Canadian Quick Question: Do You Report Shoplifting?

Other / Canada

Shoplifting is nothing new.  It has been around since humans started offering goods for some kind of compensation.  Although the “young kid pocketing a CD” is the stereotype of your typical shoplifter, this is far from the truth.  Shoplifters come in all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes they are even the people behind the counter.

Yes, it appears the latest trend in shoplifting is employees stealing from their own workplace.  In fact, it is such a problem that many retailers are scaling back their efforts to catch consumer shoplifters and instead have turned the security cameras towards their own staff.  According to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Retail Council of Canada, employee theft grew to 33% of theft-related incidents from 19% in 2008 and consumer theft dropped to 43% of reported incidents from 65% in 2008.  Apparently the must-have items are alcohol, fragrances, women’s apparel and cosmetics.  Unfortunately, the reasons behind this increase are largely unfounded.  Perhaps employees have a dwindling loyalty to their workplace?  Or maybe times are tougher than in previous years?  Whatever the reason, there has been a change in the stereotype of your “typical shoplifter”.

Bottom line is: shoplifting hurts all of us.  The retailers take a hit and in turn raise their prices to compensate for the loss.  At the end of the day, it is the hard-working Joe Average who pays the price for another person’s crime.  It is almost maddening to think the prices and deals we eagerly seek each week could be even lower if people did not steal.

Do you report shoplifting?  Do you have any shoplifting stories you would like to share?  Let us know! 

Click here for more information on employee shoplifting.

15 responses to “Canadian Quick Question: Do You Report Shoplifting?”

  1. erica says:

    I saw a guy stuffing DVDs into his jacket at giant tiger once and alerted the employees. They said they couldn’t do anything and to just leave him alone. I also saw someone stealing at Dollarama and also warned the employees. Again, they said there was nothing they could do. I guess without a security guard, its dangerous for young female employees to approach older men stealing. I worked at a video store and when I suspected someone stealing, I called my boss over because I was too afraid to speak up.

  2. Natalka says:

    I’ve never seen it, but I sure would report it.

  3. Lori says:

    I would report it. Maybe some employees justify it to themselves because nowadays employers view employees (esp. in min. wage jobs) as a necessary evil and have no loyalty to their employees either. Gone are full-time jobs with benefits, seniority, Christmas bonuses or more pay for more responsibility. Not an excuse, just a possible reason.

  4. olivercat says:

    last year I had about $500 worth of stuff stolen from an outside event store loaction. I could not catch the thievies in action, but noticed the items missing about 3 minutes after all our sales people were ‘swarmed’ with questions. This was a group of about 5 or 6 teen to 20 yrs old girls! The next time it was a set of senoir ladies–again too late to get them! So, I thank anyone who stands up and says something–even if the store manager choose to do nothing, you have done your best to stop the stealing! AND, I thank you!

  5. BethOrlik says:

    The law surrounding this type of situation is very touchy. Sadly enough, companies can be sued for accusing and/or illegally detaining someone… making any potential capture of a shoplifter risky unless they have video proof. The tables can quickly turn on the company and unlike big chains like Walmart and Sears who employ undercover security guards to deal with this issue… places like Dolleramma are illequipped to deal with this situation when it does arise and thus allow the thefts to occur to avoid the possibility of liabilities on their part.

  6. jayne_a says:

    I have reported it in the past. I’ve reported a co worker for giving away merchandise to his friends, i also saw him grab food off the shelf and start eating it. I once saw a co worker take money right out of his till and put it in this pocket. I told my supervisor and security. Turns out it wasn’t his first time either and he was fired, the next day. Strangely I’ve never seen a customer steal, only employees.

  7. Shannon says:

    Shoplifting isn’t the only way employees are stealing. I have had stores steal the info off of my debit card 3 times! I’m lucky to have a bank that catches these things well. Such a shame that you have to be so cautious.

  8. Carrie Hamm says:

    I can’t really say I’ve seen someone shoplift – I’m just in my own zone when shopping.

  9. Mattys mom says:

    As a retail customer service manager- I have seen a lot. Customer eyes really do help! When a customer reports it to our staff that they have seen a theft- though we can’t accuse the suspect of theft (we did not see it) But, we can make it difficult for the potential shoplifter with “exceptional” service. (I.e don’t leave their side while make helpful sales suggestions etc.) Shoplifters do not wish to be noticed- so they usually leave.

    When I am in another store-and I see the “stash and dash” in play- I usually take the article to a sales staff- or as in a grocery store I put it out front and center so that it is seen by everyone. Got my DH doing that too!

  10. cathy says:

    Employee shoplifting probably isn’t going up, it’s just that retail stores can’t do anything about customer theft so they concentrate on their employees.

    The only time I’ve ever actually seen someone steal something (outside of work, where all we get to do is walk around after them and then wave them out the door) is a guy lifting bootleg dvds off of a street vendor’s table. I didn’t say anything, but appreciated the irony. 🙂

  11. adora says:

    I’ve heard that they can’t arrest them until they actually walk out of the store. But many stores don’t have the man power to follow the suspect around until he or she decides to leave, then chase them back.
    So sad.

  12. Sandra5 says:

    Years ago I spotted a shoplifter where I worked, and went to report it to store management. The store was SWAMPED with Christmas shoppers and apparently it was the “day off” for store security for some sort of training. ( Or so I was told later)
    To make a long story short, the guy spotted me trying to report him and thereafter took great delight in harassing me, interrupting me trying to serve other customers, and causing a general disruption with impunity.,He could see that no one was coming to help me and his new goal became to try to upset and frighten me, all the while still stuffing his jacket with stuff. He only took off (basically disappearing into the thick crowds) when he spotted the police finally arrive about 45 minutes later.They didn’t catch him.
    I learned my lesson. If the store doesn’t have enough manpower to protect the staff, take ALL YOU WANT shoplifters!

  13. Tara says:

    Yes.. unfortunately it is true.. While you are doing a good deed by reporting the theft as a paying customer, unless a staff member witnesses the theft (ie. taking the product and putting it somewhere on their person), follows them every moment until they walk out that door and ENSURES they did not get nervous and ditch the product, the staff member is unable to do a darn thing. They need to see from start to finish.

    @ Shannon… as a former manager @ SDM for quite some time I had an abundance of customers coming in screaming at me because one of my employees “STOLE THEIR INFORMATION AND STOLE THEIR MONEY.” This is a ring of theft much greater than a cashier trying to pull a fast one on you. Criminals enter the store, distract the staff and switch the debit pin-pads only to return hours/a day later to switch them back to the original SDM property. The pin-pad that they had put there for a few hours tracks all of your information. So please, drop the ignorance and get informed. Cashiers are not stealing your information.

  14. Mrs. Doubtflier says:

    I would just say: “swarm! swarm!”. But really, no the company does not pay me, that is the loss prevention officer’s job. I do not want the potential shoplifter to attack me down the road, nor do I wish to be involved in a potential lawsuit. I keep my nose to myself.

  15. kerry says:

    No, I would not report a shoplifter,thats up to store security.Most stores have hidden cameras,security guards,and employees looking out for that kind of thing.

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