Counter Confidential: Unintentional Shoplifting
Published Feb 19, 2012
The hardest part about working in a department store is knowing that you are always being watched. There are cameras everywhere, and a security guard stands at every corner. My store fully believes in prosecuting “criminals” to the fullest extent of the law, but sometimes these so-called criminals aren't even aware that they are breaking the law.
On slow nights, my counter focuses on cleaning and putting out new testers. Testers are easily contaminated or broken, so we need to change them frequently. Every store has a different way of making testers, but most of the time there’s a policy to account for lost merchandise. This means we input testers into a computer as damaged goods. It’s our way of knowing how much stock we have left, and to make sure that no one steals product.
One night, a customer was looking at eye liners. Many of the testers were missing because we were in the process of putting out new liners for people to try out. After I explained this to her, I asked if she needed help. She seemed a little annoyed that I was talking so much, and said she knew what she was looking for.
Not wanting to crowd the eye liner client, I went to help someone else. Less than five minutes later, three huge security guards came out of nowhere and escorted the lady to security. I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I noticed a few eye pencils had gone missing.
I quickly ran up to the security office to ask for our product back since we were running low on stock. The woman was in a seat, crying. She claimed that she hadn’t taken anything. She was just swatching colors. The security guards told me that I couldn’t get the products back because they were damaged.
The woman had wanted to test the quality and color of the liner. Since the testers weren’t out, she grabbed and opened a new box to try the pencil on her wrist. Technically, this is considered stealing. She was damaging and contaminating brand new product without buying it. The woman had unintentionally ruined over a hundred dollars worth of merchandise. If only she had asked for a tester!
I’ve noticed a few customers open new boxes to look at products, and then put them back. When you really think about it, it’s a little gross. What if they touched it with their fingers? I wouldn’t want to buy products that could have been contaminated, which is why this security precaution is important.
Always keep in mind that artists are there to help. If you can’t find something, ask us. It could mean the difference between freedom and facing fines, embarrassment, and serious criminal charges.
Undercover Beauty Agent is just an average makeup artist at your local beauty counter who's reporting true stories exclusively for Beautylish: "I love what I do because I get to make people feel beautiful on a daily basis. I'm a beauty advisor in New York City by day and a secret beauty agent by night, totally ready to share all my insider secrets and gossip."