Posts Tagged ‘steal’

Shiva Reborn

October 3, 2011

Yes, I write about retail. Yet, I think about the world as a reflection in many ways. As a single pebble can cause an avalanche, this same pebble sitting properly can help avoid the same chain-reactions. Man, humanity, homo-sapiens as the destroyers, is this outlandish?

Moving into a macro-scale, we can consider human beings as a trend through history. These are the killers and hunters, the creators of extinction and genocide. We transform the land. Look around you, without a doubt you are sitting no more than five-feet away from a human construct, a change, a disruption in the balance of nature. We do not conform to the world, we force the world to conform to us. We destroy, we change, we topple, chop, dig, and break. We build, yet the ramifications of our creations often harbor far greater destruction.

We topple each other’s nations and civilizations. We find greater ways to kill each other. We destroy our ancestral homes, pillaging and stealing from long honored and revered sites. How many have sought destruction before others have sought restorations? How many tides of human lives, pools of blood and massacre are laid before monuments, and how much of the land was razed just to create such monuments?

Even in today’s age, even every single one of us, how uninformed are we about our own natural propensity for destruction? I have measured my ‘carbon footprint’, and even though my impact measures far less than others, I have the understanding and knowledge of how much destruction I shall cause through my lifetime. How many bags of trash do I create each year, even with recycling? How can I live without producing trash since it is the very fabric of our beings-the wrapping of our own personal daily gifts, may it be food, clothing, or other additions to our personal life.

Look at our transportation and how it was designed. Our cars, our pollution, our single, personal modes of transportation streamlined and made to be as efficient, yet pollutant as possible. The idea of using clean fuel did not come naturally, nor was it something we even thought to do. We move backwards through time–our efforts to save species from extinction only as an answer to the fact we’ve driven so much life to death. Our civilizations worked to ‘conquer the old worlds’ decimating people and culture.

We are, at our base, easy destroyers and hard-to-become creators. In our ignorance, in our natural state, we destroy, we change, we shatter. It takes a great deal of concentration, focus, and work for us to overcome our natural state of being. Before each of us dies, if we took the time to examine how much destruction our life creates, and we try in opposition to instead create and save, do we see how difficult it is and how far away we are from being such pure and mighty creatures–even if we divine ourselves to be so?

I put the¬†magnifying¬†glass to the microscope, I bring nothing into the scene again–I focus on the pebble before the avalanche. I look at customers shopping in stores. We know all stores have some form or vision for their merchandising standards–a look they want, piles folded, shirts hung, and everything set in it’s place. It is a good template for a natural order, if humanity was nature. The customers, our barbarians, pillaging, destroying, and leaving ruin in their wake. How many educated ones know how easy it is to separate a pile of medium from large, and easily replace the mediums on top of the large? How much effort is that? Let us think about how hard this is versus grabbing and ripping a large size from under a pile of clothing, toppling the pile, creating a mess of destruction. Can we actually parallel that to transforming the landscape of the world to our desires? Can humanity, as an evolved species, understand how to take the little it needs without destroying everything around it? I would highly doubt it, if humans can’t even learn to take a size without destroying a simple peace of nature.

It is the state of humanity. It is our basal nature. We are destroyers. We don’t even have the commonest courtesy to keep our destruction away from each other. Just as someone must eventually deal with the trash of our existence–may it be our descendants or the Earth itself–someone must also clean up after the destruction you create just ‘browsing’ through a store. It is an odd, yet useful metaphor.

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Shoplifter: The New Kids

October 18, 2010

“Folded clothes will eventually be touched;
But buying customers are here right now.”

I might have been schooled today by young shoplifters who unknowingly played the stealing game better than I. For one, we’re having a big visit tomorrow, so many people were spending time folding–yet, as big managers have said before, “I don’t care if the store looks like a tornado hit, if there are customers, and you make money, I’m happy.” Who cares if you folded the entire store beautifully, if you spent the entire day ignoring customers? Seriously, I was working my butt off today, trying to make money–our store has been having trouble, people have been losing hours, and yet the people who could be helping coworkers earn more hours are just standing around folding.

