Before I realized the amazingly lucrative job of being a nanny during the summer months, I worked at the Gap during the warm-weather school hiatus. For two summer breaks in high school, I folded some awesome tees, ran the register, and if I was lucky, got to dress the windows. (It's actually less creative than it sounds because all you really do is put the corporately designated outfits on the mannequins. At most, you maybe add in an accessory or two, or arrange their fake hands in funny positions, or put women's flats on the man mannequin. Racy stuff.)
Anyway, a woman over at the Gloss just wrote a post called "You Can Shoplift All You Want From Gap" and explained, from a fellow ex-Gap employee's perspective, that theft prevention is really more a theory than it is a practice.
In most respects, it's true. A sales associate cannot stop someone they suspect of stealing. The cost of that employee getting hurt or wrongfully accusing a particularly litigious person is far greater than losing a cardigan. We were given some tips on how to basically annoy the alleged perp until he or she was so irritated that they handed the goods back over, and were told to inform a manager of what we thought was going on.
The Gap I worked out had a big problem with theft, so much so that the Merchandising Manager for the East Coast was assigned to our store to keep an eye on things. I'm boring myself just talking about it, but the point is that women could pester the shit out of anyone with the biggest smile on her face until the supposed thief had no choice but to basically admit something like, "You mean these cargo shorts? Ha ha ha! How did they get stuffed up the back of my jacket?" It was amazing.
So next time you're getting your shop on at your favorite store, and some associates keep hounding you about new colors they have to offer, new stock arrivals, new whatever, beware that you've found yourself in one of two situations: You've either been approached by a teen amped up on Red Bull and hormones, or a teen who's amped up on Red Bull and hormones and is really eager to prevent your theft. Alleged theft, that is.
You'll never look at over-friendly customer service the same. They're watching youuuuu.
What's been your experience, either working or shopping retail?
Photo via justdonque.images/Flickr