Adventures: Store Security
economic crisis descended around us like a thick dark fog and people began losing their jobs, the shopkeepers in our town
noticed a major increase in stolen merchandise. The local Wal-Mart started hiring additional security guards after discovering
that thieves were walking out of the door with wide-screen televisions, DVD players and other costly items.
this because one of the elderly store greeters told us all about it when my wife, Doris, struck up a brief conversation with
her as we were entering the store.
Doris did her shopping I hobbled over to my usual seat on the bench at the front of the store. From there I began watching
the usual human carnival that occurs in places like Wal-Mart every day of the week. This day there was an obvious difference.
The newly hired security guards stood out like sore thumbs. It was so obvious it was hard to believe they were put on the
job without some kind of training.
were two of them that I saw immediately. One was a middle-aged woman with short cropped hair and stern facial expression.
She made herself look like a police officer, even to the point of dressing in a black skirt and white blouse. She patrolled
her area of the store pushing an empty shopping cart, her eyes busy scanning every person passing by.
was a young man dressed more casually, but obviously hired as a watchdog. He walked the floor as if he were a store manager,
although not doing anything more than watching everybody in the store. He even approached me, looked me over and made a friendly
comment before passing on. It was easy to see that he, like the woman with the empty shopping cart, was hired for one thing
only. That was to catch the shoplifters.
that first day the security people apparently learned how to go under cover. I now find it harder, but not impossible to pick
them out from the real shoppers packing the isles of that store.
security people apparently look for a certain profile when they scan for shoplifters. We have always found humor in the fact
that my wife, who is extremely meticulous in her shopping, often attracts the attention of the store security. There is usually
one if not two security guards pretending to shop but never buying anything within a few feet of her as she works her way
through the store.
often laughed about the way they spend their time watching Doris read labels the carefully weigh how she wants to spend the
money we have for that week, while the real thieves are cashing in on the other side of the store.
is no humor in the crime of shoplifting, however. It has been a problem for all storekeepers for as long as there have been
stores offering things to buy. Now that bad economic times are upon us, the problem is intensifying. This is a crime that
affects everybody. It forces store owners to raise prices to compensate for the things that are stolen.
show that theft not only by casual but professional shoplifters, but by store employees is costing U. S. retailers an estimated
$41.6 billion a year, according to the National Retail Federation. The federation says the rate of theft is increasing every
theft also is shown to be the most common of all property crimes now handled by police and the courts.
the problem stores are not only hiring security people who blend in with shoppers, but they are installing security cameras
and one-way glass windows on overhead rooms where people watch the movements of people in the store. They also are resorting
to a check-out at the door where customers produce receipts for all of the items in their shopping cart.