The Cat is in(or out of) the bag
Some news about Wal-Mart aka Wally World.
But now, in a rare display of limited permissiveness, Wal-Mart is letting thieves off the hook — at least in cases involving $25 or less.First let me disclose that TFM worked for Wal-Mart as a part-time associate from 1996-98.
According to internal documents, the company, the nation’s largest retailer and leading destination for shoplifting, will no longer prosecute first-time thieves unless they are between 18 and 65 and steal merchandise worth at least $25, putting the chain in line with the policies of many other retailers.
Wal-Mart said the change would allow it to focus on theft by professional shoplifters and its own employees, who together steal the bulk of merchandise from the chain every year, rather than the teenager who occasionally takes a candy bar from the checkout counter.
It may also serve to placate small-town police departments across the country who have protested what the company has called its zero-tolerance policy on shoplifting. Employees summoned officers whether a customer stole a $5 toy or a $5,000 television set — anything over $3, the company said.
At some of the chain’s giant 24-hour stores, the police make up to six arrests a day prompting a handful of departments to hire an additional officer just to deal with the extra workload.
“I had one guy tied up at Wal-Mart every day,” said Don Zofchak, chief of police in South Strabane Township, Pa., which has 9,000 residents and 16 officers. He said the higher threshold for prosecution “would help every community to deal with this.”
J. P. Suarez, who is in charge of asset protection at Wal-Mart, said it was no longer efficient to prosecute petty shoplifters. “If I have somebody being paid $12 an hour processing a $5 theft, I have just lost money,” he said. “I have also lost the time to catch somebody stealing $100 or an organized group stealing $3,000.”
The changes in Wal-Mart’s theft policy are described in 30 pages of documents that were provided to The New York Times by WakeUpWalMart.com, a group backed by unions that have tried to organize Wal-Mart workers in the United States.
Second I'd like to call Don Zofchak the whiner of the day. Police get paid to arrest criminals, not complain about their workload. If you're the owner of a store you want the laws enforced. That includes shop-lifting, and one would expect the police's co-operation not bellyaching that they have to drop their donuts and do some work for a change.
From a cost standpoint, the policy makes sense. The chain will still monitor their stores, and people caught even taking small items will have them taken back. They just won't be prosecuted. That's a policy decision and I can see both sides of the issue. Again what the local police think shouldn't factor in. I beg to disagree with one of my favorite bloggers James Joyner. Wal-Mart is neither allowing shoplifting or giving away $24.99 in free stuff.
Maybe James is just being sarcastic. He's better at pragmatic commentary and should leave the sarcasm to me!
Most theft is employee related, or for much bigger amounts than $25. While I worked for the chain, the overnight manager at the store I worked at was fired and arrested for stealing. My wife worked retail management for four years. Almost every employee at one linen store was fired for stealing. Walmart will continue to prosecute these people and other thieves. The rest will be warned and I'm guessing if one is a multiple offender even for small amounts, they will get prosecuted.
The policy makes good cents. If you look at the bottom line.
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