No Honor Among Thieves

, , , , , , , | Legal Right | January 30, 2019

The emergency callout in the supermarket chain I work in is “Mr. Steed.” I’ve heard it several times throughout my time working. Every single time I’ve heard it, it’s always been a stealthily calm, “Mr. Steed, could you please come to [aisle/service desk]? Thank you,” to deal with a customer who’s starting to get verbally abusive or threatening. Nearly all the altercations have happened at the registers, and the staff there are good at de-escalating situations, while I work in the deli at the other end of the store, so I usually don’t even hear the altercations.

I’m working in the deli, serving customers as usual, when I hear extremely loud shouting from what sounds like a group of young men, erupting from the direction of the registers.

The store announcement is desperately screeching, “MR. STEED! MR. STEED! MR. STEED!”

Many of the customers around me are looking extremely nervous, and some customers from the fresh produce section hurry over to the group of customers waiting at the deli, I assume looking for safety in numbers. I start seriously wondering if I should open the deli gate and let customers in behind the counter, just in case there is a serious risk to their safety. There is another, equally desperate, “MR. STEED! MR. STEED! MR. STEED!” call, I can hear all the able-bodied grocery boys running to the front, and the shouting at the front registers continues for about twenty seconds or so until I assume they are tackled by all the guys who answered the Mr. Steed call.

As I can’t see what’s happening and understandably, none of the customers want to investigate, I don’t find out the bizarre extent of what happened until about half an hour later, when one of the cashiers comes up to the deli during her break.

It started off as an apparently standard shoplifting gig that got caught. It was a group of three or four guys, and the cameras caught them stuffing things into their backpacks, so when they got to the front registers the cashier had to do a bag check. During this check, when all the stolen items were emptied from [Thief #1]’s bag, a wallet came tumbling out onto the pile.

It turns out the wallet belonged to [Thief #2], which I thought was rather funny, but evidently [Thief #2] did not find it so funny. An all-out brawl ensued right there at the registers, which explains the testosterone-saturated shouting I heard. Apparently, stealing from the store is fine, but stealing from your fellow thieves is not!

Doesn’t Register The Police Standing RIGHT THERE

, , , , | Legal | January 29, 2019

At my supermarket, we get the occasional dumb customer. Who doesn’t? Turns out, we even get dumb thieves!

A guy walks out with some shopping without paying. We can’t stop him this time, but we now know what he looks like.

Later that week, he turns up in the store before opening, having walked in through our back room which was open for deliveries. The guy is spaced out of his mind. My store manager calls the cops who arrive shortly after. Apparently, he is no stranger to them. But beyond the trespassing, they can’t really do anything. The camera footage of the theft earlier in the week is still being processed, so he is released by the police.

Later that same day, he returns! Having sobered up quite a bit, he is looking around very suspiciously and is watching all our staff really closely. Thinking he wants to steal something again, we keep an eye on him and call the cops again. When they show up, they follow him around for a bit, talk to him, and convince him to go to the register. Since he hasn’t stolen something this time, they can’t do anything. They follow him to the register and stand next to him. When it is his turn at the register, he hands over his shopping, gets it scanned, and then tries to just walk away with it without paying! The officers waste no time and, of course, arrest him. Talk about a silver platter!

Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Even Stand

, , , , , | Legal | January 24, 2019

(I am at the front counter, barely in view of the liquor section. I spot a man hanging around there for about ten minutes, and then he attempts to leave casually with his suspiciously bloated coat.)

Me: “Excuse me, sir.”

(The thief stops dead.)

Me: “Could you open your coat, sir?”

Thief: “Why?”

Me: “Please open your coat.”

(The thief proceeded to walk towards the exit when he slipped and fell flat on his front, smashing all the bottles he had kept hidden in his coat. The drinks gushed out and the glass fragments were lodged into the thief’s chest, causing him severe bleeding. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he received stitches and a pair of handcuffs for attempted robbery.)

Crime Is Never Excused

, , , , , | Legal | January 21, 2019

(I am standing at the till when a customer approaches me with a set of driving lights. They normally cost $350; however, they have been put on a clearance price of $200. While I have some power to adjust prices, I can’t on this particular item, as the store would already be losing money at the clearance price.)

Customer: “How much are these?”

Me: “As the ticket says, they would cost you $200.”

Customer: “Can you do a better price on them?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but no. They normally cost $350 and are already on clearance for $200; that’s the best I can do.”

Customer: *stands and looks back and forth between the lights and me for a minute* “Fine. I’m just going to take them, then.”

(I assume he means buying them until he starts walking to the exit, lights in hand.)

Me: “Excuse me, but no. You need to pay for those.”

Customer: “You’re excused, bye!”

(Unfortunately, it seems this guy was an old pro at this, as he was riding a bicycle and therefore, we had no vehicle registration to provide the police, and while we have surveillance cameras, the glare made the guy’s face so obscured, it could not be made out.)

Being A Thief Ain’t No Sunshine

, , , , | Legal | January 19, 2019

(I am working third-shift in a convenience store. One night, a somewhat intoxicated woman comes in carrying a handful of sunglasses.)

Woman: “Hi. I need to return these sunglasses.”

Me: “Hello. I can help you with that; I just need to see your receipt to process your refund.”

Woman: “They didn’t give me no receipt! Just give me my money back.”

Me: “No problem; I can reprint your receipt. When did you purchase these items?”

Woman: “Um, Tuesday?”

Me: “Okay, and about what time on Tuesday?”

Woman: “I don’t know; my sister actually bought them… from [another location]. Just give me my money!”

(At this point the customer staggers and knocks over a jerky display.)

Me: *having lost all patience* “Lady, you stole these sunglasses, didn’t you?”

Woman: “Please, just give me my money! I need some money, please!”

Me: *taking the sunglasses and putting them on the back counter* “No, I think I’ll call the police, instead.”

(The woman cussed me out and fled the store. The next day the district manager sent out an email warning about a woman who stole some sunglasses from [other location]. I called him and told him I had them right here with me.)

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