Lawyer Shares Reason Why We Should Avoid Using Self-Service Checkouts

Lisa McLoughlin

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Lawyer Shares Reason Why We Should Avoid Using Self-Service Checkouts

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/carriejernigan1/Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 7+/Alamy Stock Photo

A criminal defence lawyer has warned people against using self-checkouts at the supermarket, claiming it makes shoppers more likely to be prosecuted for theft.

US-based legal eagle Carrie Jernigan told her TikTok followers that shoppers face a greater chance to land a shoplifting charge because of the personal tills and urged people to stay away from them.

In a clip that has been viewed over four million times, the lawyer shared: "As a criminal defense attorney, I advise most people to steer clear of self-checkout.”

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Explaining her logic, she said that there are three different groups of people who face shoplifting charges because of self-checkouts - and that two of these groups are completely innocent.

The first group she highlighted are those 'with the intent to steal'.

Jernigan explained: "When self-checkout first started it was a very basic theft approach. They would scan a few items that they would pay for and then they would drop a few items that they did not pay for in their sack.

"Nowadays that will not work - the system is too good to do something that simple."

Lawyer Carrie Jernigan urged her followers to avoid self-checkout. Credit: TikTok/carriejernigan1
Lawyer Carrie Jernigan urged her followers to avoid self-checkout. Credit: TikTok/carriejernigan1

The lawyer added that shoplifters needed a more 'specific plan' to get away with it due to self-checkouts' advanced technology.

The second group of shoppers she discussed in the video is those who steal 'by mistake', usually by accidentally forgetting to scan an item.

Despite this group being genuinely innocent, Jernigan explained that stores will often prosecute them anyway as they’ve 'lost all sympathy'.

She added: "Big-box stores are not going to spend their time and resources deciding if you stole it on purpose or if it was a mistake. They have lost all sympathy and they are just taking a 'tell it to the judge approach'."

Jernigan then defined the final cohort as the shoppers who are 'truly innocent', explaining these are shoppers who are charged with theft because asset protection departments find weeks or months later that their inventory count isn't adding up.

She explained that large stores in the US needed 'very little evidence' to obtain an affidavit for warrants.

The TikTok creator urged people to use the cashier-backed tills. Credit: Pexels
The TikTok creator urged people to use the cashier-backed tills. Credit: Pexels

"They will begin watching hours of video to see the last person who checked out with the Mario Lego set because they’re two short or an Xbox game,” she continued. "And, for some reason, they pinpoint that they think you did it."

Although this last group shoppers didn't steal anything by accident, they could still face up to 'a year in jail'.

The legal expert concluded her video by advising her followers to pay by card at self-checkouts and to always keep proof of the items they'd purchase.

And while some may be surprised by the news, many of Jernigan’s followers shared their own experience with the topic.

One viewer alleged: "Took me 7 months and cost me 6,000 to clear my name after I was falsely accused and the evidence should have exonerated me immediately."

“my exwife was just arrested for thus same reason but her now boyfriend thought she scanned something but she didn't and he put it in the bag by mistake,” another claimed.

A third wrote: “My mom accidentally left a tiny $3 lemon oil in her cart after buying $300 in groceries. She was charged with theft and had to do community service.”

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Topics: News

Lisa McLoughlin
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