CHOICE membership

Refusing inspection when leaving Bunnings



The simple fact is that they cannot detain you for these checks. If they do detain you and you haven’t stolen anything it is unlawful. If they detain you publicly then you may have recourse to sue for defamation.

Just refuse and keep walking. They’ll either let you go, or forcefully detain you. If they forcefully detain you and you haven’t stolen anything, things will get messy for them.

Of course, it’s much quicker and easier just to let them do their low paying thankless job and check your docket.


My husband works for Bunnings, theft is a huge problem. The reason they stamp the receipts is to stop people from buying items, putting them in the car, and returning receipt in hand and then picking up the same items again. They have a separate checkout for the high cost items like tools because the door greeter isn’t as thorough as they are. My husband often works on the gate. He checks the vehicles as they leave. He could write a book on what some get up to, he’s even been threatened with violence. I can’t understand why anyone would object to a bag check when leaving any store unless they have something to hide.


Absolutely. As an aside, isn’t the phrase “thankless job” a tautology? :rofl:

I believe theft is a huge problem for any retailer, especially the big ones. Some argue that it is built into their cost model, as if that justifies it in some way. I guess it’s not just the cost of ‘lost’ stock, but the cost of ‘systems’ to mitigate loss - both automated and personnel … I’ve never seen anyone stamp a receipt at my local Bunnings though …


Our local Bunnings now insist that all purchases from the tool shop are paid for there, and they staple a numbered chook raffle style ticket to the receipt.

The staff members at the main entrance, the garden section entrance and the drive-in entrance are responsible for checking the receipts and collecting the tickets which are later reconciled.

I expect there are some serious questions asked regarding any unaccounted-for tickets.

Long before Masters went belly-up, we went there one day when there was a huge number of staff doing a stocktake. Not just Masters employees but Woollies and other persons.

We asked what was happening and we were told they were checking to ascertain just how much stock was missing.

Apparently it was not the just small concealable items but large items which would be impossible to conceal were also being regularly stolen.


When I worked retail the reason we checked bags had nothing to do with stopping people who had stolen things. It was about discouraging them from trying to steal in the first place. Realistically if someone had stolen something we couldn’t stop them as we weren’t the police, but people are much less likely to attempt it if they know staff are paying attention.


Very much akin to the old saying “Locks are only to keep honest people honest”.


I attended a conference around 20 years ago where one topic was theft prevention.

The presenter spoke about an independent hardware business who were being ripped off by tradies picking up the very large and expensive ute toolboxes and then going to the counter to claim they had bought them and wanted refunds.

The frustrated owner instructed the staff that only he was to approve any refunds on the toolboxes, and if anyone else did, they would be fired.

A tradie attended the counter with a toolbox he claimed to have purchased and requested a refund, but the staff member stated that the boss was out, and only he could approve a refund.

The tradie said that he would return later and left the store with the toolbox.



Absolutely agree. I can’t understand why anyone would object to a bag check unless they had something to hide.


When you are being asked to have a bag checked it is an invasion of your privacy whats next empty your pockets and take off your shoes and socks. You are being put in the same basket as thief. Also what happens is profiling which is an even further erosion of your rights.

The if you have nothing to hide argument just doesn’t cut it, all people have a right to privacy even at the cost of loss of profits to business. I might have something in my bag that would cause me embarrassment or prejudice against me. If a store has received a report or a staff member has seen someone take an item that is a different matter.

Day in day out our privacy protections are are being eroded by governments, I have nothing to hide and I only want to share whats in my bag or in my life with whom I choose.

If I am asked I give the attendant a polite wave of the hand and a smile and keep walking.


I am with you and find it offensive to be routinely asked to ‘show my bag’ but it comes with the times. My first ‘push back’ was when see through bags replaced opaque ones so the world could see what you had and, in theory, that you ‘had nothing to hide’.

You must enjoy commercial flying in these modern times where everyone is considered a possible terrorist and randomly treated as such, so the ‘feds’ can avoid being accused of profiling.

Using those tried and true devices and methods, many venues and events are adding metal detectors and bag searches to enter, and I doubt the trend will reverse, just get more pervasive and invasive as time goes on and the miscreants of society continue on trend.

