Posts Tagged ‘tags’

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.

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Shoplifter: Wire Cutters

May 16, 2010

Yes, I am a  busy-body. Yes, workers from other stores do come in to tell me about shoplifters.

A guy who works at a cosmetics store in the mall is standing at the counter. I know him, and said hello, since he hasn’t been in the store for a while. We start to talk about all the shoplifters, and he says they come in all the time. Just last week, they saw a guy with a bag full of our clothes–the man was standing in their store cutting off the hard-tags with a pair of wire cutters. Obviously, I asked if they are ever allowed to do anything. He says no, they can only watch. Now isn’t that comforting? It is so comforting, at least we have rules in place to encourage these thieves.

Trouble This Way Comes

April 30, 2010

One of our customers who shops often is walking toward me. If I had ESP, an alarm in my head would go off whenever I see her. Instead, I automatically feel irritated, especially since I’m trapped at the cash registers. She has a bag of returns, of course. She also has a pile of clothes she wants to buy.

“I want to return these bras, they didn’t fit. I took off the tags, but there in here somewhere.” She dumps the contents on the counter. There is a black and a white bra, rolled up and twisted. I can already see her hair is clinging to the black bra. I already know I need to write damage tags on these, after I wash my hands. She doesn’t let go of the receipt when she hands them to me, because she also bought shorts, and now they are on promotion, so she wants a price adjustment for them. In addition, she wants to get all these new shorts, too.

Since she was making the transaction complicated, I decided to just split it. So I tell her, I’ll return the bras first. So I quickly scan them in, grab the bundle with the tips of my fingers–as I don’t want to rub my hands against the inside of those cups. Believe me, if you were standing there looking at her, you wouldn’t want to either. I print out a receipt for the return, and start on the shorts.

I scan it, and they are over-the-deadline. She normally can’t return them and obviously it’s too late for any price-adjustments, but I tell her I’ll pretend she’s returning them and buying back new ones.

“But I don’t have them to return.”
“It’s okay, I have the receipt, I can do it for you as an exception this time. I’m trying to help you out.” In reality, I just want to get rid of her as fast as possible. Truly, she doesn’t have the items, yet I can still use the numbers on the receipt to allow her to return them and buy them back with the new price.
“I can’t just get a price adjustment?”
“I said it’s over the deadline, the computer won’t allow it. I’m doing what I can to give you some money back.”
“Okay, do what you have to.”

So I find the shorts on the list and return it manually, then buy it back.

“What’s this, what are you doing?”
“I am returning them, and buying them back so you get the difference.”
“I don’t understand, but whatever.”
This time, I say okay. I’m losing patience with her stupidity and mix of arrogance and rudeness, when I’m already doing what I’m not supposed to–just to get rid of her.
“I have more items that you can return on that receipt that are cheaper now.”
I sigh loudly, and say, “Okay fine.” Now, she’s pushing my buttons.
“I’m just being greedy now,” she laughs.
“Yes, you are,” I tell her flatly, and give her a look of distaste.

Once I work those out, she asks about the bras, and I tell her I already returned them, and credited it back to her card.

“No!” She yells at me, “I wanted to use them towards this purchase! I don’t want it returned on my card!”

I stand and stare at her for a moment. I see a line of customers staring at us, because I’ve been working on this ridiculous transaction for so long, for Ms. Greedy–I hope there is no Mr. Greedy, because he’d have to be pretty stupid to marry her. So I ask for back-up at the register. I go to try to cancel her transaction, but the computer won’t allow me. So I have to ask for a manager to come, which takes a minute. I tell her a manager is coming to cancel the bra returns.

“I don’t understand. What are you doing?” Why do you understand nothing, woman? How have you survived in this world for so long?

