Anti-shoplifting Efforts And Stubborn Customers

Anti-shoplifting – 4                                                                                                                    WC Blog 841
Sensormatic security system-4

Anti-shoplifting Efforts And Stubborn Customers

     I just saw a clip on my Facebook feed where a uniformed store security was following anti-shoplifting protocols for a store and asking for a receipt check. I don’t know why I put myself through these painful videos because they tend to just get me angry. I was angry because the customer who filmed the episode was obviously being obnoxious on purpose and trying to start something. His capturing of the event on his phone made that apparent. I was angry that the security officer did not have a better response to the “customer” and the manager who was called over was less helpful. By the end of the two or three minute clip I wanted to snatch that phone and break it. When the store manager decided to just let the obnoxious customer just leave the video recording continued and the manager and security officer asked him to stop and he wouldn’t. I could not tell if there was a Sensormatic security system in use in this store but if there was I would have liked to see what would have happened if the alarm had sounded.

     During my tenure as a Loss Prevention Manager I came across similar situations and empathize with the Security Officer. There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer to this problem. I have looked at number of websites with lawyers giving advice to “legal” websites. The interesting thing is on one website with several lawyers giving their input some say a store has a right to briefly detain those suspected of shoplifting and recommend you stop and show a receipt. They argue it helps keep prices lower for everyone. Others say you are not required to stop and that they keep walking. Others give a short response saying that if you are offended don’t shop there anymore. One response did say that stopping for a receipt check is a requirement of membership for club type stores like Costco. There are even testy debates on websites about whether you are required to stop for a Sensormatic security system or similar alarm activation. Does this qualify as grounds for reasonable detainment?

     To be perfectly frank the issue is there is no federal guideline. Each state has their own laws governing ”Shopkeeper’s Privilege” and what is a reasonable detainment. Anti-shoplifting laws are not universal and therefore as a store owner it is incumbent on you to be familiar with the laws of your own state. This brings up the question of whether it makes sense to even have a person at the door to help prevent shoplifting or a Sensormatic system to discourage thieves? 

     I believe it is in the best interest of stores to have an anti-shoplifting system in place. This is no different than having closed circuit television cameras, camera domes and monitors in a store. They do help deter impulse thieves. These are the people who come in and without a lot of forethought decide to steal as a thrill or on a dare or even peer-pressure. A Sensormatic security system with towers at the doors and merchandise with security tags is usually enough to make these people change their mind about stealing. Even some of the shoplifters who are stealing for drugs are stopped when they realize a security system is in use. The only ones who may not be deterred are the hardcore criminals or organized crime groups who you may not want to be dealing with anyways other than through customer service.

     What about a receipt checker at the door? Most people are going to be cooperative and willing to show a receipt. There are some who are going to refuse. I can only suggest that if you are going to have someone at the door you have a consistent policy of only asking for a receipt on exposed merchandise (meaning merchandise not in a bag from your store). You also need to ensure if employees are responding to a Sensormatic security system alarm that your employees are trained on how to do so properly. Never accuse someone of shoplifting simply because an alarm sounds. It could be a cashier failed to remove a clothing security tag from a shirt or jeans. The great thing is if you aren’t sure your employees are trained properly on alarm response or you don’t have a Sensormatic system, Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. offers training and if you purchase an anti-shoplifting system from them you get FREE training to go along with it.

     There is no easy answer to the problem of receipt checks. Hopefully I have given you a few helpful tips on how to try to resolve the issue. It is important to keep in mind that most honest shoppers will be willing to show receipts in order to help stop shoplifting and keep prices low.
A Sensormatic security system is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.



     

I just saw a clip on my Facebook feed where a uniformed store security was following anti-shoplifting protocols for a store and asking for a receipt check. I don’t know why I put myself through these painful videos because they tend to just get me angry. I was angry because the customer who filmed the episode was obviously being obnoxious on purpose and trying to start something. His capturing of the event on his phone made that apparent. I was angry that the security officer did not have a better response to the “customer” and the manager who was called over was less helpful. By the end of the two or three minute clip I wanted to snatch that phone and break it. When the store manager decided to just let the obnoxious customer just leave the video recording continued and the manager and security officer asked him to stop and he wouldn’t. I could not tell if there was a Sensormatic security system in use in this store but if there was I would have liked to see what would have happened if the alarm had sounded.
     

