Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

storewanderer
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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 24th, 2020, 2:30 pm How many times do you allow them to get away with stealing before you finally confront them? You're never going to know who they actually are until they're detained. Personally I think it is better to have a trained LP agent confront them first and let them know they're on the radar. Facial recognition can still work to alert LP if the same customer returns to any of the company's stores. FWIW the supervising LP agents can do this from corporate office and do not need to drive out to every store like in the old days.

Facial recognition is going to be important with another more common type of theft situation: Self checkout.

A lot of people use the self-checkout because they know they can slip a few free items in pretty easily. Or they will buy the higher priced organic item and ring it up at the lower non-organic price or just some other random item. Once it's been determined that they are doing this you can program the system to require a manual override each time they use the self checkouts allowing an employee to audit their order and make sure it is rung up properly. Those people that are inclined to steal using this method will get frustrated and take their 'business' to another store.
Oh, I can tell you one major retailer out there rarely detains anyone. They will have their in-store LP follow shoplifters home and get their address (even multiple times to be sure) rather than confronting them in the store. Add it to the file. Also heavily use facial recognition software when the customer comes back. They will very much target (no pun intended) and focus on the frequent shoplifers and have the software to do it. How many times you let them get away with it depends what they are taking. If they are taking $500 electronics items out the door it doesn't take many times for you to be able to press charges. If they are taking $40 worth of body wash it is going to take a while.

I have observed where someone steals and gets away with it, and is then confronted when they return to the store advising them to not do it again. Where this can become a problem is if you falsely accuse someone of a past incident. I would say if doing this, you better have tape of them previously stealing on file and with 100% certainty know it is them in case they try to file some kind of lawsuit.

A number of months ago I was in a grocery store in my area. Some guy walked in and told the head clerk he wanted to "settle his debt." The head clerk said "what? didn't we tell you not to come in here anymore?" The guy said "yeah but I came in here yesterday and nobody said anything to me and I took two candy bars and left but I am here to pay you for them now." The guy put a couple crumpled up dollar bills on a closed checkstand then asked to use the restroom. The head clerk refused it, told the guy not to leave the money, and told him to come back and talk to the store director in the morning. This is an example of the type of shoplifting you don't waste the police's time with. This is a store chain that, previously, in other locations, all of which have since either closed or been sold, I have observed multiple "chase and catch" incidents the vast majority of which involved liquor.

Regarding self checkout, this is already happening. Wal Mart and Kroger have put small monitor screens at eye level showing you that they are recording your face and the self checkout the whole time. Wal Mart will use those recordings, randomly audit transactions, or audit transactions somehow flagged by the store, then use the video of your vehicle license plate and has some law firm that tie everything together and will send you a notice for payment or threaten to press charges on you. There is one chain in the midwest, Giant Eagle, where you cannot use self checkout without a loyalty card. Being new to Giant Eagle and only in its territory for a couple days, I was using an "unenrolled" loyalty card I got on my first stop into one. Every time, that needed override before I could even use the self checkout.

Lots of interesting stuff to talk about.

But we veer this back to Walgreens. Why can't they handle the theft issues? There are so many different solutions.

Their solution of a bunch of locking shelves doesn't seem to work. Not only does it seem to not stop the theft, but it has a serious negative impact on the paying customers as well due to the difficulty to get product. Putting merchandise behind the counter doesn't work either- this week someone went into one of the San Francisco Stores while a TV reporter was there taping a news story, jumped over the checkout counter, and stole an air bed that was being kept (evidently unlocked) behind the checkout counter.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by Super S »

storewanderer wrote: October 24th, 2020, 7:51 pm

Regarding self checkout, this is already happening. Wal Mart and Kroger have put small monitor screens at eye level showing you that they are recording your face and the self checkout the whole time. Wal Mart will use those recordings, randomly audit transactions, or audit transactions somehow flagged by the store, then use the video of your vehicle license plate and has some law firm that tie everything together and will send you a notice for payment or threaten to press charges on you. There is one chain in the midwest, Giant Eagle, where you cannot use self checkout without a loyalty card. Being new to Giant Eagle and only in its territory for a couple days, I was using an "unenrolled" loyalty card I got on my first stop into one. Every time, that needed override before I could even use the self checkout.
Hmmm. I wonder if requiring a card for self checkout is the next step for Fred Meyer, which has resorted to locking up various items in some locations and just started requiring use of the card for all sale items storewide.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

storewanderer wrote: October 24th, 2020, 7:51 pm Oh, I can tell you one major retailer out there rarely detains anyone. They will have their in-store LP follow shoplifters home and get their address (even multiple times to be sure) rather than confronting them in the store.
That is even more labor intensive. IMO it is a stupid policy,

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 24th, 2020, 8:57 pm
storewanderer wrote: October 24th, 2020, 7:51 pm Oh, I can tell you one major retailer out there rarely detains anyone. They will have their in-store LP follow shoplifters home and get their address (even multiple times to be sure) rather than confronting them in the store.
That is even more labor intensive. IMO it is a stupid policy,
If you saw the dollar amounts they prosecute, you would not call it a stupid policy. The idea is also to get shoplifting rings to quit targeting (I need to stop with the puns) their stores. The idea is as prosecutions become known in theft rings it is hoped the thieves will go look for "easier places to steal from." I am not entirely sure it works out this way.

