1227 MIB.

I worked at a store with a long history of loss prevention issues. Loss prevention, for those of you who don’t speak corporate jargon, is theft. Technically it’s the loss of any merchandise and/or profit, but generally it means theft. Most theft in retail is perpetrated by employees. Which is why Wal-Mart has cameras above the registers. It’s not to watch the customers. For as long as I can remember, even before I worked there, every so often the staff would change completely and overnight. This was because the store kept having these massive theft schemes enacted by the staff. While I worked there theft was minimized a lot. It wasn’t because I was there, as far as I know, but it did decrease significantly for the entire time I worked there with only minor spikes. Sometimes it was external, sometimes it was internal. Sometimes the persons responsible were caught, but mostly they weren’t. Many of the internal thieves came close to getting caught but escaped detection and had sense enough to quit the job. So they were able to repeat the process at some other location. I never really felt that bad about internal theft. The company was structured in such a way that the staff had an adversarial opinion of management, and the owners, at best. It was hard to feel bad about them taking a hit when they were such dicks.

I actually met the owner of the company once. Looked him in the eye. Shook his hand. He had the emptiest eyes I’ve ever seen on another human. He looked right at me while somehow never actually looking at me. Like he was seeing through my head to a point somewhere on the horizon. He wasn’t a human in the way I understand humans to be. He felt like something else. Like a monster. You know how a serial killer looks in a photograph? like there’s something wrong in them that you can’t quite place, but you feel it? That’s what meeting this dude was like. Like he didn’t value other people at all. Before that I at least had some feeling of stewardship in regards to the property of the store. After that I didn’t really anymore, and kind of hoped he would die in a horrific way.

That said, I certainly did feel betrayed when the actions of others would endanger the jobs of people I liked and my own. There were occasions when I did use the loss prevention team as a means to protect myself and others.

44 Comments

…Did you mispell interrogation on purpose because it’s Mike?

Nope, just wanted to see if anyone still read this when it gets posted.

I’m usually here within the first 20 minutes or so of posting. Also, I really wasn’t trying to be grammar police, I honestly was curious since you type dialogue how the characters speak.

Please don’t hate me.

XD I don’t. I appreciate you pointing it out.

I’m really excited for this mini arch; Reggie’s background is extremely interesting to me. Ever since his reaction to being threatened with a rolled up Cat Fancy, I’ve wondered what’s going on in his head.

I still don’t understand why he never retaliated in that scene. If I was him, I would make a snide remark, then disarm her as she swiped at me and butt her forehead with the rolled-up end (so it would hurt immensely).

Of course, I’m a tall guy who doesn’t respect many shorter people, with the exception of good friends or potential girlfriends.

If that had happened in isolation, he probably would’ve reacted more like he reacted to Ed. But when Carol did it, he’d just gotten back from fainting at the sight of his own blood. It was like a micro “too soon”.

I had to double-check if you meant Interrogation, because I didn’t recognize the word that Mike used, so I wasn’t sure if it was mispelled or if that was a different word.

Anyways, I know exactly what you mean about Loss-Prevention. Sometimes it is mixed feelings as an employee because where I work now, we don’t see a lot of it internally, though we do have the occasional spike. Actually, the most recent, wasn’t even really a theft.

We have..or had, a co-worker, that is diabetic. Well a couple weeks ago, while she was 7 hours into a 10 hour shift, her blood sugar got really low, and she needed something in her system, but she had another half hour before she could take her break.

Anyways, she took a small .99 bag of sunchips, so she could get her blood pressure up. She swears up and down that she was going to pay on her break, because Management has this super-strict rule that we cannot ring ourselves up for ANYTHING, especially during our shifts.

She didn’t get to finish her shift. Management called her right in off her register, which I was made to cover, and she was pink-slipped right then, black-listed from ever working for the Franchisee company that owned our market. She’s trying to fight it, even filling a lawsuit. Loss-Prevention is both a blessing and a curse to employees.

