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 Employee encouraged me to steal something?!
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BlueAbe
Star Contributor

Mid-Central, Ohio
USA
2096 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  3:48:48 PM  Visit BlueAbe's Homepage  Send BlueAbe an AOL message
While out and about today completing shops, I made a side stop at a hardware store for a needle adaptor for my air compressor (just recently got a air bed). When I couldn't locate any in the store, I noticed there was one laying in front of a box, like it had fallen out of a pump box. I asked a employee about it, and said that since it fell out of the box, they can't charge for it, so just stick it in my pocket and have a good day, and he'll pretend he didn't see it. (BTW, this was NOT a young teenager working in the store, this guy was in his 30's or 40's!)
Since there were several boxes of pumps open, I can't be certain which one it came out of. What would you have done in that situation?

Gold certified since the beginning. Merchandising, Mystery shopping, & Court Research throughout Mid-Central Ohio.

DanInSK
Star Contributor

Canada
484 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  3:59:18 PM
I would have put it back on the shelf beside the boxes and asked where the ones were that could be purchased. Theft is theft no matter how small.

SQM STEP level 9 shopper
Silver certified
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.ColleenNYC
Inactive

New York City, NY
USA
1700 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  4:00:48 PM
I would have said," No thanks, I am not a shoplifter".
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MichelleCPD
Valued Contributor

USA
110 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  5:06:12 PM
I probably would have laughed, and made some kind of comment, like "Yeah, right, I'm on Candid Camera, right?"

Then I would have went home and called the store and asked to speak with the owner/manager, and let them know about it. I work in law enforcement, so I probably also would have suggested the owner/manager obtain some sort of security measures be put in place to watch out for any employee (or anyone else) theft, if they didn't already have any.
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MaureenLu
Star Contributor

Dallas, TX
USA
283 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  5:18:36 PM
Something similar happened to my husband during one of his shops. He had to make several purchases during the course of one shop. The last purchase had to be a small ($2.00) purchase one "on the way out" sort of thing. As DH puts his money on the counter, the guy that's waited on him every other time says, "Oh just go ahead - it's on us, you've purchased so much already." He was speechless. He told the guy no, he wanted to pay for it, but the guy put it and the money in the bag (of exisiting stuff) and sent him on his way. He reported the whole thing as it happened really worried about it and the company said, "no problem - wasn't much you could do about it." And yes - he's done more work for them since

MSPA Gold Certified
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.KaBryant
Inactive

Scottsdale, AZ
USA
31 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  5:24:06 PM
I would have asked what they charge for something and have the cashier do a transaction and give a receipt for the item. I read your post quickly but this was a shop, correct? I did some training years ago where we had to leave money on the counter for the product and the other teammate had to watch for the money to be put in the till. These were really fun but you had to work for another person, most of us as always work alone.

You did the right thing though.
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Shanna Hageman
Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
54 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  7:28:44 PM
You know that old saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch". Kind of funny because we all eat for free in this business LOL, but really, someone somewhere up the line has to pay for all those little things that disappear. As a small business owner myself, I can attest to the frustration of missing inventory. Be honest and treat others as you would like to be treated.

MSPA Gold Certified loidjr
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SAnne
Contributor

WA
USA
80 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  8:42:27 PM
Shoplifting hurts everyone. Working retail I see it daily. At the store where I work we recently reset the entire fashion jewelry department. Sterling silver is now on a fixture out in the open. In one 24 hour period we picked up over one thousand dollars in empty boxes and tags let behind.
The department manager commented that shrinkage is built into the markup. Well that hurts the honest shopper with higher prices. We need to teach our kids how wrong shoplifting is.

MSPA silver certified!

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Aadam101
Valued Contributor

Lynn, MA
USA
168 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  11:19:52 PM
I've had a similar things happen to me. I was in a music store one day (not MS) and the cashier couldn't scan a CD. I was with a friend and was talking to her not really paying attention. He ended up putting the CD in the bag and not charging me for it. I paid for my other stuff and left. I didn't see him do it but my friend told me when I got to the car. I had another friend who worked at the store. I called her when I got home and told her about it. I gave her the CD to bring back to work and the employee was fired.

