Shoplifting concerns prompt store policy

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jrose
Shoplifting concerns prompt store policy

 

jrose

I remember being incredibly offended when the bulk food store in our community banned any student from entering the store during lunch hours. And I’m wondering, is this a common practice?

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2007/10/09/nl-dollarama.html]Corner Brook store restricts student customers[/url]

quote:

High school students in Corner Brook, N.L., say the Dollarama discount store is limiting their noon hour access to the shop, a restriction the students are calling age discrimination.

Michelle

Yeah, when I was in high school, the local store only allowed three students in the store at a time in order to curb shoplifting. And lots of places made students leave their backpacks and purses at the door.

Sineed

When I was a student, there were a few kids who stole for the sake of achieving some sort of cred. And when I worked at Shoppers, the security guard was constantly nabbing kids for nicking stuff. So the anti-student policy is, I think, fair.

Michelle

I don't know, I don't think it's fair. I also didn't think it was fair when the security guards for a mall food court in Kingston which was located near a high school and a government office building enforced a strict 15 minute time limit on the teenagers from the high school eating their lunch there, but let the suits hang out for their whole lunch break.

What if you set up shop in a neighbourhood with a lot of people of a certain race or ethnicity nearby, and then surprise, surprise, most of your shoplifters ended up being from that particular race? And then you said, "Okay, new policy - only three [race] people in the store at a time"?

I think that wouldn't go over very well. Understandably.

If you've decided to set up a convenience store next to a high school, you're obviously going to be getting a lot of kids in your store. If you have a shoplifting problem, hire more staff to guard your stuff. If you can't make a go of it because of shoplifting, then close up shop and move somewhere else. You shouldn't be allowed to discriminate on prohibited grounds to deal with it.

Polly B Polly B's picture

My kids go to school in a small town where there are only two stores, one a gas station/store, and the other a general store. Both stores have a 4-students at a time policy during school lunch to prevent shoplifting. If they didn't, twenty kids would stream through the door at 12:15 and it would be impossible to monitor them all.

Can't say as I blame them for that.

Sineed

quote:


I also didn't think it was fair when the security guards for a mall food court in Kingston which was located near a high school and a government office building enforced a strict 15 minute time limit on the teenagers from the high school eating their lunch there, but let the suits hang out for their whole lunch break.

I would guess the suits are much less likely to be shrieking obscenities at their buddies across the foodcourt or into their cellular phones or loudly discussing the relative sexual attractiveness of various other suits they work with or throwing food or getting into fistfights (can you tell I live really close to a high school?)

And I wouldn't call race discrimination equivalent to trying to mitigate the behaviour of rowdy young people.

About ten years ago one of my friends' sons was outraged at being banned from a coffee shop and was trying to instigate a boycott. He wasn't a bad kid, but he did hang out with some other kids who had gotten into trouble for shoplifting, and he participated in tagging various vertical surfaces in the neighbourhood with his initials in spray paint.

Ten years on, this same boy buys coffee in this coffee shop without incident, as he has outgrown his adolescent behaviour.

scooter

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[QUOTE][b]If you have a shoplifting problem, hire more staff to guard your stuff. If you can't make a go of it because of shoplifting, then close up shop and move somewhere else.
[/b]

Thats an answer I would expect from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

In my neighbourhood most of these stores are run by imigrant family and are considered microbusiness. They can just move somewhere else due to leases, cost of moving, life savings invested in the business, etc. The hours they put in are generally punishing with low pay.

The average theft in Canada is $82. For a small mom & pop operation thats can be the days profits,
[url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3092/is_n14_v34/ai_17295174]Canadian retailers take bite out of crime[/url].

quote:

[b]You shouldn't be allowed to discriminate on prohibited grounds to deal with it.[/b]

What prohibited grounds? What Canadian laws are they breaking?

Martha (but not...

Michelle: "You shouldn't be allowed to discriminate on prohibited grounds to deal with it."

According to Ontario Human Rights Code, [url=http://ohrc.on.ca/english/publications/hr-code-guide_2.shtml#_Toc4591807... have the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of "age" [i]if you are at least 18 years old.[/i][/url]. (Italics added.) It seems that, for better or worse, in Ontario age is only a prohibited grounds for discrimination if the person being discriminated against is over eighteen.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

That is correct otherwise governments could not pass safety rules based strickly on age. In BC the age is 19 but that is the age of majority in BC and 18 is the age of majority in Ontario.

Laws over who is required to attend school are all age based to put it into some perspective.

Tommy_Paine

Many students are over 18.

