Best Buy Employee Tackles Laptop Thief, Receives Pink Slip

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tjd230

I worked as a warehouse/inventory/Asset protection employee at BB for 6 months and to be honest, watching the door and the cameras was a joke. The policy was definately stupid. If you saw someone steal you couldn't do anything about it. It could be pursued after the fact with video evidence but other than that there was very little you could do. We had people steal stuff right under our noses all the time and we could do nothing. Sadly, the moral of the story really is that stealing from BB is quite easy and you really only get in trouble if someone finds you afterwards. People would walk in off the street, grab a DVD/Bluray off the shelf like they are gonna buy it and go to customer service and act like they are returning it. And it worked! Our people were dumb enough to not catch it.

It is sad that people cant help anymore with lawsuits at the forefront now. Its a sad world it has come to.

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Zensei

I'm not a big fan of Best Buy since you can buy stuff cheaper elsewhere and online. I don't agree with BB on this, but I do see why it has this policy in force. You may not think it, but BB does value it's employees (to a certain extent). It doesn't want to see employees hurt in anyway. You never know if the thief has a weapon that could severely injure or kill someone. And in many cases, it's just not worth getting hurt over merchandise that doesn't cost much to the company compared to someone's health, especially since the merchandise is covered by insurance and can be easily replaced.

Of course, the underlying reason is more sinister: the company doesn't want to have to pay worker's comp, legal fees, etc. that could be much more expensive than the value of the stolen merchandise. For example, let's say the employee got injured while tackling the thief. The employee may qualify for worker's comp and thus, may not have to work while recovering from his injuries. And let's say he or a family member decides to sue BB because he believes the company should have provided better security to better protect the employees. So if you were BB, which would you rather lose: $1,600 in merchandise or tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for worker's comp, lawyer fees and out-of-court settlements? Now you know why BB has a non-interference policy for it's employees.  You may not like it, but it makes logical sense to BB.

With that said, when the employee accepted the job at BB, he effectively agreed to this policy, thus taking away the means to sue the company for wrongful termination or receiving any compensation for any injury for his heroics.

And don't be surprised if other companies (i.e., Fry's) have also adopted similar policies.

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sinan

So the moral of the story is: Go shoplift from Best Buy. No one will try to stop you.

Ridiculous!

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Nimrod

I dont shop at BB and i didnt accept their offer for a job one time when i was in there comparing their prices to Newegg after a chat with a sales rep who thought i was knowledgeable. I needed a job very badly at the time but didnt take it any way. This kind of crap is part of the reason.

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jnite

This honestly makes me sick.  If someone is stealing and I can stop them, I'm going to stop them.  I don't care about lawsuits.  I care about doing what is right.  Everyone and every business is afraid to do anything at all anymore in fear of the dreaded lawsuit.  Policies and rules are fashioned around what will and will not get me sued instead of what is right and wrong.  It has gotten to the point where even people's morals are set around this concept.  Even many of the people commenting here that say he shouldn't have been fired still say he should not have done it because the business could of been sued.

It really saddens me to hear someone being punished for doing the right thing.  Give whatever excuses you want as to why he shouldn't have done it, but all I hear is an employee was fired for stopping a thief.

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warptek2010

I hear where you're coming from. This goes to show you the power that corporate America has over it's work force. As long as you choose to be in their employ, they basically "own" you. At least for the time you're on the clock, and I have heard some stories about employees being fired for things they do OFF the clock. Let me just state outright, I am NOT anti-capitalist or anti-corporate. In fact I consider myself somewhat conservative. But many companies have assinine policies that are dictated down to 100's or 1000's of people by just a handfull of suits in the "tower". I guess I might be anti-authoritarian to some extent.

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Gezzer

I work for a large supermarket chain and we have the same policy.

Under no circumstances are we to confront or attempt to detain a shoplifter, or anyone acting in a violent manner for that matter. The way it's explained is that we haven't had the proper training and could harm ourselves or the criminal. They go by the concept that someone untrained will have a tendency to escalate any chance of violence. Of course there's also the issue of being insured for such actions.

We do however use a Profit and Loss Officer. Who's job is to make periodic visits to each store in our district and catch any shoplifters he can. I have to admit he's very good at his job. I've never seen any one able to stay so calm and in command of a situation before. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do his job.

As for the issue at hand. I'm pretty sure the fact he was a good employee is why it took so long for management to teminate him. Most likely the store manager wanted to let him off with a warning, but the company eventually decided no. The problem with making an exception is where do you draw the line?

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athlon11

Best Buy did the right thing here. The guy physically assaulted someone which is still illegal even of the guy was suing and he was also guilty of false imprisonment which is actually in the Constitution. Best Buy does still piss me off with stopping to check your receipt as you leave the store, that is also illegal but no one knows to argue it.