In the guy's defense however, there were MANY times when I worked in the drugstore photo lab that we would give things away for free. I actually expected to give away two free rolls a day. I just never told my staff that. Usually they were in the interest of customer service. If the customer was at all unhappy with anything or if we did anything at all wrong we would give them their pictures sometimes film or anything else we had. When we screwed up and gave it to them a lot of cutomers would still try to pay. I think they thought we were doing something wrong. However, it's a very common thing to do. The company did exactly advertise for us to do this but it's just part of running a photo lab.
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Deva Roberts
Member

Hattiesburg, MS
USA
43 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2003 :  07:10:19 AM  Visit Deva Roberts's Homepage  Send Deva Roberts an AOL message
I agree with what most everyone is saying here. I wouldn't have taken it either. I would have found a way to report it to the manager or made a comment to the guy as well along the lines that that is not something I would do as it is shoplifting. blah blah blah

Just my 2 lil cents . . .

Have a great day everyone
Deva

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.ColleenNYC
Inactive

New York City, NY
USA
1700 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2003 :  07:37:15 AM
I disagree about the discretion or authority an associate has as far as making a determination of what parts or accessories customers can remove from a store without paying for them. Usually, if an item has missing parts, it will be marked down or returned to the company. If an associate finds a part or accessory, and tells a customer "Dont worry just stick it in your pocket, I wont tell anyone" is a telling statement. That to me says that it is not the proper procedure. Maybe the associate did not want to go through the hassle of looking at the open boxes to see which one was missing the needles, and maybe return it to the box, that makes sense to me. Shoplifting is not just when you remove a product in its entirety, but parts or accessories as well.
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Sandi In Mississippi
Star Contributor

MS
USA
1285 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2003 :  07:38:37 AM
I am totally unable to figure out how we got from a needle adaptor (whatever that is) to "my baby's daddy" (whoever that is)...but I guess I don't take this as seriously as some of the posters! I'm not sure what a needle adaptor is or how much one should cost or whether they are even sold separate from something else, but guess I would have just shrugged at the offer the man made and said "no thanks."

It sounds likely that clerk didn't want the bother of going through the boxes to see which one had lost something from it so he was going to let the item "disappear." No wonder we find chairs to assemble with 3 legs in box and mobiles with one dangler missing! I don't consider it shoplifting exactly when a clerk offers you some small item free though. I don't want merchandise that way but do believe there may be occasional legitimate reasons for the clerk to make the offer.

In a non-MShopping situation I think reporting this to a boss is out of line unless it is a costly item or the offer makes you very uncomfortable. Geez - lots of times I'm just glad the clerk will actually speak to me! Of course, it would need to go on a report if you were working.
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CabrusoBros
Star Contributor

NC
USA
744 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2003 :  09:36:52 AM
My two cents...any item, costly or not, being walked out of the store for free with an employee's blessing is not good. I am suspect that the average floor employee does not have the authority to make such a business decision.

Coming from a retail management background, I am also suprised at the manager who said "the cost of shrinkage is built into the markup." That would be a first for me. Any time shrinkage appeared on my P&L statement, it was a deduction right before they paid out profit bonuses. I'd be darned if I'd let items walk out the door and hope the cost would be eaten somewhere else. Items that come out of boxes, go back into boxes to be sold. How do you explain the loss of revenue to the vendor who makes the needle adaptor? Do you say, we can't pay you for this needle adaptor you sold us because it fell out of the box so we just gave it away and you get take the loss and not us?

As far as what to do in the "situation", the poster mentioned it was a side shop. Who normally takes an item out of a store without paying whether personal or MS? Not to mention, if loss prevention is watching you on camera and catches you at the door, do you think that the store employee will bounce up and down making sure everyone knows they told you to take it without paying? Some of the saddest days of retail were stopping young children and teenagers shoplifting. It is a learned behavior. Would you do this in front of your child? If so, how do you justify it?
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MarteeC
Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
USA
1352 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2003 :  09:58:51 AM
This is the very reason why I always make certain that boxes are sealed whenever I purchase anything that requires assembling or has small parts. If it has been opened it has usually been cannibalized by someone who got home with a missing part. When items are returned to the store with a missing part, the return SHOULD be marked with missing items noted and returned to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, most of the time they are returned to the shelf.
If this happens to you and you find something you can't live without-contact the manufacturer. They will usually overnight the missing screw, shelf or adapter to you. If you shop at a store that discounts for incomplete sets, you can save a bundle and the company will send you the missing part.
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CMurphey
Contributor