My local Home Hardware neatly gets around this by requiring all backpacks to be left at the front checkout. Of course, it's mostly students who use backpacks.

There are some stores in London that require [i]everyone[/i] to leave their shopping bags etc, at the check out. I always ignore it. If I'm ever verbally asked, I'll say no, and leave.

If they don't trust me, then I certainly don't trust that they won't lift the stuff from my bag, either.

Thank you, come again.

Boze

It's quite common at least where I live, and I think it is discriminatory and unfair. I agree with what Michelle said, and would like to add that if kids (or anyone) are stealing or making graffiti art, they have reasons for doing so that aren't quite as simple as "to make trouble" or "for cred." When kids are shoplifting it's usually food.

The bag policy is pretty common as well, and I don't really think it's that unreasonable. A friend of mine puts a sandwich in her purse every time she's in superstore.

[ 16 October 2007: Message edited by: Boze ]

The Wizard of S...

The problem is the young offender's act. Twenty-five cars in front of my building had their tires slashed last Saturday night. The cops came with the dogs and found the punks. But because they're underage, they get a free pass. Meanwhile, twenty-five people, workers and seniors, are out about five hundred bucks each for new sets of tires. They missed my car, so I'm cool. But I imagine that some of the seniors, being on fixed incomes, are going to have to choose between buying groceries or fixing their tires so they can go to the doctor's and other places. That's not right. If you're old enough to slash senior citizen's tires, you're old enough to go to federal prison.

Boze

Yes, let's put more people in jails. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

Canadian prisons, despite being nicer than most, are disgusting and inhumane and nobody deserves to spend a day in one. They should be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

It's certainly not right that anyone should have to choose between replacing their damaged property or eating well, but "tough on crime" policies won't help them. Put delinquents in jail and you get hardened criminals.

[ 16 October 2007: Message edited by: Boze ]

Aristotleded24

quote:


Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:
[b]My local Home Hardware neatly gets around this by requiring all backpacks to be left at the front checkout. Of course, it's mostly students who use backpacks.[/b]

That's at least more fair than simply targetting students.

quote:

Originally posted by Sineed:
[b]I would guess the suits are much less likely to be shrieking obscenities at their buddies across the foodcourt or into their cellular phones or loudly discussing the relative sexual attractiveness of various other suits they work with or throwing food or getting into fistfights (can you tell I live really close to a high school?)

And I wouldn't call race discrimination equivalent to trying to mitigate the behaviour of rowdy young people.[/b]


I have trouble accepting the notion that kids are more likely to act up than adults. Adults can be just as obscene. One of my friends who used to manage a store in Brandon told me that the bulk of shoplifters she caught were in their 40s.

I agree with Michelle's assertion that this is akin to racial profiling. Ask anyone who's Native whether or not store staff have paid extra attention to them, and the answer will probably be "yes."

Summer

I think there's a pretty huge difference between shoplifting and "acting up" or even causing an annoyance. At the Rideau Centre (the downtown Ottawa mall), there are always tons of young teens hanging out near the front entrance. It seems that it's a place for young peeps to congregate. Given the number of them, it's a given that they're going to be noisy or even obnoxious. But that hardly equates them with shoplifters.

From what I've heard of shoplifting (or "shrink" as I belive it's called in-store), much of it is done by employees themselves as they are the ones who have the best opportunities to take the merchandise before it's tagged and/or to remove the dye-tag/anti-theft tag etc.

In a store with only one employee to operate the till, it's pretty hard to keep an eye on all the other customers at the same time. So, if I were a small business owner, I would post a sign saying that I reserved the right to restrict my store to 3 or 5 or 7 or whatever customers at a time. I would not restrict this limitation to teens, but I would use my discretion and I may very well choose to enforce my policy if I see a group of people carrying large bags or baggy clothing as these people would have lots of places to hide stolen merchandise.
As a business owner, I would argue that it's my right to do so. If I offend and lose a few customers here and there, c'est la vie, it's better than gaining a reputation as being a store that is easy to rip off.

Druidia

If a store requires that I leave my mini backpack at the front counter, I do so. However, I do ask for a shopping bag so that I can transfer all my techno gadgets from my backpack. Nothing personal. They don't trust that a backpack-carrying human will not shoplift. Why would I, in turn, trust that a complete stranger would not steal anything from my backpack? I have my PDA, iPod, camera, various cards, and an assortment of costly cables and adapters in my backpack. I'm not about to leave a fully gadget-loaded backpack with a complete stranger even if he/she is employed by the store.

Michelle

Especially since the stores usually refuse to take responsibility for your backpack and/or large purse when you leave it at the front anyhow.

