Every Day At This Store Is A Steal!

, , , , | Legal | September 27, 2019

(I work at a small wine store in the heart of downtown. The store is right at street level and by one of the busiest intersections in the city. As such, odd characters, as well as theft, are daily occurrences, and I get used to them quickly. We also always have samples of wine — corporate policy — for patrons to try our sale items. A man walks into the store.)

Customer: *pointing at a tray of wine samples* “Are these free to try?”

Me: “Of course! Feel free to have one.”

(While the man is enjoying his sample, another guy who regularly steals walks in, grabs some large bottles off the shelf, and leaves quickly.)

Customer: “Did he just steal!?!”

Me: “Yeah, it’s pretty common. And that guy hits us up a few times a week.”

Customer: “D***, it’s that easy?!”

(With that he walked to a shelf, grabbed a bottle, and left. All I could think was, “At least he grabbed a poor-selling item!”)

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Wouldn’t Believe It If It Wasn’t On Camera!

, , , , , , | Legal | September 25, 2019

(I manage a small art supply store in a college town. One day early in the semester, a young man comes in and asks for help in putting together a set of oil painting supplies as cheaply as possible. I go around the store with him for several minutes, adding things to his basket.)

Customer: *asking out of the blue* “Do you have security cameras?”

(I look around at the many “You’re on camera!” signs around the store, figuring he must be joking.)

Me: *chirpy voice* “That would be telling!”

Customer: “Oh.”

(He set down the basket and left the store. Nice to know some thieves are easily discouraged!)

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Been Carrying That Since ‘Nam

, , , , | Right | September 23, 2019

(It is a Sunday afternoon, and as such, even though I work for an authorized retailer for a major cell phone company, I am running the store alone. I work in a small town and this usually isn’t a problem and, therefore, there are no cameras. Two customers walk in: an older man, sporting a beard and overalls, [Customer #1], and the other, a younger guy, [Customer #2].)

Customer #1: “Hey, man, I have an issue with my cell phone bill; I keep gettin’ charges I don’t want and don’t have a clue how they get on my cell phone.”

(The man is carrying a cane, so I offer a chair for him to sit on. I have to call customer care, and I’m not sure how long it’ll take, so I offer the other customer a chair as well. Everything is going smoothly. [Customer #1] is talking to [Customer #2] about his time in ‘Nam and how Charlie killed a couple of his buddies. I ignore the remark, as [Customer #2] is being polite and nodding and smiling. It has been about fifteen minutes now.)

Me: “It should only be a couple of minutes more, and then everything should be resolved.” 

([Customer #2] simply smiles, being a patient customer.)

Customer #1: “Not a problem. You guys want to see something cool?”

(The old man then proceeds to pull out a pistol and wave it a few times, in a nonthreatening way. I tense up, as does the second guest. Unsure of what to do, I ask the customer if he has a permit for that, as customer service comes back on the line. I hurry up the call, making sure not to offend the customer, who has holstered his pistol by now. Customer care finishes the credit.)

Me: “All right, sir, you are all set. I hope you have a good day.”

(The customer shakes my hand and leaves. His account has his address on it and I catch a glimpse of his truck.)

Customer #2: “You realize he said he had no permit for that, right?”

(I hadn’t heard this, and therefore asked the guest if he minded if I called the police, assuming they would need his statement. He agreed, all the while being the best customer ever. Not sure what happened to [Customer #1], but I got a $100 credit for [Customer #2], and the DM had cameras installed the following week.)

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Bad People Come In Stolen Packages

, , , , , | Legal | September 23, 2019

(I am an adult living with my family while attending college. I run a small online business where I often ship and receive small packages containing moderate- to high-value items. Sometimes I repair antiques, and other times I get good deals on collector’s items and then sell them for a profit, stuff like that. This means that my household often receives and ships a higher-than-average amount of mail and packages. Due to the economy, our neighbors often come and go quickly. I know none of them as a result. One day, I go pick up my mail from the lockbox at the end of the street and walk home. On my walk, I hear someone shout but keep going, thinking they are talking to their kids or something. It’s coming from a house where I have just seen a moving truck, so I know they’re new to the area. An hour later, there’s a knock at the door. When I open it, it’s an older woman in a dirty mumu who hasn’t brushed her hair in a week.)

Me: *suspicious* “Can I help you?”

Woman: “Yes, you can give me my mail.”

Me: “I don’t have any mail that isn’t for someone from my household, sorry. Have you tried calling the post office? Sometimes if you call them it forces them to look for it. If that doesn’t work, then you could call–”

Woman: *raising her voice* “I saw you take my packages! Just now! Don’t make me involve your parents! Or the police!”

Me: *picking up the small pile of packages from the table near the door* “These?”

(She reaches out to grab them, but I take a step back.)

Me: “These are all addressed here, to me, or to other people who live in this house. They are just a similar size to whatever you’re expecting. I can’t help you.”

(She starts screaming at me, calling me a thief, and threatening to tell my parents as I set my packages back down. She says some other s*** that I miss because I shut the door in her face. I ignore her as she kicks the door and shrieks like a wounded banshee. After a few minutes, she gives up and storms away. I make sure to tell my family about it and ask them to always take pictures of our mail when they pick it up so we can show it was addressed to us. After a few days, the woman sends me a letter.) 

Woman: “Dear little [insulting name], I saw you on [date] taking my mail. I know it was mine. You stole it and I will be getting in touch with a lawyer unless you send me $500 and confess to the police what you’ve done.”

(The letter is about ten pages of word-salad, threats of legal action, and accusations. I keep the letter aside and do not respond, because I know one shouldn’t engage with crazy people. I figure she’s stressed from moving in and just needs to emotionally level out, so her paranoia will go away and we can forget this issue ever happened. The next time I have an incoming shipment and walk it home, the cops come knocking on my door.)

