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  • #16
    Originally posted by LPAjh9558 View Post
    We did have the idea being tossed around as to whether or not if "locking" the dressing rooms would be something of concern. The main arguement against this was that by doing it, and only allowing that department to have the key/code, would cost the store more business than was worth the effort. Losing merchandise to dressing room theft was right up there as one of the top categories for shrinkage. We would find literally tons of tags and/or clothes that were switched for new ones...grrrr!
    The only time I seem to loose product out of the fitting rooms is if the clothing staff have their head up their rear. This usually consists of clothing associate who leaves the door unlocked, doesn't clear the fitting rooms regularly, or LETS a customer in with a backpack or babystroller.

    It's a never ending battle keeping this department to follow procedure and I have to constantly reinforce the training they receive.

    Just a thought... I really don't think that LEGITIMATE customers ever have issues with waiting a reasonable amount time for a staff member to let them in. In my store we try to make it a little more enjoyable than normal because we use an old cowbell to signal for customer assistance @ the fitting rooms. It also forces the clothing associates to be attentive to the sales floor which helps in two ways, first... they are less likely to be in the backstock stealing from their employer and second... it gives them a time for customer service that DOESN'T seem overly aggressive to the customer.

    Justice_Hound
    LP Manager
    Last edited by Justice_Hound; 03-07-2008, 01:27 AM.
    We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
    -George Orwell

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    • #17
      I must be the customer you hate. I hate to shop. I go in, get what I want and leave. If I have to wait more than thirty seconds for a changing room I'm outta there.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by craig333 View Post
        I must be the customer you hate. I hate to shop. I go in, get what I want and leave. If I have to wait more than thirty seconds for a changing room I'm outta there.
        I agree. The merchants objective is to sell merchandise at a profit - not to placate LP. I see alot of "fitting room" cases in the civil legal system. I do not wait for a fitting room to open, and I'm a "LEGITIMATE" customer.
        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
        Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

        Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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        • #19
          Originally posted by liteyouup View Post
          I was told during training that fitting room stops are against company policy, as well as bathroom stops. I found out later through talking to several other LPM's and LPA's that everyone does bathroom/fitting room stops, but you just need to be pretty damn sure. Find a tag or a package, and if you saw them select it, and it's gone you're usually going to be OK. I suspect my boss wanted to tell me that but was trying to teach me "by the book" or whatever and didn't. Kind of bums me out, I would have had a couple more apprehensions had I known.
          Originally posted by Justice_Hound View Post
          The only time I seem to loose product out of the fitting rooms is if the clothing staff have their head up their rear. This usually consists of clothing associate who leaves the door unlocked, doesn't clear the fitting rooms regularly, or LETS a customer in with a backpack or babystroller.

          It's a never ending battle keeping this department to follow procedure and I have to constantly reinforce the training they receive.

          Just a thought... I really don't think that LEGITIMATE customers ever have issues with waiting a reasonable amount time for a staff member to let them in. In my store we try to make it a little more enjoyable than normal because we use an old cowbell to signal for customer assistance @ the fitting rooms. It also forces the clothing associates to be attentive to the sales floor which helps in two ways, first... they are less likely to be in the backstock stealing from their employer and second... it gives them a time for customer service that DOESN'T seem overly aggressive to the customer.

          Justice_Hound
          LP Manager
          That's how it is with where I worked. We were told from the start that fitting and/or restrooms were a definate NO-APP situation. Although I suppose that if the amount being taken were large enough ($1,000 ) then they might have a different attitude about it Like I've mentioned, the way we were told is that once you lose sight of the merchandise (even if tags are recovered and all the steps are met) it doesn't matter because you can never be sure enough of where it was concealed.....

