Update: Pak’nSave responds.
An open letter.
Dear People of Pak’nSave Riccarton,
On 15 December I shopped at Riccarton Pak’nSave with a group of other young people.
After purchasing items at a self-checkout directly in front of one of your staff (really, she was right beside me), she requested to search my bag. I had not touched the bag during my visit so this request was not based on any actual evidence that I had attempted to steal something, like from a store detective or a camera.
It was extremely obvious that this was not a random search, as she called it. It was because of my age. Three other people from our group were selected for a “random” search. I wonder how many women with handbags were searched that day? I know my friend that came through the self-checkout after us wasn’t.
I declined the request.
I waited for the rest of our group and left the store. I was followed by a store manager who put his arm touching up against me, and tried to stop me from leaving. I declined again, which I have the right to do, no matter your signage, and walked away.
It’s disgusting to treat your paying customers like this.
Do you consider that bags contain personal possessions? That most people wouldn’t decline your request to search, because it makes them look and feel like a criminal? That searching personal possessions could reveal, say, a private medical condition?
I wonder what the purpose of these “random” searches are. Say I did consent to the search, I had items in my bag that I didn’t buy or steal from Pak’nSave, but that you sell. I didn’t have the receipt. What would happen then? Would you accuse me of stealing those items? Would you call the police on me? If not, why are you searching young people? Scare tactics? That isn’t the definition of a reasonable search.
If it is your policy to target young people or people with backpacks (read: young people), it needs to change. It is discriminatory and wrong.
If you weren’t the only supermarket at Westfield Riccarton, I wouldn’t shop with you again.
Image credit: bfick
Update: Here’s Aliza Eveleigh on bag searches (click for larger version):