Word for, less hassle to comply despite legal right to refuse?
April 12, 2008 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Is there a term for a situation where, despite the fact that it would be within one's legal rights to refuse, simple compliance would save more hassle than arguing the point?

I'm currently in an online discussion regarding my outright favor toward people showing their receipt to the receipt-checker at the exit of a retail store. Simple compliance with a hassle-free (if you have equal or greater manual dexterity than say, a manatee) request like this is far beyond any hassle that would occur than if one were to attempt establish the right as true and getting company security involved, etc., considering it is direct refusal to cooperate with a fatuously uncomplicated request (otherwise being a major red flag that you're being dishonest, despite whether you are completely innocent). It's like outrightly refusing to breathe in deeply when a doctor asks you to -- you don't legally have to, but umm.. hello. I digress.

Is there perhaps also a term to therefore describe a person who believes compliance to such an incalculably insignificant hassle is far simpler than to stir up trouble by refusing, demanding to speak to management, etc, despite the perfectly (but lesser known) legal right to refuse?
posted by vanoakenfold to Writing & Language (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:31 PM on April 12, 2008

I think you have a few words missing or in the wrong place and you might not be correct that you are not required to show your receipt in certain retail situations.
posted by mzurer at 7:36 PM on April 12, 2008

You don't necessarily have the right to refuse in that situation, but if you did have some privacy right that you decided to give up because it was too much trouble to enforce it, a fine word for that would be "pragmatist", as AV suggested.

A better one might be "sheep".
posted by The Bellman at 7:47 PM on April 12, 2008

posted by onalark at 7:49 PM on April 12, 2008

Best answer: Nolo Contendere?
posted by bartleby at 7:51 PM on April 12, 2008

posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:51 PM on April 12, 2008

If I was thirty years older, I'd grumble about war wounds and say "Good German." Nowadays, "Good American" or "Good Consumer" suffices.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:56 PM on April 12, 2008

"Good German".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:59 PM on April 12, 2008 [6 favorites]

posted by Beaufort at 8:02 PM on April 12, 2008

posted by SpacemanStix at 8:12 PM on April 12, 2008

"Taking the High Road."
posted by pazazygeek at 8:16 PM on April 12, 2008

I've always thought of it as "choosing your battles".
posted by jmnugent at 8:19 PM on April 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Lazy, conformist, push-over.
posted by zephyr_words at 8:22 PM on April 12, 2008

Assuming a lot of effort is involved for essentially no gain, perhaps "Pyrrhic victory".
posted by dixie flatline at 8:25 PM on April 12, 2008

"picking your battles"
posted by gyusan at 8:28 PM on April 12, 2008

Choosing the hill you are willing to die on.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:40 PM on April 12, 2008

posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:40 PM on April 12, 2008

The path of least resistance.
posted by Class Goat at 8:47 PM on April 12, 2008

Not being the asshole who holds up the line at Costco for no reason?
posted by moxiedoll at 8:59 PM on April 12, 2008 [3 favorites]

"Not being a dick (about it)."
posted by Brian B. at 9:12 PM on April 12, 2008

Response by poster: I was going to use "pyrrhic victory" for the person who opted to hold up the line just to prove that he could legally get away with it, all the meantime actually delaying the entire process for everyone else who couldn't give a flying fingersandwich -- rather than the person of whom showing a receipt felt less rights-encroaching than any given Pauly Shore film.
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:47 PM on April 12, 2008

The path of least resistance.
posted by Chessbum at 11:42 PM on April 12, 2008

"Someone who has better things to do than to choose this particular moment to try to achieve a small and ultimately meaningless moral victory over Best Buy."
posted by mmoncur at 12:11 AM on April 13, 2008


Although I quite like "Not being an asshole" as a more informal way of saying it!
posted by ranglin at 12:34 AM on April 13, 2008

i dont think this is nolo contendere.
i esp dont think good german applies, or sell out or conformist.
i agree with "not being a dick about it" though.
posted by edtut at 1:47 AM on April 13, 2008

You don't have to show your receipt to the person at the door. If you've paid for your items, they're yours and you're free to go. End of story.

I think it's sad that a couple of people here refer to asserting one's rights as "being an asshole/dick."

I've mostly resumed showing receipts when it's expected, but only because the receipt-checkers often seem to take it personally, and I've never taken issue with the workers performing the task but with the retailers who presume to treat their customers as thieves by default.
posted by univac at 3:56 AM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm with AV that's its pragmatist, however I don't shop at Costco because they treat you like a thief and anywhere I can, I just keep walking. When I handed them the money, the stuff became mine.
posted by disclaimer at 5:55 AM on April 13, 2008

"Under protest" is close to what you mean, with the additional sense that you reserve the right to contest the action in the future.
posted by Iridic at 9:39 AM on April 13, 2008

I think it's sad that a couple of people here refer to asserting one's rights as "being an asshole/dick."

Nice try, but if you are referring to Costco, you signed a membership agreement and it can be refunded to you at anytime if you don't like the terms of service. So, its like being a superdick really.
posted by Brian B. at 9:56 AM on April 13, 2008

"Good German" is pretty much spot-on. There's absolutely no hassle involved in refusing to show your receipt. They have no legal right to search you, and if you continue to walk on after refusing, they will not detain you. If they do, they could be in quite a spot of trouble.

So yeah, you're not holding up people by refusing, and in fact if everyone lines up like sheep to have their receipts checked, you're holding them up for that 15 seconds longer by not walking out directly. Walking out silently and firmly is in no way "being a dick." Railing about the system and making a spectacle is, but that's a whole 'nother plate of beans.

On the other hand, if you signed up for a membership with a place like Costco, that's different, and you agreed to it.
posted by explosion at 10:48 AM on April 13, 2008

Previous online discussion about receipt checking, fueled by conspiracies and secret motives. Whatever they might say, it is an authentication protocol that immediately benefits the member who would rather not have their items stolen from their carts while eating a snack or using the restroom before leaving.

A former cashier at BJ's wholesale club verifies the overcharge benefit to the consumer.

The bottom line here is that people shouldn't sign their name to a membership contract and then pretend they are being victimized and harassed by the fine print of a membership policy that is being displayed for everyone to see on the way in and out the door. But many people do just that, and the reasons why are persecution complex, but for some that's just a day in the life of being a dick.
posted by Brian B. at 1:02 PM on April 13, 2008

I think it's sad that a couple of people here refer to asserting one's rights as "being an asshole/dick."

As one of the people mentioned in this comment, I should clarify that I was answering the question above the cut, which is the more general "what's a word for when you do something without question rather than start a fight?" question, and I think in that context, "not being an asshole" is a reasonable term to use, because it can't be denied that the fight upsets many people and doesn't really gain anything (of course, now someones going to come back and say "It's not about that, it's about defending your rights"!).

I don't know that diverting to debate the legality of the receipt question is really going to help answer the OP's more general question....
posted by ranglin at 6:24 PM on April 13, 2008

The question is multi faceted.

If it bothers the person but they do it anyway, yeah, they are a sheep.

If the person doesn't mind the check and does it, they aren't a sheep.

Do you start a big ol' fight with someone who has no control over policy when just walking out would suffice? Asshole.

I can't believe the responses comparing receipt checking to Nazi Germany. Get some perspective! Doing a COMPLETELY LEGAL task as a retail store is a little different.
posted by gjc at 7:45 PM on April 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

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