Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

Shoplifter: Too Brave?

June 18, 2010

Today was an interesting day. One of the new managers was closing for the first time, but she only had two people to help her–one for each side of the store, one for each register, and thus no eyes to watch the front of the store. I told her this as I was leaving, and of course, like magic, the tattooed shoplifter with the backpack walked by. I had the manager go look at the other side, and we saw him looking in, then walking back. Of course, he came into the store, and she went up to him, and I said hello, and said it’s funny, since I’m not working this time. He wandered around and then left, so the manager walked away.

Just as she left, two shoplifters came in from another group–the Tag Team that splits and steals. They came in, looked at me with my backpack and treated me like a customer. But I kept looking at everything they were looking at, until they hid in a corner. I looked around and waited for the manager to appear, but I waited too long and it was getting weird. I saw the other two shoplifters come in and knew it was the four of them. I could not stop them all, nor could I split myself into three people, so I had to improvise. I pulled out my cellphone and started to take pictures of them. One saw me and left. The other stood there and turned around. Still no manager.

By now, I had to vocalize my intents, “Okay, that’s a good picture of you. And the other two over there. Now I just need you.” The man looked at me and quickly ducked. I finally found my flashlight and put that to use as well, I can be quite irritating, to be truthful. If I was in a different store, I actually could have and would have gone further, yelling, “Hey, you have shoplifters here!” Putting the stuff back, the four of them met at the front of the store where I was standing. And I greeted the last one, who definitely stole from the store. Only with the man there, were the other women able to speak–which means in another situation, they would melt like butter facing me alone. With more coworkers, that would be a possibility.

Instead, the man came up to me, swearing at me, asking why I was taking his f-ing picture. Saying he didn’t do anything, and asking who I was. All I said is that I am an ‘officer’, nor did I back away when he came up to me, since he was not even as tall as I, having to stand higher and only weighed ten to fifteen pounds more than I. As I said, without him the women would be powerless, which is an interesting fact to consider.

Then, they left, as I called the manager over telling her what happened. She wanted me to stay in case they were waiting for me outside. She even told me to wait until the store closed and she’d drive me home, but I told her it was okay. As we stood there, yet another shoplifter came in–from my gallery of thieves–this was the ‘too goo to be a shoplifter’, because he looks clean, dresses nicely, and still had his old, empty shopping bag from a good store. I would really like to mark that bag with a permanent pen. Either way, as he entered I said, “There’s another one.”

They obviously know when to come, but not when I’m around. Seriously, I was so irritated and angry with those shoplifters my hands were shaking. I’m the kind of person, I’d go toe-to-toe, upping the ante with anyone, playing anyone’s threat. At least now they can think twice wondering what will I do with those pictures I took. Too bad they won’t know. Still, a wise piece of advice has always been, “What will the shoplifter do to stop you? This is how they make a living. How far will they go to make sure they can keep on stealing?” And, that my friends, is the real question.


Unless they are avid readers of my blog, they don’t know my camera is so bad, nor the fact I didn’t really get a good picture because my batteries were dying. Oh, where is my professional camera when I need it.

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The Art of War in Retail: Flags and Signals

May 26, 2010

Chapter 3
Walkie-talkies- The best weapon of any General in battle. Walkie-talkies with headsets instantly send messages to others on the battlefield. Headsets help to keep communication private, and allows you to speak more clearly. Without a headset, you must develop more complex Codes in case the Opposition is listening. You can easily and quickly get others in motion to deal with situations and problems on the sales floor and registers by use of walkie-talkies.

Looks and Gestures- When engaged in battle, a General may need to rely on other ways of communication when speaking openly is not reasonable–most often when faced with the Opposition. Making eye-contact with another General on the field can help bring more reinforcements or supplies to ensure success. These looks must be understood beforehand, or a General may be left stranded and helpless, drowned by the Opposition. A strong, wide-eyed glare can often alert other Generals to the status of their colleague. Even using your eyes to point out something is useful. Gestures can also be used instead of Looks, although they are oftentimes more revealing in your intent; especially if you point, which is not often a good tactic to use. Many gestures can mean, “Save me! Bad customer!  or to say, ‘We don’t have any!’.” This includes a beckoning wave, a glare with a point, and shaking your hands in exasperation. Although this needs more training then walkie-talkie exercises, oftentimes this method is needed when engaging the Opposition.

Code-words- Many armies are prepared before battles with Code-words to mean anything from sales and discounts, to pointing out troublesome situations, such as shoplifters and unreasonable customers. Code-words are essential to verbal communication, as they only reveal a certain amount of information to the Opposition; yet they still provide more detailed information than gestures and looks. “The Benefit of the Doubt” can be one such code-word. “Can I get a manager to the cash register” is always a danger-sign, challenging the strongest Generals to come to battle. “Our friends are back,” can alert people to shoplifters. “These people need help,” when stressed differently can just mean they need help or mean they’re going to be a handful of trouble, so watch out!

Often, using a mixture of all of these techniques can create a streamlined cooperative system to deal with all situations like a well-trained army, which you are. You don’t ever want to end up in a situation, where you’re giving a Look, using a Code-word, and the other person is looking at you, asking, “What’s wrong with you?”