Loss Prevention is one of the most critical elements of every Store employee’s responsibilities. Only with your active assistance can the Store minimize losses, i.e. shrinkage. Shrinkage is a word that is familiar to most retail and food service settings. It simply means “loss”. In an atmosphere such as ours, it is often divided into 2 categories: “internal” and “external”. Internal shrinkage results from such things as pricing errors, inventory/receiving errors, and employee theft. External shrinkage is responsible for the remaining 30% – 40% of losses and results from such things as credit card fraud, check fraud, and shoplifting.
You are expected to help minimize losses by carefully processing all inventory paperwork, adhering to all Store cash handling procedures, following employee discount procedures, and assisting in the prevention of theft. This section expands upon each of these actions as well as explains what to do during robbery attempts.
Theft, both internal and external, comprises the largest segment of shrinkage loss. Therefore we address this topic in some detail below, explaining security policies and emphasizing your role in preventing theft. One point that will become clear throughout this section is the Store’s firmness in dealing with both customers and employees who are apprehended for shoplifting. The UCLA Store will vigorously prosecute all offenders.
A very important part of your job is the identification and deterrence of shoplifting. Being alert and providing effective customer service is the best way to deter a possible shoplifter. Every employee is responsible for protecting UCLA Store property.
♦ AWARENESS AND APPREHENSION
♦ AWARENESS AND APPREHENSION
Although the Loss Prevention staff plays a vital role in deterring theft, their effect is limited without your assistance. There are a number of actions you may take to help prevent shoplifting.
1. Provide the best customer service possible. This is the most effective theft deterrent. You can show that you are alert by doing the following:
(a) Acknowledge every customer. If you are busy with one customer, tell the others that you will be with them in a moment. Potential shoplifters do not want to be noticed. If they feel they are being observed, they are less likely to attempt anything.
(b) Let the customer know that you are there for their assistance.
(c) Assist customers by offering to hold their purchase in a courteous manner such as, Would you like to pay for that item now? or Would you like for me to hold your purchase for you while you shop?
(d) Give the quickest service possible. Wait on the customer at your first available moment. Do not delay in responding to their requests. Many people apprehended in the past have blamed their actions on inadequate or slow service.
2. Stock merchandise neatly. Neat stock displays make a missing item more obvious. Also, a person is less likely to steal from an orderly display.
3. Question anyone you find in a stock area without a name badge or uniform. These areas are for employees only and anyone else must have a satisfactory reason for being there. Uniformed employees who are not from your Department should also be questioned as to the reason for their presence in your Department’s stock area.
4. Close and lock all stockroom doors upon exiting. This prevents access by unauthorized people.
5. Tightly secure all merchandise before moving it, between both your sales floor and stockroom. This prevents people from removing items without your knowledge as you transport them. Make several trips if necessary to minimize the theft opportunity.
6. Report to a Department Supervisor any merchandise either noticeably missing or replaced either on the sales floor or in the stockroom. There is little chance of preventing all theft, but presenting obvious discrepancies to your Department Supervisor may prevent future losses due to increased security measures.
7. Be aware of the most frequently stolen articles such as:
(c) books(d) t-shirts
(g) gym shorts
Contacting Loss Prevention
If you need assistance in a specific area of the Store, contact the Store Manager’s Office at ext. 56064. The employee in the SMO will then page security to your specific Department. If security is needed in Lu Valle Commons, Health Sciences Store, Hilltop Shop, or the North Campus Store, call security at ext. 60757.
Losses may occur when employees are careless in the processing of inventory paperwork. To prevent these errors, always adhere to the following:
Recount the specified amount of merchandise already counted by Central Receiving (or your Department’s receiving) to ensure accuracy.
Verify that the price tags/labels placed on the merchandise are accurate.
Sign only for the merchandise you are personally removing from Central Receiving.
Return any found pricing instruments to Central Receiving (or your Department’s Receiving Manager)
Verify the accuracy of all Internal or Commercial Charges you create.
Verify the accuracy of all Returns you process.
Do not destroy or dispose of any merchandise without management approval.
Cash Handling Errors
This element of shrinkage involves errors performed while operating a register. These include:
Entering the wrong department, class or PLU code.
