I had the opportunity to be on the flip side recently. After spending years trying to prevent losses and impart excellent clothing security measures for my stores, I recently had a partnership with one of the managers at a neighboring retailer.
We called each other frequently to share ORT information and discuss trends. One day he asked me to help him do some shoplifter awareness training for his store. He asked me to play the part of a customer and commence stealing. He wanted to discover if his associates were paying attention to what was going on in their respective departments.
I entered the store on the scheduled date and time. The first things I did was approach their accessories department and choose a large handbag. I quickly found one without the Checkpoint tags attached. As I rode an escalator to the clothing department upstairs, I pulled the price tags, etc. off. It now looked like the bag was mine to everyone on the second level.
I spent the next thirty minutes stuffing the bag with as much merchandise as I could fit into the bag. I used as many shoplifter-warning signs as I could think of. I scrutinized the items to find which ones did not have any clothing security tag attached and began selecting multiple pieces of clothing without regard to size or color. My goal was to get out the door without sounding a clothing alarm.
I shopped the top five shrink areas and made it out the door with approximately $4,000 of merchandise. My colleague recounted later some of the phone calls from associates as they observed my actions. I don’t feel too badly about being found out by some of the associates – they all learned a great deal that day. Not only did they learn more about how a shoplifter operates, but they also learned how critical Checkpoint tags and clothing security are to the process of controlling shrink.
Please note: This training exercise was conducted in an extremely controlled environment. We had approval from both corporate headquarters and all parties signed a written agreement. The associates were also aware that the test would be conducted on that day; and the entire test was filmed as well. All merchandise was returned in mint condition immediately after I exited the store.