It was Monday, I had just gotten to work. Another associate and I were on the floor while the two managers were in the back doing some important paper work and such. There has never been a time when four employees were all on the clock at the same time, it just NEVER happens, except this one time. My associate was helping another customer and I was casually putting clothes away when an older woman about 60-70 years of age, who looked upper middle class walked in. I greeted her, asked if I could help her find anything, and then told her about all our wonderful sales. She was one of those customers that didn't want help. I let her alone and continued putting away clothes when suddenly I heard a hanger whack wood. I turned and looked and saw an empty hanger where our last leopard sweater was hung. I thought it strange for a old woman to pull a sweater off of a hanger like that. Only men do that, and in a women's clothing stores, men hardly even touch the clothes. The old woman wasn't trying on the sweater and walked away from the area with out it in her arm. I suspected shoplifting!
I approached the old woman who was meandering aimlessly around and again asked if I could help her find anything. She responded with, "Where is your sale?" Kind of an odd response since I had already shown it to her. I watched her closely as I straightened the clothes as she continued to wander. She went back to her original area of the empty hanger. I though, "Oh good, maybe she is going to ditch whatever she was going to steal." I watched her closely and could see through the rack what she was about to do. As I watched her hopefully become a good person again, I was appalled! She did not take it out of her purse, but put it in her purse! Apparently she had not taken it the first time, probably because I turned and looked when the hanger banged. She was now stealing it!
I could not let this happen! I approached her again and asked if I could assist her. Corporate doesn't want lowly associates accusing people of stealing, so all I could do was pester her with questions till she changed her mind about stealing. She refused help, but I could see it in her eyes that she knew that I knew. I beelined to my associate who was helping a customer and interrupted her, which is not supposed to happen. I whispered in her ear that the lady over there was shoplifting. My associates reaction was perfect. She gasped and said, "NO ?!?! What do we do?" Her voice and expression was enough to scare the old lady because now both associates on the floor knew her crime. I ran into the back room where the two managers were working and told them there was a lady shoplifting. They ran out and now with four employees on the floor, the lady knew she couldn't steal any more.
So she started trying on the sweater. The sweater was a size large and she was obviously more of a size small. Corporate always puts out fliers for the back room the associates can read about shoplifters and how to spot them. On the latest flier that I read last Tuesday, it talked about how shoplifters will grab clothing with no regard for size. It was just one more clue she was trying to shoplift. One of the managers approached the old woman and asked if she could help her. The old woman responded that she would buy the sweater. I thought, "Yea, she is trying to amend her wrong!"
The manager helping her asked her name at the cash register as we ask all of our customers. The old woman said, "Eloise, but there is a 'u' in there." I though, "That is really strange." The old woman wrote out a check, but since we do electronic checks, it was immediately denied. The manager asked for a driver's license. The old woman pulled out her wallet to look for it, but could not find it. The manager could see the wallet and told us later that there was NOTHING in the wallet. No cash, no credit cards, no ID, nothing but the check book. She had obviously stolen the wallet from the true Eloise. Its a good thing for Eloise to have frozen/canceled her checks and credit cards. The manager told her she could not purchase the sweater without ID. The old woman was frustrated.
She put her purse on her shoulder, but she did not do it like a normal person with both straps, but only used one strap. She used the strap that was farthest away from her, that sure makes it convenient to shove things into a purse, now doesn't it. The manager noted that she had missed a strap, the old woman became flustered and just shoved the entire purse into her armpit. When the old woman did this the manager saw that it was completely empty! No normal woman ONLY caries an empty wallet in her large purse. The two managers and I all stared her down till she left the store empty handed.