Monday, May 27, 2019

2094 Loss Prevention

So many places with so many cameras.  It’s near impossible to filtch anything more than a grape at the grocer’s. And you can’t touch anything at the big box hardware store without setting off an air raid siren.

There’s an upside to this and a way to retaliate.

First, the upside.  Certain electronics and appliance retailers seem to think you’re a self driving car.  You can’t find sales help for love nor money.  Here’s how:  go to a display where everything is wired down and disconnect the wire.  This will set off an alarm and help will be on the way in seconds.  Just don’t break anything permanently. You don’t want to have to pay for a new wire.

Now the retaliation: Wear a body cam. If they can photograph you, you can photograph them, right?  Well, maybe not. But it’s worth a try.

Are aisles too narrow? Tripping hazards? Take a picture.  You don’t even need a full-scale body cam for this.  Your cell phone will do. Or your flip phone, the disabled one in a drawer that you just never got rid of. Go ahead and charge it up.

But the body cam is good for finding

-employees snoozing in a corner.
-employees being rude to you.
-other customers being rude to you.
-adults stealing candy bars to quiet little kids or sitting US Presidents throwing loud obnoxious tantrums.
-cashiers holding conversations with other customers instead of moving the line quickly.

It is true that with almost few actual workers, some stores are experiencing increased thieving.  Wal-mart has resumed using greeters who welcome you on the way in and check your receipt on the way out.

They don’t check every customer.  They don’t have an explanation for those they do or don’t check.  An informal and strictly anecdotal review indicates that if you’re an African American male with a large object, you’ll get checked.  If you’re a teenager of any gender, race, religion, creed or color, you’ll get checked. If you’re an old white guy in a motorized shopping cart, no check.  Hmmm.

We’ve received no answer to an inquiry about the standards they use.

In olden times, department stores would hire store detectives. They’d dress in civilian clothing and pretend to shop for eight hours in a row.  Any thief worth his or her salt could spot these folks from 50 yards away.

In at least one of the defunct discounters, detectives would dress like criminals. The men wouldn’t shave. The women wore no makeup.  Sometimes they’d hide in hollow fake pillars with one-way glass sides.  Other times they might sit on a couch or chair in the furniture department reading a book or magazine or newspaper.
No one ever shoplifted a couch or, for that matter, a refrigerator.

The cameras in the ceiling are much more efficient. But, of course, that means someone has to be watching the monitors. We don’t know for sure that the “cameras” are connected to anything.  But it’s the ones you can’t spot you have to worry about.  The ones stuck to the back of a shelf.  The one in the bathroom stall.

You don’t have to be a cop to own and use a body cam.  And fair’s fair.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2019

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