Sir Scam-a-lot

13 Jul

When I used to work for the same retail company in a much smaller town (which didn’t have any security cameras or even a manager’s office that overlooked the front registers), we had shoplifting incidences about once every fourth months. At the new location I am working at, I often feel like I’m part of that opening sequence in Aladdin: there’s people trying to grab and steel things left and right, and most of it is right under your nose–or over your head. In the past month, for instance, I encountered a man who was about to walk out of the door carrying a pack of Heineken and I asked if he had his receipt, and he showed me his prescription and said “Oh I paid for this back in the pharmacy.” I let him go just because he seemed to be telling the truth, but on a whim I decided to go back in the pharmacy to confirm that he made that purchase. Well, he didn’t. Ever since then, it has come to my attention that I need to get rid of my small-town mentality and accept the fact that, when you work much closer to the city, people get crazy…which brings me to the event that happened today.

I came to work and my manager immediately asked me to come into his office, and he showed me a paper where one of the shifts had written him a note about a woman calling up and saying that purchases were made on her credit card, which had been stolen from her. The amount was around $700. I remembered a man who came in last week and bought two gift cards that totaled up to this amount, and I explained to my manager that I carded the man and his ID completely matched his card. It turns out that there is a scam going on where two separate men are going around to the local stores and buying gift cards (and paying with IDs that match) and then a “concerned customer” calls in and says that she needs the cards refunded to her account because it was her stolen card. Basically, the whole thing is a huge scam and I was lucky enough to be the one to ring the guy out.

With this in mind, I’d like to take this opportunity to explain exactly why stealing is bad–not from a moral standpoint, but simply an economic standpoint: Most people steal and scam people because they do not have money to afford things (and yes, I do realize that some people also steal just for the thrill of it…what ever happened to going on roller coasters?). Basically, when you steal, you are screwing yourselves (and others!) over for the future. How, you ask? A total amount of money lost through stealing (called shrinkage), which includes employee theft, is calculated each year for retail stores. This shrinkage costs retailers quite a few billion dollars a year. In order to make up for the lost money, prices are raised on the top stolen items (from my experience this seems to be condoms, pregnancy tests, makeup/perfume, and batteries) and then the prices continue to get higher and higher as more people steal!

With this in mind, and as a person who has been affected by workplace theft, it is important that people remember that not stealing could actually help you to be able to afford things in the long run if you don’t contribute to overall shrinkage. In addition, it’s just plain stupid. If you steal in a store, you can rest assured that a good majority of the employees in the store do know what you are up to, and they’re waiting to make their move and hopefully arrest you…so don’t do it.

That’s all for today…keep clipping your coupons, people! 😀


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