Woman discussing Walmart self-checkout.


‘They can see everything’: Ex-Walmart worker says employees will freeze self-checkout registers to prevent theft in viral TikTok

‘Who gets paid enough to care at Walmart’


Cecilia Lenzen


A TikToker who claims to be a former Walmart employee revealed how the store monitors the self-checkout registers for stealing.

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The TikToker, named Athenia (@atheniamaria), said in a viral video that Walmart employees carry “TC devices” that enable them to see all customers’ purchases at the self-checkout registers. The devices allow employees to see individual items and how much they each cost, as well as customers’ total charges.

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With the devices, employees apparently have the option to pause a customer’s self-checkout register and “pretend like there’s something wrong with the machine” if the employee suspects that the customer is stealing.


On the TC devices, there’s a simple button to “pause transaction,” Athenia said. From the customer perspective though, the self-checkout register’s screen will either freeze or show an error message. Then the customer can’t scan any more items.

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“At that point, you have no choice but to call for help, and once we come over, we pretend like something is wrong with the machine,” the TikToker said.

If the customer has already bagged any items, the employee will take everything out of the bags and check them out at another register operated by an employee.

“So my whole thing with this is do not steal from Walmart self-checkouts. They can see everything that you’re purchasing and everything that you’re scanning so I highly recommend not to steal from Walmart,” Athenia said. “You will get caught, and they will pause the transaction on you and pretend like something is wrong with the machine.”

Athenia’s TikTok went viral, amassing about 3 million views and more than 8,300 comments as of Tuesday. Athenia has about 67,100 followers on the platform and posts a series of “Walmart secrets” TikTok videos.

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Her story about Walmart self-checkouts sparked a debate among viewers, with several seeming to think that Walmart was taking unnecessary or overly extreme measures to prevent theft.

“Then why you they always trying to check my receipt if they already know what I’m buying?” one viewer commented.

Another viewer said, “They make billions and underpay employees. Thanks for the free avocado Walmart.”

“Always harassing people,” someone else wrote.

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Some viewers said Walmart employees don’t get paid enough to care about stealing and should just let customers be.

“LMFAOOOO chill they not about to give u a raise,” one TikToker commented.

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“I used to work at Walmart too and when people used to steal i would mind my business I’m not loss prevention and it’s not coming out my check,” another alleged former Walmart employee said.

Other TikTokers thought the “secret” may not be worth worrying about from a customer perspective—because they’ve stolen from Walmart self-checkouts before.

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“Wow that’s crazy.. Me who has stolen probably 100k from self checkout,” one such viewer said.

TikTok user @atheniamaria did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment. The Daily Dot also reached out to Walmart.

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