At the Queen's campus bookstore, I asked a person who was telling all the students to leave their backpacks at the front how they will ensure that no one comes along and takes my backpack on the way out. They said I had to leave it there at my own risk. I told them that unless they had proper security, perhaps with number stickers on the bag with the other number being given to the student, that they shouldn't force us to leave our valuables at the front of the store for anyone to walk out with.

They said, "It's not very likely that would happen." I told them that it wasn't very likely that I would steal anything, and that if I WERE to shoplift, that I'd find a way to do it without my backpack anyhow.

I hate stores that discriminate against students. If you can't afford to guard your stuff without discriminating based on age/colour/sex/whatever, then you can't afford to be in business.

P.S. Regarding students acting up in food courts - first of all, I've seen adults get pretty loud when having conversations in food courts too. But as long as they're laughing loudly in a SUIT, then all is well.

If they're concerned with people being rowdy in a food court, all they have to do is post rules saying that yelling and whatever other rowdy behaviour isn't allowed and if you do it, you'll be asked to leave. And then enforce it for EVERYONE. And leave everyone who is acting properly, including teenagers, alone. There are always ways to get rid of obnoxious behaviour without targeting one group or another.

[ 18 December 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Stargazer

I was a rowdy, loud-mouthed teen, and so were my friends. We'd hang out in stores and piss off anyone we could with our behaviour, our loud talking and our general rudeness. Of course, not all teens are like this but I live in no fantasy land. There are a ton of places where teens congregate in large groups and intimidate the hell out of people, including food courts and stores. Another thing is, why the hell should I not be able to walk up and down isles (in a store or on the TTC) because these kids refuse to take off their back packs? Michelle, maybe you weren't this kind of teen, but I was, my son and his friends were and almost everywhere I go I am confronted with very loud, rude groups of teens. If I were a store owner I would not be too comfortable about the pack back thing either. More because it is a massive inconvenience to other shoppers. But I am under no illusion - I know there are often large groups of unruly teens and I think people have the right to enjoy a meal, a walk through a store and a ride on the TTC without being subjected to hordes of gum chewing teens hell bent on making their voices heard all through the place and generally being obnoxious.

Of course, this does not apply to all teens.

Ibelongtonoone

boze - "When kids are shoplifting it's usually food."

LOL! that's a good one

Pretty much everyone I know, including myself has shoplifted or had a friend who did and it was never for hunger or any other balonely excuse.

It happens when most kids are between 12 and 15, and it just to try and get away with it.

Alot of kids have money in their pockets when they're caught taking candy, toys, shoes, cd's ect. Older teens and adults who shoplift often have pychological or emotional problems.

The minority by far steal out of need, they do exist but are rare.

I close friend's parents have run a corner store since I was born, so I have some inside info.

Also I don't think any race or sex shoplifts more than another.

Ibelongtonoone

also

I resent the implication that poor people steal, they are as honest and respectful as anyone else, and many would die, before they stole anything from anyone.

Aristotleded24

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]P.S. Regarding students acting up in food courts - first of all, I've seen adults get pretty loud when having conversations in food courts too. But as long as they're laughing loudly in a SUIT, then all is well.[/b]

The suits often take as many liberties about shrieking obscenities and discussing the sexual attractiveness of various women. Crude behaviour is not bound by age or class.

quote:

Originally posted by Stargazer:
[b]I was a rowdy, loud-mouthed teen, and so were my friends. We'd hang out in stores and piss off anyone we could with our behaviour, our loud talking and our general rudeness. Of course, not all teens are like this but I live in no fantasy land. There are a ton of places where teens congregate in large groups and intimidate the hell out of people, including food courts and stores. Another thing is, why the hell should I not be able to walk up and down isles (in a store or on the TTC) because these kids refuse to take off their back packs? Michelle, maybe you weren't this kind of teen, but I was, my son and his friends were and almost everywhere I go I am confronted with very loud, rude groups of teens. If I were a store owner I would not be too comfortable about the pack back thing either. More because it is a massive inconvenience to other shoppers. But I am under no illusion - I know there are often large groups of unruly teens and I think people have the right to enjoy a meal, a walk through a store and a ride on the TTC without being subjected to hordes of gum chewing teens hell bent on making their voices heard all through the place and generally being obnoxious.[/b]

I wasn't a loudmouth rowdy teen, and I think you're missing the point, Stargazer. The kind of behaviour you mentioned is disruptive no matter who does it. Should teens be allowed to get away with it? No, but that's not the issue. The issue is in singling out teens for enforcement. If teens have to remove their backpacks in the store, why shouldn't everyone else have to?