Amy Colbert, a customer from Alabama, used self-checkout to pay for some items at her neighborhood Walmart. She thought she had completed the payment procedure for her groceries after accurately scanning the items, but the self-checkout equipment froze just as she left.
The woman was caught as she prepared to leave the store and charged with stealing. She claimed that after paying, the machine froze, but the staff at the shop had her detained. They were unaware of the enormous error they had made.
Amy had lived in Alabama all her life. She loved the air, the big wide fields, and, more importantly, the welcoming people. The woman built a life in her hometown, working in a call center. She married young but couldn’t have any children.
She soon separated from her husband and lived alone in a modest apartment. She was an easy-going person who got along cordially with most of her neighbors. However, there was something about Amy that not many people knew.
After her divorce, Amy’s behavior changed. It wasn’t anything significant or alarming, but it was enough to be noticeable to her neighbors and her friends in the area.
For the months following Amy’s divorce, she rarely left the house or received any visits. It seemed like the woman was alone in the world. But why could that be?
A few of her closest friends knew about it; however, it wasn’t something that Amy went around divulging. She knew better than that.
Her friends played their part as well, and understood why Amy would want it to remain a secret. After all, people can often be prejudiced and jump to conclusions without knowing the whole story.
Not many people knew that Amy had a problematic relationship with her family. Even though they lived in the same city, they rarely went to see her.
Amy didn’t talk much about them either. It almost seemed like she wanted to avoid mentioning them at all costs. However, there might have been a reason for that.
Amy’s childhood was a rough one. She grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city of Mobile, where her family still lived to that day.
As a kid, Amy saw a lot of things that no child should. Some of them were particularly gruesome, and could easily have left her traumatized for life.
But that wasn’t all. In Amy’s childhood, the ugly stuff didn’t start and end on the streets; it was inside her own house. Amy’s family, the Colberts, were well-known in the area; and it was for all the wrong reasons.
In her childhood, Amy used to live with her parents and her uncle. Sadly, the three adults in the house were involved in certain shady endeavors that shaped Amy’s life in an irreversible way.
The Colberts were well-known thieves and burglars in the area. They were revered and respected by some and despised by others.
They never “did their job” anywhere in their neighborhood; but every other week, they used to go to the wealthy part of town, break into houses, and come back with the riches. Everyone in the neighborhood knew about it; however, no one dared tell on them.
But one day, the Colberts’ lucky strike came to an end. The three of them were caught red-handed while in one of their escapades in a mansion on the outskirts of Mobile.
They were sent to prison; Amy was sent to boarding school, where she stayed until she turned 18. Her parents were released just one year after that. But what followed was far from an amicable family reunion.
After her relatives were released from prison, Amy didn’t want anything to do with them. She resented them forever for what their lifestyle and crimes had led to.
Growing up, she had a lot of luxuries that other kids in her school and neighborhood couldn’t dream of, sure. But did that merit the lonely, sad childhood she had to live? Was that enough to justify having to grow up without a family?
Even though Amy tried to steer clear from her family’s endeavors from then on, word got to her that they were still doing the same thing that had led them to jail.
She didn’t want her name associated with them; so since she started working and being able to support herself, she reduced her visits and communication to the bare minimum required by common courtesy.
It took her a while to get over the trauma and resentment: but eventually, she made peace with her past and was just fine living alone, far from all the trauma and stress.
Plus, Amy had made a lot of friends in the area during her lifetime, so she never really felt lonely. But even though she was the nicest person, she would soon make an enemy. A very powerful one.
So now, as a middle-aged woman without a husband or children and barely any link to her family, she was used to doing everything by herself inside and outside the house.
That, of course, included going to her closest grocery store and getting some food for the week. Little did she know that one of her shopping trips would forever change her life.
The middle-aged woman was a pillar in her community. Everyone loved her, and she often volunteered in neighborhood organizations.
So when the ordeal with Walmart happened, everyone who knew the woman was shocked. They couldn’t believe she could ever do that. People were sure the accusations were false. However, things took a turn for the worse shortly after.
Amy never got to know how it started. Still, word got around about her family and her past just a few days after she was accused of shoplifting in the grocery store.
After that, people started thinking twice before defending Amy’s innocence. What if it ran in the blood? Rumors began spreading and blowing things out of proportion. And that wasn’t all.
