So yesterday was interesting. I work for a superstore chain in the UK, though the store I work at is a smaller one, and in the space of twenty minutes, I stopped three shoplifters. Pretty cool right? Well, it was, kinda. I don’t know why I bother though, it’s a thankless thing to do. I don’t particularly care for the store I work at, I have no emotional connection to it, what’s it to me if it loses a few pounds here and there? However, I’d be willing to bet if you looked at how much money every single shop and superstore in the UK loses every week from shoplifting, it’s probably up in the high hundreds of thousands, if not millions. That’s chump change to some of these chains though, so why should I care? The answer is, I don’t, but I feel like even though I hate working there, and retail plain sucks, I have some kind of duty to stop them when I can. It’s not a nice thing to do, to ask someone if they’ve been stealing, or to follow them, or to confront them. I hate confrontations.
It annoys me though, that some people just seem to think that the world owes them something. Because deep down, most of these people don’t think they’re really doing much wrong, and delude themselves into thinking they’re in the right. So, the people I “stopped”, here’s the deal:
- A girl comes into the store with a strong, white plastic bag. Her calling card. She comes in with her boyfriend all the time(or she used to last year, before our Duty Manager caught her in the act and banned her with some finality that seemed to have sorted her out) and puts things in the white bag. It’s ridiculous that she always brings it, it always stands out so much. So I watch her and she has this cheap bottle of Coke with her. Next minute its in her bag so I ask her if she has a receipt. She gave me probably the dirtiest look that has ever existed and showed me her receipt, glaring even more. I bluntly said to her “you’ve been stealing from her so many times, you think I’m not going to check?” She had about four expensive Mothers Day cards in her hands, which she promptly put back and left. That’s her trick; buy something small, then stay in the shop and dump things into the bag. So I stopped her there. Yet, a small part of me thinks she tricked me and showed me a receipt from another day when she had bought the Coke: I didn’t check the date.(I was shocked she actually had a receipt. Maybe I’m giving her too much credit though, I doubt she’d be that smart, given how conspicuous she acts when she steals.
- Literally the second she walked out of the door, I turn around and a guy is just loading a plastic bag up with expensive washing up items. He looked at me and put them back, muttering “oh I…don’t need that one actually.” He tried a few more times and I effectively used the Shoplifter Troll. Which is the best way sometimes when someone looks dodgy or like they could be trouble if you flat out ask them to leave, or if even they look like they could get violent. You do get some really rough looking people who have scars all over them from fights so, it’s best not to go in guns blazing. The Shoplifter Troll is the act of following them around, but not making it look like you are. So they can’t steal anything, and eventually they get annoyed enough to just give up. If you make it obvious you’re following them, then sometimes they actually get more determined and will do anything to get away with the stuff they want for free. He left pretty quickly.
- Literally again(I’m not kidding) as soon as that guy had left, I turned around and another was there, with the same brand of plastic bag the last guy had, which also looked rumpled and wrinkled like it had been used fifty times. Coincidence? I think not. They must have been working together. We sometimes get that, gangs of older men tag teaming up. This one however, was loading up a basket, with the plastic bag inside, obviously hoping to slip items in there. I carried on putting easter eggs on the shelves around the store, not giving him more than a few seconds alone. He actually kept phoning himself and having fake conversations. “Oh yeah, I’m in the shop now, I have fifty quid to spend.” I can’t comprehend what goes through their heads, its so embarrassingly obvious. He tried to wait it out, filling his basket to the brim, and after Trolling him a little more, he left the basket and pretended to have a shop-leaving argument on the phone. Success!
So I was feeling pretty damn good about myself after that, having stealthily apprehended three shoplifters in less than half an hour. That feeling soon vanished though. I went on my break and when I came back, a trolley had been stolen. Which could mean only one thing: someone had loaded it up with groceries and walked out. People try that all the time, sadly. I felt so deflated, like, no matter what, the “bad guys” will always win. It turned out a few hours later the trolley was outside the back of the store. Now if someone had loaded the trolley up and left, it’s not likely they would return it outside. Then again, where do they go with all that stuff? Plus our customers love to tell us about things we’ve done wrong or need to sort out, so someone definitely would’ve said something. So my theory is someone took their bought and paid for shopping out back to their car, because they were too lazy to carry a few bags.(we’re not a superstore, yet people insist on buying massive amounts) And they obviously couldn’t be bothered to wheel it back in either. People piss me off. Not as much as shoplifters, but they’re up there.
You may have noticed I haven’t specified which store I work at, and that’s because I know of another superstore that my friends work at, that have an eagle eye on all social networking of their staff, ready to fire or give out warnings for anything negative said about them. Not that I would get in trouble for this, I’m not criticising them, but I’m keeping all my bases covered. I’m sure through my available web of internet musings you can figure out which store it is if you really wanted. Bottom line, as far as I’m concerned, the store is a nice store, frequented by nice customers, that’s usually thriving day to day with awful customers and scumbag shoplifters. You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. In Penarth anyway. Ok I’m exaggerating, I’m sure there’s far worse places, per se. But when it comes to stores, in Penarth town, then yeah, it is.
By the way, in May 2011, I went on what I liked to call at the time, The Epic Journey. It involved me going to see two of my favourite rock bands for the first time, over a long weekend travelling across three countries in the UK. I vlogged throughout the whole process and kept a diary, which you can check out at the top of this blog on the tab under the banner. I’ll probably be adding more diaries and past writings in the future too, I like how it turned out on here.