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Stealing A March On This Conversation

, , , , | Working | February 28, 2019

(My store has just this morning had a meeting in which the loss prevention supervisor spent some time explaining his duties and emphasizing that no floor associate or cashier is allowed, ever, to pursue a shoplifter due to liability issues, but that we are required to report it immediately if we see theft. It is early spring and unseasonably warm. Seasonal workers are not yet scheduled, but a lot of customers are shopping in the garden center and I am the only employee on duty in that part of the store. I am behind a long counter adjacent to the exit door stocked with impulse-purchase-type merchandise, working the register at a closed-off end. The line to check out is ten or twelve people long. I am ringing up a man with two full flatbed carts of trees, planting mix, bagged fertilizer, etc., which are directly in front of me across the counter. Suddenly, a young man built like a football offensive lineman, a box under each arm, runs through the door of the main store and out the exit door by where I am working. A couple of the customers waiting in line run out after him. I immediately excuse myself to the customer I was helping and pick up the phone to page for a loss prevention associate or manager as I was instructed not two hours ago. The store manager responds, approaching the counter within a minute or so.)

Manager: “What’s the problem?”

Me: “A man just ran out of the store with what looked like two portable stereos.”

Manager: “You just let him run out? You made no attempt to stop him?”

Me: “Mr. [Manager], you were at the meeting this morning; you know I couldn’t have chased after him even if I was in a position to do so.”

Manager: “You saw him running; what stopped you from blocking the door?”

Me: “What? He was running, so there wouldn’t have been time, as well as there being a counter, a customer, and two large carts of merchandise directly in front of me! I was not going to risk hurting myself or someone else to vault the counter to try to stop a man twice my size!”

(The customers begin to chime in.)

Customer: *who I was checking out* “It happened so fast, I didn’t see anything.”

Other Customer: *who ran out the door after the thief* “Yeah, he had two boomboxes, and he jumped into a waiting car; there would have been no way to stop him, anyway, without someone getting run over.”

(The manager then took the details and walked back into the store, turning back and giving a final, “We can’t just let people run out with unpaid merchandise!” At least the customers were all supportive, telling me not to let the idiot manager get to me, as there was nothing I could have done, anyway.)

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