*** NB: The following did actually happen to me today. This is the email I have sent to Argos Customer Services. I am intruiged as to whether I will get a reply! ***
This afternoon about 1pm I was in the Royal Avenue Argos, Belfast, in quite a long queue for the tills. A teenage boy using a crutch walked past about half the people in the queue, perusing the items on offer in the metal baskets that line the queue area.
After a minute, he slowly manoeuvred two pairs of straighteners up his tracksuit jacket, and hobbled out of the store! Not one member of staff had noticed, not even the 'security' man who had been standing by the queue earlier and was now no where to be seen. I was really shaken at witnessing someone steal so blatantly. I think a few people in front of me also noticed, as when he walked off they began whispering to each other in disbelief.
I got to the till and informed the member of staff serving me. The response I received was "Oh. It's ok. They wait 'til we're busy like this. That's ok."
As a result of this incident, I am wondering what is Argos' policy on shoplifters? As far as I'm aware, most stores don't have an "It's ok" approach, so this response surprised me greatly. A security man could have easily walked after the thief on the crutch and retrieved the goods! I could have provided a description of him to the police if necessary, but the staff member just was not that bothered.
If the Argos policy on blatant shoplifting is "That's ok" it really makes a mockery of the honest, decent customers, queuing up to pay with their hard-earned money for your goods.
I don't expect anything to happen as a result of this letter; I realise that yes, these things happen and people get away with stealing all the time. It just angers me that this could so easily be avoided. Were it a clothes shop, the security tags on the clothes would have set off the alarm. If a security man were paying closer attention, the boy would not have been able to walk out. Or indeed, if the busy queue area weren't lined with goods within easy reach, he couldn't have managed it at all. Perhaps in future, staff should be more vigilant and take shoplifting more seriously, instead of telling their honest, paying customers that it's "ok".
*** Within 3 hours of sending this email, I received the following response... ***
Thank you for your email regarding shoplifting in our Belfast Royal Avenue store.
I am sorry to learn of the disappointment you have experience with our approach to theft in store. I can confirm if you wish to take this matter further please return to store and speak to our store manager. We do take all aspects of theft very seriously and we install cameras in our store to prevent further issues arising.
Please accept my apologies for any distress this may have caused.
Should you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com or call us on 0845 640 2020 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0845 640 2020 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Argos Direct E-Commerce Customer Service Team.
While I am glad that Argos responded to my email on the matter, and I appreciate that they did so, I somehow don't think that me going back to the shop and trying to raise any sort of issue with the manager would be in any way successful! Aye, I'm sure he'd listen to all my ideas, eh?! So all in all, there's nothing more to be done, and this teen got away with it. Plus, when I told my family this story on Friday evening, it transpired that my mum's fiancé saw the exact same lad at lunch time, leaving BM Bargains in Belfast, shouting things at the shop security guard and a woman who were standing at the door. Whether he had been caught out in that shop isn't clear, but either way, he certainly had a wee stealing spree on Friday...