Officer #1: “We were told that a fifteen-year-old who lives here has been seen picking the mailbox lock and taking packages that aren’t theirs. Did your child suddenly come into any new items?”

Me: “No, officer, there are no children who live here. I am the youngest, but I’m twenty-three. I picked up the mail a little while ago. Here. If you’d like to give these to the right address, be my guest. I also have the mailbox key right here, which I was planning to return in the morning when I send outgoing mail.”

(I hand him the mail, and after briefly checking through it, he hands it all back to me because it all is addressed to my household.)

Me: “It was that woman at [address where I heard yelling before], wasn’t it?”

Officer #1: “I can’t confirm or deny, but can you tell me why you’d suspect that?”

Me: “She’s convinced that I’m a teenager, that I’ve been stealing her mail, and sent me this letter threatening me about it. I didn’t want to involve the police since it’s not that big a problem. I figure once her package arrives, she’ll calm down, anyway.”

(The cop reads the first two pages of the letter, then takes pictures of every page, including the pages where she printed her own address with the presumption I would mail her a check.)

Officer #1: “Would you want me to look into arresting her for this? This is, well, wow. I don’t think you’re safe here so long as she lives nearby.”

Me: “Only if you can’t make it stop tonight. Please tell her to leave me alone, and if she doesn’t, then I will want to discuss the issue further. Oh, and in case she tries to argue that previous shipments here were hers, I’ve saved the boxes of every single package this address has received since the day this issue began. I’ve also got a list of tracking numbers to prove the dates of arrival.”

Officer #1: “Please do me a favor and type up everything that happened, take some pictures of those boxes, and prepare a list of tracking numbers of yours. Meanwhile, if she bothers you in any way again, here’s the case number; please call us.”

Me: “Yes, sir. Thank you.”

(The officer gives me the card and leaves, and then walks to the address I suspected. He speaks to her for a very long time and remains parked near my house for about two hours. By the time he leaves, it is almost midnight. As soon as his car turns around the far side of the street and is out of sight, there’s a knocking on my door. I don’t open it but opt to speak through the closed, locked door.) 

Me: “Didn’t that cop tell you to leave me alone?”


Me: *exasperated* “I don’t have your s***, you nutjob! If the cops get called here, they’ll be taking you to jail, so it’s better for you to just leave me alone!”

(She does leave, but leaves another copy of her manifesto taped to the door. I take a picture of it and write out my statement of what happened, including the list of tracking numbers and pictures of the boxes, before calling the police. A different officer knocks on my door.)

Me: “So, I’m sure your colleague filled you in?”

Officer #2: “Yes.”

Me: “I assume you saw my front door?”

Officer #2: *chuckles* “Yeah. I’ll be taking her away on a 51-50. You’ll probably have to deal with her again in two days, but there will be an emergency restraining order in place. If she violates it — that, plus the paperwork we already have — you won’t hear from her for at least a year.”

Me: “Thank you, sir. Here’s my paperwork.”

(In the mail, I received an un-addressed, un-postmarked letter. It was another copy of the manifesto. My family called the postmaster general and complained about the mail carrier aiding in harassment and violating postal code about unstamped and unpaid mail delivery. I called the police and explained that it had happened again. This time when they arrested her, she didn’t come back! Her family moved out within a couple of months since they couldn’t afford the house without her income. I know this because her husband sent her son to try to guilt-trip me, which I laughed openly at, because screw that entire crazy family! Oh, well. Should have thought of that before harassing your new neighbor!)

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Thievery Abhors A Vacuum

, , , , | Legal | September 16, 2019

(A man approaches the customer service desk saying he received a vacuum as a housewarming gift, but it stopped working after a few days. Keep in mind that he started this conversation stating it was a gift.)

Me: “Okay. If you’d like to exchange or—”

Customer: “No, I paid cash. Just give me my money back.”

(Red flags start flying, so I punch in the code to call a manager.)

Me: “I’d need the receipt to see that you purchased this with cash. When did you buy it?”

Customer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “That’s okay. The box has a serial number. I can look it up for you.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous.”

(I go to the computer and input the serial number and UPC. This vacuum was just unloaded from our truck yesterday and hasn’t gone through any sales register. I go back to my register and punch in the code for a manager for a second time.)

Me: “One moment, sir. I’ve found what I need; I just need to get a manager.”

(I take the vacuum off the countertop and put it beside me, behind the register.)

Customer: “For what? Give me my money.”

(The manager arrives.)

Manager: “What’s going on?”

Me: “He wants cash back, but doesn’t have the receipt. I pulled up the product information on the computer.”

Manager: *looks at the computer, at me, and at the man* “I can give you a store card.”

Customer: “I need cash.”

Manager: “That I cannot do. But like I said, I can give you a store card for the value.”

Customer: “I don’t want a f****** store card. I paid cash. Why is that so hard to understand? Are you all retarded?!”

Manager: “All I can give you is a store card.”

Customer: “Fine, give it to me.”

Manager: “Okay! I also need your ID.”

Customer: “What? Why?”

Manager: “The system requires an ID for non-receipt returns.”

Customer: “I’m not giving you s***.”

Manager: “Then I cannot do anything for you. Please leave.”

Customer: “For what?”

Manager: “For causing a disturbance with your foul language and harassing my associate… and attempt to defraud a company.”

Customer: “F*** you.”

Manager: *smiles* “I’ll just contact the police, then.”

(The man ran from the store. We contacted the police anyway and got some images from security. He was caught trying to do the same thing at a drugstore a few days later.)

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