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Author Topic: The Co-op cop
Frank Cox
Film God

Posts: 2016
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 04-18-2018 06:37 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's a guy who works at the grocery store who's been there for about 20 years and is kind of the go-to guy to do pretty much everything. He doesn't have anything to do with the tills or the money but he stocks shelves, helps bring the incoming merchandise in off of the trucks, shovels the snow, changes the light bulbs, and helps old ladies carry their groceries. I usually hunt him down to get me a case of butter out of the stock room when I need to restock that.

I went to the grocery store this afternoon and he said, "Have you ever met a Co-op cop?" I of course said I'd never heard of a Co-op cop. He told me that he's now the Co-op cop.

The powers-that-be just sent him on a course for the detection and apprehension of shoplifters.

There's that much stuff that gets stolen out of here, I asked. He said that it's really getting out of hand. He said that the most stolen items by number of them taken is underarm stick deodorant, tampons and pre-mixed Kool Aid in cans. By value, it's meat.

He said that he can put a full case of deodorant on the shelf in the morning and by afternoon it's all gone, but if they check the till records they've only sold three.

Amazing.

So he now has an additional job, watching for shoplifters. He said he caught one guy yesterday stealing a can of ham so I guess it was worth their while to send him on that course.

Really, though.... I was quite shocked. I guess I've always looked at that kind of thing as a big city problem and never thought that folks would be stealing stuff that way around here.

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Alexandre Pereira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 126
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jan 2016


 - posted 04-18-2018 08:52 PM      Profile for Alexandre Pereira   Author's Homepage   Email Alexandre Pereira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No surprise. I get the entitled granny types stealing cans of perrier out of the candy bar front display case. Of course we keep the beer locked up and have cameras everywhere but they still try.
The shoppers drug mart next door has continuous problems. They keep folders of photographs of all the shoplifters. It is all kinds - grannies to kids stealing everything from razor blades to cosmetics.
Our main problem here at the theatre is nitwits trying to run into the show for free. Not kids - usually middle aged tools.

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Martin Brooks
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 820
From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 04-19-2018 04:46 PM      Profile for Martin Brooks   Author's Homepage   Email Martin Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Cox
I guess I've always looked at that kind of thing as a big city problem and never thought that folks would be stealing stuff that way around here.
In the U.S., there are shoplifters everywhere, even (or especially) in richer suburban communities where spoiled kids feel "entitled" to whatever they want and they know that Daddy won't let anything bad happen to them.

When I was a kid, most stores didn't have visible security cops and there were no security tags or anything of the sort. I don't know whether there was less shoplifting or whether store owners put up with it because there weren't good solutions.

I once walked past a Tower Records where plainclothes security personnel stopped a guy who had just left the store and who had a large number of stolen DVD's (back when DVD's weren't cheap) in all the pockets of his long coat, in his waistband, etc. They removed all the DVD's and were looking for more and the guy screamed, "I don't have any more!" When they continued to frisk him, he (actually) said, "What's the matter? Don't you trust me?"

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12492
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-20-2018 11:46 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Several years ago when I was in the music business, a guy came in and said "When I was in high school, I used to steal stuff from this store and now I feel bad about it, so I wanted to give you this" and he handed me a $50 bill. I said, "Did you really steal this much?" He just said "I hope this makes up for it."

I found out later from a friend that the same guy went into the gas station where he used to work, and gave the station owner $100 and told him the same thing. The owner said, "Can I expect another payment next month?"

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Lyle Romer
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1383
From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 04-21-2018 05:06 AM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's another advantage Amazon has over brick and mortar retail. There are no members of the public with access to shoplift.

I'm sure there are issues with warehouse workers, however, they are allowed to set up security checkpoints and inspect workers leaving the facility. Although a private business can check people on the way IN for security, I can't imagine they'd be allowed to check people on the way out.

Sure, places like Costco and Best Buy will check your cart/bags and compare to the receipt but they don't check your clothing for small items.

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Dave Bird
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Posts: 756
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 04-23-2018 08:16 AM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our family ran grocery stores/supermarkets for generations. The current laws for prosecution of shoplifting are pretty ridiculous (ie: if you don't have your eyes on them 100% of the time, or video, both of which are tricky, it gets thrown out). As far as confronting the shoplifter, that's about all you can do and that is legal (most stores are "private" property), that's something we usually did so long as we outnumbered the person....there might be more worries now on that.

Meat was the big-ticket item for pure shoplifting. Canned goods sometimes for the homeless types. Used to get broken into for cigarettes mostly. Employee theft is usually done at the cash register, though there's much less cash handled now, so that would be harder to do. Employees also sometimes will "wholesale" product to family, friends (or themselves) by taking product out the back door in the "garbage" and either selling it or keeping it for themselves. None of this happened much in our stores, they were small, but over 6 decades or so, you ran across most of it at least once.

There were also cases of delivery driver shenanigans shorting product or falsifying "damaged" goods on their own and selling it to other places. I'm sure there's a million more. The consumer pays for it all. The problem of deodorant is a new one for me. I'd bet money it's staff mostly on that, needing it and just grabbing it....

