Photo: Mahalie Stackpole on Flickr
A loss prevention agent’s job is to keep people from shoplifting, often incognito. A professional at a “major, Wal-Mart style retail chain,” recently took to Reddit to share secrets of the trade, including the easiest way to steal.[Note: Reddit’s Ask Me Anything series involves anonymous sources, which we can’t verify—but they seem legit to us.]
When asked who gets away with shoplifting, the security officer said:
People who come in, steal, and leave. The quicker they are, the less time we have to stumble upon it or detect it.
When confronted, fewer than 10 per cent of people try and run away, he said. If they do run, the in-store security officers aren’t allowed to chase after them:
We have a strict “no chase” policy. We do, however, “follow from a safe distance while maintaining observation and relay that information to police dispatch”. Thankfully we have an incredible response time from our police and 75% of this who run get caught. Those who don’t usually end up coming back and getting caught at a later time.
So what clues give away potential shoplifters?
What people wear, i.e. a jacket when it’s warm is a good sign. Girls with big empty purses are notorious. People who walk fast, look around a lot, or change directions frequently. Talking to themselves or talking to employees often can sometimes be an indicator.
But retail employees, not shoplifters, are actually the biggest threat to the store:
Employees account for 90% of the lost assetts of any major company (I might be slightly off, but they taught us this in training). Half of that loss is from shrink, workmans comp and what not, the other half is theft, misuse of company time, and embezzlement. My store was the third highest last year for employee theft (out of 200 or so stores in 5 states), and that’s only the ones we caught. Yes, employees steal often.
And what’s the pay for catching and restraining shoplifters? Between $9 and $14 an hour.
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