NEVER GIVE UP TRYING TO STOP SHOPLIFTING
It’s hell working in retail. There’s no sugar coating our jobs. We battle customer needs, employee relations issues, in-stock position, payroll, theft and the list just can go on for days. Sometimes, I go home completely worn out by the job; however, it’s days where I get a good bust that really keep me going. It’s very hard to Stop Shoplifting, but a keen set of eyes and quick reacting can often lead to great things.
To tell this story, we first have to go back; way back. To my very first year as an LP manager for my company. About 9 years. I was reviewing product returns from the previous day when I came across these flashlights that we didn’t carry. There was about 8, or 9 of them in the returns area, but they had our pricing labels attached to them. Finding it highly odd, I started doing a bit of research. I found the customer that returned them on camera and noted that he had a receipt. Even stranger. So I pulled the original transaction history and found where the sale took place; at a store a few miles up the road about a week prior.
According to the receipt, this guy purchased 9 flashlights at about $4.99 each. In reviewing the transaction video, he had a small basket full of assorted product. I even yelled at my computer screen when I saw my cashier remove various Checkpoint Tags from high dollar product, only for it to ring $4.99. He was actually able to leave the store with around $900 in product, and he only paid about $20. Then to add insult to injury, he went out and purchased some $.50 flashlights at another retailer, swapped the tags on those and returned them to me. He really is a genius. His total cost was about $5 for a $900 load. That’s a pretty good ROI if you ask me. With this video and information, I was able to enlist the help of local police. Eventually, flashlight guy was identified, but never arrested. As time went by, it drifted further from my mind as the demands of daily life took precedence, and well, I had to Stop Shoplifting in other areas of my store, ya’ know?
Fast forward to present day. I’m walking to the front office from the rear of the store. As I’m walking near the front exit doors, I hear my EAS tower sound. I immediately apologize to the customer for failing to remove the Checkpoint Tags and ask to view his receipt so I may address this with the cashier that assisted him. He was very understanding; thanked me for my professionalism and began talking. Talking a whole lot. As I was jotting down the cashier’s name, I noticed that the receipt was for a bunch of $4.99 flashlights. Like a scene out of a movie, a flash of light and vivid memories of years past came flooding back. As soon as I looked in the buggy he was pushing, I saw hundreds of dollars’ worth of product. And not one flashlight.
As if the stars couldn’t align even more on this day, a good friend of mine enters the store at this exact moment. My friend is a state trooper, who also happened to be on duty at the time. With his help, we bring my flashlight guy to the security office where I’m able to recover nearly $1,500 worth of product. The better part? He still had an active warrant for the theft that occurred at the same store nearly 9 years ago. Good day all around.
After he was led out in handcuffs, I approached the cashier that failed to remove the Checkpoint Tags on one of his products. Instead of scolding the cashier for doing so, I bought her a snack and thanked her for helping me close such an old case, albeit by sheer dumb-luck. Sometimes, to Stop Shoplifting, you have really put in the leg work, other times, you just have to be at the right place, at the right time.
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