It's Past Time to Blow Off the "Receipt Check"

I heard from someone who works at Border's that the "welcome" folk are there specifically because being greeted like that will "encourage" some folks not to shoplift. Feh.

What bugs me more is the common practice here in NYC of having to check your bag upon entry to a store. Can't be legal, can it?

Posted by growler at February 21, 2006 9:25 AM

Yes, if the check takes place on the property.

Posted by P.A. Breault at February 21, 2006 10:01 AM

'Greeters' are a proven foil to shoplifters, because the potential shoplifters then feel watched. Or so we were told. Maybe it works.

I used to work for Barnes & Noble. You simply wouldn't believe the tricks people used to steal.

Wait around the parking lot for people to drop reciepts, then pick them up, go into the store find the items on the receipts and try to 'return' them. Sorta weird when the 11 year old boy is trying to return fertility and maternity books.

Taking the dust cover off new books and replacing them with the dust cover of some same sized and vastly more inexpensive bargain book.

'returning' stolen stuff not bought (or stolen) at the store (or any other B&N), like most medical textbooks. (Something to be said for computerized inventory listings).

'returning' an item that they just picked up off the shelf.

'returning' an actual gift (inscribed to the recipient no less) and getting all indigant that either; it won't be accepted (wasn't bought at that store, because its not on the inventory) or not getting cash back. (no reciept, you see). That's why stores like target give 'gift reciepts' now, and gift cards are so much more popular. Hell, I remember books of gift certificates being stolen, (back when they came with no amount on them), so the gift cards in set amounts that can only be activated at a register at purchase time are really an anti-theft device. Plus, since you don't get money back, they keep the money in the store.

And then there's the straight up shoplifting. Nobody really wants to admit it, but sometimes 10% of the stock went missing. The back room crew might not be the brightest bulbs in the bunch, but they're not that stupid to lose one book in 10. There were whole crews in the NYC area purloining high end art books. Mostly this was in New Jersey, since the Jersey stores didn't make people check their bags. So person A would come in with a bag or satchel or briefcase type thing, fill it up, and then leave it someplace innocuous for person B to surreptitiously pick up and abscond with.

The Tower Records next door used to regularly provide the spectacle of their security guards tackling shoplifters in the parking lot. Amusing in a sad, cynical sort of way.

I won't even get into the assorted ethnic proclivities I observed over time.

So, call them odious, say 'Feh', and what you will, the stores are just attempting to protect their business.

Go work in retail for a while, and you really see what shits people can be.

Posted by Eric Blair at February 21, 2006 10:46 AM

As usual, Gerard, you have taken a good idea and, with proper credit given, made it even better. The logical conclusion can be easily spotted......Time to start a new movement, best thought of as mature civil disobedience, whereby we refuse to acquiese to this and other slights and insults to our dignity, intelligence and convenience. Regardless the offense perpetrated upon retailers by thugs and criminals, they need not impose upon the majority policies aimed at the lowest among us. When we allow them to do so, we allow our children to think of themselves as potential thugs and criminals. Might as well just give the country totally over to the democrats and be done with it.

Posted by AskMom at February 21, 2006 2:56 PM

Growler— it's more than just encouraging people not to shoplift. When I worked at Borders, we were told to greet people to keep from being robbed at gunpoint.

Sounds crazy, but we were right off a freeway junction and I remember one poor employee who was held up two days after starting... and the theory is that someone who feels watched will be less likely to try something.

Shoplifting happened at the secondary exit. Person A would come in, fill up a bag— which we eventually had to move behind the customer service counter for exactly this reason— and leave it near the door. Person B would come in, pick it up, and be out the door with alarms blazing and into a running car before we could even be there.

And people complained about why we didn't have cacsh registers at that entrance, because they had to walk "all the way across the store" (less than thirty feet) to buy their stuff. Not the world's largest store.

The only, and I mean ONLY time we could look at a receipt was if it was offered to us after somebody inadvertently set off the alarms. As an employee, you didn't even bother looking at it closely because the shoplifters ran; if the person stopped you helped them find the tag if they want and let them go. (I remember one really baffled guy in t-shirt and shorts who couldn't figure out why he was setting off the alarms. We finally tracked it down to a new leather wallet he'd purchased, removed the tag, and he went off happy because he'd been setting off alarms everywhere... and we were the first to address the problem!)

Posted by B. Durbin at February 25, 2006 5:55 PM