Amy had to live with the pain of knowing that, very likely, one of her friends was a sneaky gossiper who had been divulging her secret all around town.
She never found out who it was: but during those weeks, the suffering caused by the slander and the callous actions from the grocery store was made even worse by that feeling of betrayal.
Amy always shopped at that local Walmart. It was close to her home and had good prices and deals.
But one day, she would have the worst shopping experience of her life. Even though she was a loyal customer, the shop staff treated her awful. They were justified, though. They thought the woman had shoplifted. But was that really the case, or was it a giant mistake?
Sometimes self-checkout can be confusing or not all that user-friendly, especially if you don’t use it often. However, there’s usually an employee nearby to answer questions or assist with the checkout process as needed.
Amy used self-checkout to pay for her groceries at the local Walmart store. The woman scanned the items correctly, but before she left the self-checkout machine, it froze. Something was wrong.
Amy didn’t think much of it; after all, she had scanned all the items and swiped her card. The machine hadn’t printed out a receipt, but she never took those anyway.
So she took her cart and got on her way to the grocery store’s exit. But suddenly, she heard a voice hollering behind her. She turned around; one of the store’s employees was running in her direction.
Right then and there, she was stopped by the employee and accused of shoplifting. She explained that she paid and then the machine froze, but the staff wouldn’t have it.
They physically stopped her and told Amy that she couldn’t go because she had stolen merchandise and needed to face the consequences. The woman was in tears.
The staff of the local Walmart had Amy arrested. They called the Police, and two officers arrived at the scene.
They escorted the crying woman and tried to figure out what was going on. She was in a terrible state. She couldn’t believe this was happening to her. Amy kept explaining to everyone that she had paid, and the self-checkout machine just froze.
It took a lot of time until her case first appeared before a judge. Around a year later, Amy’s case was dismissed, but the drama was far from over. In fact, it was just beginning.
The woman’s ordeal was not going to end so easily. They weren’t done yet. The representatives of Walmart would make sure of that.
And to make things worse, rumors started spreading around town that Amy had, in fact, stolen something from the grocery store. All of a sudden, everyone knew about her family and her past.
“Like mother, like daughter,” people whispered behind Amy’s back. And that wasn’t even the worst part. Walmart was getting ready to get some brutal payback.
The middle-aged woman ended up getting letters from a Florida law firm threatening to sue her if she didn’t pay $200.
That was more than the price of the groceries she supposedly tried to steal. She refused to pay, but she didn’t ignore the letters either. She kept them, trying to devise a plan to get back at them for the way they treated her.
Apparently, the letters from the law firm were sent on behalf of Walmart. Amy was baffled. How could this be? After one year, they still wanted money from her.
So the woman went to a law firm and decided to build a case with them. She was going to sue Walmart for their mistake. Would she get anything out of it, though? Or just waste her money and time?
When they investigated further, the law firm discovered something grim. According to the lawsuit, Walmart “engaged in a pattern and practice of falsely accusing innocent Alabama citizens of shoplifting and thereafter attempting to collect money from the innocently accused.”
That was worse than Amy thought. Walmart falsely accused people in Alabama of shoplifting on purpose, including her.
Within a two-year period, Walmart made hundreds of millions of dollars with this terrible practice. Amy and the jury were baffled.
The woman couldn’t believe what she had uncovered. She was one of the thousands of people Walmart tried to scam in that period. She was a victim and not a shoplifter. Justice had to be made.
The ordeal was finally over. It was time for a decision from the judge and jury. Amy and her legal team were holding their breaths in anticipation.
While Walmart’s lawyers argued that everything they did was legal in Alabama, the jury still sided in favor of Amy. It ended up awarding her $2.1 million. That surely made them regret accusing her of shoplifting.
Amy never expected this type of payback. It was more than she ever dreamed of. All she wanted was to get justice and see someone take responsibility for how she was treated.
And that wasn’t all there was to it. There was a part about the end of this story that was even more satisfying to Amy.
All the slanderers had to swallow their words and watch her coming out on top, with $2.1 million more in her pockets and the pride of having uncovered a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the grocery store’s management.
The woman ended up donating a large sum of the money and continues to live a quiet life in Alabama. Everything worked out just fine for her in the end. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.