Long before I came to the retail side I worked for a completely different industry. I was a fast food general manager for four eternally long years. I had no need for Checkpoint Systems; I had no idea what that even was. I did not have to deal with external theft. I had the occasional issue with an employee taking food, mostly just hiding a couple sandwiches to take home. I did catch one guy trying to steal packs of breakfast ham, and a whole box of frozen hamburger patties. He stashed them at the back door with the trash, but he couldn’t get out until I came to unlock the door (and inspect the trash.) Manager-1, Dumb Employee-0. After that I went to work for a discount grocery chain. Although the store manager always swore we had lots of shoplifters, we didn’t have any type of anti-shoplifting devices. Even our one and only camera was fake.
When I came to work for a retail pharmacy business, that was my first introduction to Checkpoint Systems and the other types of anti-shoplifting tools. Of course, I had seen the pedestals at the doors of many businesses before, and I figured they were there to detect theft. During my training period, I assumed this was how shoplifters were caught. I learned what we had to have in order to detain someone, but I never seemed to see anything suspicious. But when those pedestals alarmed, I was like an Olympic sprinter coming from where ever I was working to stop the thief! To my dismay, it always turned out the cashier up front or in the pharmacy didn’t get the Checkpoint tag deactivated. I did eventually calm down and I’m ashamed to admit I almost became like the rest of the employees, hardly even paying attention to that announcement and alarm beeping.
After about 3 months, I started really getting into the business and noticing things that I had not seen before. For one, in the back of the store, in the couple of food sections, I kept finding Checkpoint tags stuck to the shelves or in the floor. I could tell they’d been peeled off of other items, and I knew we didn’t put them on food anyway, so it wasn’t like they were just falling off. I also noticed that when I was walking the floor, ordering or straightening, that the shelves of OTC medications would have product one day and the next day the whole section would be empty. Fast food never taught me about flea market thieves or “boosters.” Then one day I had my first experience with one, and I’ll never forget it.
I was in the back aisles stocking some food items and this guy comes around the corner into the aisle I’m working in. (The shelving fixture was six feet tall, so he had not seen me.) I see the basket in his hand is FULL of big boxes of pain medications. He is still walking forward but looking over his shoulder to see if anyone is following him. He stops and puts the basket down, still not seeing that I am less than five feet from him, and starts peeling off a Checkpoint tag. I think the light-bulb came on in my head at the exact moment he sensed I was standing there. I’m not sure which of us was the most surprised. I was terrified because suddenly I didn’t know what to do. He picks up the basket like he’s going to run, and that’s when I came to my senses and my instincts took over. I very loudly told him to drop the basket and come to the front with me. He looked at me like I had two heads, of course. He did drop the basket, but he took off running like he was on fire and he was out the front door and in the getaway car in no time.
The lesson here is don’t ever just let yourself and your staff just go through the motions. Sometimes there will be false alarms because the EAS labels did not get deactivated. Use those as opportunities to talk to your customers. Make a joke of it if you need to, and offer excellent customer service. Having Checkpoint Systems is like having a big scary security guard there to watch over the store for you. You don’t have to feed it, but pay attention to it and all it’s components. If you do find discarded Checkpoint tags, watch that section a little closer. You’ll get your thief just like I did.
For more information about Checkpoint Systems contact us: 1.770.426.0547 or Antishoplifting.net