I was at the local Walmart late today, awaiting my turn at the Redbox to rent a DVD. Redbox is located just inside the store, near an entrance/exit. The clerk manning the exit stopped a male leaving with a large case of soda in his cart and ask to see his receipt. He gave some story about having left it on the counter and proceeded to push past her. She said you are on the security camera, but he left anyway. She turned to go back inside the store to notify security. Then another Redbox customer said "look at him run" and, indeed, he was booking it out of there and was already at the last parking aisle.
I rented my DVD. The clerk never came back so I went inside. I found her talking to a supervisor, I guess. I said I saw the guy running. The supervisor told me they can't stop them once they are out of the store. I said "don't you have security cameas in the parking lots?" Yes. Then I said at least they could find out the vehicle and maybe the license plate.
Is that true? If you make it out the entrance, you can't be stopped?
I am wondering why they don't provide some kind of button so they can summon security while not leaving their post at the exit. This was an older lady so no way she could have stopped him.
Maybe it's Walmart policy not to stop them (maybe they're terrified of being sued by an employee who cripples himself trying to stop a shoplifter) but I don't think it's a legal thing. I have a friend who works at a grocery store, and him and his pals seem to enjoy tackling shoplifters in the parking lot. Tip - if you're running out of the store with a steak under your arm, don't run right past the area where employees are taking a smoke break.
Dig up some news stories and you'll see quite a few from the past several years where employees were fired for attempting to stop shoplifters. I myself witnessed a store manager at Safeway who tackled and pinned a young man to the ground and he got fired, no questions asked, because what he did was commit assault and battery.
Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!
You aren`t supposed to put yourself in danger. Stores have insurance for theft.
BUT........ sometimes when you are a manager it just ticks you off soooooo much. Especially the health and beauty section (condoms and razor blades) - our poor HB manager lost it one day and tackled a guy. Not okay for a Canadian - but man was it funny on replay.
I had a lady walk up and grab half a rack of clothing and run for it. I was 16 and standing beside my manager. It felt like a hit and run. No point calling security, they were elderly gentlemen. There was nothing we could do, our safety had to come first.
It depends. We have a great LP officer at the local Wallyworld who just grabs and holds and lets them thrash. He did get a knife pulled him once, and dude got some big time charges for that. In this state, if you fight with LP, it's felony assault. However...they are not required to stop anyone, and most places have a policy against it (Home Depot is a big one) that will get you fired, or have a monetary amount before they will even press theft charges (Kmart, anything under about $20 and they just don't care).
COTH's official mini-donk enabler
"I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl
Have worked retail at a few big clothing chains. The only deterrent in one LARGE, INTERNATIONAL chain was some fake cameras and the instructions to "be overly helpful" if you suspected someone....ie, just hanging out around near them cleaning up, asking constantly if they need help, etc., with the assumption that most people aren't ballsy enough to steal with someone standing right next to them.
Honestly, had someone grabbed ten purses and just walked towards the door, we wouldn't have been able to stop them. Like Lex said, it's against company policy and usually ends up in immediate termination. First because the company doesn't want to be liable for a hurt employee, and secondly because stopping a shoplifter quickly turns into an assault and battery case.
The only recourse we had was to note the license plate, and call the local cops.
It is Walmart policy to protect its employees above catching shoplifters, a LP associate who grabs and holds someone stands a very likely chance of losing his job. It is NOT SAFE.
They do not carry guns, handcuffs, and do not have the power to arrest people. Then can be at serious risk of being shot or stabbed. Sometimes following someone and questioning them is enough to keep them from coming back.
Depending on the location of the store and how friendly they are with the local police many Walmarts work closely with them to catch bad guys. My local Walmart was responsible for local police stopping a man with felonies in several states, driving a stolen car, and with several hundred thousand dollars of merchandise in his home.
Shoplifters are often repeat offenders, especially if they think the store is lax in their security.
Most hard core shop lifters know the rules as well and will simply keep walking, in those cases the store will call the police and have them meet the suspect at the front doors.
It was our policy at Blockbuster, Best Buy and Radioshack to let them go. Yes be "overly helpful" and call security (Radioshack was in a mall) if we could, but we were NEVER to try and stop them, it was a fireable offense due to safely issues. Same thing in banking. Give them the money and deal with the cameras and police for any sort of solving. It sucks (especially when its YOUR store and you KNOW they just stole something) but as a person who has been robbed at gunpoint, you follow the rules you have to for safety.
Years ago, I worked in retail as a second job as a supervisor. Our LP guy asked me to help him detain a shoplifter, who ended up biting me. I am sure, in retrospect, that the shoes the guy was trying to shoplift were worth far less than the ER visit cost the store.
Worst thing was that I had the guy's brother in class. I was a little apprehensive about retaliation as they were also gang members but nothing ever happened.
There is a lawsuit pending about this very issue with Walmart in that their managers are told to not report thefts as it has an aggregate effect on Walmart's bottom line. In fact the employee who is suing them claims that they routinely downplay theft losses to the shareholders in effect committing fraud.
Most big companies instruct employees not to confront shoplifters--I know that was the policy at Borders when I was there. It's easier to cover "shrink," as they call it, than deal with lawsuits from employees tackling people...
When I worked at my friend's small boutique, though, I did go chase after a crackhead who stole a stack of underwear (skin care and lingerie store). Nothing like screaming "Just give me the !@#$ing panties!" on the busiest street in the city. I did realize when I chased her into a back alley and had her cornered against a wall that this was Really Stupid and did not follow her over the fence--but I got the underwear back, and she was caught, so it all worked out.
I don't know that I would feel quite the same adrenaline rush of fury for a faceless corporation, but I was damn pissed that someone would steal from my friend! If I worked for Wal-Mart, though, I am pretty sure I would be a lot more chill...
While in college, I worked for a small store and the General Manager's own daughter and friends stole from the store on a fairly regular basis. It was all on camera but the GM refused to stop her. Some managers are just in denial that thefts happen.
We are instructed to let them walk but be overly helpful to minimize the shoplifting.
Saw one guy up a belt and a shirt under three bags of feed on his cart. (He was a known lifter in our store previously) he turned the corner and left his cart so I grabbed the shirt and belt out.
The guy was in for quite the shock when he got to his car and loaded his bags and the shirt and belt wasn't there. We all got a chuckle. He hasn't come back since.
Not Wal-Mart, but I have a friend that is the regional head of loss prevention for a chain store. The store has what sounds like a similar policy for the actual employees - they report what they've seen to him, and watch the surveillance videos for offenders and suspicious looking people, but don't do anything themselves. He's in plain clothes and looks like any other shopper wandering around. He works a store near my house once in a while and says he catches an average of 3 people each time, at least one is always a runner or a fighter, usually two.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson