Gotcha! Part III

Wow!  My third bounty!  I don’t know if I’m hyper-observant or what, but it happened again the other night.

Lady comes to my line, I’m checking her groceries, and I come to a bottle of wine.  I look up at her to make sure she’s over 21.  Oh, yeah, WELL over 21, looks like she’s had a hard life, wrinkled like a prune, bad makeup, just kinda sad looking.  So, as I scan the wine, I realize that this is one of our most expensive bottles of wine at $53.00, and IT DOESN’T HAVE A BAR CODE!!!  WTF?!?   So what did I just scan?  I look at my screen, and it’s showing “Wine Accessory” at $19.99.  Usually, this particular bottle has a bright green PLU sticker, and we punch in the number to get the price.  There’s no green sticker, just the “Wine Accessory” bar code.  That item, just in case you are interested, is a plastic wine bottle looking thing that contains things wine drinkers would use, like a corkscrew, bottle stopper and other items of that ilk.

Just so happens our cash office manager is standing right at my register, so I say to her: “Hey, Gayle, can you look at this for me?”  I explain the situation, and she picks away the bar code sticker, only to find the green PLU sticker!  At this point, the customer is getting kind of agitated, and saying stuff like: “That’s OK, I don’t want it”  “I don’t know how that happened.”  Yeah, right!  You don’t want it lady, because you know you are sooo busted and you know exactly what you did!!

Now, here’s the kinda sad part:  the lady paid for her groceries using food stamps;  she also had items not covered by the food stamps that she had to pay for with cash.  She paid and left.  Gayle made a copy of the receipt to show the store manager what had happened.  Part of me felt bad, because this woman had enough money to purchase a less expensive bottle of wine or liquor.  Why did she try to do this?  I just don’t understand what motivates people sometimes.

I later learned that our store manager had briefly dated her son, and she told us that the woman was an alcoholic, and kinda crazy.  That explains the look, but not the attempt to get a price reduction.  I spoke to a couple other cashiers about this, and they feel they would have totally missed this and she would have gotten the wine.  Maybe she’s even done this before, who knows?

Now I get my third $50 bounty, which comes with the motivation to catch more thieves!  This company should just hire me as security instead of the lame-ass dude they have now, but that’s another post.



Gotcha! Part II How I Got My Second Bounty

Another busy day.  Next customer in line is wearing a company uniform, so she’s an employee.  I don’t know her, but that doesn’t mean much.  She could be from another store, or work in the back.  There are many people working behind the scenes, and I just don’t know them all.

We are having a huge sale on canned foods like ravioli and such.  Her order mainly consists of canned goods on sale and other “kid” foods.  I get to the end of her order, and there’s a bag of deli lunchmeat.  I pick it up, and it looks like ham.  There’s a sticker on the front with the barcode & price, and I flip the bag over to scan it, and I see something else (and it’s white) in the bag.   I flip the bag back, and see ham, over again and see white.  I look at her, and say: “Um..what” and she jumps in immediately and says:  “It’s ok, I don’t want it.”  Okaaaay.  I call for a manager, because anything that’s perishable needs to be returned to the area or department that it belongs in.  Manager comes, I give him the bag & just say she doesn’t want it, and complete her order.  After she leaves, I call the manager back and tell him that he needs to check that bag, because there were clearly two different items in it.

A while later, I’m called off my register to be questioned by one of the store managers, Ms. Toni.  She asks me what happened, and I tell her the whole story.  As I’m being questioned, I find out several things.  First, this gal is an employee at our store.  She’s just returned from maternity leave and has been promoted to deli manager.  Second, the “ham” item was a more expensive product than what the label indicated, AND there was some more expensive stuff also in this bag (the white stuff).  So, when this lady comes in tomorrow morning, she’s going to be confronted and most likely fired.  I totally feel like shit!  The manager assures me that I did the right thing, and I know I did, but I still feel bad that this person with a new baby is going to lose her job.   I’m totally bummed for several days afterward even with the promised $50 bounty.  The store director even personally thanked me.  Made me feel even shittier!

But then one of the deli workers asked me what happened, I told him, and he told me that he thought she’s been doing that for a while, and it’s about time she got caught.  I still felt bad, but not as much.


A few months ago, I caught a shopper stealing.  He wasn’t putting stuff in his pockets or a bag like you would think most shoplifters would; oh, no, he was VERY clever!  Here’s how it happened:

It’s about 9:45PM, I’m the last (and only) cashier, and this man comes to my line with a fully loaded buggy.  He unloads the buggy & I start scanning items.  He leaves to get something else.  While he’s gone, I come to a bag of cashews (our store sells a lot of high end items in a bulk section, where you bag your stuff & write a code on the twist tie), punch in the number, and my screen shows: Flax Seed $6.99.  Whoa!  That ain’t right!  I know the difference between flax seed and cashews, LOL!   I set that bag aside, and punch in the code for some pumpkin seeds; my screen shows: Oats $4.99.  I call over  the manager, we look up the correct codes and charge the correct prices: cashews: $17.48, pumpkin seeds: $12.58.  At this point, the man returns, and my manager informed him that he had written down the wrong codes, but that we had corrected them for him.  Surprisingly, he didn’t argue, just said: “Thanks, I’m tired.”

I finish his order and he leaves, but something is bothering me.  I scanned a deli bag containing proscuitto at $13.84.  In thinking back, I realize that he had close to two pounds of proscuitto in that bag.   Our proscuitto ranges in price from $14 to $18 per pound.  SHIT!!!  He got me!  I am pissed at this point, and I ask the manager if I can check out something in the deli.  I go and ask the deli person if he remembered cutting some proscuitto for a man, and he says yes, he cut  two pounds for the man and put them into 2 bags.  This very clever man just put one pound of proscuitto into the other bag, and ditched the empty bag and paid for one pound!!!!  The deli guy also told me that they guy was hanging around the bulk items for a while, looking suspicious.  I told him what had happened with that, and said he should call a manager if he ever sees this guy again.

He paid with all store gift cards, which told us that he does this a lot, and then returns the “stolen” items for store credit.  I hate when that happens.  The upside is that until last week, I have not seen him again.  Last week, he was getting a movie from Red Box.  I had to pass by him.  I greeeted him and said: “No proscuitto today?”  He turned bright red and left.  Made my day.

The best part was when the store manager informed me that our employer pays a bounty if you catch someone stealing.  So, even though I missed the damn proscuitto, I still got $50.  How cool is that?