          It's true. Just think of all the apps that were lost due to this issue I know that we lost several during my time there so...
          IMHO, yes I would've wanted to make those stops, but when it comes to being 100% sure that you know everything that's happened....then I'd rather be safe ya know

          I agree that the LEGITIMATE customer(s) probably wouldn't mind either way as long as they know that we're doing our jobs. By that I mean the clothing associates taking care of them as well as LP's contributing also. Management had a rule where all fitting rooms were to be checked at least once every hour, maybe more if busy. But it usually didn't happen...
          "Life In Every Breath"

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          • #20
            Originally posted by LPAjh9558 View Post
            Why does the idea of dressing rooms being a safe zone for shoplifters seem like a "myth" to you?
            I won't discuss my former's employer's policies or LP strategies but I think other members have already covered it. Most LP departments in the area that I know of conduct fitting room stops because that's where 80% of the shoplifting occurs. I never had a bad stop out of a fitting room nor did I ever get a case dropped or even get called to testify in court.

            How do you know if what the person had when they went in, wasn't something that already belonged to them?
            If you're asking this, I'm assuming you're a fairly inexperienced officer--otherwise, that should be self evident.

            How do you if the merchandise was and/or has been concealed?
            This has been answered. It's a simple matter of deduction. I know what was taken in and what was taken out.

            How do you know where the merchandise was concealed?
            I don't, nor did I particularly care. This information was not needed per company policy nor was it needed to establish probable cause for the police to make an arrest, much less proof for a conviction. It's nice to know information that should be included in a report if you have it, but obviously in a fitting room stop you won't unless you can see the merchandise concealed somewhere obvious. I understand some employers make this a mandatory "step" that must be known before apprehension, however. I personally think that's silly. Perhaps it's per your state laws or prosecutor's request, and if so, then by all means do it.

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            • #21
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by LPAjh9558
              Why does the idea of dressing rooms being a safe zone for shoplifters seem like a "myth" to you?
              I won't discuss my former's employer's policies or LP strategies but I think other members have already covered it. Most LP departments in the area that I know of conduct fitting room stops because that's where 80% of the shoplifting occurs. I never had a bad stop out of a fitting room nor did I ever get a case dropped or even get called to testify in court.

              Quote:
              How do you know if what the person had when they went in, wasn't something that already belonged to them?
              If you're asking this, I'm assuming you're a fairly inexperienced officer--otherwise, that should be self evident.

              Quote:
              How do you if the merchandise was and/or has been concealed?
              This has been answered. It's a simple matter of deduction. I know what was taken in and what was taken out.

              Quote:
              How do you know where the merchandise was concealed?
              I don't, nor did I particularly care. This information was not needed per company policy nor was it needed to establish probable cause for the police to make an arrest, much less proof for a conviction. It's nice to know information that should be included in a report if you have it, but obviously in a fitting room stop you won't unless you can see the merchandise concealed somewhere obvious. I understand some employers make this a mandatory "step" that must be known before apprehension, however. I personally think that's silly. Perhaps it's per your state laws or prosecutor's request, and if so, then by all means do it.
              I see where you're coming from, believe me I do. My biggest concern is that apparently there's a vast difference in the way that retail companies handle this kind of issue....I'd like to think that a majority of the companies do conduct apprehensions for all types of theft, including fitting rooms, but from what I've heard from other LP's it's just not the case. And IMO I wish that all retail companies had the same policies to follow.

              The idea of the safe zone probably doesn't exsist everywhere... However, I can tell you that at least in this area, from what I hear does, and it unfortunate because it keeps alot of LP's hands tied for the most part.

              In all honesty yes, I'm fairly new at LP work and not affraid to admit it either. I do know enough to realize that no one person can see everything all the time and at once. It may be a simple matter of deduction for you, but for some it doesn't come so easy....I just don't see how it's a matter of deduction when, unless you're allowed cameras in the rooms, you can't see where it's been concealed?

              I've been part of several cases where we had constant surveillance, selection, all the steps..only to see the suspects go into fitting rooms. And from there we lose sight of what's going on. Sure, you can go into the next room, like I have and could hear packages being torn open or whatever. Then when the suspect leaves we go in, look through anything that's in there and find all the empty packages. From there we were only allowed to "burn" them out and see if they will drop whatever it is that they taken.....