We notice an increasing number of food/other items with various anti-theft devices; sometimes they are not properly deactivated and the theft alarms are set off at the door. Embarrassing, that! The shop staff are always apologetic, but.


It’s a question of balance. Maybe we’re giving too little weight to privacy. Maybe the intrusion is justified.

I have more problems with products that are welded into armoured capsules.


What does a thief look like? I am yet to see anyone with ‘thief’ or ‘shoplifter’ stamped on their forehead. It would make bag searching easier if they did as only their bags would be searched.:wink:

Last time I saw shop lifting in action (witnessed being caught when leaving a store) is was by a respectable looking mother pushing a pram with a child. The last sort of person I though would be shoplifting as it sets a poor example to the children (and maybe sets them up for a life of crime?).

Setting stereotypes for a thief/shoplifter is fraught with danger and would likely end up in someone being challenged on the grounds of some form of discrimination.

Yes, everyone has a right to privacy, however, if one thinks bag searches are an invasion of privacy, one chooses to dismiss this right if one accepts the condition of entry to the property/store and then continues to enter. One had the power to chose not to shop or enter a premise with such conditions…however, it may be difficult to find a shop/premise with out similar entry conditions.

Thief/shoplifting is a crime and is something that businesses should not be made to pay the cost…as in the end all consumers pay for it by increased prices to cover the losses due to shoplifting. If we as a whole took this approach, then it would be open slather for shoplifting resulting in anarchy.

Having travelled recently back from Europe, in Paris one has to show every bag and its contents to security personnel when entering one of the city’s tourist attractions and many retailers especially on Av. des Champs-Élysées. This has included the removal of all contents of a bag to ensure that there was nothing considered as contraband/threatening to others. One is also scanned with detectors (like those used at airports). This is far more extreme and intrusive than just politely showing someone the contents of ones bag to meet the condition of entry requirements ( and allowed for under law as outlined in a previous link).

I think we get to hung up on what is privacy and what is not. Opening a handbag/shopping bag/box doesn’t really impinge on ones privacy unless one carried things around in ones bag one thinks is private and must not be seem by others. If this is the case, I assume that one would zip/lock/seal ones bags to ensure that a passing peeping Tom doesn’t discretely look into the same bags. On the other hand, it may be best to leave these at home as they could be snatched by a criminal and potentially made public to all and sundry when the contents are thrown around.


I sent my wife to Supercheat Auto and she came back vowing never to return there. Apparently she was the only one in the store and thought the announcements were accusations directed at her.

Kmart and JB Hi-Fi have lost my custom for this very reason. What a ridiculous business model in every aspect.


The last time I went to the War Memorial in Canberra, the security guards insisted on inspecting a small pouch on my belt. I was wearing cargo pants with numerous bulging pockets. Those weren’t queried.


Shoppers might wonder how “Mr Steed” can work at so many Coles stores.


Its funny I have flown about 10 times and all flights were domestic and about seven of those times I was tested for bomb residue which I would think is a lot. I assume because I am tanned they may think I belong to one of there target groups.


I think you missed my point about stereo types. It is wrong when people are chosen just because of the way they look and others are not. So if you are young or a bit scruffy or look like you may be struggling these people are then targeted, which is wrong,

Privacy is a right, a sign in a shop is not a law.

Unfortunately one of the costs of doing business is theft and no one should be made to pay that cost with a loss of privacy.


In the ideal world there would be a solution to the dilemma but in the real one what is your prefered solution, accept some loss of personal freedom or pay more for goods due to pilfering? You seem to be saying the second, is that right?


Nine out of ten flights to and from Melbourne my wife was swabbed for testing while they let me walk. She is an unassuming blonde and while I probably have more of that ‘look’ about me I haven’t been tested in her presence. She is my designated decoy :grin:.


I wont say where, but one location I worked at could suffer as much as 2% of revenue in theft if staff weren’t paying attention. Additionally there’s a huge cost in extra staff and resources required to carry out stocktakes to detect these issues. If an item is stolen and it’s not detected then it doesn’t get reordered.

That’s an insane amount so the reality is shops have to have some sort of way to discourage it. On the scale of a supermarket bag checking is the only practical way. You can’t have cameras and staff in every single aisle. Help the poor staff do their job and just open your bag if there’s nothing private in it.