In Receipt Of Stolen Goods

, , , , , | | Right | May 15, 2019

(I am working as a cashier at a chain retail store with a pharmacy. A woman comes in with a return. Keep in mind that there is a lot of receipt fraud happening on a daily basis. People have been stealing receipts out of the garbage and stealing products that are listed on the receipts in order to return them for money. They’ve also been using high-dollar coupons on products and then returning the items a few days later to get the full value back. Therefore, when a customer comes in with a return, I have gotten into the habit of studying the receipt to check for coupons used, the date of the purchase, the location of the purchase, or anything that seems fishy. A woman is returning a tube of Cortizone-10, as well as a few other items on her receipt. I look at the receipt and I immediately notice that a $1 manufacturers’ coupon was used on the Cortizone-10. I look at the box of Cortizone-10 being returned and I see an unused $1-off coupon, still fully intact, in plain view, stickered on the outside of the box. So, I try using logic:)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am. I see that a $1-off coupon was used on this Cortizone-10.” *points to the coupon still on the box* “Is this the coupon that was used?”

Customer: “Yeah…”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s not possible. There’s no way that we would leave the coupon on the box after scanning it. We peel it off, scan it, and keep it in the register.”

(And yes, we add them up at the end of the night. The customer looks at me as if I have just spoken Greek. She doesn’t get angry or upset, but she seems completely confused as if she doesn’t understand that I have just caught her. She doesn’t seem to understand the mechanics behind my explanation about how coupons are processed. Chances are, she probably didn’t even notice the $1 coupon that was processed on her stolen receipt.)

Customer: *in a daze* “Oh… Well… I don’t know why they did that.”

(I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I considered the possibility that maybe some other $1 coupon was used in the original transaction. I asked her to put in her phone number to see if her rewards account number matched the account number on the receipt. If she could prove the receipt was hers, she’d get her refund, simple as that. She tried two different phone numbers and, sure enough, neither of them matched the rewards account that was used on the receipt. I declined the return because there was enough evidence that this receipt wasn’t hers and the products were stolen. I apologized and told her that I could not process the return. She said many stores have been giving her problems about it and she wasn’t sure why. She left the store. She wasn’t upset, but she seemed very spacey and confused about the situation. I was almost convinced that someone else had put her up to this and that she was completely innocent and unaware of the criminal activity taking place. I pondered how somebody who was in this mental state could even find and steal the correct products that were listed on a receipt. Where do these people come from?)

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