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Another Grocery Store Tale-"Et tu, Brute!"
My loss prevention department had two of these security systems installed by my store's two front doors.
I used to manage a grocery store in Hertford, North Carolina from 1992-1994. During this time it became apparent that the store had a serious shoplifting issue. So after many months of begging for some help to stop this problem, the company's lost prevention department finally agreed to install an anti-theft system in my store.
On installation day, two guys showed up and installed a security sensor device(see photo to right) by the entrance and exit doors. They then handed me two huge boxes of magnetic stickers...and said "Your system is active....all you have to do now is tag your high theft items and if anybody tries to steal the items the scanner will go off as they walk through the sensors." The whole process only took them about two hours to set up. It was going to take me a considerable more time than that to tag all the high theft items.
So for the rest of the day and evening, my store got to tag thousands of items with a magnetic piece of tape. After the first hour, this process was no longer any fun. I am providing a list of some of the high theft items we had to tag the rest of the day and from that day forward whenever new stock came into the store.
Did you know razor blades are one of the most popular items to steal?
1. All razor blades....the more expensive the greater chance they will get stolen.
2. All batteries.....why pay for them when you can just steal them
3. Cheap wine.... amazingly the better wine never seemed to get stolen....but items like Wild Irish Rose and Mad Dog 20/20....watch out
4. Any 100 count medicine like Tylenol, Advil and Excedrin...
5. Cigarettes.....amazingly back in the 1990s we used to keep single pack cigarettes on a big rack by the registers
6. Beer....especially the 24 pack suitcases.....you would not believe how people would just walk right out the door with a suitcase of beer without a care in the world
7. Pregnancy tests....I never could figure out why so many..... "maybe mommies" and "maybe daddies" would steal this item
8. Tenderloin/Delmonico steaks...well if you are going to steal, you might as well get a good steak....cube steak was not a high theft item
9. Baby Formula.....one case(24 cans) of baby formula is worth over $100 ....evidently a person would steal a case and sell the cans for one dollar each
10. Condoms....I always wondered why the people stealing the pregnancy tests did not just steal the condoms in the first place
Not sure if it is the pretty colors...but MadDog 20 20 is a very popular item to steal.
Around 8:30 that night my babysitter dropped off my five year old son(Bryan) at the store. The store closed at 9:00 each night and sometimes the sitter would have to bring him to the store. So after spending hours of playing with the magnetic stickers, I was playing around with Bryan. I took one of the security magnetic stickers and patted him on the back. So Bryan was walking around the store with a security sticker on his back. As we approached the front, I asked Bryan to walk through one the sensors by the front door....knowing that the sticker on his back would trigger the sensor. Bryan got very concerned, and refused to walk through the sensor. At first I was trying to tell him that nothing would happen and that it was safe. But he still refused to walk through the sensor. So then I was trying to convince him ....it will be funny....but he still refused. Finally I started to make him walk through the sensor.....when......he started crying.....and then to my shock and dismay...... the little punk pulled out a roll of lifesavers from his jacket.....he said "I'm sorry I'm sorry".... he was trying to steal a roll of LifeSavers from my store. "Et tu, Brute!"
Lifesavers: Not usually a high theft item....unless you are a 5 year old boy.
Wow...I would have never guessed the first shoplifter our new anti-theft system would catch, would be my five year old son. So when the cops came to pick him up.......just kidding........Needless to say, Bryan was punished for his behavior. Luckily Bryan stopped his life of crime that night. Bryan is now 24, married, serving our country and has a 5 year old daughter. The next day the Director of Loss Prevention called. He asked how the system was working and if we had caught anybody.....when I told him that "So far we have only caught my son"...he replied "Well.... we at least know it works"