Monday, April 24, 2006

Brilliant Theft Deterrent also Deters Sales

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We just returned from a skank-o-riffic time at the mall. I'm not much of a shopper and I typically avoid the mall--especially on weekends. Now that my memory has been refreshed, I doubt I will return any time soon.

After picking up the object of my desire, a springlike skirt, I popped into a chain discount shoe store. I have no problem serving myself, especially for a decent pair of shoes at under $20. I encountered something I hadn't seen before- those clunky security tags in shoes. Wait a minute, you're thinking, how can a person try on a pair of shoes with that big plastic bump inside? I guess you just have to assume that if the left shoe fits, so would the right one if that darn tag weren't there. At least, that's what I did.

But when I went up to pay for them and cashier removed the tag, it left a hole in the leather of the sandal. Granted the shoes were under $20, but if I'm buying new shoes, I prefer them to come without any excess holes. When I mentioned this, the cashier made it apparent she's never had such a picky customer. The stocker went off to look for another pair in my size, which is pretty good service for a store of this caliber, but he came back empty-handed. I opted not to buy the sandals and expressed disbelief that they would tag items in a way that damaged the merchandise.

"That's how they told us to put them on," said the cashier. "All our shoes are like that." Brilliant- a theft deterrent system that also deters sales.

P.S. I sent a complaint to the store's HQ via their website. They sent me a $10 certificate, but what I really just wanted to know if they indeed advise their clerks to damage the merchandise in the name of theft deterrent.

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