Thursday, February 01, 2007

The soap dish scam

There's a new scam coming down the pike at the Wal-Mart. I saw this happen right in front of me Sunday, and the two pulling it didn't even have the shame to blush.

I cashed a check and did a money order for this guy and girl and then they wanted to check out with a DVD and some makeup. OK, fine, whatever.

I rang up the makeup and the DVD and the total was twelve dollars and change. I started to say "Your total is $12 dollars and fifty-six cents," and then I was like "There is no way that is right." I knew they had a new-release DVD in there, and it was way more than $12 on its own.

So I did hit the SLIP button, which prints a list of all the items scanned during the transaction. Sure enough, last item scanned, not the DVD, but SOAP DISH.......$3.66. And no, this wasn't the Sally Field and Whoopi Goldberg comedy.

What these two did was to take the sticker off one of the soap dispensers from housewares and put it over the barcode of a new-release DVD. A cashier in a hurry would never have noticed, because the ITEM would have scanned, and in a big order, you'd never notice a few dollars here and there.

I grabbed the DVD, flipped it over and looked at it. Sure enough, there was a sticker on the back that came off something else.

I told them, "Oh, this must have gotten on there by mistake." I yanked if off and scanned the DVD and yes, it was $19.96. I told them the new total. The girl was totally NOT keeping her cool, but I could see the guy squeezing her to get it together. He handed over the cash and they bounced out real quick.

Now I wonder how much money we've lost this week on stuff like that?

15 comments:

yellowdog granny said...

i would have rather have the movie soap dish...
ahh, you ruined their day...

sugar. said...

We have similar stuff like that happen at my store all the time. Clothing, cd's, even a vacuum cleaner that was returned for two hundred bucks that was a thirty dollar vacuum (they were quite careful when reattaching that upc to the box).

I don't understand how these people can not feel guilty for doing things like this. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

This isn't really anything new. When I worked for w-m, it happened ALL THE TIME---especially thru the self checkouts. Those people that switch upc's, then go thru the self check outs know that #1--most of the time the cashier running them isn't really paying attention to all 4 registers, and #2--the scales on the registers are constantly going off, and more often than not, the cashier doesn't actually check to make sure it's the right item. I, however, have really sharp eyes, and a very good attention for detail. One time, I had a guy walk up to self check-- he had what looked like one of those electric dog collars (that zap the dog for barking--they're like, $100). So I watched him scan it, and sure enough, it came up on the screen "tool kit $5"! What's even better--the item he had pulled the upc off of was so close to the weight of the dog collar, that it didn't even set the scale off (so more than likely, if I hadn't been paying attention, he would have gotten away with it)!! Anyways, I simply went over to him, pulled the box out of his bag, said, 'this isn't a tool kit', flipped it over, took off the fake upc, scanned it, and asked him if he still wanted it. Of course, he said 'no'. And THEN, his buddy, comes thru the same self check register and tries the same thing!!!! Anyways, you know that a lot of the time, people aren't stealing these high priced items to keep them---they do it to get a refund (like a gift card), so they can buy (steal) a whole bunch of what they really need. Like if that guy would have gotten away with only paying $5 for a $100 dog collar, I GUARANTEE you he would have gone straight over to the service desk and returned it! Happened all the time at my old store(except when I was there, of course! :-) ).

Anonymous said...

Sorry that was so long....I've got some great stories, too, and when I get going......lol

Anonymous said...

Wow... the nerve of some people!

I love your blog by the way! I discovered it a week ago and read a lot of the entries. They are hilarious, really well written! You are defenitely going into my favs :)

greenthingz, Crys

Anonymous said...

Like sugar., not only do I not understand how these people can not feel guilty for doing these things, I also do not understand why Wal-Mart won't allow the store to call people on these things!
Am I wrong, or do the stores not have video surveillance covering every inch of the floor? When you have evidence of the crime, shouldn't you be able to call people on this stuff? You would think that being able to call them on it would maybe curb some of the theft that goes on in these stores, and make people think twice before they try stunts like these. GEEZ!

Library Rat said...

We had people try this at the sporting goods store I worked at.

Still, our best thief was the guy who would come in and steal the tags from some of the team jerseys, then go home and rub them with an eraser so the item description blurred, but not the bar code. Then he'd go to Goodwill and get a jersey for a few bucks, attach the tag and return it for $30+. And he would do several of these at a time. We finally caught him when he tried it with a team we didn't (as a chain) carry.