Entering the wrong price for an item.
Failing to include an item in a purchase.
Giving a person a discount for damaged goods without creating a Price Change Report approved by a Department Manager.
Failing to perform Voids for inaccurate entries.
Failing to verify the price of an unmarked item.
Failing to recognize wrongly tagged/priced merchandise.
These errors can be avoided through careful and complete compliance with the policies and procedures detailed in the Cash Handling section of this Handbook.
Credit Card Confiscation
On rare occasions, you may be required to confiscate bankcards as per the request of the Credit Card Authorization Center. If the Credit Card Authorization Center requests for the card to be confiscated, call for a Department Manager for further assistance.
Experience has shown that the chance of an armed robbery occurring on campus is very slim. However, should such an unfortunate incident occur, carefully follow these procedures:
Do not resist. Cooperate. Remain calm. Do not make any movements, which the robber may perceive to be threatening.
If your register is equipped with a silent alarm, i.e. panic button, do not activate it until the robber has left the area and you are completely safe from personal danger.
If you are asked to help – such as handing over the currency – move slowly and only as directed. Do not volunteer information about other forms of payment or the location of the Store vault.
Carefully observe all physical characteristics of the robber, so they can later be described to the authorities.
After the robber has left, activate an alarm if available. Notify a Department Manager or Customer Service Manager. Wait for their assistance before leaving the area.
Panic buttons, which appear as metal boxes with a white, rectangular activation switch, are strategically located within each department. Typically they are mounted beneath the register counter. To activate the alarm, press the white button. Once the alarm has been activated, the police will be alerted, and will respond immediately. THE PANIC ALARMS ARE TO BE USED ONLY IN THE EVENT OF AN ARMED ROBBERY. Ensure that you know where the panic buttons are located within your department. Contact a supervisor or manager for clarification.
In summary, cooperate fully with the robbers. Try to remember as many details about what occurred. Never do anything to put your self in danger. Contact security only after the robbers have left the area.
Till-tappers usually work in teams of two or three. Typically they operate by drawing the attention of the cashier away from the register while another removes (taps) money from the open register drawer (till). The person taking the money is usually gone before the cashier ever noticed their presence.
The best way to prevent till tapping is to close your register drawer whenever you direct your attention elsewhere. To further reduce the incentive for till-tappers, all fifty and hundred dollar bills are required to be placed beneath the cash register drawer.
If you notice a person or several people remaining in the register area for an extended time, contact Loss Prevention or notify a Department or Student Supervisor.
In the event that either an employee or customer should experience a personal loss (i.e., purse snatching or pick pocketing) while shopping at the UCLA Store, direct or accompany the individual to the Store Manager’s Office who will contact security immediately. Loss Prevention will then handle the situation.
There are several security features that can be used to identify counterfeit bills.
Look at the numeral in the lower right hand corner on the face of the bill, depicting the note’s denomination. The color-shifting ink changes from copper to green when you tilt the note.
Hold the bill up to the light and look for the watermark, or faint image, similar to the large portraits on the bills. The watermark is part of the paper itself and can be seen from both sides of the note.
Hold the bill up to the light and look for the security thread running vertically through the note. If you look closely, you can see the words USA TEN printed on the $10 note, USA TWENTY printed on the $20 note thread, and USA 50 printed on the $50 note thread. The security thread is visible from both sides of the note.
Use the counterfeit pen provided at each register area that should be used on $50 and $100 bills. Mark across the front side of the bill in an unprinted area. If the bill is counterfeit, the ink will turn black or dark brown.
If you receive a suspicious bill, delay the customer if possible. Contact a Department Manager or the Loss Prevention department at ext. 60757.
The following will aid you in determining if a bill is counterfeit or not:
Appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background
Appears lifeless, background too dark, merges into background
Federal Reserve and Treasury Seals
Saw-toothed points are even, clear, and sharp
Saw-toothed points are uneven, blunt, and broken off
Tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout.
Lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper.
Numbers are evenly spaced, have a distinct font, and are properly aligned.
Numbers may be in the wrong color and not aligned
Lines are clear, distinct, and unbroken
Lines that criss-cross, are not clear, or distinct