• "I see what you don’t. Write about things least spoken of. Speak less, listen more. Watch less, observe more. Know more by learning more. Attach less, detach more. Be seen less, remembered more. And believe that less is, in fact, more."
  • "Today, organs can get replaced but no one has found a replacement for lost trust, abandoned hearts, shattered souls and tears that flowed. Imagine that!"
  • "Life is not a straight line. It is a circle. See you a-round!"
  • If you do not wish to cross the bridge when you get to it go ahead, take a boat... either way, cross over, you will have to."

Mar 14 2012

A Retailer’s Faux Pas

This article was featured on India’s first and
biggest online business magazine,
www.domain-b.com on March 22, 2012
The other day I was horrified to learn of an Indian supermarket’s method of reducing inventory shrinkage. Their loss prevention plan due to shoplifting is as follows:
Before stepping into the store, women who are carrying more than just a tiny wallet (and I am yet to meet a woman who carries just a tiny wallet) must go to a counter where the security guard bags her handbag into a double zipper, ugly cloth bag which has the store’s name printed on it, then uses a strong cable tie to secure the two zips.
This bag is only opened at the check out counter when the customer needs to access her handbag to pay for her shopping.
Throughout the store, you see women (who everyone knows, are SO particular about what handbags they carry), carrying these ugly colored store cloth bags.
Also, even before they have stepped into their favorite supermarket, these women have been labeled potential shoplifters!
Are you serious? I have never heard of anything like this before! This is so unfortunate.
Is this what the customer has brought retailers to?
Listening to this, I almost have the urge to establish a ‘Customer Education Academy’!
What are we doing wrong as customers that retailers feel compelled to stoop to such undignified methods of preventing shop lifting?
What example are we setting as customers of a retail industry that is ranked among the top five retail markets in the world?
And Mr. Supermarket?! Ever heard of ‘anti-theft retail security equipment’ like retail security towers maybe, that are placed at the exits? There are various ‘inconspicuous’ security methods available.
How about getting your employees – who either keep stacking products blocking majority of the shopping aisles or who remain busy chatting with other employees – to keep a look out while they are just hanging around in the shopping aisles?
I am well aware that you are a supermarket that is well established and soon to expand with stores across India. Why can’t you afford appropriate store security equipment instead of choosing an inelegant method such as this, where you label your customer a shoplifter even before she enters your store?
I agree there are shoplifters. Don’t get me wrong here. However, majority of the people who enter a store are not shoplifters. So what about them?  They are the customers who are helping the likes of Mr. Supermarket here, to grow.
The Indian Retail Industry is flourishing, however, lets also pay attention to how elegantly we want it to flourish. We all need to buy stuff. We will always need to buy stuff. However, let’s stop humiliating ourselves. Shopping should be a pleasant experience.
Established, growing Retailers, you owe it to your customers who are the reason you are well established and flourishing. Make their shopping experience more dignified, efficient and enjoyable – ALWAYS.
And for those silly shoplifters who don’t realise that stealing a bottle of coconut oil worth Rs 45 is not worth losing your self respect for – if you want to be respected by others, begin with first respecting yourself. Reminds me of what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi rightfully said, “They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.”
© Maulshri Rajdhan

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