Most of the time, I enjoyed working in retail. Sure; some days it can feel like pushing a dead elephant up a hill and sometimes you wonder if the higher levels of management are spending their days sitting around on their elbows (Blackadder reference), but it’s fun engaging with the public and genuinely helping people in their purchasing decisions. Of course, behind the customer services, you and your store are expected to perform and this means that there are many metrics and quality control measures put into place. Plus I daresay one of the reasons why many if not all retail chains offer their employees discounts is so that they’re not tempted to steal from the business. And let’s face it, stealing from your employer is a stupid idea. You may think that you know how the system works and where you can sneak something out of the door, but there are teams of people whose very job is to detect this and stop it. I have one of those hats too!
We’ve news today that Best Buy employee Ryan Holman, from Crestwood, Missouri, has been arrested and charged with a class C felony after an investigation. It’s alleged that the employee withheld thousands of dollars worth of gift card receipts from customers who activated their cell ‘phones. It’s also claimed that Ryan stole over $20,000 from Best Buy over the last two years by performing fraudulent trade-ins. It appears that the gift card trade in theft was at least known about by Ryan’s colleagues as PhoneArena’s source appears to have insider knowledge of the process. When a customer bought a device eligible for a gift card, Ryan would keep the paperwork and presumably claim the gift card for himself. I am, however, curious to understand how the employees pulled off fraudulent trade-ins for two years!
This theft illustrates why most businesses will mail the customer the gift card or special offer some time after the event. It isn’t to infuriate the customer, but is to ensure that employees are not keeping the gift cards for themselves: if an employee is stupid enough to use their own address for gift cards over a period of time, he or she will be caught. At this juncture, it’s not known if Best Buy will be compensating customers who have missed out on their gift card but it’s likely that many if not most are unaware that they have qualified for the detail. A spokesperson said this on the matter: “We are disappointed that a former employee would engage in this alleged criminal fraud. These kinds of actions go against everything we expect from our employees and everything we stand for as a company.” Let us know if you think something like this has happened to you in the past.