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It’s Like They WANT To Get Scammed

, , , , , , , | Working | December 27, 2021

One of my earliest jobs was working the checkout and floor in a branch of a popular DIY and homewares store in the UK. We had a pretty lax policy on returns: if the customer had a receipt, then they could return any goods for any reason within thirty days provided that they were in resellable condition. If customers were outside of that window or didn’t have their receipt, they could exchange the goods for a store credit for the lowest price within the last thirty days at the time of the return.

Some “customers” were notorious for scamming us on this policy. One family in particular would regularly wait for the shop to get busy, take an expensive item off the shelf when nobody was looking, and then “return it” at the customer service desk for a store credit. Everybody knew they did this, so I never did understand why they were allowed to get away with it.

I had given the shop my notice and was on one of my last days when I saw the scammers enter the shop empty-handed. I thought, “Screw it,” turned off my checkout, and followed them through the store at a discreet distance.

After watching them take a large boxed item from a shelf and then join the queue for the customer service desk, I swiftly moved over and had a hushed conversation with my colleague running it.

Me: “[Coworker], you have that family who keeps scamming us in the queue. I watched them take that box off the shelf; do not return it for them.”

Coworker: *Looking a bit worried* “Oh, okay. Can you go let the manager know that we need them, please?”

I quickly walked off and found the manager in their office and brought them up to speed on what was happening.

Manager: “Okay, thanks, [My Name]. I’m going to review the cameras for the last twenty minutes and confirm what you said.”

Me: “Okay, do you want me to tell [Coworker] to ask them to wait, or will you call them?”

Manager: “No, do nothing. I want to check the footage first.”

Me: “There were only two people ahead of them in the queue when I left. They might already be getting served now! I told you, I literally followed them. I am a witness to them stealing and I am happy to tell the police that. Can’t you check the footage afterward?”

Manager: “No, I need to do it now. Also, it’s getting busy; you should be on a checkout. Go back and start serving customers again.”

Me: “Well, okay, I’ll leave it with you.”

I left the office and started serving customers again as instructed. After about twenty minutes, it was the end of my shift, so I got ready to go and stopped by the customer service desk to find out what happened.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker], did we finally get those scammers, then?”

Coworker: “No, I processed their return.”

Me: “What?! Why?!”

Coworker: “Well, I never heard back from the manager until a few minutes ago. You were right; they didn’t come in with that box. But what else could I do? They were right in front of me asking for the return! I couldn’t say no without evidence!”

Me: “Yes, you could have! I was the evidence. I told you and [Manager] that I literally watched them take it off a shelf. How was that not enough?!”

As [Coworker] was getting upset I just said my goodbyes and left for the night. During my next and final shift, my manager told me that they watched the footage and I was right; they definitely had scammed us. Imagine my shock.

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