This happened to me just about an hour ago at a local Home Depot.
I walked in with my wife and two kids to do some general purchasing of various supplies.
We went to check out and all was fine.
As we walked away from the counter toward the exit the stores Sensormatic device alerted and activated the theft prevention buzzer.
No big deal I thought we just finished paying and weren't even 10' from the register. We kept on moving my wife in front of the cart, both my kids in the cart along with our purchased product, and me at the rear pushing the cart.
I was stopped by a store employee.
This is the first time I've ever been stopped by such a person, though this does not happen to me but once in a very blue moon.
So I voluntarily stop walking still within the store itself and maybe 3 or 4' from the sensoring device.
The store employee says that she needs to check our bags and receipt, both of which are in the cart. I have no problem with this and say nothing in response.
She removes a powerstrip I'd bought and walks over to the sensor to see if that is the offender. Nothing happens.
She then comes back over and takes another item from the bag and walks to the device and again nothing happens.
She then asks if I have anything in my pockets.
Now this is where things get funny, to my view.
The device had begun to alaram at the time that my wife had walked through who was 2 or 3' ahead of us and first out of the register line queue. I was last and it was already alerting by the time I'd walked up to and past it. But she selected me to ask and not my wife. More on that later.
So I comply with her request and state I have nothing in my pockets but my cellphone, keys, and wallet.
She asks if she can see them to see if they are making their device go off. I say yes and counter by asking why would your device be so sensitive to pickup my keys or cellphone...it's not a metal detector. She replies yes it's for store sensors.
I comply for the heck of it and show her my stuff and wave it using an outstretched arm toward the store sensor device. Nothing, as expected.
She then comments to me that she thought she saw somethign else in my pocket and asks what it is...
Now lets pause here for a second.
I am wearing old work boots that I've owned maybe 6 yrs.
I have on jeans that are two yrs. old. A pair of boxers that are equally old. A t-shirt that is at least a decade old. A beret that is 3 yrs. old. As well I am wearing a pull over sweater that I bought a couple of months ago. I also am wearing a field coat that my wife bought me 15 yrs. ago the month we first began to date.
And I have not picked up anything from their store. Nothing 'accidentally' fell into my pockets.
Additionally on my person I have;
* Clipped to my left rear pocket a folding defensive knife that I've owned for like 4 yrs. now
* On my left side forward hip a leather magazine carrier with a loaded 10 rd. extended length single stack Chip McCormick magazine
* On my right side forward hip is an IWB holster with a SigArms GSR 5" 1911 there and loaded with 8+1 rounds
* And I'm wearing a leather belt that I'd bought ~8 yrs. ago
I am now center of store attention by purchasers and other store personnel watching on from short distances.
...So to answer her question I make the choice to reveal to her that I am carrying a pocket knife in my back pocket and I display it to her.
It is a Gerber Applegate-Fairburn model folder. Definitely not something you would ever find at Home Depot on their shelves.
I show this to her, but do not open it, and her eyes went wide. The knife remains closed. I did not open it because I do not want her nor any onlooker, who cannot hear my words as spoken to her, to think OMG that guy just pulled a knife on that lady...after being caught by the store theft alarm.
Secondly I remain calm and otherwise concealed toward my other arms.
I state to her looking at her directly but smiling so as to appear 'warm', folk tell me I have a cold/serious/scary normal gaze face, "What do we do now?".
She looks me over once more and says don't worry about it.
I smiled, and walked off with my family.
We get to the car and my wife is all it's your gun. It's your gun!!!
No, it's not my gun. Those devices are not metal detectors like at the airport. If they were and were that sensitive then nobody would be able to get out of the store upon buying much larger things like wrenches, power tools, compressors, etc. Duh!
The only logical answer is that something amongst my clothing caused their device to go off. And as all but one article of my clothing is literally years old as soon as we walk through the door I check my pull over top for a store sensor. I find one on my left side lower edge literally right along a seam that was lying on top of where I carry my magazine holster.
It's a very good thing I did not in the store posit this theory and attempt to locate it while standing there. I would have been outed and no doubt the cops called.
So I cut the thing off, which BTW does have imprinted on it instruction to do just that upon purchase, and I immediately call the store back.
I identify myself by first name to the customer service person and explain what had just occurred at their store. She remarks that they have recorded the "incident" in their store log. I then comment that I found a sensor on my months old top and she asks if it came from "Old Navy". I reply yes. She states that the sensors from that store are same as the ones they use at Home Depot and that this occurs every so often. She tells me she'll update their record and not to worry about it. She went on to thank me for calling to inform them.
Afterward I have a conversation with my wife and daughter, she's 6, about compliance, the law, and individual rights.
I adise them that she the store employee has no legal powers nor rights to ask me to remove anythign from my person nor even to show her anything. My choice to comply though this time was simply my own choice. I
Additionally even if store security, if there is any, had arrived and even if they are wearing law enforcement style clothes and even if they have a 'SECURITY' badge affixed to it they do not have the powers or right to arrest or even detain me. I have the choice to comply with their requests, and if such were to have occurred I would likely not have chosen to comply.
As to my state of carry of tools be it my knife or my firearm (both of which in MA are deemed as 'weapons' as are basically and literally anything else), I am licensed and permitted to carry the firearm and associated magazine with ammunition concealed. The knife was not concealed as the clip and the top edge of the knife itself is exposed...if you look for it.
I am not though by any state nor federal law required to state to anyone my status of tools or weapons kept or concealed upon my person. I am not even by state law required to state to a law enforcement officer that I am carrying a concealed firearm, although per my own rules of operation I do and would when applicable.
My wife then responded that this happens to her all the time and never has she been stopped, when I'm not there.
Further she went on to say that if I had not been there they would not have even looked at her. And that this was just per her words a case of me being Black (she's white) and that was that once the alarm lit off. Which again it went off as my wife went through before I had even left from the register checkout area.
So yes this was a bit long but I wanted to be complete in the reporting and lessons to share.
Know your rights. Make your choices and know when and what choices you can make. Think first before acting because once you act on your choice there is no undo or redo. Had this woman or eghad the store observers seen my HUGE LOADED magazine or BIIIIGGGG loaded gun she and everyone would have flipped out. Never mind that I'm standing there with my kids, wife, and a basket full of swag I had paid for.
And the cops would have come with lights and sirens active. My kids be traumatized, 6 and 2 yrs. old, upon seeing cops being mean to daddy. The same cops that I tell them to go to if ever they are lost in the store or are in trouble and daddy (or mom) is not around to help. And over a gun. The same gun that at home I have spent a lot of time and effort training my children to understand as fact is not itself inherently dangerous and is just a tool...and that daddy is not a danger either even as I do carry it concealed.
So folk who carry, which is many of us, keep in mind to cut those store sensor tags off as otherwise there could be trouble.