Sunday, January 27, 2008

Selling Home Security Systems

I had an appointment with a wife and husband about installing a system in their new home. The couple had recently retired and moved to the city where I worked. When I arrived, another guy was getting out of his car. I figured that the couple was price shopping for a system.
Price shopping is not an exact science for security systems because companies do different things. Very seldom, do you actually get to compare apples to apples. The other salesperson arrived at the door at the same time I did. The couple let us in. Once they had identified which companies we belonged to, they informed him that he was late and would have to wait until I had completed my presentation before they could speak with him.
I couldn’t pass an opportunity to see my competition work, so I elected to allow him to give his presentation first. I didn’t have any other appointments to rush to anyway. They liked the idea, and, little did they know, so did I. The last thing you want, to be rushed because another salesperson is in the room. Worse still, when his time comes, he has the advantage because he knows what you’ve offered.
He began his presentation and conducted a short walk through of the home with the couple. He explained how he’d install a motion sensor in the living room and hall, because, in the event of a break-in, the suspects would make their way to the master bedroom, knowing that was where safes, jewelry and cash were usually kept. He also informed them that he’d install contacts on the three doors to the house, the garage entry door by the laundry room, the front door and the sliding glass door to the backyard.
When he was done with his little attempt at consulting, he informed them that the price was minimal, $199.99 for the install, and $24.99 per month for the monitoring of the system.
I looked at the body language of the couple and I really didn’t like what I saw. They were eating this up and price was what this was all about. I was sitting there with a proposal I’d written up for them based on the layout of the home provided to me by the builder, and the price for my system was a great deal more than what this other salesperson had offered.
Some guys fold at this point, but having been in the game for a while, I knew I couldn’t let this sale be about price. No way could I win at that game and I refused to even play it.
The first thing I did when the salesperson left was, eliminate the price of the system out of the equation. I did this by shaming them both for even thinking about it. I informed them that he had given quite a good performance, but it was ludicrous to think of securing a $300,000 dollar home with a system that cost less than the one in the Mercedes they had parked in the driveway. They looked at one another.
Furthermore, I informed them, I designed a system that protected more than a home, it protected the most valuable things, the items we cherished the most, ourselves. I finalized this by telling them that no security company could protect them and actually keep them safe for $199.99. It just wasn’t possible. I said, “You can get the system he proposed and hope you are safe, or you can purchase the system I designed specifically for you and this home, and know you are safe.”
With that, I handed them my typewritten proposal and thanked them for their time. I got into my car and laughed all the way down the road knowing they’d call soon. I had gotten approximately five miles away when my cell phone rang, and the husband asked, “When can you bring us a contract to sign?”
The proposal I’d left for them to read contained crime statistics for the area, a list of the clients that we serviced, and a breakdown of how our system actually worked. It also had a price of $1,800 for install and $35 per month for monitoring.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fired for apprehending a innocent shopper

There are officers who take too many chances. Instead of seeing all the steps, they’d see one or two, and then they’d make the stop anyway. But eventually, your luck runs out on you.
We had a girl who went into the fitting room to watch a couple of females try on items. While walking out, she noticed another girl in a fitting cubicle, next to theirs, place a dress into her shopping bag.
Now, she thought she had something. When the girl came out, she followed her and when she exited the store, the officer arrested her.
She took the girl to the booking office and, the whole time, the girl was asking, “What the hell is going on?” When they got into the office, she told the girl to remove the dress she just stole while in the fitting room. The girl of course asked, “What dress?”
The officer reached into the bag and pulled out the dress she had seen the suspect place in the bag. Of course, the girl told her the dress belonged to her and that she was trying to match it to something else that she chose not to buy.
The officer became angry and basically chewed the girl out for being a liar. The girl started crying and said she wanted to call her dad. However, the officer was unrelenting. She started to book her for the theft, and because of the price of the dress, it would be a felony.
One of the LP managers walked by and saw this young girl crying, and although that was not uncommon, stopped into the booking office. The manager realized that, for some reason, this girl looked somewhat familiar.
The girl was still pleading to call her father, and since she was a juvenile, we had to contact a parent. The manager asked the girl’s name and when she blurted it out, the manager almost fainted. She stopped the booking process and removed the officer from the room, leaving the girl alone for a few minutes.
In the hallway, the manager asked if the agent had seen all the steps required in making the stop. The officer of course said yes, because even though she didn’t yet know why, she was smart enough to know her job was in danger.
The manager went back into the booking room alone. After a few minutes, the girl handed her the receipt for the dress from her purse. The officer watching through a two way mirror realized this was going to be a problem, but she still had no idea how large this problem was about to become. The manager exited the booking room to give the girl privacy to contact her father.
The manager looked at the officer and said, “Not only does the dress belong to her, but to make matters worse, her father is the vice president of the company that owns all the stores our company has.”
Months later, we were all sitting around clowning. Someone said, “Hey, remember so and so?” That’s what happens to you when you take chances. Months later, officers sit around and ask if anyone remembers you.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Drunk Hotel Guests