“The manager needs to cancel it, then you can use the bras you’re returning to pay for these,” I point at her shorts. She looks at her watch, and sighs. I start to scan in the new shorts that she’s buying, while she keeps asking what I’m doing. I’m really too tired to keep explaining the same thing over and again. Who pays her bills? Definitely not her, she wouldn’t even understand what a bill is. She says this is so complicated–actually, it wasn’t complicated until you made it complicated, woman. The manager arrives, cancels the transaction, and we start at the very beginning. I return the bras and the shorts she does not have, I give her the price adjustments, and hit total. She keeps saying how it’s all so confusing, and I just make my blank face and pretend I can’t hear her. It would have been simple, if you weren’t so stupid.

So she pulls out her credit card, and pays for it using the same card which had been credited by the bras–the same money is going the same way. Now, she’s really pushing the edge of stupidity. Now, what I don’t understand is the difference between returning the bras and getting credit back on her credit card, and then buying the shorts. How is that different from returning the bras and using the credit to make the shorts cheaper–because it’s the same total at the end. It all goes back and comes from the same bank account.

This is one time, I’d need to use some thoughtful input, because none of my coworkers saw the difference, other than making things complicating, which customers are utterly good at.

Customer Types: Agreeing to Disagree, Capitalist, The Complainer, The Dumb, ESP, Guessing Game, Lowered Expectations, Micromanagement

Why I don’t return things.

February 24, 2010

I was looking around for a cheap  jacket to wear as part of a costume for Halloween. I thought I found the perfect item for a great deal. I bought it. I assembled my outfit. When the time came to go out, I changed my mind. Well, actually, my friends never called, so I didn’t go out. The very next day, I go to return the unused jacket. To my chagrin I realize their flimsy paper tag fell off the jacket–which might be something their company needs to improve upon to lower losses–yet also, it made me look like I wore it and now I’m returning it.

I get to a cashier in their returns window. Other than the fallen flimsy paper tag, the buttons were still covered by tissue, and all other tags were attached. Of course, this was the least of my problems. When the cashier scanned the tag, the item appeared as a pack of underwear (on their computer). I was standing there in awe. I looked at the receipt, and lo-and-behold, it said underwear pack. Now, I was surely bemused. As a retail salesperson, I already felt irony and stupidity rise within me.

I hate returning items for various reasons, mostly pride. Why buy the item if you didn’t want it? That is considered a waste of time. If you bought the item as a gift, let them return it to get something better. Unless you spend a piddly amount on them and you want to return it, so as to hide your cheapness–you should never have been cheap to begin with, or just bought a gift they can’t return. There is a certain amount of embarrassment when returning, because the cashiers always question you, look at you with accusation, and definitely give you the feeling of belittling. I much rather keep an unwanted item–if I actually buy something I don’t want–rather than return it. I have a small pile of items I’ve bought and refused to return. This jacket was not one of them.

I, as a cashier, always just accept returns, other than ones obviously worn, older than time, or somehow damaged or destroyed. I don’t question people, even if they are used to the questions and decide to list me various reasons for not wanting the item–it didn’t fit, they didn’t need it, they found something else, blah-blah. I just accept the return, give them no reason for embarrassment, and let them go. We aren’t catching criminals here, we’re just losing money.

By this time, the manager has come to examine the tags and items. Definitely noting the fact the underwear packs don’t cost as much as my jacket. I was flustered mainly that their store mislabeled something and sold it; increasingly flustered that I don’t read receipts so I was partly to blame–you see how this issue with returning always makes people feel bad and stupid? Eventually she says she’ll, “Do this for me just this one time. But only this time.”

I’m standing there, my eyes are rolling inside, I want to scream, saying I also work retail, and I know how all this works, and that I would never use that line on a customer–especially if it was the store’s fault for this mistake, mislabeled ignorance. I will often take blame for my co-workers when there is a return or receipt with a mistake on it, whilst writing down the co-worker’s name for future embarrassment at my hands, of course.

By now, my heart is pumping, my face is red, and I’m quite irritated. I once more resolve never to return things and always to be sure of what I’m buying. Impulse shopping does not exist for me. Especially since I plan for a week or more before I buy anything. Again, I ask, why would I buy something I don’t want or need?