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Monthly Archives: October 2006

Seriously people. What do half of you think when you steal things? That you’re clever? That the rush of being a thief is gratifying?

Perhaps that thieves are incredibly stupid?

I get a lot of people that try to steal from me in the fitting room. Most of the time, I’m on to the people like white on rice, but not in a mean way…but a NICE way. If you think about it, it’s a lot more mentally taxing if someone knows something you think they shouldn’t but they do. You know, the concept where you shove that sweater you were trying on in your bag, and then I come up and say “We have some of those sweaters in other colors that would look GREAT on you!” and have a big smile plastered across my face when I do it.

Thieves HATE that.

We also have an LP officer (loss prevention, if you’re not familiar with the abbreviation) that we usually have bust people. He can’t legally do anything to someone while in the store, but once they step out, WHAM…he can take ’em down. We’ll just call him Bob.

My favorite experience were these two girls that carried HUGE bags with them. I mean gigantic. They could probably fit a small car in this bag if they wanted to. Seriously. They could go over to Motorworld and just shove and Chevy Aveo in there and probably get away with it. They obviously were cramming stuff into the bags, and Bob and I knew it.

So Bob starts going through his usual theme, which is to generally blend and and casually follow people. Unfortunately, these theives had struck our store before, and they knew Bob’s face and what he did. So they don’t do the logical thing that most thieves would do, which is just sort of put their merchandise back as if they decided against purchasing it. No, no, they did something a lot more intelligent…they started running in a circle.

People, I can’t make this stuff up.

Now, it’s not like they RAN around in a circle on the spot, but our store is essentially a circle…there’s a big block in the middle of the store, and there are six sub-sections in this block. Each block contains some specific items, such as khakis and denim. These two girls start to quickly walk around this big block. I watched them pass me by 4 times, and Bob was in tow each time. Now, Bob started to get pissed, so he waited at the corner of the sections and just kinda looked at them. The one girl started crying because she didn’t know what to do, and her best friend, being supportive, did the only thing a buddy would in this situation… started to make for the door.

While Bob was tailing the girl heading for the exit, the crying girl heads towards me and into the fitting room. Keep in mind, she had visited earlier in the day to try stuff on, but she wasn’t trying to steal then (not to my knowledge). I put her in a room, kindly telling her that if there was ANYTHING she needed, I’ll help her out. Meanwhile, Bob had managed to chase the other girl into the fitting room, and she acted like she was waiting for her friend. I said that was fine with a smile, as always. It was fun to see how twitchy she was. If one thing stopped, she started another. If she stopped tapping her foot, then she’d chew her gum louder. Great stuff.

Bob called for two of our managers to block the doors, and backed off the pressure so the one girl would leave the room. She did so gladly. It was funny to see her literally get scared as she noticed they were standing near the door, so she pretended to shop some more.

The other girl was still in the room, not knowing what to do or how to save herself. Bob decided to get really down and dirty now. He tells me to change my walkie to channel 2 and just follow his lead. Now, I’m standing at one end of all the fitting rooms, and he’s standing at the other. He turns up his walkie all the way so it sounded like a dispatch radio.

Then the fun starts.

Bob: LP1, this is LP2, do you copy? (He motions for me to follow along and respond like I’m LP1)
Me: LP2, this is LP1, what is the situation?
Bob: I have one suspect out on the floor and one back in the dressing rooms, need immediate backup, over.
Me: LP2, what action would you like us to take? Over.
Bob: Position your men outside the doorways on both sides of the building, over.
Me: Copy that LP2, Hell Police Department en route.

Now, this is done loudly enough for the girl to hear Bob, but not hear me. She can only hear his walkie, and it drowns out any hope of hearing my voice. Bob decides to continue his fun.

Bob: LP1, what is the position of the HPD?
Me: We are positioned outside the building, awaiting your signal.
Bob: Just a sec LP1, let me see the position of suspects. (He waits a second) Suspect 1 still on floor, nearby doors. Suspect 2 still in the dressing rooms.
Me: We move on your signal, LP2.

The girl at this point in the room is bawling her eyes out. Bob is laughing his ass off, and so am I. I mean, really, if you know we know you’re stealing, then what’s the point of trying to hide it? The girl takes a few minutes and composes herself, then comes out of the room with a TON more merchandise than she had gone in with, and there was more stuffed underneath the bench in the fitting room. Alltogether, we saved the store around $400 bucks, which was satisfying. Our dispatch radio thing worked perfectly, and we haven’t seen them in the store since.

