General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

Should I write a letter on behalf of an innocent party who was caught with a shoplifter?

Asked by Yellowdog (10908points) October 5th, 2019

A guy brings a woman to Walmart and they are there for several hours. The woman fills her cart with about $50 worth of merchandise (and purchases it)

But the guy, who wasn’t actually with the woman, filches a C.D. and is caught shoplifting. The police are called. No charges are filed, but both are banned from the store.

I say it is unjust that the woman was banned from the store along with the guilty party. But the police said, “Guilt by association”

The guy understands that he cannot come back into the store. Actions have consequences.

The woman has never stolen anything in her life and has actually been a loyal customer, probably spending $300 (and many hours) at that particular Walmart annually.

Should I write a letter or something?

P.S. I tried to intervene but barely avoided also being associated with the pair.

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20 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would stay out of it. As you pointed out, trying to intervene almost got you associated with them.
Who would willingly spend “several hours” in Walmart?~

Yellowdog's avatar

@chyna Writing a letter after the fact is safer than intervening at the act,

flutherother's avatar

I would keep well out of it. You say the guy brought the woman to Walmart but they weren’t together. That seems contradictory. Then the guy spends several hours there with the woman before stealing a CD.

From your own description of events it sounds as though this pair were acting together to steal. I wouldn’t get involved.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You may get yourself banned too !

JLeslie's avatar

Do you know her?

She can write a letter for herself actually. The store might reconsider. If they allow her back she will be watched like a hawk, but if she’s not doing anything wrong it doesn’t matter anyway.

johnpowell's avatar

I wouldn’t bring the unwanted attention on the woman. If you make a stink the incident might stick in the walmart employees heads.

The odds are pretty good the woman can still shop at walmart. She is now one in a sea of walmart shoplifters, soon to be forgotten. Give it a few weeks and wear a hat and she should be good to go.

Zaku's avatar

Walmart and the police are being assholes.

And @Tropical_Willie is right that the assholes might do something obnoxious to you too.

I don’t know what your relationship is with the woman and the store, or how you know what happened, which might influence what I’d think made sense to do or not.

Personally, I would reflect that her life might be ultimately better from the experience, including not going to Walmart in future. Those places tend to be dreadful. She went with a stranger there and then spent FIVE HOURS shopping there? AAarRgh! Maybe this intervention is in her best interests…

Yellowdog's avatar

Several hours, not five. She has a disability of sorts and doesn’t get out much. Isolated but wants to get out among people and tends to take a long time doing things, such as reading labels.

Both of these folks are fairly good people. I’m really surprised the guy did it—some thought he was being falsely accused but he admits to it.

Darth_Algar's avatar

It’s Walmart. They do not, and feasibly cannot, keep track of all the people in their stores or try to match them up with who is “banned”. They’re simply too large and have far too many people in the building at any given time for that. I have a friend who was “banned for life” from a particular Walmart store. He was back in there the next day.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would stay out of it.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I would think that a letter from her detailing what she knows happened would be worth more than a letter from you who could possibly be a 3rd party to the crime. You might write a letter for her & have her use it to as her letter to Walmart. IF they’re doing it there like they do here, she is ONLY banned from that particular store & NOT Walmart itself. I live in a tiny town & we have 2 Walmarts; so, I’d still have the option to drive a little further & still shop at Walmart. You might also suggest that she call the manager of the offended store & ask for a meeting to ask for a release from being banned. Maybe speaking with her in person would be better than a letter from a stranger. Of course, they will watch her closer for a while until they can ascertain that she’s NOT a professional shoplifter!!!

You said she spends about $300/yr at the store & she spent $50 that day. Assuming that the $50 is her average aoiunt spent, she only goes there about 6 tines a year or once every 2 months. IF she waits about 2 months to go back, I’d suggest that she pay with cash as credit or debit cards are linked with a name but cash isn’t. There’s a good chance that nobody would remember her & as long as she just shops, pays, & leaves, nobody will be any wiser.

I work with a guy whose nephew was caught shoplifting at one of our stores & was banned. He stayed away for a couple of months & then went back to hopping there 2 or 3 times a week. Nobody noticed for over 3 months; but when they did, they just extended the ban from that store for a year longer than originally set up. He could have gone to the store across town, but it was a challenge to him to shop at that particular store. IF your friend only shops there once every 2 months, it is highly unlikely that anybody will care enough to notice her as long as she’s NOT taking anything to draw their attention. So, IF everybody leaves it alone, she can probably go back to being a regular shopper without anyone caring. The worse that should happen IF they do notice her is that they’ll extend the length of time before she can go back in legally. I saw some statistics the other day that said that 85% of the US population lives within 15 minutes of a Walmart. Is there any chance that she has another Walmart store from which she hasn’t been banned???

snowberry's avatar

And she could shop at a different store with no problem too.

ragingloli's avatar

Is that why you were asking how to write characters?

Yellowdog's avatar

No, this actually happened.

It seems that staying out of that particular Walmart for a while would be the best option for the woman. Maybe give up the habit of going to that one entirely. The guilty party may want to stay out for several years.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Eh, I’d just go back. What’s Walmart going to do to ether? Kick them out again?

Brian1946's avatar

According to Alex Jones, Walmart greeters are implanted with facial-recognition processors, so returning shoplifters beware! ;-o

SEKA's avatar

@Brian1946 My Walmart no longer hires greeters, so there’s no one at the front door to be implanted with facial recognition

Brian1946's avatar

@SEKA Wow, Alex Jones disseminating inaccurate info: what a surprise! ;-o

YARNLADY's avatar

Ask her lawyer for advice.

SEKA's avatar

Alex Jones is so far out there that he & trump could have a deep conversation & totally understand each other!!!

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