During my tenure as a Loss Prevention Manager I came across similar situations and empathize with the Security Officer. There is no clear-cut right or wrong answer to this problem. I have looked at number of websites with lawyers giving advice to “legal” websites. The interesting thing is on one website with several lawyers giving their input some say a store has a right to briefly detain those suspected of shoplifting and recommend you stop and show a receipt. They argue it helps keep prices lower for everyone. Others say you are not required to stop and that they keep walking. Others give a short response saying that if you are offended don’t shop there anymore. One response did say that stopping for a receipt check is a requirement of membership for club type stores like Costco. There are even testy debates on websites about whether you are required to stop for a Sensormatic security system or similar alarm activation. Does this qualify as grounds for reasonable detainment?
     

To be perfectly frank the issue is there is no federal guideline. Each state has their own laws governing ”Shopkeeper’s Privilege” and what is a reasonable detainment. Anti-shoplifting laws are not universal and therefore as a store owner it is incumbent on you to be familiar with the laws of your own state. This brings up the question of whether it makes sense to even have a person at the door to help prevent shoplifting or a Sensormatic system to discourage thieves? 
     

I believe it is in the best interest of stores to have an anti-shoplifting system in place. This is no different than having closed circuit television cameras, camera domes and monitors in a store. They do help deter impulse thieves. These are the people who come in and without a lot of forethought decide to steal as a thrill or on a dare or even peer-pressure. A Sensormatic security system with towers at the doors and merchandise with security tags is usually enough to make these people change their mind about stealing. Even some of the shoplifters who are stealing for drugs are stopped when they realize a security system is in use. The only ones who may not be deterred are the hardcore criminals or organized crime groups who you may not want to be dealing with anyways other than through customer service.
     

What about a receipt checker at the door? Most people are going to be cooperative and willing to show a receipt. There are some who are going to refuse. I can only suggest that if you are going to have someone at the door you have a consistent policy of only asking for a receipt on exposed merchandise (meaning merchandise not in a bag from your store). You also need to ensure if employees are responding to a Sensormatic security system alarm that your employees are trained on how to do so properly. Never accuse someone of shoplifting simply because an alarm sounds. It could be a cashier failed to remove a clothing security tag from a shirt or jeans. The great thing is if you aren’t sure your employees are trained properly on alarm response or you don’t have a Sensormatic system, Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. offers training and if you purchase an anti-shoplifting system from them you get FREE training to go along with it.
     

There is no easy answer to the problem of receipt checks. Hopefully I have given you a few helpful tips on how to try to resolve the issue. It is important to keep in mind that most honest shoppers will be willing to show receipts in order to help stop shoplifting and keep prices low.

 

A Sensormatic security system is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.


     

My Favorite Cases When I Would Stop Shoplifting – Part 3


Sensormatic Security System – 4                                                                          WC Blog 827
Stop Shoplifting – 3

