Who's watching the watchers?
In the retail business, loss prevention officers are tasked with combating shoplifters and dishonest employees in an attempt to reduce "inventory shrinkage". But what happens when the loss prevention officers are the ones shrinking the inventory they're supposed to be protecting?
As it turns out, Kohl's is dealing with just such a case at its stores in the Salt Lake City area. According to a newspaper report, two loss prevention officers (one of which was the district loss prevention manager) are accused of stealing items, everything from television sets to margarita makers, from several Kohl's locations and selling the items on eBay.
I asked Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor at the National Retail Federation, what retailers can do when their own loss prevention officers are the shoplifters. Unfortunately, employees are a significant part of the problem for retailers, he said. According to the National Retail Security Survey produced by the University of Florida, retail merchandise losses in 2010 are estimated to exceed $37 billion dollars. Of that, employees contributed 43.7% to the overall merchandise losses, he said. "You can’t always tell the bad apples when picking them, unfortunately!"