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Switching price tags is a form of shoplifting

You’re walking around the Cumming WalMart and see a cute bathing suit in your size. You try it on and it’s a great fit. But at $35, it’s a little bit above your price range. You see a different suit, not nearly as cute or as well-made, with a $15.99 sale price tag on it.

You decide to switch the price tags on the two bathing suits while you’re in the dressing room. You proceed to the register with the more expensive suit now bearing a tag reading $15.99. But, as you are about to run your debit card through the card reader, the store’s loss prevention officer intercepts you. Suddenly, you’re being arrested for shoplifting.

Swapping tags is retail theft

You are absolutely stunned at this turn of events. After all, you were in the process of paying for the item (just not as much as you should). You don’t understand how you could be arrested for shoplifting when technically you were paying them for the merchandise.

But WalMart and other retail merchants don’t look at it the way that you do. They see you as stealing from them when you give yourself such a deep discount by switching price tags. They have a legal right to proceed with the arrest for shoplifting.

But you have legal rights, too

The thing that you want to keep foremost in your mind is that you definitely don’t want to make a bad situation worse. Don’t attempt to flee or fight with the loss prevention personnel or worse, with the police. Keep your temper in check and don’t beg, plead or argue.

The best thing for you to do at this point is quietly comply. Let the process play itself out. You will likely be handcuffed and taken out of the store and placed in the back of the police car. Don’t admit to switching tags (or anything else) on the ride to the police station to get booked. There’s no need to be rude, but politely assert your right to remain silent — and then do so.

Once you are booked into the jail, you should be able to make a phone call. Make that call to a criminal defense attorney who can advise you on what you need to do next.