I’d never worked an LP role before in my life. I was a store manager for quite a few years and really enjoyed the LP side of the business. There happen to open a district position in my area and I thought, why not just apply? To my surprise, the company gave me a chance, and I’ve never looked back. 10 years later and I’m still amazed at what I see on a daily basis. I get to help my company improve profits and I get to Stop Shoplifting. It’s the perfect balance between work and play.
The other night, I was cleaning out some files in my home office and stumbled upon some old letters. I had forgotten about this one and when I saw the name, it all came rushing back to me. There are things in life you never forget; your first kiss, your senior prom date, first job, etc. This is a story about one of my firsts in life.
I had just come back from lunch and decided to take a few laps around the store. My eyes had grown weary of an audit of Checkpoint Tags I was working on. I was still learning my new role so I spent as much time as possible talking with employees and managers to better support them in their shrink reduction goals. I visited the electronics section, as it is generally a high theft area. It was a Monday afternoon, so traffic was slow. I spoke with a few employees and the department supervisor about ways to Stop Shoplifting. The company philosophy was to use customer service to combat thieves, and I re-emphasized this to them. I made my way to the four corners of the store; proactively walking those often-overlooked areas and blind-spots. Here’s where I first locked eyes with her.
She was quite a looker if I may say so. Hair pulled up in a bun, reminiscent of a grade school librarian. She stood on the edge of the aisle, in her not-so-well-fitting jeans with holes in the knee caps and a Pink Floyd T-shirt. Her ensemble was capped with a pair of mis-matched black and orange flip flops. I approached with a smile from ear to ear, and said “hello”. There, I caught a scent of her, wafting down the aisle. A scent that I’ll never forget. This, I thought to myself, was the one.
She offered a sincere “good afternoon” to me, as I kept walking down the aisle. I turned the corner, just out of sight, but peeked around the back end-cap to just get one more look at her. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She had my complete attention, as she looked curiously at the Checkpoint Tags that were used to secure the shirts she seemed to adore.
For the next 25 minutes, I kept her in my sights, although I was too coy to let her see me. I couldn’t focus on anything else. I felt like I knew her as she visited aisle after aisle. I sensed we had so much in common, as she was just as interested in Checkpoint Tags as I was. I gazed as she seemed to drift from one corner of the store to the other. It was as if she had no other care aside from what was in front of her; no worries, no stress. As our time seemed to be fading, I watched as she slowly meandered to front of the store, where she walked right out of the door, and of my life.
NO! I thought. I couldn’t let her get away. It was destiny. No, it was fate that brought us together and the universe had put us on the same aisle, in the same store, on the same day for a reason. So, heart pumping and adrenaline coursing through my veins, I rushed outside and to my surprise found her right outside the door. Her, now taking a long drag from a freshly lit Salem-Light, looks at me as I fumble with my words. I manage to muster “Ma’am!”. She looks down to me with a half grimace on her face and she shoots me a smile. A full smile that shows all her tooth.
I had to catch my breath, compose myself and build the courage to continue talking. “Ma’am”, I stumble out again, “I’m for the store to Stop Shoplifting. I need you to come back inside with me to discuss the items that you didn’t pay for.” I was off the script that I had practiced for so long, but it didn’t matter. I made my point. Reluctantly, just like the very first girl I asked on a date, and after a bit of convincing that I was a nice guy, she came back inside with me. Once acquainted, I offered her a nice new bracelet set. It was silver and it even came with free room and board for the next few days at the county lock-up.
My first shoplifter!
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