This struck a huge chord once I realized there were shoplifters. One of the new coworkers later said, “Oh, I said hi to them.” AND? No announcement of their arrival? Not a care to keep an eye on them and treat them like customers? Shoplifters and thieves have a hard time stealing if there is actual customer service going on around them. I was amazed when I saw them casually walking in the back of the store with their bags full and they were smiling and having fun. Why? Because no one was around them, at all. I rushed by, because I was helping several customers at one time, and said on the walkie-talkie, “THERE ARE SHOPLIFTERS IN THE STORE! They are obviously enjoying themselves, because their bags are full!” Everyone else sprung to action, because they saw who I saw, and instantly recognized them as shoplifters. As I’ve said, it’s sad when shoplifters look like shoplifters. Even worse, there were four of them!

I tried to finish with my customers, but I was burdened with too many, while trying to keep an eye on these shoplifters–even though I’m not trained to deal with them, I’m expected to deal with them. So I’m searching for a bag to get the price, seeing three coworkers at the cash register as I groan to myself. I walk by the shoplifters swearing, saying I’m looking for a bag–which ironically, I know they picked up one of our bags and filled it with clothes. They started to talk to me, saying, “Whoa, you just swore!” I talked to them about ‘the bag’ and refused to leave the area they were in–it was quite obvious they wanted the clothes in the front of the store.

Eventually, I had to move. No one was helping me deal with them, and I actually had customers waiting for me in the fitting room. This always irritates me to no end. As I turn to walk away, they leave, with the bag. Here, they were in a win-win situation. There was no tag on the outside of the bag–they are inside–so I couldn’t say, “Hey, that’s our bag!” They can just say, “I already bought it!” Nor can I legally look into their bag, even if it beeped when they left–although, it didn’t beep because these bags had no sensors on them, nor did the clothes they stole have sensors. I was in a helpless position, and all I could do was stop them from stealing more clothes. Instead, I grabbed all the bags of the same type and put sensors on them immediately.

I then had to leave for my lunch break. In that time, they actually returned twice–with us communicating to all the other stores nearby that these people are shoplifters. I was amused to hear, they came and tried to steal something, but they beeped at the door. Later, I found they tried to steal another one of my bags, but threw it in a corner when it beeped. At least I saved that bag. It just becomes tiresome when I have to deal with these shoplifters, and work hard to sell to customers, while I have to watch other people walking around ignoring customers, folding, and generally not carrying the weight of their own paychecks. Retail is killing me.

Shoplifter: You Got Schooled, Redux

October 17, 2010

Four months ago, I had a couple come in and totally out themselves as shoplifters, because they did everything you’re not supposed to do in order to get away with it. Let us rejoin the action now.

A decently dressed young man comes in, and I know he’s from another store. He asks for a manager. I tell the manager someone is here. They want to know who needs them, etc., but I’ve already started to look around. As soon as the manager arrives, the guy says, “I’m from another store, and my manager sent me…”
I cut him off, “Where are they? I don’t see them.”
“Oh, you know?” He looks at me curiously, but I’m already walking away.
As I search the store, I see no one out of the ordinary, but I know he came to warn us about the shoplifters. I suddenly hear the manager say, “I need you in the front.” I find out they entered, and my manager tried to approach them, but they were scary, saying they don’t want any help. So she called on me to intercept.
I quickly arrive, and I’m slightly disappointed, it’s the same man from four months ago–although I thought it was only three months, even though I recently wondered why I haven’t seen them for so long. The woman was totally different, but the man, I recognized him instantly. So I rush up to him and greet him.
“Hey, it’s been a long time. I was wondering when you’d come in again!”
“What? I don’t know you.”
“Oh, come on, we talked in your favorite corner the last time. It was three months ago.” I wave at the same corner they always go to, and was informed later, that’s where the manager found them.
“I don’t know who you are.”
I wave at his female friend who is trying to be invisible, “I remember you, but you have a different woman with you this time. I definitely don’t remember her!” At this remark, she quickly darts out the front door.
As he tries to leave, I stop him, “The last time you said you have an IQ of 290. And I told you it doesn’t go that high!”
“I don’t know what my IQ is.”
“Yes, you said it was 290, that’s really bad for your IQ if you’re forgetting things. Shame, shame.” I shake my head at him. He’s taking a defensive stance, but I stand my ground, even approaching him.
He backs away, “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know you!”
“I know you, I remember you, I told you have a good memory.”
He steps outside, turning to the left, looking for his departed friend.
I yell, “I know which way she went, she went THAT way,” gesturing to the right. “Don’t worry, I”ll remember you when you come back again!”

