Walmart knows when you’re taking something that doesn’t belong to you.
I used to work as a self-checkout attendant in a grocery store. It’s was a delightfully thankless job, with every machine broken in its own special way and customers seemingly going out of their way to exacerbate those flaws. However, I can resolutely state that despite how awful those machines were, no one ever managed to steal anything on my watch. Self-checkout attendants are sharper than people give us credit for, as a viral TikTok video has illustrated.
The video was posted by user @thewalmartguy69, who regularly films their interactions on the job as a Walmart employee. This particular instance features the caption “POV: We know when you’re stealing,” and shows the user using a Zebra Technologies tracking device to monitor items scanned by self-checkout registers, as well as “register alerts” that signify some kind of problem or emergency. The implication behind this short, wordless clip is that Walmart’s self-checkout attendants are very aware of when shoppers attempt to take something they haven’t paid for.
Since going up earlier in the week, the video has accrued over 13 million views. However, the comments on the video have expressed some skepticism of the effectiveness of the technology shown in it.
“I literally walked out with $50+ worth of items on accident because I forgot to swipe my card,” said one.
“I walked out of Walmart with one of those big bags of dog food because I forgot to pay for it,” another said. “It was under the cart; I didn’t see it.”
“I always take one small item as payment for being my own cashier,” a commenter said. “I don’t work for free.”
An important caveat about being a self-checkout attendant: our ability to prevent theft is proportional to how much we care about our place of employment. Nothing was stolen on my watch, but outside of my watch, well, that wasn’t my department.
“I worked at Walmart and they did not pay me enough to care,” a commenter on the video said. “If I saw someone stealing, I would turn around so quick.”