Unless they were actively looking to fire an employee at my old retail job, they would not dare attempt such a thing. A good number of the managers brought up torn UPC’s from boxes, empty candy bags, and opened drinks to my register. This was usually because their breaks and lunches were during high register traffic times, such as noon or just after 5 PM. I think the unofficial ruling was that you had to purchase the food items before leaving the store. I never risked it and ended up carrying the receipt with me as I headed to the break areas if I ever needed a snack. A few of my coworkers even bought gum during lull periods.

Yeah, well my Supervisors are dicks. They had no real reason to fire the poor girl, because she even had it in her file that she is diabetic. It’s not her fault if her blood sugar got so low that she HAD to get something into her system.

My previous retail job wasn’t so bad, but it was still common enough, granted my previous employment was Gamestop. It’s not easy to take something from Gamestop, but the Manager was pretty cool, that as long as we paid $10 to the till, we could borrow a game title for a single night. Unfortunately, some asshats took advantage of that and it didn’t last long.

Well technically it is her fault, unless she didn’t know that she was diabetic. It would be smart for any diabetic to have some form of high sugar food on hand constantly, just in case. As it was though, mistakes happen, and she shouldn’t really be blamed for making sure that she didn’t collapse.

Depends on if she was allowed to have food with her outside of the break room. Some managers don’t allow it, and these ones you guys are talking about seem like big enough asshats to not take into consideration she is diabetic.

I ran into a guy I used to work with at Wal-mart. He asked me if I still worked there and we talked. Suddenly he starts telling me about how he was taking bribes at the self-check outs when people tried to ring TVs through. They’d slip him 40-50 bucks and he’d let them walk with the TV, computer, whatever thing they were supposed to have rung out in electronics. He said he had done this for months, then he’d start walking out with TVs and furniture because no one questioned when an employee walked out with that stuff alongside a “Customer”. He claimed to have made thousands of dollars. I hadn’t talked to the guy much when he worked there, but I had some kind of respect for him after that story. Some people are lawyers, some people are artists, and some people are just really good at taking advantage of a situation.

So… you respect him because he’s not just a shameless thief, but because he’s actually good at it?

Your basis for your respect of this person is that they excel in their chosen field, even if it is morally pathetic?

I never worked at retail but I understand the one-size-fits-all cold lifeless policies headquarters shoves down the pipe.

When I saw this one my brain swore up and down that the color of Jo’s eyes were different somehow than before. Like more vibrant or something. So I looked back to the last “present” scene and…. nope exactly the same. And my brain still wouldn’t accept it. Hate when that happens.

Can’t say I ever really sided those who stole from their jobs. I’m not saying I don’t understand the reasoning though.

At the same time, when a big boss (who had shut down multiple places recently) came by for a visit and another employee said “I hope he shuts this place down.” I had to say “If you don’t want the job, then quit.”

Why do or hope others lose their job? :/

Noticed the misspelling, wasn’t sure why you did it though :p

First time commenting after some months of lurking (can’t remember hoe many, somewhere between three and eight maybe???) just wanna say that I work at WalMart as an over night stocker (heck I’m on my lunch right now) and I dunno, wanted to give my two cents or whatever I guess…

There’s been a lot of possible employee theft going on. Several coworkers do the “take it now, pay for it at the end of the shift” thing, and with the exception of like one or two people, I never see anyone take the stuff to the registers. One guy (who was my trainer, and seems to somehow he friends with the majority of the store and the managers) often takes random snacks during his shift, and I keep getting really concerned when I see the wrappers stuck behind/under some products less than a half hour later.

I’m too nervous to confront him about it, and would prefer to think the best of him, but I’m really paranoid he might actually be stealing a few dollars in snacks every day.

How* my gosh I meant how.

That type of shrinkage adds up to a lot of money over time. I understand how that might be troubling. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of people who can withstand the constant temptation that power and complacency bring. That said, it’s a bad idea to confront someone if you don’t have really solid proof. It can backfire badly.

