Thursday, October 12, 2006

The genius of the criminal mind

"I forgot this" is a favorite game at busy and not-very-well-run SuperCenters. A lot of the dishonest types that frequent our store have the game down to a fine art. It's played like this:

Come up to Customer Service with a fairly long receipt and say "I was shopping here xxxxx and I didn't get a bag." Now, we're supposed to have a book where EVERY piece of "Forgotten Merchandise" is recorded, along with the UPC, Register Number and Cashier Number. Our store is so busy and the customers so upset that by the time they check out, they just sling stuff in the cart in a hurry to go home. Thus, stuff gets left ALL THE TIME.

So what they do is come in to Customer Service and we either give them store credit for the items or they can get the items off the shelf. Usually, I'm not averse to people who forget a small bar of soap, a DVD or some cans of soup. It happens - although I can never recall my mother ever "losing" a bag of groceries - and she spent $400 a time when she grocery shopped - and it usually involved coolers and ice!

But the game has escalated in the past few months. Some people have noticed that we really don't regulate this system. So they come in and ask for just one thing - which is ALWAYS THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING ON THE RECEIPT. Either a pair of shoes, or a really expensive DVD (which they then return, having already got one at home) or something else pricey.

So this woman comes up Friday with a receipt and claims she forgot her pack of bottled water.

So you got the other hundred dollars worth of cans and boxes of groceries, but forgot the $13 six-pack of gourmet bottled water? Yeah. And I'm the queen of England. What could we do? $13 isn't worth making a huge fuss over. But $13 at a time, pretty soon, that adds up to real money!

People are also just picking up any old receipt they find on the ground and then coming in and claiming they "forgot" some of those items - a sort of double scam - because they never paid for them in the first place!

Well, we managed to stop one cold this past weekend. This guy came in with a receipt that was mostly groceries. And it had one $55 pair of hiking boots on it. He claimed that he never got the hiking boots. And he wanted the money back for that. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaah.

I called my supervisor over. The receipt was six days old. She asked him why he didn't come in sooner if he noticed they were missing. He said he couldn't get a ride. OKaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Then I noticed that the receipt had an associate discount.

I asked him "Do you work at this store?" He wouldn't answer.

"Are you a Wal-Mart associate?" He finally says no.

"Is your wife a Wal-Mart associate?" He says no.

"Is anyone in your family a Wal-Mart associate?" He says no.

Then we close the trap? "Who gave you the associate discount on this receipt?" He says he doesn't know.

We tell him he's not getting anything.

And then he goes "So you're not going to give me any money?"

OF COURSE NOT! You happened to find that receipt in the parking lot and thought you'd waltz up in here and try to run game. You might have done OK with a $10 item - NOT the most expensive thing on the receipt. All that did was tell us you're on the make!


Anonymous said...

Well, the whole process is a bit upsetting some times. I bought some groceries once, including a 6-pack of beer. I got home and discovered the 6-pack missing. It was the last thing ran through the register and the checkout person didn't spin the thing all the way around so I didn't realize that it was missing (yeah, I've learned I need to spin it because you can't rely on Walmart Checkers to do that). Anyway, I called the store immediately, gave the register number and they told me they had it and would take my name, etc. Of course, I go in the next day and they have nothing. No info on me, the beer, etc. So of course they give me the money and add my name to a black list telling me I can never again claim that I didn't get my merchandise, like I'm some kind of boozing thief. Bunch of cr@p. Don't tell me you are taking my info if the very next day you're going to turn me into a thief.

Alissa said...

As a consumer, I never really made a fuss if I got home and realized I'd forgotten something, whether I left it on the bottom of the cart (left a couple of cases of soda this way) or the associate just didn't put it in the bag. Only recently did I start going back to the store to dispute a receipt when the cashier rang something through twice or I left something to the side after going through the "self-checkout". I don't know if I just live in an area where people inherently trust others or what, but the clerks always, ALWAYS say "Yup, go ahead and get another one," or they give me the money back in cash... even if I paid with a credit card. There's definitely the opportunity to scam the system. I'm just way too honest for that. I know other people are not. It's a shame. ...On the other hand, do I have any pity for Wal-Mart or other large stores that are getting scammed? Hmmmmm....

MavenofMoxie said...

I had to make a return (with receipt and only from a few days ago, I promise! LOL) today and I was dreading every minute of it. Some people ahead of me were trying to pull some scam that didnt work. The guy was seriously over weight, walking on the heels of his sneakers, had on a black tank top and the shirt on over that, he only had over one arm and one shoulder. His other shoulder, he just let the shirt sit on top of it. And he had horrid BO. The woman with him had a nasty nappy 'fro. Still trying to figure out that stylin'.

Anywho, I had to return a $45 coffee pot that someone had pryed the permanent top off of and then tried to glue it back to fix it! WTF? So Im guessing that store doesnt check returned merchandise before putting the stuff back on the shelf? I politely told the lady helping me what the issue was so it WOULDNT go back on the shelf.


You crack me up! Im sharing your blog with lots of friends.

Anonymous said...

This blog is as entertaining as any TV show. GRN More like the old talk radio. As the Blog Blogs. Keep up the good entertainment. A

Anonymous said...

I make $6.55 an hour working at a well known department store. I get a 20% discount on clothing and a 10% discount on other merchandise. When I'm at work I look around for discarded receipts. If I find one and it was paid in cash, I find the same items on the list and buy them legitimately using my associate discount. Then I return the untouched merchandise at another branch with the found receipt. Then I just throw my receipt away. I didn't steal anything and without a receipt the original buyer's not going to be able to return it anyways, and I end up making 10 or 20%(and more if they were bought regular price and I catch a sale).

dreaming78 said...

I'm sorry to keep commenting on old entries, first of all. I hope that's not annoying, but I just found you and I'm really enjoying it.

Second, for my son's first birthday party, I bought 12 avocados, along with a similar amount of other food for a burrito buffet for his party. I somehow missed the bag of avocados when I left. I was just pissed at myself for the loss--it never occurred to me to go back to Wal-Mart and complain about it. I just bought avocadoes again. And made sure they made it home that time.