BrainTrust Query: Could Santa Steal From Your Store?
Partner, Dynamic Experiences Group
While running errands with my children during a
recent weekend, the topic of shoplifting came up. When I said that just about
anyone could be a shoplifter, my youngest daughter decided to challenge me. "How
about that woman over there?" she
asked. I replied that it’s possible but unlikely. "How about that old
man there?" I repeated my response of possible but unlikely.
Then she smiled
and said with that gotcha look, "How about Santa Claus?
Santa couldn’t be a shoplifter, could he?"
Santa as a shoplifter? Santa
would make a great shoplifter if he decided to turn to crime. Think about it.
1. You’d never suspect him. The people you suspect the least are some
of the most productive (from their perspective) shoplifters. That’s why stores
should never attempt to identify shoplifters by what they look like, but by
how they’re acting in the store.
2. Santa’s bag is perfect for shoplifting. Empty, or nearly empty,
large bags are the perfect tools for the shoplifter. In a matter of seconds,
a person can go from browsing to stealing by dropping the products they’re
looking at into a shopping bag.
3. Santa wears bulky, over-sized clothes. Customers wearing oversized
coats, especially if other people are not wearing coats or at least carrying
them, could be doing so for nefarious reasons.
4. Santa could have a very effective method for distracting sales associates. Shoplifters
often work in teams and have one person distract the employees while the other
steals products. Imagine if Santa was in the store and in walked six elves.
for a few reasons Santa would make a bad shoplifter:
1. Santa would never be left alone to steal. Shoplifters are always
quick to decline help since they want to be left alone to do their dirty work.
That’s why great service is the best deterrent to theft. Since everybody wants
to talk to Santa, he would never be given a chance to steal.
2. Those gloves make it tough to palm products. Shoplifters steal small
products by palming them and then placing them in their bags/pockets before
employees and cameras can pick them up. I’m thinking the gloves would make
that pretty tough.
3. Santa is so big he can’t stand extremely close to a fixture. This
is one way that shoplifters quickly moving products into their pockets
4. It’s Santa! While there seems to be less civility in the world today,
I’m sure the real Santa isn’t a shoplifter. Then again, there are a lot of
other Santas out and about at this time of year.
Discussion Questions: What are some obvious and less obvious signs of a
shoplifter in action in a store? Are there shoplifter prevention strategies
stores often don’t utilize, but should?