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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Good Character

I worked in retail for about ten years. Most of it was in management and part of working management consists in customer care, balancing the cash, maintaining inventory, keeping inventory losses at a minimum and depositing the sales in the bank. Two of the companies I worked for were in poor neighborhoods and had very heavy losses from shoplifting. Our corporate office tied our hands on many levels in preventing these thefts, but still sent in loss prevention teams from time to time to interview staff. A few times I was actually assaulted by shop lifters who were caught in the act, and corporate refused to prosecute. Loss prevention has a conception that losses are mainly internal. While this could be true generally, at both these locations it was not.

We (management members) watched films and listened to seminars advising how easy it is for a trusted individual to suddenly become a thief. In fact in our neighborhood a young manager at a fast food restaurant was sent to prison for stealing a deposit. A year later the bank found the lost deposit wedged in their drop and the man was released from prison and consequently sued. We never lost a deposit, but if we had, how long will a couple thousand last? It wouldn't even pay for a good attorney! Will a few dollars replace the harm the deed caused?

While being interviewed one on one with the head of loss prevention, I was told adamantly by this man that everyone is a thief. The only difference he said in who and who isn't  is in the "window of opportunity". I was just as adamant in my opinion  that not everyone would throw away their good character over a few dollars. I told the man that my children may not inherit a lot of worldly goods from me, but they must live with whatever reputation I have. I could not leave this earth knowing I left a bad name for my children to try to clean up! Now my children's friends recognize me as someone that waited on them at either the doctor's office or the different places I worked. I even taught some of their children in headstart and have them run to give me a hug. They were good experiences.

Sorry, for going on and on. This is a tender subject for me, as our entire staff was fired on inventory day because of a poor inventory. I went out and found another management position within the week with their competitor, but left retail as soon as I could find a suitable position in another line of work.

1. How do you feel about shopping somewhere and paying more because of inventory losses due to shoplifting when the store refuses to prosecute?

2. Do you believe everyone is a potential thief?

This post linked to Thursday Two Questions. Thanks for listening to me rant! Take care, stay healthy and God bless. 


Poetic Shutterbug January 18, 2012 at 9:40 PM  

Thanks for sharing your story, Judy.

1. If I knew a store was doing that I would not shop there.

2. This is a difficult one because I think if someone were in a position where they were on the streets with no roof over their head or food to feed their family, then I think yes, anyone in that position could potentially become a thief. I don't think that just given an opportunity that people are thieves, they are theives for a reason.

Self Sagacity January 18, 2012 at 11:40 PM  

1) I don't know if I have even heard of this before, but now I do. I would be very turned off by it and probably will not shop there.
2) I think everyone has greed, it depends on the level of stealing defined by an individual. I do believe my answer is yes. While there are some circumstances that just fall into your lap and the right thing is to turn it in, I know many people wouldn't and they wouldn't think twice about it.

Self Sagacity January 18, 2012 at 11:43 PM  

By the way, I enjoyed you telling about your life and situation you were in. One of my craving sometimes is to hear true life stories...
I hope the assaults weren't terrible. Sorry to hear about that.

SquirrelQueen January 19, 2012 at 3:46 AM  

I can't figure out why a store would not prosecute. Do they think it is more expensive than having merchandise stolen? I would definitely not shop there if I knew.

No, I think many people would resist even if the opportunity presented itself.

Cathy Kennedy January 19, 2012 at 9:04 AM  

It's because of shop lifters, which forces my hand to shop were the best bargains are. I think if more retailers were pro-active in prosecuting thieves then it would deter others from doing it. Immediate consequences for shoplifters actions are getting swept under the rug and they keep at it until these penny & dime thiefs build into something horrible.

Anyone can be tempted to do the wrong thing, but I believe the majority of the people are basically honorable and do not wish to lower themselves to this standard. Hopefully, it's due to moral or spiritual convictions to keep on the right track.

KatieBug January 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM  

Wow, I'm not sure I understand this companies logic from "window of opportunity" to even the prosecution part. If they are indeed losing that much money perhaps shutting down the store would have been more beneficial. Changing staff isn't going to stop the underlying problem.

Icy BC January 19, 2012 at 4:40 PM  

I don't think everyone is a potential thief! Weak temptation can take over some, but not all.

Situation can turn good people into thieves as Poetic Shutterbug said.

Jim January 19, 2012 at 10:26 PM  

Hi Judy ~~ First, thank you for visiting 'Dr. Jim Asks (blog)'. I agree, the fellow needs his wife. This time for company as his help mate. That is part fo the reason he married her.

You have good questions today.

1. No, I wouldn't want to pay more. Shoplifting is a cost of doing business and should be absorbed from the proceede and profits.

2. Yes, most everyone. Perhaps most everyone has already stolen. Mostly when they were a kid and later in life 'small stuff' from the office. Like paper clips or pens and pencils?

Anne Lyken-Garner January 20, 2012 at 7:22 AM  

1. I definitely wouldn't shop there if I knew.

2. Definitely not! I know I would resist, so not everyone is a potential thief.

JamericanSpice January 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM  

1. No I don't think I should have to pay when they refuse to prosecute or put in measures to help keep thievery at a minimum.

2. I honestly do not think everyone is a thief or have to be, no matter the circumstances.
We think of people based on how we are in our hearts or how we reflect the pain put upon us.

It's a choice and not everyone wants to bear that burden of conscience about taking someting that doesn't belong to them.


CA Johnson January 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM  

I'm sorry to hear about what happened when you were in retail management.

I do not like the idea of paying more money because of shoplifting. I think it is unfair to make those suffer who didn't steal anything.

I don't think everyone is a potential thief.

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