Greetings Padlings,

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. I spent most of mine indoors, seeing as the weather decided to take a crap on my carefully crafted plans to sit in the sun and drink beer. See, there was no sun–at all–and while there was beer, beer is better with sun. So I stayed in, drank iced tea and re-watched Finding Nemo. Beer isn’t kosher for Passover anyway.

So I have a comic for you today. Sorry about Friday, but my usual disclaimer applies. Now, back to the comic at hand.

When one works in retail, theft, shoplifting or “shrinkage” (no giggling please) is a daily concern. It’s a fact that people steal stuff. Kids steal stuff, old people steal stuff, men steal stuff, women steal stuff. Generally, if the stuff isn’t nailed down, someone eventually will try to steal it–particularly stuff from a video game store where items are compact, in high demand and relatively pricey. It’s for this reason that in our store (as is the case with most video game stores), we had to “gut” the boxes and game cases that lined the store’s shelves. Putting live merchandise on the sales floor was like dumping a bucket of bloody entrails into shark infested waters; it attracted swarms of menacing beasts with no sense of morality or self control.

Nevertheless, things would occasionally disappear. A game controller here, a PC game there, even those empty game cases which–while funny to think about–was actually a nuissance because we’d then have to sell the game at a discount due to the missing box. When dealing with a determined shoplifter, little can prevent product from finding its way into bags from other stores, backpacks, under coats and so on, despite our watchful eye. Only the big stuff was safe, or so you’d think.

On two separate occasions I encountered a far more daring class of criminal mastermind. Not content with simply walking out with a free copy of Warcraft II tucked under their jacket, these individuals would settle for nothing less than an entire box of product. As the flagship store for a busy chain with a generous return policy, we usually had as much product being shipped out on a weekly basis as we had coming in. The incoming shipments usually came in the morning, just before or slightly after opening, but the outbound boxes didn’t always leave at the same time. It was these boxes, filled with various returned games and hardware, or assortments of product destined for other stores that were targeted for unauthorized export. Why someone would think they’d be able to make it out of the store unnoticed with a huge box of stock is beyond me, but the idea was so good that two different people tried it. I suppose they thought the staff would be distracted enough by other customers that we wouldn’t see them lugging a 20kg brown box out the door.

When caught in the act, the responses were disappointingly lame:

1) “I was trying to see what was behind the box” (which was more boxes) and
2) “I thought this was just garbage”

The lesson here kids is unless you’re at a flea market, stores put items for sale on shelves and display racks, not in sealed non-descript boxes. In fact, one could argue that type of display would hinder sales. The second lesson is malls tend to have designated trash receptacles and staff to attend to them, so don’t feel obligated to do your friendly retail staff any favours by “disposing” of their “garbage” yourselves. Besides, they need something to do between working out tax for you and reorganizing the GameBoy display shelf for the 70th time that day.


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