There are some big stores that have a policy of having someone check a person's receipt when they leave the store to make sure that it matches with what they have in their bags.They do this in order to cut down on people stealing from the store. If I unknowingly have something in the bag that I didn't pay for, but when I went through this "security check" it wasn't noticed, do I have to return the item? My question is, does the fact that my bags were checked and this item wasn't noticed, make this into a case of ta'us akum in which case I would be allowed to keep it? Or does the fact that I put it into the bag (even accidently) make it into a ful-fledged act of stealing from a goy, and I would have to return it? An added point, is that even the checking of the bag might not make it into ta'us akum, since it often done in a perfunctory manner just to put some fear into customers but not to actually do a thorough check.

  • Within the definition of the "Ta'ut akum" in this scenario is a "reality" of the job, from what I've seen. Using Costco as an example, on a typical Sunday, even with people lined up by 2 checkers at the door, it's impossible for them to check everything that every person has. The question is, within their job definition, are they expected to do this? If not, perhaps, this doesn't fit the definition of a "ta'ut". I.e., it becomes your responsibility, maybe, to pay for all the items you take out of the store. It's as if there were no checker at all for the items that you mistakenly took.
    – DanF
    Jan 23 '17 at 18:12
  • 3
    I think returning the item would make a positive impression and possibly be a kidush Hashem which would outweigh any potential benefit of possibly being aloud to keep the item
    – Dude
    Jan 23 '17 at 19:10
  • I don't think there is something such as "accidental stealing". The only difference might be in terms of the punishment. But, if you have an item that belongs to someone else that you were not entitled to, you stole it. Yes, I got the gist of your question that presumes that if the checker didn't do his job, does that no entitle you to it. I agree with @Dude's idea, and would add - how would you behave if nobody checked bags on the way out? You may be assuming that the checker's mistake overrides the owner's ownership of the item you wrongly took, even accidentally.
    – DanF
    Jan 23 '17 at 21:56
  • @DanF. If there was nobody checking I would surely (have to) return it. And I'm aware that I could always choose to make a kiddush Hashem if I so chose. I just want to know if my taking it accidently plus his carelessness in checking equals a ta'us or not.
    – Mark A.
    Jan 23 '17 at 22:36

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