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An open letter to shoplifters.




Dear shoplifters,
You don’t know me, but I know you. In fact, anyone who works in retail for at least a week will know you. I don’t like you. But not for the reasons you probably think. I don’t like you because you waste my time. I don’t like you because you are naïve to think we don’t know what is going on. I don’t like you because you make my job more difficult, more frustrating and you make me have to do a lot of paperwork and admin for your crime. I also don’t like you because you steal and I’d really like to bash your head into a shelf.
What you don’t know, dear shoplifter, is that in retail, we are trained to know who you are. And I’m guessing you have all been trained by the same person in how to steal because your abhorrent skill is used by every single one of you and it never seems to change. You’re all sheep, and you all think you are being sneaky but you all do exactly the same thing.
I know what you do. And it’s laughable. You want to look like a customer browsing? Stop looking over your shoulder at the staff. Stop wasting our time having to research products for you. Stop trying to distract us with your stupid questions which always end with “I’ll think about it”, “I’ll have to let my sister/cousin/friend know about it”, and the good ol’ “I’ll come back tomorrow.” No you won’t. You never do. And we know it.
As soon as you and your friend with a pram enter the store (yes, we know you hide items in your pram) and start to look around, we can see it on your face that you are here to steal. You have this wide-eyed look about you that seems shifty. You keep glancing at the staff, and we know you do because we are always watching. You walk around, admiring the store like it is an art gallery and if you are in a shop specializing in beauty, then you will always pick up three items and sniff them. Stop sniffing them! No normal customer who wants to buy a product will come into a store and sniff everything. You do not look like you are browsing, you look like you are trying to look like you are browsing. And we know that when your friend with the pram moves away for you, you are the ‘distractor.’ But don’t worry, we will answer your stupid questions with a smile on our face because another staff member is tracking your friend.
Ask yourself, how many times have you gone into a store to steal, and had a staff member adjusting stock next to you? Often? Good, because that is what we do. When you walk in, we see you and we follow. We watch from a distance. We talk to you and most of the time you won’t reply (just so you know, not replying does not make you invisible.) There will be someone close by, and someone at a distance just watching you.
Which leads me nicely on to my point of time wasting. For fucks sake, do you know how much of my damn time is spent on you fools? Too much! We need to set aside at least quarter of an hour to follow you round, and God forbid you want us to think you actually want to buy something and start asking questions – add another quarter of an hour. Hell, I’ve had people in my store stealing for 45 minutes. I have better things to be doing. Then when you leave we have to go and find what you stole (obvious by the way, why do you always take items from the front and not the back?) Then here comes the paperwork of writing stock off to theft, getting security involved and checking cameras, passing your details onto police and on and on it goes. And for what? A $15 set of kids building blocks?! Just get a fucking job and pay for it.
So in conclusion, I think you are all a bunch of fucking muppets. You are obvious, you waste my time, and if I was allowed to I would call you out on it but sadly we have to treat you like decent humans.
Warm regards,
Someone who has been working in retail for a very long time and is sick of your shit.


Categories: Inside the bookstore

Tagged as:


Bookstore Manager by day, reader and writer by night.
I enjoy:
reading books,
touching books,
stacking books,
writing books,
talking about books,
other people who work with books,
sniffing books and photographing books.

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