LAS VEGAS — Viewings of a video that documents different ways that grocery employees steal is an important part of new associate orientation at Brookshire Grocery Co. "I've had a number of people ask me why we're teaching them how to steal," said Ed Van Fleet, vice president of corporate asset protection for the chain, while addressing FMI Show attendees here yesterday. "I say, 'They already know how to steal; we're teaching them how they're going to get caught.' It's like raising children; if you never address the subject, they're going to make up their own rules." During a session titled “Winning the War on Shrink,” Van Fleet recounted an incident where an employee was engaged in a "sweethearting" scheme with her mother and father whereby instead of scanning items at the register, she initiated price checks for $500 worth of items. She ended up charging her parents just $5. "She came to us at the end of the day and said, 'Somebody stole $50 out of my register today,' so we went looking for it" on our CCTV system,” said Van Fleet, "and this is what we found. All three were prosecuted. I don't know that we would have caught her if she hadn't come to us and asked for our help." Putting a trusted employee in charge of monitoring self-checkout areas is a key shrink prevention strategy, noted Tim Bartkowiak, director of loss prevention and security for Spartan Stores. "At the end of the day you want your best employee on that checkout," he said. "You have to make sure they know the technology that you're using." Van Fleet concurred. "Once, we had a customer at 6 in the morning stand at a self-checkout lane, that had a big red circle that said this register is closed, pretend to scan about $300 worth or items," he said. "Supervision is key."
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