All in all, it was a hilarious experience that just proves the simple statement “crime doesn’t pay.”

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Alright, so everyone’s feet smell every once in a while, right? I mean, walk around for a few minutes in a pair of thin socks and Chuck Taylors and your feet will smell like roses vomiting garbage. However, in the fitting room there are a number of odors to watch out for.

First, there’s the delightful old people smell…you know, they have a musty kind of odor that never quite leaves you. Even hearing the word “old” will bring that smell right back to your ol’ olfactory sensors. Go ahead. Try saying “grandma” to yourself and try to tell me with a straight face you didn’t smell lavender and mothballs.

Then there’s the sunless tanner people. They consistently smell like the beach…not because of the actual ocean and sand odor, but because it smells just like 20 other girls who use too much tanning oil and sunblock at the same time. I love how they’re always orange.

There’s the “too much perfume” girls, where they think they need enough perfume to kill the dog next door. Their smell lingers in the room for hours; I almost feel bad for putting people in the room. How exactly do you explain to someone “Hey, sorry for the smell of sweet cat piss in here.” You just can’t, no matter how you slice it. If you aspire to be one of these people, simply a.) douse yourself with enough perfume to the point where it’s hard to keep your eyes open. You can physically see the stink lines coming off of you; and b.) listen for any animal calls, such as cats shrieking or dogs howling. It’s really not hard being one of them…more or less just hard dealing with them.

Then there’s the smokers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I won’t lecture you about how smoking is bad for you and all that (though I don’t advocate it), but smokers definitely leave a nasty odor about them. And it’s not just them. Anything they touch grabs that smokey smell and keeps it for a LONG time. I hate processing clothes that smell like that. Seriously, who would buy a pair of pants that smell like an ashtray? I often get asked if I have a spare smoke on me when I’m in the fitting room. Yeah, like I would first of all keep it with me in there around little kids, and second, I would DEFINITELY give it up to someone who’s sweating because they haven’t had a nic fix for the past 5 minutes.

It’s not all bad, though. Some people have the right combination of smells to make them pleasant to inhale around. I like these people, because they give a refreshing odor to our rooms. Plus, the people that visit afterwards are probably like “Wow, good smelling people shop here!” I’ve noticed that most girls that have this tendency also are very pretty.

However, the whole reason for this post is a woman that I experienced this past weekend. Lemme tell you, it was bad.

She comes up to me, and I say my traditional line, “Is there anything you don’t want? I can take it for you.” She simply hands me all of her clothes, and says sheepishly “I don’t want any of it. I’m sorry.” I say “that’s fine miss, you have a nice day!” It should have been done there, but OH…it wasn’t.

I usually check rooms to see if there were stickers or hangers left. That way, it’s not so much a pain in the ass to clean up later in the day (I’ll save the story of fitting room cleaning for another day). I head towards the room, and halfway there, this MONUMENTOUS odor fills my nose. I couldn’t help it. I started dry heaving. The little old lady sitting on the bench looked at me funny, but I just smiled and continued quickly toward the room.

I got in there at the source of the odor. It was ungodly bad. I truly wish I could have a scratch and sniff patch here just so you could smell how bad it was. This woman must have trekked with leather shoes on through a hot sewer every day for at least the past year. It was so bad I literally shed a tear, and threw my shirt of my face to block it out. I headed back toward the processing area, and two of my co-workers (we’ll call them Jim and Tim) head toward the entrance.

Me: Hey, feeling brave?
Jim: Why?
Me: Just head to the last fitting room over there.
Tim: Well, alright then.

Both of them walk towards the room, and as soon as they got to the point where I dry heaved, Jim just blurts out “EWWWWW!!!” and Tim covers his nose. Simultaneously, the woman in the fitting room next to that one and runs out about 10 feet from her door. She says “I will not go back in there until that smell is taken care of.”

So I run to the back and grab an odor neutralizer, which usually works wonders. But it was no match for this super odor, lemme tell ya. It didn’t neutralize the odor, but melded with it to make it the most powerful odor of all time. The scent stayed for the remaining 3 hours we were open, and I didn’t let anyone in that room anymore. I felt too guilty doing so.

So please, if you could check your odors at the door to make sure that you won’t knock out the person in the room next to you, us fitting room employees would appreciate it.