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Empty Bags Are Full Of Accusations

, , , | Right | November 2, 2020

I have been putting out new stock for about an hour. My manager has been doing the same thing in the next aisle. Each item has to be removed from plastic bags, which make a noise, so I know that the manager has not left the aisle to serve anyone.

She has a full view of the counter, while I have a view of a department that carries pricey items. I notice a woman entering the department who has either come from the entry door or the service counter, and she is carrying one of our branded bags, but it’s empty. I immediately have suspicions and quickly head to my manager.

Me: “Have you served anyone recently?”

Manager: “Not for about an hour, why?”

Me: “Because there’s a lady over there with one of our empty bags and she’s gone straight to [expensive stock].”

Manager: “Okay, I’ll deal with it. Keep an eye out.”

She heads over to the customer.

Manager: “Oh, good morning, ma’am, can I help you with something? Do you have something to be returned?” *Indicating her bag* “If so, I just need to take to the counter; returns should be left at the counter on entry.”

Customer: “Oh, no, it’s just an empty bag that I am going to reuse today.” *Holds the bag open*

Manager: “Oh! Is that so? I am sorry, but I will still need to take that to the counter to avoid any confusion with my staff. I will leave it there for you; do you still need the receipt that’s in the bag? I can throw it out for you.”

Customer: “Oh, did I leave it in there? I might need it, so I’ll keep it with the bag. I’ll keep the bag myself, thanks.”

Manager: “No, I will put it at the counter to avoid any confusion later.” 

My manager takes the bag and goes to the nearest service counter where she stays, waiting for the customer to finish her shopping. A few minutes later, the customer brings a few items to the counter and starts loudly berating her.

Customer: “I did not appreciate being accused of theft.”

Manager: “I did not accuse you of theft; I was just following store policy. I am sorry if you felt that way.”

Customer: “l demand to see the store manager.”

Manager: “I am the store manager.”

Customer: “Well, I will be taking this further, just wait and see. It’s just your word against mine.”

Manager: “When you do report it, just mention that [My Name] witnessed everything.” *Points to me* “But I will let them know that when I call head office to expect your call.”

The customer leaves.

Manager: “That was a good catch. That receipt was for [expensive item]; how did you know?”

Me: “I just had a feeling that it wasn’t right by the way she was looking around as if to see if she was being seen. She didn’t notice me because I was sitting on the floor.”

For the record, this may have been innocent, but we often get customers trying to return something they just picked up from the store using an old receipt, which is why our policy is to leave returns at the counter. And no, she never reported it.

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