Melissa said...

This was a HUGE scam going on at the Sam's Club here last year. I spoke with the state trooper that busted the ring and he explained that they were going to Sam's and getting and idea of the stock and then printing barcodes on stickers at home and coming to the store and doing what you described. They were putting 13" flat screen stickers on like 52" flat screens and then flipping the TVs on ebay.
I swear if people like that spent that kind of effort and thought in an actual JOB, they wouldn't have to resort to stuff like that.

grundes said...

If someone has bought $100 dog tags as $5 tool kits and wants to return them, wouldn't he get just $5, as the receipt says?

There's always eBay, of course.

Anonymous said...

Grundes---no, he would simply take the fake upc (the $5 one) off, return it without the reciept, and get a $100 wal-mart gift card.

Anonymous--Wal-mart cannot 'call people' on their stealing, they're more worried about being sued by someone they would wrongfully accuse of stealing than stopping them from taking a $20 item. You have to have PROOF. And I mean, the loss prevention person has to have seen them do something wrong, then the lp has to contact management that they're going to make a stop, then management has to respond and be ready to assist with that stop (which RARELY happens), and not only that, but the lp can't make that stop until the suspect has left the store AND their feet have touched the PARKING LOT. So not only does the lp have to worry about all that, but they also have to worry about that person taking off across the parking lot at top speeds. W-m has just decided it was too much hassle, time, and money to do all that.
Haven't you heard the new policy from w-m?--Anyone that steals something less than $25 will NOT be prosecuted by w-m; in other words, if you steal something less than that, they won't do anything to you! And the reason? W-m simply doesn't want to pay the court fees to take you to court. Do you see how much w-m's morality has dropped??? And as for the video surveillance, no, it's not all over the store; not all those domes that are on the ceiling have cameras in them; in fact, there are very FEW cameras in w-m's. Not only that, but no one really monitors them; or if they do, it's not for the right reasons (watching employees instead of catching shoplifters).

Anonymous said...

I used to work at W-M. The LP guy also has to have not taken his eyes off of the perp (oops I mean valued customer) from the time they steal something to the time of the grab. We had a lady walk up to an empty register and stuff her purse full of those packets of pokemon cards - and she had a big purse. The cashier who saw her do it lost sight of her for 30 seconds or so but another cashier ran and told our store GM who happened to be near the front. Because we lost sight of her nothing could be done but she didn't know that. Our GM followed her through the store with just a couple of feet between them staring obviously at her and she started dumping handfuls around every corner.

Anonymous said...

I work for Walmart and don't kid yourself about the camera shots.The company is in the process of replacing all the video systems to DVR systems just like TIVO.If you see mini camera domes in a store I can 100% guarantee there is a camera in it with recorded footage.You start counting those, and there is also video cameras on all the entrance and exit doors in the store, and on the roof outside the building.As for prosecuting theft under $25, if you are a repeat offender or you don't have ID on you, yes off to jail you go.We still stop you no matter what the amount and enter your info into the computer,so if you get caught again,you pull up in our system,JAIL for you.

Anonymous said...

It does not cost Walmart to prosecute a shoplifter in court.The only cost to walmart is the hourly pay for an employee to testify in court if it goes to trial only. The shoplifter pays restitution to WM if state law allows it(most do)and court costs and fines. If they get probation instead of jail time, there is also the monthly supervision fee to their probation officer.

OnTheFrontLine said...

The soap dish scam is everywhere. One night I was babysitting the self check, and a guy in a grocery chain polo walks up with a handful of items. If he'd done this with many, many customers, he might have pulled it off, but it was late and he was the only one there. He takes a box with obvious auto electronics over the scanner and it comes up "candle holder $1" I walk back and store boy says "I think everything is scanning all right." I simply said "I don't think so." I take the electronics box out of his bag, void the "candle holder" and pull off the bogus UPC sticker. I scan it correctly -- about $75 worth of merchandise. I put it in his bag. He is bright red and doesn't say a word. But I'll bet he returned it later. I haven't seen him, at least in the store shirt again. Maybe he's avoiding nights now.

Anonymous said...

I had someone put a 50 cent toy sticker over a DVD. YAH like hell I wont notice that.