Walmart worker catches woman mid-return scam at self-checkout

Shawn Konopaski/ShutterStock @onecutecouponer/TikTok (Licensed)

‘You’re ripping my customers off’: Walmart worker catches woman in the middle of return scam at self-checkout

'You do it all the time. You turn around and return it.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 29, 2024   Updated on Jan 29, 2024, 8:56 am CST

In a recent incident at Walmart, an employee confronted a woman at the self-checkout for a return scam involving baby essentials like formula and diapers, intended for the needy but later returned for profit.

The video posted to TikTok by One Cute Couponer (@one_cute_couponer) highlights the growing moral conflict of exploiting retail policies and shopper altruism in today’s harsh economic times. This incident, viewed 589,000 times as of Monday, opened up a broader conversation in the commentz section about the ethics of consumer behavior and its impact on societal values.

In the clip, the TikToker records an argument between the Walmart employee and a woman at self-checkout who’s purportedly asking other shoppers to purchase baby essentials for her. The worker accuses her of quickly returning the items.

“You do it all the time,” the Walmart worker says to the alleged con artist in the clip, as she’s seen confronting her over the practice. “You turn around and you return it. You’re ripping my customers off.”

She then directs another employee: “You need to escort them out, because they’ve been in here for a while getting them to pay for their stuff.”

At some point in the clip, it seems like the scammer attempts to offer up a counterargument, but it’s summarily shot down. The Walmart worker continues to call out the behavior while pushing for them to leave the premises. “It’s a complete scam. Let’s go,” she says before turning her attention to other customers in the Walmart. “Don’t ever buy groceries for anybody in the store. It is a scam,” she adds. “Cause they turn around and they return it. Thank you so much.”

“It’s good she called them out,” the most popular comment exclaimed, reflecting the overwhelming support for the worker’s intervention.

Another commenter had been personally solicited by the same scam and shared their experience: “This is true! Several times I have had women w babies ask me to buy formula n diapers.”  

A third viewer took issue with the principle involved in the charity scam. “The fact that some people cannot afford groceries and are then asked to take advantage of someone’s generosity,” they wrote.

@onecutecouponer What do you think is going on?? 😳 #fyp #viral #situation ♬ original sound – One Cute Couponer

The dialogue around return fraud is becoming more urgent as its frequency escalates, with recent reports indicating that it’s causing substantial financial losses for retailers, amounting to nearly $100 billion in 2023. The sentiment expressed by the Walmart employee, “you’re ripping my customers off,” reflects a growing concern among consumers that retailers could resort to stricter return policies in an attempt to curtail this fraudulent activity. This trend is alarming for both businesses and consumers, who fear stricter return policies might penalize honest transactions. 

The Daily Dot has reached out to @one_cute_couponer via TikTok comment and Walmart via email for further information.

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*First Published: Jan 29, 2024, 12:00 pm CST