San Antonio, TX
USA
52 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  09:15:05 AM
Just back on the topic of shoplifting, even minor. It is important to try and keep our values high in this world. I was impressed once when I worked at a Dollar Store - a teenager came into the store with a bag of our items, and his mother. He said to me, "I stole these things, and 10 more that I don't have anymore. I want to pay for all of it." The total of what was in the bag and plus 10 was about $25.00. He paid for it all. Then I told him to keep the items that he brought in, because they were paid for and he said no. I looked at his mom, and she quietly shook her head. I was really proud of that kid for doing that and his parents for making him do it.

I know when we are in a store and my daughter finds a marble, or a part of a artificial flower or even a small bracket from a store display I tell her she can't keep it. She knows not to steal, but she didn't understand that was still stealing. When I worked in the dollar store, we would pick up what fell off the artificial flowers and try to put them back on. Every little bit makes a difference, and setting your standards firm will make the gray situations easy to handle later in life. Just my moral soapbox -

Silver Certified 67dvb0
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Jenny T
Valued Contributor

USA
208 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  11:25:09 AM
Sometimes it is SO disturbing what people will do. I worked (very briefly) as a manager for a Goodwill store. GOODWILL, as in a charitable organization! Do you think that stopped people from stealing? NO! I had people, not only try to pilfer items left and right, but would also switch price tags.

I also used to work at a Footaction, again for a brief time (retail is not for me, lol), and we caught a group of two shoplifters in their 20s who were both in the store with their kids! What kind of chance do children exposed to that kind of environment have?
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Sandi In Mississippi
Star Contributor

MS
USA
1285 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  2:07:57 PM
Can't stop thinking about this one. Guess it's the needle adaptor mystery. Still don't know how much one costs or if they sell them separately. Are they supposed to come with compressors or with pump boxes? Are they expensive? Did the store sell them at all?

When I unpack an item and find something missing (like dividers for a file cabinet) I don't cart the item back to the store. I call and tell what's missing, then walk in and let the clerk get the necessary item from another box. What the store does with that box isn't my problem although I assume they return it to the vendor. I shouldn't have to call the manufacturer to get something I paid the store for. A couple times I've arrived home with a sealed box and had something missing - maybe I just buy at cheap stores L0L.

Anyway, my thought is that if the boxes were spilling out contents and stuff was laying around in front of them, the clerk may have known that other things were missing from that particular box. What good would the needle adaptor do another customer if other items in the box were already gone? Of course, clerk didn't say that, he appeared to be acting "smarty" by making the remark about turning his head, and we don't know if he had authority to do so. While that would not be an offer I'd want to accept, it may not have been anything like "theft."

At a local store, one clerk frequently "throws in" extra fabric if any is not perfect or if less than a yard is left - particularly when I shop for our community theatre. I've never thought to question whether she has authority to do so, just assumed she did as she's been there 20 yrs. Certainly, if I were shopping a fabric store and an employee did this I would put it in report, but I would not know if it was an infraction or following store policy. I'd state what happened.
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PamelaS
Valued Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
147 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  2:41:29 PM  Send PamelaS an AOL message
Been_Sued_Into_Compliance (not its real name) is a retailer with a notorious history of selling goods as new that are used/damaged/missing parts. In BlueAbe's position, I would have quietly declined the salesperson's offer because I've tasted the anguish of tearing the shrink wrap off a "picnic basket" from BSIC and finding that some "sandwiches" are missing or have bites taken.

Shopping Los Angeles and Orange Counties. MSPA Gold Certification: 3qangd
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.ColleenNYC
Inactive

New York City, NY
USA
1700 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  3:01:58 PM
The needles are used for filling a variety of items with air (air mattresses, bike tires, basketballs). I just noticed signs posted in the local supermarket that says " The opening and/or removal of any product from this store(without paying) regardless if it is or is not in its package constitutes shoplifting.You will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law". Some people are slick,they will go into the store and remove an item (or accessory part) from its package. An accomplice would then enter the store, pick it up and remove it (under the guise or philosophy of "It is not shoplifting, if it is not in the package (this was done alot in the make up section, from what I gathered).
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