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"I've never seen that on a shop window"; Craft store's search policy has customers wary

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"I've never seen that on a shop window"; Craft store's search policy has customers wary

CREATED Apr 11, 2013

Reporter: Maggie Vespa

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Is it typical store security or an invasion of your personal privacy?

That's a question being asked by scrapbookers and needle point enthusiasts alike, all because of a new arts & crafts retailer's policy that some say, colors outside the lines.
 
It's a small sign with big power.
 
 
"I've never seen that on a shop window before," said one shopper.
 
Posted on the store's front window on Broadway & Craycroft, the public notice informs Hobby Lobby customers that at any point during your visit, it could be open season when it comes to searching you, your belongings, even your car.
 
9OYS reporter Maggie Vespa asked one shopper, "How does that sit with you?"
 
She responded, "I don't think that's... For customers I think that's really strange"
 
 
Another said, "It goes against my senses of what's right."
 
He added, "I'm curious to see why they're doing it, if it's for shop lifting."
 
And as for a reason for the search, according to this sign, you're not entitled to one.
 
"Just because they want to, I think that's a violation."
 
But is it?  
 
Or are random rummages through your personal property on the up and up?
 
9OYS asked Tucson attorney Mike Piccarreta.
 
Vespa asked, "Is that policy legal?"
 
He said, "It's legal as long as the person to be searched consents to be searched."
 
In other words, just because you are on company property, that does not mean you have given consent, nor does it give Hobby Lobby police-like power.
 
"They're not trained as police.  They don't have the same rights as police," he said.
 
Piccarreta's advice is, if you the store asks to search you for no apparent reason, leave.
 
And that's a hobby some customers are thinking of taking up for good.
 
Vespa asked, "Does that make you uneasy about coming here?"
 
One shopper responded, "Right, I think I might just go to Michael's."
 
9OYS got the idea for this story from a post on our Facebook page.
 
As that customer pointed out, the logical assumption is that this is a policy designed to prevent shoplifting.
 
Hobby Lobby's Tucson manager declined to comment and directed 9OYS to their corporate offices.
 
We have not received any answers to our questions.
 
Meanwhile the manager here says, since the store's opening a few months back, they have not had any reason to use the search policy.

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