purse strap to get the purse is a bit out there as so much is apt to go wrong. The robbery isn't likely to be able to cut both purse straps at the same time in such a manner to go unnoticed by the carrier. Cutting one strap means the long end flops about as it is drug across the carrier's body/shoulder/arm. Few folks carry any sort of knives that are apt to cut straps so cleaning so as to not get noticed and if they have that sort of technology and skill working for them, I would be inclined to believe that they would be working targets in areas that don't have all those security cameras.
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Old April 30, 2010, 10:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
I have even more appreciation for why off body carry (purse for women, man-purse for guys) is not ideal. Granted there are times where it's OK, and I do it often myself (usually with a second gun in my pocket or on my belt), but you have to recognize the downsides as well. Had my wife been purse-carrying (she wasn't and doesn't yet have her permit anyway) the guy could have snatched gun, purse and all.
Not necessarily bad. Unless I'm mistaken, theft of a firearm is a federal crime, and a felony. That's more LE to look for a purse-snatcher, and a longer time he goes away when found.
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Old April 30, 2010, 10:31 PM   #17
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Bringing back old memories now!

1998 Selma, AL. ~ I watched as a Hispanic fellow snatched my Ex-Wife's purse and attempted to make it past me in the process. I was over at the front of the store waiting, and evidently he didn't know I was with her. He flew past me, and out went my arm .... cracked his skull on the concrete floor!

The thing that got me about the whole incident was that the Wal-Mart manager was finding me at fault until the attending officer asked to look at the security cameras. After that ... they were singing a different tune. I walked away with a lot of apologies from Wal-Mart Management and a 'Good Job' from the attending officer.
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Old May 1, 2010, 01:33 PM   #18
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Yes, if he was using your wife as a screen from the lone self checkout Wal-Mart employee (usually 1 per the four checkout lanes), his intentions would be toward your wife. Nothing was beyond her to pose a threat to getting caught until you popped up. No reason to move toward a witness. So sure, his intent was toward her as a direction, not as a person to attack.
DNS,

It's hard to explain this without drawing a picture but the guy zigged toward my wife and then zagged away from her when he saw me. At no time was he screened from the checkout station by my wife. The only way my wife would have blocked the attendant's view of this person would have been if he'd hopped on the counter in front of her.

And he still stuffed whatever that was in his pocket without being screened. Of course it didn't matter as the checkout person was oblivious anyway, as most folks are.
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Old May 1, 2010, 01:45 PM   #19
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Who said the kid was bright enough to use people as a screen, or to not know it still might be hard to get a purse strap cut? I don't see the economy getting better. I'm hearing of more assaults and more break-ins.

Walk softly, stay alert, and carry a reload...
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Old May 1, 2010, 03:00 PM   #20
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Wal-Mart greeter isn't going to stop anybody. Even if they are physically able, they've been told REPEATEDLY by company management to NOT do anything. Wal-Mart and their hacks realized long ago that having a greeter get cut, shot, or even just knocked over by an escaping criminal is going to be much more expensive for their bottom line than whatever piece of shoddily-made Chinese slave-labor produced electronics was being stolen.
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Old May 1, 2010, 07:29 PM   #21
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Most greaters around here can't even stand on their own. They have to lean on a cart.

I have seen a guy walk out the door with a 24 pack of beer on his shoulder and just smile at the greater when they asked for a receipt. I mentioned it to the manager when I saw her and she said it happens all the time. Not worth the hassle to try to stop them.

Doug
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Old May 1, 2010, 07:42 PM   #22
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I generally don't stop for the receipt checks anyway - just smile, say "no thanks", and I'm out the door before the confused look has left their face.

The way I see it, when I paid for the stuff, it stopped being "merchandise" and became "private property", and they can kiss my butt if they think I'm going to let them root through my private property.

No problems so far.
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Old May 1, 2010, 07:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
DNS,

It's hard to explain this without drawing a picture but the guy zigged toward my wife and then zagged away from her when he saw me. At no time was he screened from the checkout station by my wife. The only way my wife would have blocked the attendant's view of this person would have been if he'd hopped on the counter in front of her.
And you saw this guy zig toward your wife from your vantage point out of sight while "talking to" your misbehaving child? No, you didn't see the alleged attacker-to-be until AFTER you stood up and he was already heading toward your wife at that time. But now you claim that the guy zigged toward your wife and then zagged away.

Quote:
As I stood up I see a young guy who was headed right toward my wife at an angle suddenly snap his attention toward me and veer off away and head quickly toward the doors.
Okay, let's try this from another way. It seems unrealistic that the guy was going to cut off your wife's purse with the knife you never saw. Given the prevalence of shoplifting versus the near zero frequency of the type of crime you describe.

Have you had a recent rash of cut purse straps in the local Walmart checkout lines?
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Old May 1, 2010, 09:18 PM   #24
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DNS,

It wasn't my intent to get into a discussion with someone over what I did or didn't see. Someone who wasn't there in fact.......

My intent was to point out that the self-checkout lines present a situation where your attention is focused elsewhere and you have your wallet/purse/whatever handy for snatching. If you have an item or two to checkout and don't want to wait in line, they can be convenient. If you have a week's worth of groceries for a family of 4 and are intent on doing it yourself (like my wife ) they can present a situation where your attention is focused elsewhere for an extended period of time.

I did see this guy coming from one direction and then abruptly change course when he saw me looking at him. The direction of his approach was at such an odd angle, one can safely presume that his intended target was my wife. She was the only thing ahead of him on his direction of approach. He did not walk directly parallel to the checkout line, like most folks do, but from an extreme angle.

When I stood up I saw him before he saw me and redirected. There was enough time, though it could be measured in fractions of a second, to read his intent from his direction of approach and then swift re-direction. He wasn't playing sneaky trying to avoid the attention of the clerk. Hell, he passed within inches of her as he hastily made his exit and she didn't bat an eye.

No I didn't see a knife, he may not have had one. I said as much in the OP, that I was "thinking" knife. He may have intended to snatch my wife's wallet as she pulled it out of her purse which she carries slung diagonally specifically to prevent/deter snatching. In trying to figure out what the hasty pocketing of "Item X" happened to be it was the only thing that made sense to me (given the way my wife habitually carries her purse and his odd angle of approach).

And as I said in the OP, it is perfectly within the realm of possibility that his intentions may have been more amorous than criminal. He may have had a dozen roses or a diamond ring in his pocket and intended to drop to a knee and profess his love for her for all I know. .

Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate alternate reads on the situation, but please don't tell me what I saw or didn't see that evening.
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Old May 1, 2010, 09:39 PM   #25
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Most 20 year olds are texting 24/7 these days, he coulda been putting his phone in his pocket. and looking at ur pretty wife. but a school officer told me and my friend one day when my friend was about to leave for basic training in a few months and i was considering the military, ''smile, be nice. but be prepared to kill everybody you meet''.
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