Oh, also wanted to state my agreement with the semi-soulless state of the WalMart managers. A few of them are actually pretty cool, but some of them seem really robotic sometimes. Especially when they have a complaint. One manager assigned me to an aisle I hadn’t worked before (actually did that to everyone that day, and messed everything up) and messed up how much freight (stuff to put on shelves) I had, by which I mean I had an entire other pallet of stuff the machine didn’t know about (we have task machines now that tell us how quickly we should be able to do something, which is supposed to adjust to how long it actually takes, calculating the weekly or monthly average for the task) but since I don’t work that aisle the machine (and therefore the manager) expected me to get over four hours of work done in like two. He corners me near the end of the day to tell me I have no excuse for not being done earlier, I try to explain to him what happened, and he just constantly interrupts me to say the exact same sentence in the exact same way, even repeating himself two more times when I finally stopped trying to explain myself and started walking off.

Other managers (even one of the cool ones) do this too whenever they have a complaint, like those interactive fiction stories when you type the wrong command and just get the same description of your surroundings over and over again, but without any right commands that earn a different response.

Gets even worse when they try to coach you (write you up, three coaches and you get fired) as you are supposed to be given a chance to argue your case but instead you just get to sit in a noticeably smaller semi broken version of the chair the managers have while two or four of them surround you and keep saying the same few.lines until you stop talking and let them write you up.

As my ramblings most likely indicate, I have a few issues with my managers. Would actually he a pretty fun job due to the laid back and entertaining nature of my coworkers if I’d stop feeling like I’m getting pushed around whenever one of my managers has a bad day.

So its all about the Wallmarts?
Seriosly I have man-ager problems and I am not in a service company. I support a production line in Maintanence and seriosly WTF with managers. They try to enfocer team spirit and the are the frist ones to brake it. They try to enforce love for the company and then the go ahead and do the complete oposite. Theres problems theres 14 calls from them but you ask them to autorize stuff to avoid such problems they just set it nicely on top of the pile of I don’t give a dam or direct it to another person that gives less of a a dam. (I guess dams are expensive with all that electricity they generate)…

So back to the part of stealing… yep very bad… how can people even consider it? If you consider all things to it. Not reporting on people that are stealing from the company is actualy hurting you too cos theres less money for raises or workplace improvement. Then again it allways looks like a victimless crime. The on going policy on my work place is you see someone stealing and you don’t report it you get “axed” too. It really is not fair because outing on people tends to bring you enemies, and when you go out of your way to report something like that you usualy get into worst messes cos sometimes people are protected and that holds true specialy in companies that are big and political.

So there my big bla bla…

The people who steal in these situations usually feel they are owed something. I work for WM as well and I’ve heard damn near every excuse under the sun. ” I’ve worked here for XX years.” “I spend 50% of my paycheck here.” I’ve worked overtime that they made me take off.” “That guy’s a dick and he’ll probably be the one who gets blamed for it.” “Wallmart makes enough money that they won’t notice/can afford the loss.”

The only managers I deal with, if at all possible, are the asst. managers. Most of them are overworked and given stupid tasks that are overrode about halfway trough completing the task. I’m not defending the dick-hole ones, but some are pretty cool but they have to do what they have to do. The company high-ups seem to have their heads stuck firmly up their asses and it all comes downhill to the rest of us.

Loss Prevention? I’ve never had a problem with them(knock on wood). I work in Electronics/Entertainment, so my experience is a bit different than ThereIsNo4thWall’s up there. I pick up stolen packages and hear people pulling open packages in the bathroom all the damn time, but it’s ALMOST always customers. I call LP and they handle it. A co-worker? I don’t give two shits, I’ve got bills to pay and a munchkin to feed and I’m not going to be fired because I knew about someone stealing something and didn’t say anything. I used to tell the neew folks all the time, be aware of what’s going on around you and don’t shit where you eat.

Just to play devil’s advocate on this one, I’ve been a manager before, and I can sum up the job as follows: Get certain regular tasks done with a crew of helpers/workers who are apathetic at best, or actively countering your efforts at worst. I’d like to think I was one of the good bosses, I helped people with their problems, treated them like intelligent humans, and did my best not to grind them down. I developed a pretty good relationship with my crew, and we got a lot done and didn’t have to deal with a lot of the usual crap because of it.