              I never had a bad stop out of a fitting room nor did I ever get a case dropped or even get called to testify in court. I don't, nor did I particularly care. This information was not needed per company policy nor was it needed to establish probable cause for the police to make an arrest, much less proof for a conviction. Obviously in a fitting room stop you won't unless you can see the merchandise concealed somewhere obvious.
              Don't take this the wrong way because I'm glad that there are some companies out there that will let there LP's have a "wider" range on what they can & can't do. As I said, it's unfortunate that things aren't on an even playing field for all of us. And by me bringing up the questions that I did was just to let you all know what we were asked when we wanted to app people for dressing room thefts...Things are all back a**wards if you ask me! That's good to know that you've never had any bad stops from the fitting rooms, cases dropped or zero court appearances...

              We never had cases dropped or court appearances either, but we did have one bad stop. And that was because that LP's that were working didn't care where the merchandise was concealed + missed them dropping the stuff. You may not care where it was concealed and company policies might not either, but it only takes one time & one bad stop. And when that happens (hopefully it won't) someone's job may be in danger, even yours.....all because people don't care about being sure where the evidence is.

              Seems to me that the only thing silly is having an attitude of not caring....
              I've seen it happen and seen people lose their job over it. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
              "Life In Every Breath"

              Comment


              • #22
                Ok can someone explain to me in 25 words or less how you can have a fitting room case when the person goes into the room, conceals the items or removes the EAS or price tags before concealment and then pays for other items and then exits ?

                Unless you are handing the female customer her bra as she is getting changed, how is their continuity of watching the person commit the act ?
                "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by NRM_Oz View Post
                  Ok can someone explain to me in 25 words or less how you can have a fitting room case when the person goes into the room, conceals the items or removes the EAS or price tags before concealment and then pays for other items and then exits ?

                  Unless you are handing the female customer her bra as she is getting changed, how is their continuity of watching the person commit the act ?
                  It's called "exclusive opportunity" (Hah! 4 words! Beat that! ).

                  If a subject enters with x items and exits with x minus y items, y items have to be somewhere. If they aren't in the fitting room area, then there's only one possibility: the subject still has them. This is why fitting room cases need to be worked carefully, and with 2 investigators; you need to make sure you know what's in the room ahead of time, know whether or not the subject is in the room or area alone, and you need one investigator to maintain observation of the subject once they emerge while a second investigator thoroughly checks the fitting room area (and that doesn't mean just the one stall; all adjacent and empty stalls need to be checked as well). If you have any doubts, burn. If you don't, app.

                  The biggest issue I've encountered has never come from the app'd subject, but rather from the people in the area, especially if the LP team is not 100% professional. This usually arises when a male agent is checking a female-area fitting room, or vice versa. If the agent does not announce him/herself appropriately to any other occupants of the fitting rooms, you could have an embarrassing situation.
                  "I don't do judgment. Just retrieval."

                  "The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it."

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                  • #24
                    I guess that that's their way of looking at it here. If said person(s) goes into the fitting room, how can you be 100% sure of whats going on? The way they see it, you can't and, IMO it's not possible unless you're one with the wall and are in there with that person

                    We had a case one time where the suspect had hit us 2x before, roughly for the same things, around $750-$800 both times! Guy was more than likely reselling the stuff at pawn shops or something. Anyway, he was seen entering the store (was wearing those cargo pants with huge pockets) so we set up surveillance. We knew from just finishng fitting room & department checks that there was nothing in that room when he went in. We got selection on everything and made note of what he had in the basket. After the suspect entered the fitting room, I positioned myself in the area next to the room and listened as this guy was tearing and ripping through all the packages. He leaves to walk around and see if anyone is watching him so I go in and find numerous "empty" packages and even see some of the stuff sticking out of his pockets.