Negative Nancy

September 21, 2010

We are all familiar with this sort of person. They speak negatively, pessimistically about everything, and approach situations from a position of doubt, disbelief, or any of the many emotions which make others feel down.

“Excuse me, I don’t want to be a pain, but can you help me with these pants, I can’t understand a thing.”
So I go to her, and I explain the sizing. She seems to be under the impression the larger the size, the longer they are, and I point to the length indicator, telling her each pant is the same length.
We go to look at our denim. And again, she remarks on how the larger sizes are going to be longer than the smaller sizes. And again, I remind her, there are clear indicators saying the length on each pant, so the smallest and the largest are the same length. She waves me off in disbelief, saying they are longer. Perhaps it would help if you grabbed the correct sizes, Nancy? I should have grabbed a super-long small, and a super-short large size, and said, “Oh, this is a defect, we should take this away. No slim people are this tall.” At least not in her reality.

All during this time, she keeps yelling her daughter’s name, we’ll say it’s, “Margaret.” Her daughter has remained in the same spot the entire time I’m helping her, mind you.
“I don’t understand the sizing of these.”
“Well, the first number…”
“Excuse me, Margaret! Oh, please continue.”
“The first number is the waist size, and the second is the length.”
“Margaret! Come here. But the larger sizes are longer, I don’t see the point in putting lengths, it serves no purpose.”
“Each sizes has different lengths…”
“Margaret! Stay close to mommy!” Then she turns to me and say, “We’re visiting from Japan, and over there you don’t need to worry. Now, we’re in the United States, so someone could just come up and snatch her away when I’m not looking. It’s not as safe here, I always need to keep an eye on her. Margaret! Or else, someone will just come and steal her.”
I laugh, and I tell her it’s generally safe.
“Maybe because you live on an island. Margaret!”
So I decide to take her to a fitting room.

A few minutes later, I ask how she’s doing.
“I hate everything! But it’s not your fault, so don’t worry.”
I’m not. I’m more worried how your child will grow up, since you’re a strange Caucasian woman from Japan.

Customer Type: The Deaf, The Racist, The Rambler

Shoplifter: The Legitimate Thief

September 2, 2010

Stealing is stealing. I’m sorry. Yet, some boldfaced people use legitimacy, and some lying, to bend the rules and steal in wholly different ways. As many people know, I don’t like cashiering because I believe cashiers only work to take money away from the store–in the form of discounts–and do not do much to add to the sales, or amount people buy. They are like used-car salesmen trying to sell people what they didn’t know they needed–discounts and credit cards.

A customer comes up, she’s a regular, and up until now, I always thought she was a reasonable shopper. In recent days, I’ve been trapped as a cashier against my will, because people aren’t available to work. She comes up with a leather bag. This is the same leather bag she bought only seven days ago with a huge discount coupon. How do I know? Because I sold her this expensive item thinking, “Wow, she spends money easily.” Well I was wrong.

She was returning the bag, saying she lost the receipt. I looked at her skeptically. I told her we can look up the transaction with the credit card we used, because I was the cashier who helped her and gave her the discount. I told her we needed to be fair. She couldn’t remember what credit card she used. I remembered. This, I pulled up the transaction, and she had saved over fifty-dollars ($50).

What she had ‘attempted’ to do was return the item without a receipt, hoping to get a merchandise credit for the full amount, since the item was still new. She was trying to cheat the system by saying she lost the receipt with the discount, just so she could get $50 more to spend. This, my friends, is a liar and a thief. She just doesn’t think she is. The worse part, if she runs into a novice or unaware cashier, they would have given her the merchandise credit, and she could just say, “The cashier did it, I didn’t do anything wrong!” I also hear she comes in trying this scam all the time. In this case, a cashier did save money for the store. No discounts for you lady, sell crazy someplace else!