But you know what? At the end of the day, my list of tasks never changed based on how nice I was, and there were times I had to get a little mean to prevent people from getting fired, myself included.

Are all managers like that? Absolutely no way in hell. But what I’m saying is, don’t be one of those jerkoffs who assumes everyone with a little authority is out to screw them over… because that makes you the dickhead. Period.

Kyle

Im not dumb. I know that the manager position would not exist if it was not needed and they become the much needed link between administration and work force. Yes I am just being a bit curt on the fact that managers tend to step on their own toes because of the confusion that apears when they are unable to sell or comune both forces they play on the job.

I myself have had people under me and I hate it. Seriosly I have absolutely no way of expressing my exasperation on having to deal with people. Yes managers have it worst and they have to deal with people that have people and on top of that deal with high ups that tend to be completly unsensible towards what is happening and they have political agendas to complete.

Yes managers are not all narcisistic idiots that live off licking the pain and suffering of underlings. Yet I have to say that in my experiance those that stay long enough in that position kind of aquire a taste for it.

Okay enough… What I wanted to say is I am sorry I didn’t mean to offend anyone.

Sounds like you met a sociopath. Devoid of emotions, somehow get to high places, zero value for fellow humans unless they’re tools or a means to an end…

You’re right though. They’re not human. Not quite.

That’s what I am thinking as well.

I saw a claim once (haven’t verified) that some study found a higher percentage of sociopaths among upper management than among prison inmates…

Had a newbie supervisor once and all us older employees who had been in leadership positions before (project leaders that is) tried to help him acclimate and adjust to what it was that a supervisor was to do and how they could do it best. He went along well with it all. I have a few favorite moments though. For three weeks at our team meeting he kept harping on the dress code and how we needed to be aware of it and follow it. I’m not sure if it was his own initiative or if it came from someplace higher. At the third meeting, we all spoke up. If you have a problem with a particular employee, address them in private and directly because telling the group isn’t reaching them. And then after the meeting, we privately told him that he was violating the dress code.

Then there was the time he tried to tell me I couldn’t have off for my son’s surgery. That didn’t stand. Or in a review where he told me the only way for me to have a chance to be recognized in the above normal category was for me to work 50-60 weeks for the next year or two before I might get recognized by the rest of the managers. No thanks. Or the time where he got irritated at our manager and after she left the aisle and went into her office, he threw the pager at the wall next to her office.

Then the day came where he informed the two most senior employees that he didn’t need them to advise him anymore. He had been trained and knew what to do. A month later he blew up at another employee outside of our group for some reason. It got rather heated. In his meeting with management afterwards, he demanded either that person go or else. So he was reallocated to a non-leadership position in another department.

Fun times.

Hi, long time reader, and some people wish I’d stop posting…

I think I mentioned this before, but when I started working at Radio Shack, I worked for a Manager who I’d known before. He was also, coincidentally, named Mike (hi Mike, because I know you read Between Failures), but he was about the polar opposite of Miguel Hernandez, except they’re both good guys. Mike was put into a dying store in a small town after the previous Manager and Assistant Manager had an unauthorized “Special sale.” The FBI caught up with them at the border with Mexico, and the boys did Federal time.

Mike did so well at the hole-in-the wall ‘Shack, they gave him another failing store in a busier location. Seems that Management Team was skimming the deposits and blaming the losses on “Inventory Shrink,” or shoplifting. I was working full time as a Security Guard at a nearby Nuclear Power Plant, and Mike brought me in partly because he trusted me and partly because he needed to discourage the High School kids. We strictly enforced a new ‘one teenager’ policy, and having a 6-foot thug watching you puts a dent in your kleptomania.

I now work in IT at an insurance company you probably never heard of. Our former ‘parent’ company was partially responsible for the 2008 economic collapse, and by the time the U.S. Government took them over and the dust had cleared, it was apparent that we were the jewel in the ashes. Obama sold us to the highest bidder, a reinsurance company from Germany, and after a few years our old CEO left (reasonably enough) for more money at another insurer. Our ‘new’ CEO rose through the ranks, and he’s a great guy. Last week, he was ahead of me in line at the cafe register, and he bought breakfast for another Systems guy and me. Definitely not the empty-eyed snake type.