My Favorite Cases When I Would Stop Shoplifting – Part 3

     This is part three and the final segment on my favorite cases from when I would stop shoplifting. As a Retail Loss Prevention Officer or Manager we encounter many scary, funny and odd cases. In this installment I want to share my scariest shoplifting moments and remind readers why care must be taken when you stop shoplifters.
7. The department store where I started out my career did not use a Sensormatic security system but we did use a similar anti-theft system. Some but not all of our clothing products were tagged to prevent theft. In this particular incident a female shoplifter stuffed a purse full of clothing and started to exit the building and the alarm sounded. I stopped her and she ran back in the store threw the merchandise all over the place then ran back out. I chased her but she was very overweight and ran out of energy so she stopped, put her hand in her purse and told me I had better leave her alone. The implication was clear she was suggesting she had a gun or weapon in her purse. The police arrived a minute or two later. She was arrested and charged with shoplifting. I was a bit shocked when I learned that she had a lengthy arrest record that included an “Involuntary Manslaughter” charge. Yes, I did stop shoplifting and probably helped put a dangerous person in jail but it did give me pause to think the next time I watched a suspect.
8. I remember my first shoplifting case with my second company. I was in training at another store in a metro market. The Loss Prevention Officers followed a pair of suspects out of the store who had loaded an outdoor trash canister with multipliers and knives. The Sensormatic security system alarmed as the suspects walked through the towers. I happened to be outside when the alarm activated. Though I had a number of years of experience I stayed back a bit in a support role and monitored the team as they made the stop. One of the suspects quickly put his hand in his jacket pocket and pepper sprayed but not the Loss Prevention Officers who stopped him, he got ME! I had experienced CS gas in the military so this was not unbearable and I chased him but he sprayed me two more times and I could not see any more. I had to hide between several parked cars to ensure I did not get run over. Someone got the suspect’s license plate number and a year later I was subpoenaed to his hearing. It turned out he had a laundry list of prior convictions for all sorts of crimes.
9. This is not the most memorable case but it is near the top of my dangerous shoplifting cases and certainly in my personal top 9 or 10 list. In this case a thief had been in the store early in the day and I suspected stole a purse and activated the Sensormatic security system towers but I could not make a stop. I had not seen the selection. Later that night the suspect returned and did the same thing but this time I was ready. I stopped him and he returned to the store but after a brief struggle with me pulled out of his coat. I grabbed our purse and one he carried into the store. I lost him in a foot chase but when I returned to the store I had a surprise. I had tossed the purses to a manager and when I looked in his I found his prison release identification card but more concerning was a butcher knife he had hidden in it! The suspect was later picked up on another charge and the outstanding shoplifting warrant.
10. This is short but it tops the most dangerous shoplifter cases I encountered. I had a guy I observed stealing from our store. I followed all of the steps required to apprehend a shoplifter and as he approached the exit doors I identified myself and told him he needed to come back in and talk to me about the item he had taken. The suspect lifted the front of his t-shirt and exposed the handle of a handgun. I backed away to disengage and went back in the store to call the police. No apprehension and no recovery but I walked away intact. 
Not every shoplifter is dangerous and with common sense, a Sensormatic security system and training on how to stop shoplifting offered by Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. you will reduce your exposure to theft and fraud. That means you increase profits while keeping you and your employees safe.
Get more information on how to stop shoplifting, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today. 
      

This is part three and the final segment on my favorite cases from when I would stop shoplifting. As a Retail Loss Prevention Officer or Manager we encounter many scary, funny and odd cases. In this installment I want to share my scariest shoplifting moments and remind readers why care must be taken when you stop shoplifters.

 

7. The department store where I started out my career did not use a Sensormatic security system but we did use a similar anti-theft system. Some but not all of our clothing products were tagged to prevent theft. In this particular incident a female shoplifter stuffed a purse full of clothing and started to exit the building and the alarm sounded. I stopped her and she ran back in the store threw the merchandise all over the place then ran back out. I chased her but she was very overweight and ran out of energy so she stopped, put her hand in her purse and told me I had better leave her alone. The implication was clear she was suggesting she had a gun or weapon in her purse. The police arrived a minute or two later. She was arrested and charged with shoplifting. I was a bit shocked when I learned that she had a lengthy arrest record that included an “Involuntary Manslaughter” charge. Yes, I did stop shoplifting and probably helped put a dangerous person in jail but it did give me pause to think the next time I watched a suspect.

 

8. I remember my first shoplifting case with my second company. I was in training at another store in a metro market. The Loss Prevention Officers followed a pair of suspects out of the store who had loaded an outdoor trash canister with multipliers and knives. The Sensormatic security system alarmed as the suspects walked through the towers. I happened to be outside when the alarm activated. Though I had a number of years of experience I stayed back a bit in a support role and monitored the team as they made the stop. One of the suspects quickly put his hand in his jacket pocket and pepper sprayed but not the Loss Prevention Officers who stopped him, he got ME! I had experienced CS gas in the military so this was not unbearable and I chased him but he sprayed me two more times and I could not see any more. I had to hide between several parked cars to ensure I did not get run over. Someone got the suspect’s license plate number and a year later I was subpoenaed to his hearing. It turned out he had a laundry list of prior convictions for all sorts of crimes.