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vig1lant3

Oh Gee! You see thing thing about breaking the law (theft) is that you are inevitably giving up your civil liberties.  Hmmm....go figure, there's reprocussions to breaking the law.  Do you even know what false imprisonment means?  He had two laptops worth $1600....GRAND FREAKING THEFT.  Now please politely explain to me what's false about that?  Ignorant!  Exactly how is it illegal for a store to verify that your purchase is legal by reviewing the receipt.  Are you legally retarded?  If you are I'm sorry, if you're not then refrain from future posts before you inadvertantly reveal your true mental incapacity to the world.

The only thing this particular Best Buy employee is guilty of is being old enough to remember when there was a mutually beneficial relationship between employers and employees.  He tried to protect the company and he got a$$ r4ped for it.  Shame on you Best Buy!  More worried about a potential increase in insurance premiums than you are about possibly the most loyal employee in the company?!!

You know what?  As a lifelong MaxPC subscriber (boot too), I think some of the feedback generated by the website deserves a place in print.  I would like to immortalize the following words....

"Best Buy, you are everything that is wrong with corporate America...not all, but symbolic of everything.  Everything from ripping off the computer illiterate with your self described (but completely incompetent) Geek Squad, to turning your back on loyal emloyees.  It all shows that  you really don't get it.  You show no loyalty to customers OR emplyees.  Those are very slippery slopes to walk upon, and many companies before you have reaped the hollow benefits of consumer disdain only to find their own end.  I tip my hat to you, not out of respect, but out of a profound respect for the fact that a company that makes so many terrible PR moves could still possibly be in business.  I look forward to the day that the competiton rises to make you the next Lechmere, Comp USA, or Circuit City.  See you on TigerDirect's list of web subsidiaries!"

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Free_Wheely

"You see thing thing about breaking the law (theft) is that you are inevitably giving up your civil liberties."

Wrong, wrong , wrong.

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TRYER

Everyone rob atlon11's place, he won't stop you.

The guy just being a good employee and "false imprisonment" is illegal depending on where you live and could be considered legal because the employee did have proof of theft. But the firing of this employee hasn't been the first hero fired and won't be the last.

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mesiah

Exactly how is it illegal to check a customers receipt apon their departure? Also, your false imprisonment claim is BS. In most states you are still allowed to make a "citizens arrest." Being detained for theft is not false imprisonment. You are accused of breaking a law and are being held until a ruling can be made. Otherwise criminals would just roam the streets free, no bail hearing needed, until they are tried in court.

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Biceps

Note to self: if ever you feel the urge to steal expensive electronics, go to Best Buy.  If anyone tries to stop you, politely notify them that if they 'mess with me, you're fired!', and walk out.  In fact, you could probably go back for seconds, if police response time in the area is high.

I understand why it is against Best Buy's policy for employees to stop thieves.  However, I think that in this case, an oral warning or perhaps - at most - a written warning, would be called for.  Termination is a step too far.  Then again, that's what you get for working assholes like Best Buy.

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imagonex

My conjecture on this matter is that it may be due to insurance claims and for legal matters that Best Buy forbids this type of heroic behavior. The thief can turn around and sue them if he gets hurt. I do know in the States that suing comes as common as burgers.

There could be (and most likely are) many other legal matters as to why they don't want their employees engaging in this type of activity.

Either way, he's still in a waiting period to find out if he still has a job with this company. Then again, there are many other opportunities out there for him. I do wish him the best.

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j_park84

I'm a clerk at a mom & pops smokes shop and the amount of shoplifting is crazy!

I have ppl get mad at me for catching them stealing!

The excuses I've heard are actually amazing.

...I thought it was free (2L coke)

...because Im black you have to make an example out of me... well fcuk you! (my favourate excuse)

...you guys charge too much. (gum)

...I cant put something in my pocket! But u seen me put it in right. (candychips)

...I was borrowing it. (chocolate bar)

...I take the bus and I know you drive to work (wow)

Sorry to say but theres not much us retail ppl can do. But I cant wait till someone grabs me FIRST so I can beat the shit out of them and then charge them for damages to my fists. Remember ppl, the law is twisted and everyone knows. Be safe!

 

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cj100570

Why is this posted here? Every few months a Best Buy employee tackles a thief and gets fired. Lets move along now, there's nothing to see here.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

It was a shit job. He lost a shit job. I've lost more shit jobs than I can count. It's a blessing, because it gives you the chance to go out and find something better.

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aarcane

a minor violation such as a heroic act against a criminal should NEVER be grounds for termination.  perhaps a writeup for violating policy, and a bonus to reflect the amount of money he saved the company, but never a termination.

