Apple Store Customer Arrested for Shoplifting Says He Was Trying to Use EasyPay Self-Checkout
A New Jersey teenager was arrested this weekend for allegedly attempting to shoplift a pair of headphones from the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan, reports Macworld. Eric Shine says he scanned the barcode of a pair of Bose headphones, and navigated the EasyPay purchase process to the final screen, but failed to complete his purchase. Upon trying to leave the store, he was stopped by store employees who accused him of shoplifting and called the police to have him arrested.
I pulled out my iPhone, and realized it still showed the Pay Now button, and not the receipt," Shine said. "I told them I had no intent of stealing; I’ve been in the store for an hour, and I’m still willing to purchase the headphones."
That didn’t satisfy the Apple Store staff. "They said, they see this all the time, and that they knew I had the intent to steal, and this was an easy excuse," said Shine, who pointed out to the manager that he had asked for—and received—a bag from an Apple Store employee for the headphones. When you successfully complete a transaction, the Apple Store app clearly states that, to get a bag, "just show a specialist your receipt." Shine says the Apple Store employee he spoke to didn’t ask to see his receipt, compounding his own error with the app.
Last year, the 'Apple Store' iPhone app was updated with a new 'EasyPay' feature that allowed users to purchase products in the retail store without interacting with any salespeople. This benefits both customers and the store by freeing up store employees to deal with customers that need one-on-one attention.
EasyPay has been popular with Apple's more tech-savvy customers, but the risk of misunderstandings like this are easy to foresee. Shine was offered a plea bargain for one day of community service and attending a class on larceny in exchange for having the charges against him reduced, but he declined. He told Macworld that he "didn't try to steal anything" and will instead face larceny charges in October.