I just discovered Between Failures and I read them from the beginning. It took me FOUR days! This comic is absolutely wonderful! Thank you for starting it and for your continuing to post. I can’t wait for more!
^-^

I’m going to challenge the idea that ~most~ loss occurs due to employee theft. I’m not saying it’s not a good chunk of it–I’ve seen it happen. But the official numbers are skewed hard by corporate policies. Shoplifting by customers, for instance, often goes completely unreported in an official way–in part because most big-box stores and chains have strict rules forbidding confronting a shoplifter (there’s good reasons for these rules, but it still skews the reporting).

So, let’s say a location is getting lots of shoplifting, AND has a sticky-fingered employee. When the loss-prevention team finally nails the employee, they’re quite likely to attribute more than just what they caught him with to him (again, reasonable to an extent, since you probably don’t catch the crook the first time), thereby shifting a good bit of actual customer-theft into official employee theft. It doesn’t help that this makes the LP team look better since they can now claim to have solved a larger share of the loss than they actually did.

It’s been proven that a large portion of the upper management in corporations and business are psychopaths of the schizophrenic kind. Most precisely the kind who have issues with empathy and understanding of long term results of actions they undertake.

Of course it does take that kind of mentality to set up a business like Walmart whose basic offset is raw brutal exploitation of humans and resource across national borders to maximize profit. Though I hear they’ve taken their current brutal business strategy too far in the wrong direction since half of their staff cant afford to shop at Walmart.

Anyway, I find it interesting that Reggie was right about the former team leader of the store being a thief but I’m puzzled as to why he didn’t snitch on her a lot sooner.

Mostly because Thomas thought his evidence was weak, but once he was fired there was no reason not to at least try to bring them down.

Agreed, it’s the type of personality that doesn’t quake under pressure, ever, which is exactly what you need to run a business… especially if it’s one all about “maximizing profit,” which means everything else, including employees, is a metric only used as a corollary to maintaining that maximized profit.

Capitalism is kinda like that… Because the sucky truth is, if all our corporations were run by happy-hippy child therapists, we’d collapse in a week.

I’ve worked retail for years. Never have I ever felt so devalued as a human being as when I worked for big corporations as opposed to privately owned businesses or even the state government job I have now.

I can recall when I was working as a cashier for Fred Meyer and I got a repetitive motion injury, tendonitis to be specific, so badly through both hands that I could barely use my thumbs or my wrists or grip things due to the pain. I had mistakenly assumed I would get better when the pain started and just continued to work until it wasn’t possible anymore. Finally, I went up to my manager and told him about it, because I had no idea what else to do.

He just got this look on his face. I’ll never forget it. He didn’t see me as a person, or even an employee. I was just a…cog of sorts. Something that made things move along in the machine he was running and now I wasn’t working correctly.

He sure as hell didn’t believe me either, but he had to do something as I was part of a union. He just called somebody and stated that a cashier was complaining about pain in their hands. I was put on workman’s comp for a month and I quit a week or so afterward.

Big corporate doesn’t care at all about their employees. Individual people in the corporation may care about you, but the company itself? The corporate machine only cares about making money and the it is designed in such a way that people in the higher positions only care about that as well, or they are eventually replaced.

I guess my experiences in retail are part of the reason I relate with the characters in your comic so much.

Reading these comments makes me glad that the big corporations I worked for were never so big as to forget the little folk. They did it a little misguidedly, and seemed to forget that not all of Canada is Ontario and different systems needed to apply..but they did at least try.

Sometimes I wonder what the Canadian retail landscape would look like if the government had fined Walmart Canada back in 1997.

So many abusing managers stories here…
Aren’t union allowed in franchises? I know Starbucks tried to get rid of them, but I don’t really know for Walmart. What I know is that if I ‘d had to see any injustice on my different work places, I would have relied on the common spirit of the staff to force the managers to step back. Thinking of it, I even have done it a couple of times…

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