$9.99 Markdown

June 29, 2010

I am rather protective of the tools we use for marking down products. In general, I have no reason to be, since as much as I’ve heard rumors of people peeling off stickers putting them on other items, only to say the item was ‘found like this, marked down like this’, I have only seen this happen once. There are times I can bend the rules to my advantage, so people can’t abuse a situation. Yet, they are also times, where the customer wins by bending the rules. I just don’t like when they win, and we both know they shouldn’t have.

I’m at the register and a customer brings me, literally, a heap of about eight different items–t-shirts, tops, pants, and even denim. She starts off by saying, “These prices are unbelievable! Is this the right price?” She shows me one item, it’s marked $9.99. I scan it, and it is actually $14.99. I tell her I must honor the price on the item, but I make sure to look at the item, so I know to check later if they are all marked incorrectly. She hands another, asking if the price is right. Yet again, $9.99, this time the price discrepancy is $19.99. I tell her she’s found quite the bargains, and that someone is going to get in trouble for marking these items wrong (and amazingly, all in her size). The irony begins to take a toll by the time she hands me the next item, a pant, marked–wait for it–$9.99. This time, the price difference is more than $20, and I stand and look at her. She has a hard time looking at me, and says, “If these are marked wrong, I will pay the right price, I don’t mind. I just thought you would give it to me for the price marked. But if that is wrong, then I will pay the regular price.”

There are scenes in movies and television shows where the antagonist tries too hard to be flexible, willing to help, and open in their crime that they make themselves stand out even more. I only make comments about how amazing it is that she, and she alone, found all the same sizes of both tops and bottoms all at the same price. Because, each of her items were marked $9.99. So either she’s very lucky, or a greedy idiot who only realized her mistake marking everything the same once she got to the register. But as I said, there are certain rules I cannot break–if an item is marked wrong, we must honor that price.

So I complete the transaction, overriding all the prices, giving her a savings of nearly $100. My gaze upon her is strong, and without humor, as she keeps saying she found them like this, she was amazed they were such a good deal, and how she’d be willing to pay the regular price. I tell her she’s done a good job, and let her leave with her ‘savings’. I search every single item she bought, making sure to check every single tag, and not one, not one of them was marked incorrectly at $9.99. Somewhere, somehow, she must have gotten her hands on a price gun and marked everything wrong. Ever since then, I’ve taken it seriously when I put down a price gun, because you never know when some greedy moron will mark everything $9.99. These days, if someone tried that, I’d definitely make a big scene about it, it’s just too bad I don’t have a coworker that can cry on cue and make it seem like she’s going to lose her job because of these petty thieves. I doubt it would affect them much, but at least once in a while they should face the people who have to pay for the price of their stealing.

Customer Type: Agreeing to Disagree, Capitalist, The Liar, Rhetorical

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.

Shoplifter: You Got Schooled

June 15, 2010

This day, we had three groups of shoplifters. One group stopped outside as I stared at them, and a coworker who was leaving even came in to tell me, and I told her I alerted the whole store already–they did not come in, but I did watch them dump tags into the trash outside. The second group didn’t see me, and turned around, finding me standing there. I partake in small conversation with them, then they speak in Portuguese, laugh, and leave. I was both glad and irritated I was working, because no one else was around, and even when I asked for support–I got none, people didn’t hear me, or people came when it was already over. I wonder if it’s free season to steal when I’m not working.

Finally, the group from my Exam arrived. I instantly recognized the woman, saying I needed support in the front because we have a tag-team in the store. I go on to describe what she’s wearing as I approach her. Then I see the other man–they are heading to the same corner as last week. I’m already irritated with shoplifters and disappointed with my coworker’s apparent lack of care that when these people do steal, they steal from our work hours. Today, I’m not here to pretend I’m talking to fake customers, nor am I interested in them trying to pretend they don’t speak English. I take them on face-to-face.

