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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Unhappy How Far Do Willful Concealment Laws Extend

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Washington

    I had a very bad experience in a small mom-and-pop style establishment recently. I was shopping with two other people and while there had placed an item less than $10 in value in my open purse - without being too specific this store primarily sells large, bulky items and I needed both of my hands free. At one point I walked up to the counter where one of the people I came with was checking out to ask her a question, and an employee asked me if they could "help" me. I said no, and that I was with my friend. The employee then stated that she saw me put an item in my purse in a very accusatory tone. I was flustered and embarassed by this, but explained that I was still shopping. I then gathered the rest of my purchases and took them up to the register wanting to leave as quickly as possible, while the same woman rang me up. She didn't say anything further about the incident, and acted resentfully polite. I paid with my debit card and even told her the name of my college for a discount because, in my opinion, I did nothing wrong and had no intent to steal. Now I am wondering if she could legally go as far as to call my school or use my debit card to get my personal information and press some kind of charge for willfull concealment, because she obviously felt that I had done something wrong. I have no criminal record and I feel like she would be leaving herself open to defamation charges if she got my school involved in any way but I am still worried. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Tacoma, WA

    Default Re: How Far Do Willful Concealment Laws Extend

    Even from your own version of events, the clerk's suspicions seem reasonable. I would have probably also concluded that your intent was to steal...but then, I'm naturally suspicious.

    But, anyway, the police were not called, loss prevention was not involved, you were not asked to sign a civil demand, and you were not even trespassed from the business. I don't really think that you need worry about ever hearing about this incident again. However, you might want to be more mindful of your "shopping" habits in the future.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: How Far Do Willful Concealment Laws Extend

    Employees are allowed to talk to customers. It is called their job. If I was an employee and saw someone put our product in their personal bag, i would say "I noticed you out xyz in your bag. I'll hold it at the front for you so you can continue to shop and the item doesn't get messed up."

    This is America. We have carts, baskets and OMG! Employees who can hold things for us. There is no need to put something in your personal bag before paying for it.

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