Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Helping Our Customers Avoid the Shoplifting Alarm by the Seat of Their Pants

At Boswell, we inherited a security tagger. Note to shoplifters--it works really great!

One of the problems of these devices, however, is that we don't always deactivate our customer's purchases. This is a problem not limited to us. I'm often presented with customers (note to certain chains--I don't call them "guests" and I'm not sure why you do either. I have yet to have either retailer treat me to a meal or offer me a glass of wine) who set off our security gate when entering the store.

When it's an ID tag, there's not much I can do. We can ask the person to give us the tag, leave, and then hand us the tag. And honestly, as it is, we don't do a fabulous job with this whole security issue, so we haven't gotten to this level of structure.

But when it's another retailer who forgot to deactivate the tag, we can make our customers' lives better. Recently two folks set off our alarm with a jacket and a pair of pants, respectively. Both had set off the alarm in a national chain (one dear to Milwaukeeans' hearts) when they entered, and no action was taken. When they left, however, both were subjected to a pretty intense patdown.

Now of course I had to make a judgment call as to whether these customers stole these articles of clothing or had simply not been detagged. I looked into their eyes and saw the soul of an honest person; also, they bought books from me.

The jacket was easy. As you can see, the pants were a bit more complicated (see photo). Operation "I am not a crook" was successful in both attempts, and both customers were very, very happy.
As a tie in, here's the new autobiographical novel from Tao Lin. Here's the publisher's marketing info:

"Set mostly in Manhattan--although also featuring Atlantic City, Brooklyn, GMail Chat, and Gainsville, Florida--this autobiographical novella, spanning two years in the life of a young writer with a cultish following, has been described by the author as "A shoplifting book about vague relationships," "2 parts shoplifting arrest, 5 parts vague relationship issues," and "An ultimately life-affirming book about how the unidirectional nature of time renders everything beautiful and sad."

I checked the shelf to make sure we had all our copies. We did!

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