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Sealing The Deal

, , , , | Working | November 22, 2019

(Back in 1996, I get a summer job in the media section of a department store. Downloading music or video games isn’t really a thing yet; CD burners are a bit expensive but not totally uncommon. My coworkers are all a lot older than me and not really tech-savvy. One day, I see a customer, about 16, return a huge pile of video games and music CDs. After he leaves, I walk up to my coworker and ask what that was about.)

Me: “He didn’t like his birthday presents, I guess.”

Coworker: “Oh, no, he is a regular. He always buys a lot of CDs and games but returns most of them within a week. Very picky, I guess.”

Me: “Like, how often does he do that?”

Coworker: “Once or twice a week. It kind of sucks but it’s store policy to get your money back if you return your items within a week.”

Me: “Ahh, have you considered that he might actually take them home, copy them, and then return them?”

Coworker: “Nah, you can’t really copy CDs at home. That’s why they switched from cassettes and floppy disks.”

Me: “Yes, you can. It’s called a CD burner. I read an article about them in my dad’s computer magazine. I can bring it tomorrow if you like.”

Coworker: “Well, maybe they have something like that in America or Japan, but not here in Austria.”

Me: “I think we should tell our manager. I am sure he is copying that stuff.”

Coworker: “Okay, knock yourself out, but I’m not gonna bother him with such a silly story.”

(The next day, I brought the magazine with me and went to our floor manager, who was much more interested in my hunch. He took me to the store manager, who was also quite interested. They changed the return policy the same day and after that, storage media had to be returned in their original sealing.)

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