 

9. This is not the most memorable case but it is near the top of my dangerous shoplifting cases and certainly in my personal top 9 or 10 list. In this case a thief had been in the store early in the day and I suspected stole a purse and activated the Sensormatic security system towers but I could not make a stop. I had not seen the selection. Later that night the suspect returned and did the same thing but this time I was ready. I stopped him and he returned to the store but after a brief struggle with me pulled out of his coat. I grabbed our purse and one he carried into the store. I lost him in a foot chase but when I returned to the store I had a surprise. I had tossed the purses to a manager and when I looked in his I found his prison release identification card but more concerning was a butcher knife he had hidden in it! The suspect was later picked up on another charge and the outstanding shoplifting warrant.

 

10. This is short but it tops the most dangerous shoplifter cases I encountered. I had a guy I observed stealing from our store. I followed all of the steps required to apprehend a shoplifter and as he approached the exit doors I identified myself and told him he needed to come back in and talk to me about the item he had taken. The suspect lifted the front of his t-shirt and exposed the handle of a handgun. I backed away to disengage and went back in the store to call the police. No apprehension and no recovery but I walked away intact. 

 

Not every shoplifter is dangerous and with common sense, a Sensormatic security system and training on how to stop shoplifting offered by Loss Prevention Systems, Inc. you will reduce your exposure to theft and fraud. That means you increase profits while keeping you and your employees safe.

 

Get more information on how to stop shoplifting, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.       

 

Train Managers On How To Stop Shoplifting And Distinguish Fraud From A Legitimate Complaint



Stop Shoplifting – 4                                                                                                       WC Blog 837
Training to reduce employee theft-3

Train Managers On How To Stop Shoplifting And Distinguish Fraud From A Legitimate Complaint

    Retail managers at all levels should attend training to reduce employee theft and stop shoplifting. After a recent experience I had at a store they should also have to attend training to recognize when they or the store has made a mistake. I was birthday shopping for my wife and went to a well-known business to purchase a computer tablet. I was not getting anything expensive but the one I found was on a shelf with a shelf label that matched the description and a listed price of $79. There were two of the items on the shelf. I carefully noted what all of the shelf labels said so I was sure I was getting the correct item and took it to the front registers. I was at a self-checkout stand and asked the cashier if she could remove the security device on it that was meant to stop shoplifting. She struggled and I offered to assist (this has been a part of my career for over twenty years) and we removed the device. The item scanned at $99. I called her back over and told her the price was wrong and that the shelf label said it was $79. She called a supervisor over who must not have believed the register and scanned it and got the same price. She then told me that it scanned correctly. I asked her to come with me to electronics and I showed her the shelf labels. She then tried to point to another label and I showed her that the label she pointed to was for another brand and then showed her ALL of the labels. She then called the electronics person over who scanned the merchandise and told me the label was the wrong one. Now I was a bit irritated. The electronics associate tried to tell me why the merchandise did not match and I explained it was the only shelf label that DID match. The front end supervisor said she could give me 10 percent off. I told her that was not acceptable the price difference was $20 and I would just contact the corporate office. I started to walk away, still polite and maintaining my composure. Now I don’t know if these two thought they were able to stop fraud or stop shoplifting but I was perturbed. Then I had the notion I would speak to a manager because these two were no help. 

     The manager on duty came over and I explained for the third or fourth time what had happened and the 10 percent reduction offered to me. I went through the shelf labels again and explained what I had already explained. For the fourth time the product was scanned. For the fourth time $99 popped up. The manager agreed that the box seemed to match the shelf label then noted that there was another box on the shelf that looked nearly identical. It was the same except it was thinner and was missing a keyboard. When he scanned it the box was the $79 item I wanted. The manager admitted their planogram was missing a shelf label and he would have it corrected then apologized. I was happy to get the item I wanted. This was a situation where employees should have had some training on customer service. 