                    We ended up trying to stop the guy (I say trying because he put up a huge fight) and we eventually lost him My point is that we couldn't be 100% sure that he didn't dump anything while walking around, even though this guy's pockets were about to fall off. So once we were "off property" we let him go.....eventually losing almost $900 worth of merchandise

                    I'll be the 1st to say that yes, it really sucks when something like that happens. But isn't it better to be safe and try to "burn" the guy out andmaybe recover some of the stuff than possibly losing 1 or more team members because you're not sure of where the merchandise was concealed? BTW, the main thing is that no LP was hurt in this incident!
                    "Life In Every Breath"

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by LPAjh9558 View Post
                      I guess that that's their way of looking at it here. If said person(s) goes into the fitting room, how can you be 100% sure of whats going on? The way they see it, you can't and, IMO it's not possible unless you're one with the wall and are in there with that person

                      We had a case one time where the suspect had hit us 2x before, roughly for the same things, around $750-$800 both times! Guy was more than likely reselling the stuff at pawn shops or something. Anyway, he was seen entering the store (was wearing those cargo pants with huge pockets) so we set up surveillance. We knew from just finishng fitting room & department checks that there was nothing in that room when he went in. We got selection on everything and made note of what he had in the basket. After the suspect entered the fitting room, I positioned myself in the area next to the room and listened as this guy was tearing and ripping through all the packages. He leaves to walk around and see if anyone is watching him so I go in and find numerous "empty" packages and even see some of the stuff sticking out of his pockets.

                      We ended up trying to stop the guy (I say trying because he put up a huge fight) and we eventually lost him My point is that we couldn't be 100% sure that he didn't dump anything while walking around, even though this guy's pockets were about to fall off. So once we were "off property" we let him go.....eventually losing almost $900 worth of merchandise

                      I'll be the 1st to say that yes, it really sucks when something like that happens. But isn't it better to be safe and try to "burn" the guy out andmaybe recover some of the stuff than possibly losing 1 or more team members because you're not sure of where the merchandise was concealed? BTW, the main thing is that no LP was hurt in this incident!
                      Actually... if you can see the items sticking out of the subject's pockets (or through his shopping bag, or in his shopping bag, or on his person--say, a bright green shirt that he wasn't wearing before), then you do know where the merchandise was concealed. You can be 100% sure about dumping by having someone maintain 100% observation after the subject leaves the fitting room.

                      Let's review a stop, which is, coincidentally, almost identical to your situation :

                      A suspicious male is seen entering the store. This subject is a known "hitter" who always takes multiple small items in a fitting room at high dollar value. He is wearing pair of cargo pants with massive pockets, which appear flat and empty. Specific observation begins by two agents; they observe him randomly selecting numerous items throughout the store, mostly items in sealed plastic packages (one of which being a package of underwear). One agent checks the fitting room area the subject will most likely be using; it is clean and free of merchandise, packages, and tags. The subject then enters the fitting room area, going into one of the stalls the agent had just verified was clean. The agents have 100% direct observation of the subject up until this point, and have an exact list of the items the subject took in with him. One agent silently enters the adjacent stall; he can hear the sound of packages being torn open. The subject exits the fitting room area and the second agent resumes direct observation. The subject is carrying no merchandise in his hands, but his pants pockets are no longer flat appearing; they are large bulges on his legs, and protruding from one of the pockets is a pair of underwear matching the package that he took in with him. The first agent checks the subject's stall, and discovers numerous empty packages, including the package of underwear... and there is no merchandise in the stall. The agent knows there is no merchandise in the stall he was in, so he checks the one on the other side of the subject's... and it, too, is empty. The decision is made to apprehend the subject; both agents attempt to do so just outside the store doors, but the subject becomes extremely combative. For their safety, the agents break off the apprehension and retreat into the store.

                      This is a textbook stop. All of your steps are covered:
                      1. You saw the subject approach the merch.
                      2. You saw the selection.
                      3. You knew where the merch was at all times. (In his hand, in the fitting room, and then on his person. You know this last one because you both saw it and through exclusive opportunity--there was no place else it could be, because you eliminated all other possibilities. This is your "concealment".)
                      4. You maintained 100% observation.
                      5. You knew the merchandise was Company property and had not been paid for.
                      6. You made the stop outside the exit, past the last POS.
                      This was a clean stop. My only question is, as your stop was almost identical to this one, why were the police not called ahead of time? If you knew he was going to hit, and if you even suspected for a moment that he might resist violently, you could have had an officer standing by in the parking lot to assist.
                      Last edited by darkenna; 03-08-2008, 12:09 PM.
                      "I don't do judgment. Just retrieval."