“Oh, hello again. You’re in the same corner as last time. The denim shorts you were looking at last Tuesday are on sale now. You should check them out again.”
“Wow, you remember us? You’re good!” The man looks at me and laughs.
“Yes, I have an IQ of 150.”
“Really? I have an IQ of 285.”
My face is blank as I reply, “It doesn’t go that high. But I do have a photographic memory, so I remember you quite well.”
He changes the subject discussing a tank top hanging nearby. I can see sweat on his forehead. I tell him it’s not popular, so no one is buying it, because they can’t figure out what to wear it with. Then our conversation ends, as he and his cohort walk out and leave.

I actually can’t handle too many shoplifters in one day, because my heartbeat instantly rises, my gut turns and my adrenaline pumps; I’m like a lion seeing a pack of jackals in my territory. My body automatically tenses up and I hide nearby, ready to pounce. Three groups of shoplifters made my body feel very tired, since I only got to feast on one group. Sometimes my body knows there are shoplifters even before I know.

I wonder if the Exam shoplifters will come again or if they already came when I wasn’t working. I hope I was able to make them disinterested in coming into my store again to face me. Each time they successfully steal, they get bolder thinking they can do it again. Scaring them away before they come in, like some of my coworkers, is also useless, because it doesn’t directly deter them. What I do confronting them, discussing with them what we both know they are doing, without accusing them of anything, that is what works. If you can’t scare them or make them sweat, then you’re just delaying their inevitability–to walk in and steal when no one is around. They do have time on their hands. I rather they be afraid I’m going to appear out of thin air, and devour them.

Shoplifter: They Got Away

June 13, 2010

Yes, last night, they got away. It was one of the rare times I wasn’t patrolling the front, like a hawk scavenging for food. I rarely see these shoplifters come in. I’ve seen them in the mall, but I usually just stand there with my hands on my hips and they turn around.

This night, I was checking the cash register, since I was in the back, and I have often been relegated to back-up the register. Then, I see one of them. They have the entire look of a shoplifter, so I walk towards her. The moment she sees me, she clutches her large bag tightly under her arm, and I duck behind a pillar–noticing she tries to hide the fact she’s seen me. In the Fountainhead, Dominique says Roark, “When you first meet someone, you reveal everything about yourself by your reaction. In turn, the other reveals everything by their reaction to your reaction.” (Or something like that, I haven’t read the book for a decade.) Thus, I always use a shoplifter’s first reaction to give away if they are or aren’t one. It’s like of like being shocked by static, even if you try hard, most people give it away.

So I hide behind the pillar, and I watch her looking for me–I disappeared into thin air. She is obviously not trained in ‘the mirror’ arts. But, I know there is another somewhere, and as I’m looking, I see the other appear near the mirror–because our boxers are arranged there. I swear at myself knowing they already stole from us. Yet, I’m still unseen. I just know the first woman gave the signal that someone was coming, so the second left. Amusingly, the last one, a man, stuck around at our scents–probably interested in stealing some cologne.

As I walk by him, I make sure he can hear my walkie-talkie conversation, “One of them is right here, so if you can watch, I’ll take a look if there is another.” As I say that, a co-worker tells me, “No, he just left out the front door.” So I walk up to the door, and I see him looking around with the “where did they go?” face. Obviously, I know where they went, so I yell out to him, “They went towards the chocolate store!” Sadly, he did not thank me for my help. But, now he knows I know. I’ll have something interesting planned next time.

I still want to do the 3-point fade-away shot with a sensor in their bag, so they can beep everywhere.

Shoplifter: The Rise in Retail Theft

June 12, 2010

Retail Theft Rises, Driven by Online Reselling
This is a short, obvious article about retail theft (shoplifting) and the amounts it has risen since economic hardship hit the world. Everyone gets hurt, but with billions being stolen and resold online, there is a problem. The interesting move is by these stores pushing legislation to make retail crime a federal offense. Yes, it hurts the stores, which hurts the employees, and further hurts the economy in this way–but can’t we just red flag them, cripple their credit score, and/or just give them some time in jail? I think community service programs that utilize their thrifty fingers would also be useful, like pulling weeds, picking fruits, or sorting coffee beans. Today, I will look forward to my shoplifter crowd, so I can discuss the rise in retail theft and what may soon be a federal offense. Now that is entertainment.