Some customers had elaborate plots planned in order to steal merchandise. Sometimes they'll sneak a product to a dark corner of the store and leave it there for an accomplice to pick up later. Other times they'll bring their friends in to distract the floor employees while they just take what they want from the unguarded shelves. Some will bring backpacks and suitcases. Many bring box cutters and find clever places to discard the empty boxes. There's almost always a plan of some kind, and usually it involves the thief leaving the store with his or her loot long before the company has any idea that something was stolen.
Then there was this guy.
At CompUSA, we kept the majority of our computers on the overhead top stock. It was the easiest way to keep them out of the way and neatly organized. The boxes were lined up above the shelves right to the left of the entrance door and in plain view of the customer service desk.
So one day, we had a customer come in to purchase a computer. The sales person climbed the big ladder to top stock and pulled down the PC. But when the associate walked off to retrieve the monitor, the customer made his move.
Outside, a buddy of his was waiting in a running car. The buddy jumped out of the vehicle and ran up to the building, triggering the sliding entrance doors. Inside, no more than twenty feet away, the customer picked up the computer and ran out with it through the open doors.
Right in front of the customer service desk.
The two of them jumped into the car and sped off with the computer as the girl at the service desk paged a manager, but the car was gone by the time anyone got to the front. I don't think the machine was ever recovered, but we captured the whole incident on our security cameras.
It was certainly one of the more blatant thefts I'd ever witnessed. No opening boxes in a corner, no tools or baggy clothes, or anything like that. Just a grab-and-go procedure. Gotta love people who think they deserve to just take whatever they want whether they've earned it or not.
Shopping Tip of the Day for 5/14/11: If a company has product locked inside a secured case, don't wander around mumbling things like "How do they expect anyone to buy this stuff if it's under lock and key?!" under your breath. You know exactly what's going on, and you know exactly what you need to do to get your item.
Just open your mouth and ask. Politely. Get rude or impatient with us, and we may suddenly have another customer that we "forgot" was waiting on us. Or paperwork that needed to be done. Or a dog that needed walking.