                      "The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it."

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by darkenna View Post
                        This is a textbook stop. All of your steps are covered:
                        1. You saw the subject approach the merch.
                        2. You saw the selection.
                        3. You knew where the merch was at all times. (In his hand, in the fitting room, and then on his person. You know this last one because you both saw it and through exclusive opportunity--there was no place else it could be, because you eliminated all other possibilities. This is your "concealment".)
                        4. You maintained 100% observation.
                        5. You knew the merchandise was Company property and had not been paid for.
                        6. You made the stop outside the exit, past the last POS.
                        This was a clean stop. My only question is, as your stop was almost identical to this one, why were the police not called ahead of time? If you knew he was going to hit, and if you even suspected for a moment that he might resist violently, you could have had an officer standing by in the parking lot to assist.
                        I've asked that same question to myself over and over With that guy included, we'd usually know when & if someone was going to be combative. Now as to why our LPM at the time wouldn't allow us to call police....well, lets just say that this, with lots of other things that he did left me scratching my head I can tell you that without a doubt everyone knew what was about to happen and, if the police would've been called, then this jerk was headed to jail. Maybe it was because he wouldn't have gotten the credit for the apprehension...hmmm
                        "Life In Every Breath"

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                        • #27
                          Thanks Dark and LPA ........... appreciate the heads up.

                          However I can see there being issues here as more often than not customers will take in say 4 items (usually the max) in 2 different sizes and often do leave the others inside or will toss the discarded clothing to a recovery bin or even leave them in there. During busier times when fitting rooms are in demand, this is leaving an opporunity for bad-stops. You cannot be 100% sure of them concealing items and I do know of running into fitting rooms posing as a customer to check whether items were discarded only to find EAS tags hidden.

                          Yes I had a bloke who came out in 4 tracksuits with the back of the EAS tag on display and when he beeped all I said was "excuse me" when he pulled out 3 pairs of sunglasses and told me he had not paid for the items when he left the store. I did hear CLICK CLICK CLICK as he was using pincers inside the fitting room to cut the metal pins of the EAS tags and when someone takes over 1 hour to try on 4 tracksuits, life is not good !!
                          "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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                          • #28
                            With the stores being all that more busy, it definately presents a bigger opportunity for bad stops. Just the confusion alone is enough to add to the 2nd guessing! Even when the dressing rooms aren't all that busy, we sometimes will find the occassional clothing tag on the floor But unless you've seen every single person go in and out, you can never really be sure if it belonged to anything that was taken in the dressing room. Most of the time we learned that the tags had simply fallen off clothing that was tried on and then returned to stock....gotta be careful

                            Yeah, that taking 1 hour to try on 1 or 2 pair of pants....hmmm Or when someone takes 3 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 3 knives & a game ear (ear piece to enhance sounds while hunting) in the dressing room all at the same time and spends 25 to 35 minutes only to come out with nothing either
                            "Life In Every Breath"

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                            • #29
                              Fitting room attendants are 1 area retailers cut costs by reducing hours or using floor staff. A store may use a casual for a 5 hours a day but open for 10 hours which due to sickness may leave an area unmanned. FRA's are usually the youngest members with the least experience who basically just count off the hours until they go home. No offence, but some sales staff struggle with their own names sometimes so you rely on them for witness accounts as some S/L's sneak in other items inside clothing as well or under coats, etc.
                              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Being in Grocery Loss Prevention now one of the things i don't miss is Fitting Room hyjinx.

                                When I worked for Marshalls, it seemed every "dumb" "lazy" or "bad" employee was shipped to the fitting room. Management saw this as "getting them out of way" when in fact it made our jobs more difficult and pretty much put a "free merch" sign on the fitting room.
                                "I'll let each of you guys punch me in the face if you'll just wash this crap outta my eyes!!" -Tweeker Shoplifter showing his distaste for pepper spray.

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