Checkpoint Systems-3
Checkpoint Systems Can’t Do All The Work For You
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 a Checkpoint System; 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 the Checkpoint System or any other type of anti-shoplifting tool.  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 really 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 filthy 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 and it 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 or who had the biggest eyes.  I was terrified because 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.  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.  
I learned a valuable lesson that day, and I recovered some valuable merchandise as well.  He knew the threat of being caught if he went through the pedestals with those labels still on the merchandise.  And he had obviously been successful before in getting out the door because we were not paying him any attention.  Employees have to work with the Checkpoint System, not expect it to do all the work.
For more information about Checkpoint Systems, contact us: 1.770.426.0547 or

Our company has a pretty standard return policy. If the customer has their receipt, we have no issues whatsoever. Without a receipt, they are dealt with at the manager’s discretion. We could give them store credit, provide an exact exchange, or simply refuse and send them on their way. You have to be fair and consistent with refund decisions; you never want to allow yourself to use social bias when you choose to accept or reject a return. I have had experiences with all of those situations, and Checkpoint Tags have been the deciding factor in several. 

How do Checkpoint Tags help with refunds? First of all, I guess the simplest way is that if the tag was not properly deactivated, it will still cause the system to alarm when the person brings the item through the door. That is a rare occurrence, as it is usually just the delivery guy that causes mine to sound, but it has happened. Maybe they just swiped the product from another retailer down the street and they heard your store is the place in town that will take stuff back. Once a business has that reputation, you can bet theft will increase right along with refunds. The big box down the street from our store is fighting that battle now.

The second way they help is a little less obvious, but something a trained eye can easily spot. If they stole the product, they most likely removed any anti-shoplifting device before they attempted to bring it in for a refund.  If the item has a high retail, or you know it is a target for theft, look closely at the package. Inspect it for the tell tale marking or tearing that is often left by someone ripping off a Checkpoint Tag. There may be some residue left from where it had been attached.  I know what items we tag in our store, so if the item they are trying to return is on that list and missing the label, then I can use that to my advantage. I can  also check our inventory and see how many we are supposed to have and see how many we have sold in the past few weeks. If the box has a mark and the numbers don’t add up, the return is not happening.

Another way they can help you determine whether a refund is warranted, is they can be used to identify where the item originally came from. Our company has actually purchased special Checkpoint Labels that have our store number and location printed directly on them. I had a man come in to return a diabetic testing meter with no proof of purchase a couple years ago. The box was a little squashed on all the corners so I got suspicious. It actually did have a store identifier Checkpoint Tag on the top of it though, which indicated he had got it from one of our stores. He claimed the device did not work properly.  Something told me he wasn’t being truthful, but I would never accuse someone of theft without absolute proof. I told him the only thing I would be willing to do was to exchange it for the exact same item. He thought about it a moment and said that would be fine with him. I felt I had made the right decision, until I handed him the new box, and he asked me for a receipt. I told him there was no receipt involved in an exchange, and I added I wasn’t giving him anything that would make it appear he had paid for this new meter. He said he wanted something, so if this one did not work, he could get money for the device instead of just accepting another one. I looked at him a moment, silently picked up the new box and sat it behind the counter with the old supposedly defective one. Then I called the store listed on the label, which is what I should have done in the first place, to inquire if they had reported any instances of theft with this item. He asked me what I was doing, and when he heard me tell the person on the other end why I was calling and asking for the manager on duty, he ran out the door empty handed. I should have listened to my gut feeling in the first place, and not wasted all that time with him.

For more information on Checkpoint Tags, contact us at 1.770.426.0547 or