EAS Tags Keep Blustering Bullies At Bay
Two things that I have learned over the 28 years I have been in retail that are essential for a store to remain profitable is to stop shoplifting and prevent fraud. They may sound like they go hand in hand but that isn’t necessarily the case. Both do have something in common I have found and a recent encounter my daughter had reminded me of this. Often someone who is trying to commit fraud or theft is a loudmouth and will try to intimidate people. When I was a Manager on Duty and especially as a Loss Prevention Manager it seemed I encountered it almost daily. I will tell the story of my daughter’s boisterous bully in a moment. Before I tell the story, it is important that I remind everyone that the use of electronic article surveillance (EAS) hard tags is a good way to deter theft and as a consequence, some types of fraud.
Shoplifters tend to steal merchandise based on the ease of concealment, high value, ability to resell it or if it is low or high risk. By risk, I mean the chance of being caught in the act of ripping off a store. Some anti-theft devices can impair the ease of concealment for example when an a Keeper Box is used for a perfume bottle. Merchandise becomes high risk when EAS hard tags are used to stop shoplifting. Say for example using a Mini Hard Tag when to protect clothing. Crooks will take untagged clothing into a fitting room hide them in a purse or put them on under their clothes. When it is time for them to leave the store the stolen items go out with them. On the other hand, if the merchandise has a tag attached to it the bad guys know it is going to set off the electronic article surveillance alarm towers. They can’t remove it because forcing a tag off takes a LOT of effort and it also ruins the clothing. EAS tags add risk to attempted shoplifting. Take these two factors away and the final class of thieves tend to be fewer and far between. They too can be thwarted with retail anti-theft devices but employees have to be responsive to alarm activations and tagging has to be aggressive.
The loudmouths are often those people who are trying to steal or commit fraud as I mentioned earlier. When one of these clowns sets off an electronic article surveillance tower they may raise their voice immediately. They will pretend to be embarrassed and in a loud voice let everyone know that they shop here all of the time (it makes no difference if they do or don’t). They may also announce that they have a receipt and paid for everything or claim they have nothing at all. If an employee asks for a receipt they will often make a public display of pulling out a receipt and carefully keeping a thumb over the date stamp. A glaring look frequently accompanies the loud voice that is intended to get the employee to do a cursory receipt check and send the crook on their way just to get rid of them.
The person committing fraud will act in the same fashion. With return fraud they will huff and puff and put on great theatrics to convince a manager that all is in order and if it isn’t it is in no way their fault. If the merchandise is being returned with EAS hard tags still on them and no receipt it has most likely been stolen. If there is no receipt but there is damage to the merchandise it is quite probable a tag was forced off at home. Having a clear return policy and sticking to that policy makes it far easier to deal with these patrons than when managers start to cave into them.
In my daughter’s case she was dealing with a patron trying to pay for merchandise with a lot of $20 bills that were not being accepted through a counterfeit bill reader. When she told him she could not accept his money he attempted to puff up and raise his voice and complain that there was nothing wrong with his money. Fortunately my daughter stuck to her guns and the patron pulled out two bills that passed muster. The point is that criminals try to use intimidation to get away with their crimes.
EAS hard tags may not prevent all types of fraud but they do stop shoplifting and certain forms of return fraud. Stop the theft and you can reduce you and your manager’s exposure to bullying browbeaters and blowhards. You will also keep your store a happier place to work and shop.
Get more information on EAS hard tags, contact us or call 1.866.914.2567 today