Now that I think of it Martin, talking about daddies protecting kids bad behavior, the very first "professional" thing I did was as a "grocery store cop". My dad had just opened a new store in our tiny little hometown of 1,400. I wasn't more than 6 or 7 and I remember tugging on dad's pantleg as he talked with his manager before he walked me to school. He brushed me off a couple times, but I had just seen a little girl grab a chocolate bar and leave the store. Dad, Dad, DAD! (Just a second.....). DAD, that girl just took a chocolate bar! The three of us ran out and dad grabbed that girl by the arm, got the chocolate bar AND the girl's name, her parents name and phone number. I can see it like it was yesterday. I'm almost certain he never called, but it was the mid 70's, and adults were in charge.

I've heard it said that kids haven't changed, adults have. Kids don't know anything about anything, never have, but the adults now protect them over everything. May be some truth to that.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 04-23-2018 09:17 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Shoplifting is a real problem. I was on a grand jury last fall and we saw several such cases. We also saw an employee theft scam. I am not allowed to talk or post about these cases in detail, but I will say that all of the retailers involved have employees and even whole departments devoted to reducing losses from shoplifting. The people that we saw were all repeat offenders. Some stores were very on top of this, while others were less so, but all were very concerned about the problem and were working hard to reduce it.

I will add here that modern security cameras produce very high-quality footage. This is not the grainy, smeary security camera footage from the '80s and '90s, but rather it is almost HD quality. It is now easy to identify people and what they are taking from the stores. I have no idea if this has actually reduced the amount of shoplifting that takes place, but it definitely makes it easier to prosecute these cases after the fact.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10727
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 04-23-2018 10:28 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This had to be about 15 years ago, but one afternoon I was driving on the street that borders the South side of Central Mall here in Lawton. This lady, probably in her 20's, was frantically running up to my pickup as I was stopped at the intersection. I didn't know if she was trying to get away from someone wanting to do something violent to her. I didn't let her in my vehicle though. Out of nowhere these security guards from the mall showed up to apprehend her. I guess she was caught trying to steal something from Dillards and tried to escape. Pretty freaky scene though.

Retail stores (and convenience stores in particular) have been upgrading camera systems. Newer systems are commonly HD quality. Multiple camera systems are increasingly affordable. The stores are recording a lot more footage from more angles inside and outside the store. Many have loss prevention teams who patrol the stores. When they catch a shoplifter they'll often have the thief dead to rights.

Unfortunately prisons are filled beyond capacity in most states. It also costs a fortune to keep someone in prison. Shoplifting is obviously a lower priority than drug crimes or violent crimes. So even if a shoplifter is convicted he/she probably won't get more than a fine and suspended sentence. It's going to take a fairly high value theft to land a shoplifter in the Gray Bar Hotel. The convicted thief can suffer other consequences though. Many employers do background checks. A conviction for shoplifting, be it a felony or just a misdemeanor, will be a permanent mark on his/her record and screw that person out of many opportunities. Impulsive criminals don't seem to think about how the choices they make now can affect their lives 10 or 20 years from now.

quote: Lyle Romer
There's another advantage Amazon has over brick and mortar retail. There are no members of the public with access to shoplift.
That's all fine and good at the warehouse filled with robots and low wage employees. It's another story once the package leaves the warehouse. Deliveries aren't quite so safe once they're getting plopped on residential door steps without so much as a door knock. Thieves make out pretty well following package delivery routes.

IMHO, it's pretty stupid for anyone to have mail orders delivered to their homes. Our own neighborhood watch group hears sob stories all the time from people whose Amazon orders were stolen off the porch. Have the package delivered to the office where a human being can take delivery of it. Or just tell the post office, FedEX, etc to hold packages at their office for customer pickup.

Lots of petty crime is enabled out of negligence and stupidity. The vast majority of car break-ins happen because the vehicle doors were left unlocked. Lots of home break-ins are able to happen because of the very same thing. Some people insist on leaving doors unlocked "because that's what we did in the good ole days." It happens a lot in the rural towns around here. Never mind the fact most of our rural towns have very little law enforcement coverage. Some towns no longer have their own police departments. The county sheriff's office and highway patrol can pick up only so much of the slack. Again, shoplifting or package theft isn't going to be a top priority. There's plenty of more serious crimes happening out in the country.

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Frank Cox
Film God

Posts: 2016
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 08-09-2018 09:46 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My li'l buddy at the grocery store ran right over as soon as he saw me come in this afternoon.

"Hey Frank, I got one! I caught a shoplifter yesterday! I arrested him right there on the sidewalk!"

Apparently he was stealing a cheesecake and some pepperoni sticks.

I guess the problem is real, even in a little town like this one.

The "Co-op cop" is pretty proud. He told me all about how he wrote notes and gave them to the police and so on.