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Founck

Seriously, I wish the word heroic would stop being overused, it really should be saved for the big stuff, not wrestling down some stoner.  This guy's heart was probably in the right place but his head certainly wasn't, he doesn't own Best Buy, it wasn't even his stuff that was being stolen, the thief wasn't trying to physically harm anyone.  I'm not risking my safety tackling anyone that's stealing from an employer that pays me 8 bucks an hour, neither should this guy.

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zodi

Should have waited until he was out the door and then tackled him.  Told them he was on lunch and the worse thing the company could have done is disciplined him for an unscheduled break.

 

Either way its a stupid policy that has just shown how far the world has gone in the hole.

 

Next time put some C4 rigged to blow up when the laptop leaves the store.  Problem solved.

 

And to any I offend, I don't have much use for criminals.

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Founck

The guy got fired and didn't even get to land a falcon punch...shame...

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Nuxes

Most retail stores have a similar policy.  Employees are not allowed to physically stop suspected shoplifters, because what happens if they get it wrong, and the 'suspect' isn't stealing anything?  Better to take a chance at loosing some merchandise than open the company up to possible lawsuits when some overzealous emloyee takles an innocent shopper.  Anyways, there are security cameras all over the place, just hand over the footage to the police and let them take care of it.

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Caboose

The other thing, is that if you're innocent, you don't run. A simple "sir, can I check your purchase please?" does work wonders. If the person flees, well then they're not innocent. If they say "sure" and let you see their reciept and bag, then chances are they're innocent.

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Phrish

" because what happens if they get it wrong, and the 'suspect' isn't stealing anything?"

Um, fire the employee then? Back-asswards.

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lunchbox73

Exactly. Companies have to put policies in place like this to prevent lawsuits like you said. It could go the other way as well. Dude gets stabbed in the throat trying to stop a thief and Dude's family sues Best Buy for not protecting Dude.

Best Buy is not in the wrong here although I guess they could have punished him without giving him a "involuntary separation notice."

Then again he could have been a total dbag and it was the perfect excuse to fire him.

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IT_crowd

Wow...thats really weak. Just goes to show how "twisted" our society has become. Sometimes doing the right thing, isn't the "right thing"

I was totally expecting the thief to sue for the physical altercation. Ohh!! That coffee from McDonald's was really hot!! No one warned me before I spilled it on myself...I'm sueing!

*facepalm*

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Caboose

"I was totally expecting the thief to sue for the physical altercation"

I was expecting the same thing.

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Frameboy

Fire the good one... keep the ones that stood around, texting their BFF's.

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zaphodbeeblebrox 42

this is why custumer service suck's

you: "excusre me can i get some help with this"?

worker:"yay just a sec let me finish this text".

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ShyLinuxGuy

"This is a violation of Best Buy's Inappropriate Conduct Policy which states that employees are prohibited from 'pursuing shoplifters under any circumstance or using physical force to detain shoplifters' and ground for termination. Your employment with Best Buy is terminated, effective immediately."

I can understand that employees shouldn't be allowed to "touch" suspected shoplifters for liability reasons, but why can't they pursue them (follow and confront) if they catch someone in the act? Will Worst Buy keep this policy if ppl start walking out with carts of items w/o paying for them?

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silverblack

For safety reasons, they don't want an employee to confront a criminal who may have a weapon on them.  It's not always about liability.  My workplace has a similar policy where they ask us to just be good eye witnesses, (get a good look, right that description down while it’s fresh).  Think about it, the store has cameras, and the merchandise is most likely insured.  An employee's life is not worth less than $1,600.

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Infidelus

It's a liablility thing for the company.  When I worked retail, I used to kick known shoplifters out.. one day one came in and sprayed me with mace as I was showing him the door.  None of that crap merchandise is worth your life or health.

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Caboose

That went from politely asking someone to leave to assault. I hope that person was charged with assault.

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aarcane

I can understand a policy stating that no employee who partakes in such actions can be covered under the insurance for the duration of the incident and will be cited for misconduct, but termination for a heroic act is unacceptable.

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Dunimas

It's truly sad that our society has come to punish those who do right. They wonder why TV shows like "What would you do?" have such shocking results. Nobody helps anyone else because no one wants to be punished for it.

This is just another reason for me to NEVER shop there. Not only do they push over-priced products, but they treat their employees like garbage too.

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Neufeldt2002

That's just twisted.

Please make publish to facebook opt-in, not opt-out.

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Carlidan

Please make publish to facebook opt-in, not opt-out.

 

Are you sure they can do that? It is kind of annoying though that each time you post it ask you if you want to post it on facebook.

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ABouman

We can do that. We're working on it! It's just taking longer than we thought (testing our fix, is of course, breaking other things), thanks for the patience!

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