I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, just haven’t had the time. But today I’m making the time. As I’m sure most of you are aware, I work … think SuperStore. Yeah buddy. And just like my Here’s Your Sign series when I worked there last time, I’m posting some of my fun moments. So, so fun moments.
I presently work at the self-checkout area. Let me clarify. The SELF-checkout area. This does not mean you ask me to ring you up personally at a kiosk while all the other customers have to wait on me to stop theirs from yelling at them, “Please wait for assistance!”.
The policy of our store is known to the world. “Steal from us. Please. We’ll even help you.” But there are a few things us employees are allowed to do. One of them is look inside large items being purchased, like suitcases, backpacks, purses, etc. Yes, even in SELF-checkout.
I got to put that allowance in action last night while trying not to laugh at two very sloppy thieves. Over time, you get to know the difference between lazy, disabled, methhead, poor, and many other subcultures of retail patrons. These two were just plain crazy. Hair sticking out all over the place like a cliche cartoon drawing of Einstein with glasses that would make Professor Trelawney jealous, these two old women kept looking up at me, a sure sign of something fishy. Most patrons who come through my area don’t want to be talked to. They want to be left alone. The last thing they do is watch me, unless they need something. So, I get to watching them and their order, and things aren’t adding up. Literally. Like their two foot tall pile of fabric that rings up for 97¢ and is called “baby jungle”. That kind of not adding up.
They had two buggies, one full of stuff, another to put the stuff in after it’s rung up. This is common, so I ignore it, but what I can’t ignore is the large tote they move from one buggy to the next without scanning it with the little wand. This is when I get to make my move.
“Did you get this?” I tap the tote.
No, no they didn’t. “I don’t think it registered. Oh!” I “casually” look into the tote to see the large pile of fabric with a sticker of a UPC stuck to the real price tag. “Someone put the wrong sticker on here. Let me fix that for you.” I radio for a CSM. They would have to come do the void anyway, but I wanted them to see this. I took the sticker off and rummaged through their items as innocently as possible.
The CSM came by. “This was stuck to one of their tags. It needs to be voided off.” She voided it off, not really caring, and then left. I resumed my rummaging.
Their tote had many items. None of which had been rung up, nor were going to be from what I could tell. The pile of fabric had six UPC’s alone. Stuffed between the folds was clothing. I just handed each item to them, letting them ring it up. Three small plastic doo-dahs, quilting batting, toddler clothes… At that point I moseyed a few feet away, radioed the noncaring CSM, and as quietly as possible asked for the person who stops thieves. They weren’t in yet but would be later on.
Another CSM comes by, along with a manager. They had heard the radio chatter. At this particular time, the kiosks have a glitch where every 7 items, I have to press a button. I use this to my advantage, and instead of standing at my podium pressing buttons, I stand directly with them and fix it right there, acting ignorant as to what was wrong with it, assuring them I would look into their register as soon as they left, and apologizing for its misbehavior. While I’m personally handling this order, I peek down into one of their purses without being seen. It was fairly easy to do.
I kid you not. There in the purse was a big ol’ can of Bushes Baked Beans. I literally felt my eyes grow cold from all the extra air hitting them because of how big they had gotten. Kinda hard not to laugh at it now.
Several items later, I went up to talk to the manager and other CSM to tell them what was going on. The CSM looks over at them and slowly says in an astonished voice, “There is the outline of a can in their purse.” Sure enough, the can had fallen to where its outline could be clearly seen at that point.
I wasn’t allowed to do anything about it. I just told her, “Honey, there’s a whole bunch of food in that thing.” Three sets of lips were heavily bitten for several minutes to keep from smiling and bursting out laughing.
As soon as they left, I walked over and picked up a price tag they had dropped on the floor. The CSM printed out a copy of their receipt, and these things were left for the thief catcher. She came and talked to me, laughing a lot in the process, then watched the videos. She said she thinks I caught everything but the food that got away in their purse.
I see a lot of thieves where I work. Half the time we just let them go, there’s nothing we can do with a motto like that. Other than laugh, that is, like when they forget to take the sticker price tags off the backs of their shirts. Oooohhhhh, we laugh.