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James Wyrembelski
Film Handler

Posts: 74
From: Beaverton, MI, USA
Registered: Sep 2015


 - posted 08-09-2018 10:59 PM      Profile for James Wyrembelski   Email James Wyrembelski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We get people trying to snag stuff out of the restaurant all the time. Salt and pepper shakers seem to be a go to item.

Really? You can get a whole set at the dollar store for.....a dollar...

I remember once someone trying to steal one of our beer glasses that has our logo on it. Started walking out and everyone hears a loud *THUD* and turns to see a glass rolling along the floor. Fell outta his shirt. Whole dining room staring at him, he just picks it up and places it on a table and quietly walks out. Ha!

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Martin Brooks
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 820
From: Forest Hills, NY, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 08-12-2018 11:06 PM      Profile for Martin Brooks   Author's Homepage   Email Martin Brooks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If your customers love your beer mugs that much, sell them. Great marketing opportunity. Or, 'spend X and get a free mug".

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James Wyrembelski
Film Handler

Posts: 74
From: Beaverton, MI, USA
Registered: Sep 2015


 - posted 08-13-2018 05:25 PM      Profile for James Wyrembelski   Email James Wyrembelski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lol, we do sell them. But why pay us when you can just take it?

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 08-14-2018 12:58 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's interesting that while shoplifting is an ever-present problem, the number of self-checkout grocery and convenience stores around here is on the rise. I also don't see an increased amount of security guards, most shops are entirely devoid of it. I guess they hope to conquer the problem with increased camera surveillance. Nowadays, even face recognition isn't something that's very special anymore...

But somehow I like the Japanese solution. First off all, it's a cultural thing, but the amount of shoplifting in Japan is pretty minimal. Usually, there are no security guards and you'll never see somebody suspecting you from stealing anything. You'll also practically never see anti-theft devices at the entrances and exits. But what they do have is those orange balls and the staff is trained at throwing them. So if they detect a shoplifter, they'll throw an orange ball at him, which will cover him in orange goo. Then they call the police who often have an easy time detecting and apprehending the shoplifter.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5200
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-14-2018 05:24 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
he's the go-to guy to do pretty much everything:
-- stocks shelves
-- unloads incoming merchandise in off of the trucks
-- shovels the snow
-- changes the light bulbs
-- helps old ladies carry their groceries
and I bet sweeps and mops too...maybe even cleans the restrooms? And now this poor unionless schlub who's been there for 20 years also now is expected to double as a freakin Co-op Cop and even had to go to special training for this august responsibility.

I sure hope they gave him a hefty pay increase with this new hat he has to wear or as somehow my gut is telling me, they still paying him what he's always been paid...you know, not much above minimum wage. He needs to find a union.

Maybe the retail stores should take a page from the MPAA and on every isle, maybe on every product, put big stickers that say Shoplifting IS NOT a victimless crime! The (enter the city name) Police Department investigates and prosecutes shoplifting misdemeanor and felony crimes which can carry sentences from 6 months to 10 years in jail and fines of up to $ (give some really scary big number) or both. Make sure the signs have a big, official police department insignia above it just like the FBI logo that the studios use...you know, that same FBI that the studios use as their own private police force.

The movie industry doesn't seem to be embarrassed that they slap that FBI warning on EVERY product they sell, putting it before every movie and make it so you can't jump past it on a product that you already PAID for; maybe retail should start doing the same thing.

Stores could also produce a series of "informational videos" like the MPAA did awhile back. They could be run on monitors at various locations throughout the store -- maybe at each isle. Each video would identify one type of store worker -- a Sales Manager, a Stock Person, a Custodian, a Cashier, etc., showing them happily at home with their families sitting around the table eating a family meal, then the image tears in half to show a shoplifter pilfering an item. Back to the family again where we see sad faces as all the food disappears from the table. Last scene -- handcuffs being put on the perpetrator by police -- image freezes with superimposed text: Shoplifting is a PUNISHABLE crime.

The film department at the college recently installed HD surveillance cameras in all the editing labs, the common areas, the equipment rooms and in the screening cinemas...basically everywhere except the bathrooms. I was amazed at the clarity of the color images these cameras produce (and of course record); when you turn the lights out in the room, they immediately switch to infrared and you get an image that is nearly as clear as with good lighting, only in B&W. It always amazes me how when you see the video from surveillance cameras on the news and the announcer says, "can you help identify this person?" then you see this fuzzy blob moving across a screen with video noise the size of golf balls -- what crap cameras are they using? I don't think I've ever seen any surveillance footage on the news where it wasn't total garbage video and as far as I can tell, totally useless in identifying anything, let alone a person's face. What's that all about?

I wonder how long it will take me to get used to the fact that there is an image of every move I make, no matter where I go throughout the whole building, all day long and it's being recorded and saved for a week. AND that certain people can watch it in real-time from anywhere where they have an internet connection. I can tell you, it makes you think twice before adjusting your crotch or scratching your ass! [uhoh]

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Kenneth Wuepper
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 996
From: Saginaw, MI, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 08-14-2018 10:10 AM      Profile for Kenneth Wuepper   Email Kenneth Wuepper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes Frank,

It's a "Brave New World"!

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