Dear Home Depot

I've only been a cashier at The Home Depot for a year and a half now, but the longer I work for this company, the more uneasy I'm becoming. Every other day, you hear a story about an employee getting fired for trying to stop a shoplifter.

While I completely understand The Home Depot's policy for dealing with shoplifters, the real problem with this situation is that the shoplifters are now aware that THD employees cannot do anything to stop them from walking out of the store with whatever they want. The news coverage concerning disgruntled employees who were fired for going into the parking lot to write down a blatant shoplifter's license number, or defending other employees who were physically hurt by a shoplifter when they were simply asking to see a receipt -- something that THD tells us in training to do to stop potential thefts -- has opened the discussion among non-THD employees to the loopholes in our stores' security systems.

I work in a high-crime Home Depot, where literally every day we get reports of people stealing items. It used to be that they would give half a fight, running out the doors in case someone caught them, because they were genuinely afraid that something would happen to them (justly so, because they knew they were breaking the law), but now that everyone is aware of our policies, thieves don't even bother making an effort to evade us.

I was working on Assisted Checkout today, talking to a customer and helping ring him out when a man started walking quickly through my AC line. I noticed he had a DeWalt drill in his hand, still spider-wrapped and brand new, and no receipt in sight. I immediately asked him if he had his receipt -- per protocol -- and was met with a swift, unapologetic, "Nope!" as he walked right out the door in front of me.

I did nothing.

Because I want to keep my job.

Of course, I would have liked to tell him to drop it, to stand in his way, to block the door, or be able to follow him outside at a safe distance and get his license plate number to alert the management team. But I'm not allowed to.

That man stole a $349 drill, and I let him walk out the door.

I am unhappy with this situation. I am unhappy that people are walking out of our stores with big ticket items and getting away with it. I am unhappy that shareholder value is decreasing with every theft.

In short, change your policy on shoplifters, or hire some loss prevention associates in all of your stores so that your associates don't keep getting fired for trying to help you out. We're all already understaffed, overworked, and done with this bullshit.


  A disgruntled employee.


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