Employee theft: the wrong receipt

independent convenience retail

Employee theft can happen all to easily when a retailer fails to manage their stock and money well enough. Here is an example of what went wrong at a store that I have knowledge of.

A lady bought flowers for her church from a nearby newsagency and had to return to the shop when she discovered the receipt showed she’d bought lottery tickets and not flowers. She needed a correct receipt for reimbursement.

On checking, the newsagent could not find the sale of flowers in the computer system for that amount. What was even more surprising was that they could not find a sale of lottery tickets at the time on the Point of Sale software receipt for the same amount.

Unable to reconcile the data, the newsagent called in the employee on the counter at they time asking why they could not find the lottery sale on the lottery terminal or the flower sale on the POS system. The employee advised that the lottery sale did not exist.

This employee, it turns out, would ask customers if they wanted a receipt before processing the sale and if the answer was no and the sale value was high, $20 or more, they would ring the sale up as lottery products. The employee kept a tally o their iPhone.  Then, later in the day, they would buy lottery tickets to the value they had accrued in the POS software. The register would balance and they theft was not caught because the newsagent was not reconciling stock on hand.

The lady from the church had said no to a receipt. On realising she needed one to claim the cost of the flowers she returned to the shop and asked for one. This is how she ended up with a receipt for a lottery purchase equal to the value of the flowers she bought.

Over $70,000 stolen!

The employee admitted theft and was sacked. The police were called. The newsagent stopped looking for evidence after going through several months of data and getting to a theft value of $70,000.

Had this newsagent been controlling their stock and checking discrepancies they would have found the theft sooner and saved tens of thousands of dollars.

This story illustrates the potential cost of poor stock management.

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