     Managers who attend training to reduce employee theft learn signs to look for that may indicate someone is likely to steal and the proper way to intervene to stop it. Training to stop shoplifting helps managers learn customer service skills that quietly disrupt criminals intending to steal. Unfortunately training that would teach managers customer service etiquette seems to be wanting. Rather than assuming a customer who is challenging a price is trying to commit fraud why not properly investigate the claim?  How much easier might it have been in my attempt to purchase a tablet to have that first manager see that there was an issue with shelf labels and resolve the problem? Rather than admit a mistake of some type additional people were called in and a customer was getting quite ticked off. With the right approach it could have been a non-issue. As it was they nearly lost a sale and risked a call to their headquarters.

    While training to reduce employee theft and stop shoplifting are available to store owners the responsibility to instruct managers at all levels on customer service etiquette is yours. Are you willing to lose a customer because a manager was unable or unwilling to recognize the difference between an attempt at fraud and a store error? Teach your managers to think for themselves and empower them to make the right choices it will pay off in customer loyalty.
Need information on how to stop shoplifting? Contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.

Retail managers at all levels should attend training to reduce employee theft and stop shoplifting. After a recent experience I had at a store they should also have to attend training to recognize when they or the store has made a mistake. I was birthday shopping for my wife and went to a well-known business to purchase a computer tablet. I was not getting anything expensive but the one I found was on a shelf with a shelf label that matched the description and a listed price of $79. There were two of the items on the shelf. I carefully noted what all of the shelf labels said so I was sure I was getting the correct item and took it to the front registers. I was at a self-checkout stand and asked the cashier if she could remove the security device on it that was meant to stop shoplifting. She struggled and I offered to assist (this has been a part of my career for over twenty years) and we removed the device. The item scanned at $99. I called her back over and told her the price was wrong and that the shelf label said it was $79. She called a supervisor over who must not have believed the register and scanned it and got the same price. She then told me that it scanned correctly. I asked her to come with me to electronics and I showed her the shelf labels. She then tried to point to another label and I showed her that the label she pointed to was for another brand and then showed her ALL of the labels. She then called the electronics person over who scanned the merchandise and told me the label was the wrong one. Now I was a bit irritated. The electronics associate tried to tell me why the merchandise did not match and I explained it was the only shelf label that DID match. The front end supervisor said she could give me 10 percent off. I told her that was not acceptable the price difference was $20 and I would just contact the corporate office. I started to walk away, still polite and maintaining my composure. Now I don’t know if these two thought they were able to stop fraud or stop shoplifting but I was perturbed. Then I had the notion I would speak to a manager because these two were no help. 
     

The manager on duty came over and I explained for the third or fourth time what had happened and the 10 percent reduction offered to me. I went through the shelf labels again and explained what I had already explained. For the fourth time the product was scanned. For the fourth time $99 popped up. The manager agreed that the box seemed to match the shelf label then noted that there was another box on the shelf that looked nearly identical. It was the same except it was thinner and was missing a keyboard. When he scanned it the box was the $79 item I wanted. The manager admitted their planogram was missing a shelf label and he would have it corrected then apologized. I was happy to get the item I wanted. This was a situation where employees should have had some training on customer service. 
     

Managers who attend training to reduce employee theft learn signs to look for that may indicate someone is likely to steal and the proper way to intervene to stop it. Training to stop shoplifting helps managers learn customer service skills that quietly disrupt criminals intending to steal. Unfortunately training that would teach managers customer service etiquette seems to be wanting. Rather than assuming a customer who is challenging a price is trying to commit fraud why not properly investigate the claim?  How much easier might it have been in my attempt to purchase a tablet to have that first manager see that there was an issue with shelf labels and resolve the problem? Rather than admit a mistake of some type additional people were called in and a customer was getting quite ticked off. With the right approach it could have been a non-issue. As it was they nearly lost a sale and risked a call to their headquarters.
   

While training to reduce employee theft and stop shoplifting are available to store owners the responsibility to instruct managers at all levels on customer service etiquette is yours. Are you willing to lose a customer because a manager was unable or unwilling to recognize the difference between an attempt at fraud and a store error? Teach your managers to think for themselves and empower them to make the right choices it will pay off in customer loyalty.

 

Need information on how to stop shoplifting? Contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.