Self-checkout lines can be great, or they can be horrible, depending on how you look at them. For those shoppers who only have a few items, self-checkout can make the process of paying at the register much faster than it would be if you had to wait in line for the next cashier. However, self-checkout machines do one thing that shoppers really shouldn’t have to do – work for the store where they are spending their money.
The fact that self-checkout machines push the work of the cashier onto the customer aside, these machines can be convenient for the right shopper. But should you always use one of these machines when buying goods at a store? One criminal defense attorney recently turned to TikTok to reveal the major risk shoppers take when they decide to use the self-checkout machine to complete their purchase at the store.
Criminal defense attorney Carrie Jernigan wants to protect as many of her TikTok followers as possible from being prosecuted in the court of criminal law. As someone who spends her time defending innocent people who stand accused of crimes, she claims that people who use self-checkout machines put themselves at risk of a major crime that they probably don’t even want to commit – shoplifting.
People who use self-checkout machines can now get arrested and thrown in jail for forgetting to scan an item. The police are charging these perps as though they were intentionally trying to take the item from the store without paying for it, treating the suspects as though they were criminals. Whatever happened to the adage to treat everyone as innocent until proven guilty?
In the early days of self-checkout machines, stores would alert shoppers when they accidentally forgot to scan an item. They’d then let the customer go back to the machine and pay for the item they missed, and let them go on with their day after that. Now, they’re cracking down on these “offenders” and throwing the book at them even if the “shoplifting” occurred completely by mistake.
“These are the people that I genuinely think just forgot to scan an item,” Jernigan said. “It is usually something that was on the bottom rack of the cart … and when they are walking out, asset protection stops them. They let almost all of these people either scan and pay for the item, or just let them go, but took the item they did not pay for.”
In 2023, stores are more likely to treat every person who takes an item without paying for it as a shoplifter rather than giving self-checkout customers the benefit of the doubt.
“They have lost all sympathy, and they are just taking a ‘Tell it to the judge’s approach,” Jernigan said.
Jernigan doesn’t want shoppers to be thrown in jail for accidentally forgetting to scan an item to pay for it. So, she hopes her TikTok video reaches millions of would-be self-checkout shoppers.
“It is something that [happens when] asset protection is doing a quality-control check, or inventory that weeks, days, months later comes up short,” she said. “So they will begin watching hours of video.”