Shoplifter Apologizes and Sends Cash

May 02, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The moral of this story is people will surprise you sometimes by doing the right thing.

An article in the La Crosse Tribune from October of last year recounts one such experience for a local grocer.

Dave Skogen runs two IGA and six festival foods in Wisconsin. One night he sat down to go through his mail and opened a letter containing money with a note that read, “The money is due to you because it is payment for items that I stole from your store many years ago.”

The letter writer went on, “I am sorry I don’t have the courage to give you this money in person, but maybe I will some day. In the meantime it is only fitting that I return you this money. I pray in my heart that you will forgive me for this. May God bless you.”

Mr. Skogen responded to the “past and present customer” with a letter of his own.

It read, in part, “Thank you for your kind letter and restitution. I’ve been in the grocery business for 46 years, and I am sure I have never received anything like this.

“It’s these small daily happenings that make business so spectacular.

“Honesty is about being willing to give bad news as well as the good news. Our stores have no police force, no jails. We must rely on the integrity of our associates, customers and vendors.”

Moderator’s Comment: What progress has the grocery
industry made on reducing shrink due to theft?

We’ve been convinced for a long time that the best defense
against shoplifting is a manager customers appreciate and associates respect.

We had the pleasure many years ago of meeting Dave Skogen
while working on a project for a beverage manufacturer. Mr. Skogen is a class
act. We can understand why someone would feel regret stealing from him.

Large numbers of people walk into his Onalaska store and
he seems to know everyone by name.

Store associates may see him as demanding at times, but
they also know he is approachable and open-minded. He engenders respect and
loyalty because he is honest and fair.

Retailing could do with more people like Dave Skogen.
Anderson – Moderator

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