However, back to the topic at hand, it appears Walgreens has won that award as an "easier place to steal from." We do not see this other large retailer I am discussing closing stores in San Francisco (in fact, they have opened additional stores within the city).

Though I do wonder how much one time or two time type of small theft the larger retailer has they have that they let "pass" as a result of only focusing on the repeat large thefts. They will accumulate multiple small thefts though and attempt to press charges/make a civil payment demand (even over months/years- as far back as they can go that is).

Something tells me they know, and have determined the way they do it is most effective at the present time. This is a cat and mouse game so the strategy that works today may not be the strategy that works tomorrow.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by veteran+ »

All of this is very troubling for Walgreens!

Let's not forget the elephant in the room................employee theft.

Some statistics place that at 50% (minimum) to 60% of global shrink numbers (retail).

ORC is the next highest percentage then comes regular shoplifting.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

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veteran+ wrote: October 25th, 2020, 6:55 am All of this is very troubling for Walgreens!

Let's not forget the elephant in the room................employee theft.

Some statistics place that at 50% (minimum) to 60% of global shrink numbers (retail).

ORC is the next highest percentage then comes regular shoplifting.
Employee theft is the theft that happens at the 8,700 locations that are not high shoplifted locations/targeted by organized retail crime rings. The loss prevention program is obviously designed more to focus on that internal theft which is happening across the chain, rather than the high amount of external theft that is happening at a small fraction of locations.

Walgreens up until 10 years ago used to run its San Francisco Stores like a separate division within the rest of the chain (recall for decades those and some scattered locations elsewhere around San Jose and suburbs were their only West Coast Stores). They had different (smaller) ads, some different buying (did a lot of grocery ordering from United Grocers then from Unified, tons of tourist items in the stores in the tourist areas, did not pick up all of the usual Walgreens seasonal junk since it didn't make sense to carry all of it in those stores), different management structure, etc. These stores were rather far flung from how you would expect a large national chain to operate any of its stores. However, they were VERY profitable. Finally they decided to roll that operation into the rest of the chain and I am not sure it was for the better. Not sure how their loss prevention worked back when those stores were sort of their own little division, but the crime situation in San Francisco was different than too.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by klkla »

storewanderer wrote: October 25th, 2020, 6:59 pmNot sure how their loss prevention worked back when those stores were sort of their own little division, but the crime situation in San Francisco was different than too.
You would be surprised, but it really hasn't. San Francisco has always been a little rough around the edges. My mom was kidnapped at gunpoint in San Francisco in the late 60's and the guy tried to use her as a hostage to get drugs from a pharmacy. It ended without incident.

The first time I went there in the 90's I though it was pretty trashy compared to LA. South of Market was downright dangerous until it started gentrifying over the last ten years or so.

Like the rest of the country there has been a consistent drop in serious crime since the 1980's. It's only in the last two or three years we have seen a little uptick and it's to soon to call it a trend.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by storewanderer »

klkla wrote: October 25th, 2020, 8:25 pm
storewanderer wrote: October 25th, 2020, 6:59 pmNot sure how their loss prevention worked back when those stores were sort of their own little division, but the crime situation in San Francisco was different than too.
You would be surprised, but it really hasn't. San Francisco has always been a little rough around the edges. My mom was kidnapped at gunpoint in San Francisco in the late 60's and the guy tried to use her as a hostage to get drugs from a pharmacy. It ended without incident.

The first time I went there in the 90's I though it was pretty trashy compared to LA. South of Market was downright dangerous until it started gentrifying over the last ten years or so.

Like the rest of the country there has been a consistent drop in serious crime since the 1980's. It's only in the last two or three years we have seen a little uptick and it's to soon to call it a trend.
The Organized Retail Crime Rings have grown exponentially in the bay area in the past decade or so, and expanded their reach well beyond San Francisco. They have become more sophisticated than they already were and much more aggressive and bold in their tactics. Stores in far outer suburbs that did not previously have problems, are now being hit very hard.

Before you may have a couple people go into the store and try to take some stuff. Now they work in surprisingly large groups, communicate to one another via cell phone or text, think nothing of emptying entire shelves in short order, etc. Reusable bags are used to aid the theft despite policies that say not to shop into them, many paying customers shop into them and it is difficult to enforce the policy to not shop into them since so many people are shopping into them. Also these stores often have a shortage of shopping hand baskets (those frequently get stolen too- full of stolen goods as well). Vehicles are waiting out front to take the person away who does the actual theft with the license plate removed or blacked out while the others in the theft ring who did the watching leave the store without taking anything and without incident. That high volume Wal Mart by the Oakland Airport didn't close for lack of customers (place was always packed), and the same goes for these Walgreens closing in San Francisco.

As far as other crime goes, not really sure on now vs. then but the retail crime is different now.

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Re: Walgreens Closures Continue in San Francisco

Post by veteran+ »

The m.o. of ORC you described so well sounds exactly the same to me as it has been for years.

Perhaps the texting has enhanced the operation.

ORC activity always rises commensurate to economic conditions in the areas immediate and adjacent .

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