Shoplifters have some very “creative” ways to get stuff out the door. I have seen some wild acts throughout my over fourteen years in the retail business. I have learned to keep an open mind, stay on my toes, and believe just about anything can happen. Prevent Shoplifting Loss in your store with constant awareness, and learn the different tactics thieves may be using.
One thing to look for is what the person is wearing. Thieves come from all walks of life, so I don’t mean whether they are dressed in neat high fashion, or shabby work clothes. Look for clothing that does not fit in. If the day’s weather is mild, but the person walks in wearing a big heavy coat, it should bring up red flags to your staff. Look for people that appear to have several layers on as well. They may have on a t-shirt, then a button up shirt, then a jacket on over that. All layers are generally visible, and the two outer layers are mostly open in the front. It works because they have the t-shirt tucked in, and that is where they stuff the merchandise, usually down their backs. The button up shirt will not be tucked in, and that combined with the jacket will help shield them from being spotted because you won’t clearly see the bulky items stuffed into their clothes. The only way you can know they have the concealed items are to actually see them do it, possibly on camera, or you walk by them and hear the items rattling. Their movements will generally be labored and slower because they don’t want to make noise or have items drop out.
Look for people’s behaviors that are out of the ordinary. Prevent Shoplifting Loss by not falling for these antics. Last week there was a big box store on the local news looking for help after a big loss. Two men walked in, got a cart, and loaded a large television and a large ride-on toy for a child. They then separated and one of the men suddenly fell to the floor clasping his chest. All the surrounding shoppers and employees immediately came to the man, or just stood watching him flailing around. Not a single person realized what was really happening or saw the other man walk out one of the exits with that cart. A moment later the one faking the heart attack stood up, suddenly just fine, and walked out the door as well.
The truth is this trick happens in small businesses too. It happened to me personally, and yes, I fell for it. I manage a small retail pharmacy. This past summer I had a couple standing right at my front counter looking at sim cards and prepaid phones. I stayed close by because these are high retail items. Suddenly the man started coughing like crazy, and seemed to be choking. She looked at him with a glare and told him to go get a drink of water from the fountain. I pointed to the back of the store, and began to walk with him to make sure he was going to be okay. Then she said, “oh, he’ll be fine, he’s such a baby. I do need some help with these cards”. So, being the good seller I am, I came back to her. I could hear him coughing all the way to the back of the store, loud and sick sounding. Suddenly it dawned on me that something wasn’t right. By the way he sounded, she should have went back there with him. I told my other employee to help her and excused myself. As I was walking back, he was going out the door, and she quickly left too. I went into the restroom, and found three empty sim card packs, worth about $250.
I should have seen through that, but it happened so fast. Prevent Shoplifting Loss in your store by acting immediately if it doesn’t feel right. Don’t be the next news story, or have to hang your head and explain to your staff how you just got taken.
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