We were doing floor checks in the middle of the night. As we arrived on one floor, we saw a nude body lying on the ground at the other end of the hall. We were both thinking, “I hope this fucker isn’t dead”.
We got closer and could see that his chest was rising and falling with each breath, we both let out a sigh of relief. My co-worker walked over to one side and nudged the guy with his foot. The guy rolled over into another position. My friend nudged him a little bit harder and the guy rolled over again. You could smell the alcohol in the air. We figured he was a guest because his clothes were nowhere to be found.
My friend nudged the guy even harder, and, this time, the guy grabbed onto his leg and started laughing and screaming, “I got you, I got you!” My co-worker tried to get away, but, the guy was pretty strong and he was climbing up his leg, laughing the whole time. I was not sure what to do because there was no way I would grab this naked drunk man.
My co-worker dragged the guy down the hall as he held firm on to his leg. The guy was still screaming, “I got you, I got you”!
It was too funny. My co-worker finally got tired of it. He said, “Ok", "you fucker, you got me". "Now get the fuck off my leg!”
As soon as he said that, the guy woke up. Man, was he embarrassed. He was naked in the hallway wrapped around the leg of a security officer. After what seemed like a thousand apologies, we finally determined why he was in the hallway to begin with.
He’d been drinking in the room with his wife. When they’d run out of ice, he went to get some. He was so drunk he’d forgotten about getting dressed and he’d forgotten the ice bucket. When he realized this, he went back to what he thought was his room but his wife didn’t answer and he didn’t have a key. Being drunk, he figured the hallway was as good as any other place to crash and he did.
Later that night, I looked over to my co-worker and screamed, “I got you, I got you!” He got a kick out of that.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Watching shoplifters on my day off

The one major downside to working in asset protection or loss prevention is, you lose the urge to go shopping. You just don’t want to do it. On your day off, the last thing you want to do is go to a mall where people are shopping. My girlfriend does not even ask me to go shopping with her anymore. She says it’s too frustrating. She’s trying on clothes and I’m pointing out who’s stealing. It drives her nuts.
Also, I hate those little women’s stores, you know the ones that have two salesgirls working, and the store is three thousand square feet. They have these fake cameras and all these signs about prosecuting thieves. Yeah right. Who’s watching those cameras?
It had happened to me so many times with my girlfriend I could not take it anymore. We were in one of those stores and there was only one salesgirl, I guess the other was on her break. My girlfriend was in the fitting room and these two large black women were trying to get the salesgirl to go into the stock room to look for merchandise they knew the store did not have.
I could not take it anymore; I just blurted out that the store did not have the merchandise because the shipment would not arrive until the next weekend. I pulled out my badge and called the salesgirl by her name, which freaked her out (it was on her name tag), informed her that I had been sent to watch the store because of the losses. The two black women, as well as a couple of white women, saw that badge and headed straight out the door.
The sales clerk started to sweat because she really thought I had been sent by their corporate office, which told me she probably was ripping the store off too. My girlfriend came out, noticed the store was empty, and, immediately said, “What did you do?”
That was my last shopping trip with her. As for me, if the store I work for does not have it, I’ll order it online.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Working the Main gate on a USAF Base

When you first arrive on a new base, mostly, you do gate duties. It’s not that bad, but it can get pretty boring. Occasionally, something happens to break the boredom but those times are seldom.
When you’re on the main gate on the midnight shift, there are two of you. After I’d been there for a while, I got into how things worked. One person would sleep out of sight of anyone that might happen by, especially the flight chief who might stop by for a post check. We’d sleep two hours each and it made the shift go by smoother.
Every night at eleven o’clock, we’d start 100% ID checks. This basically means, anyone and everyone, except the base commander or some stray general who might come by, had to produce a military ID to be allowed access.
One night, I was at the main gate and my partner was getting his twenty winks, when a car approached the gate. When the driver got to me, she rolled down her window and I asked for her ID card. She looked at me funny and stated she didn’t have it with her. The car had a military decal from a nearby Army base, so I assumed she was either a soldier or a dependent.
She informed me that she didn’t have her driver’s license either. Then she told me that she was a soldier and that she and her husband had gotten into an argument, she’d grabbed her car keys, a towel, and, left home.
Up until that point, I hadn’t really taken a good look at her, but, with that statement, I did. Sure enough, she had a towel covering her. From the sides, all I could see was skin.
I instructed her to pull over to the visitors’ control center while I determined what to do next. She didn’t know, but I already knew what I was going to do. First thing was, I called the desk and requested they send all available units to take a look at this situation. Second, I went over and woke my partner so I could walk over to the visitor control center and get a better look myself.
I walked over as two units pulled up to the center and I briefed them. We went over and talked to her under the premise that we needed more information before we could let her on base. During all this, we made sure to shine our flashlights into the vehicle as much as possible. She got a kick out of all the attention she was receiving and that made things even more interesting.
In the end, she informed us that she was going to spend the night at one of her friends’ houses on our base and that was why she had come there.
I finally allowed her to go to her friend’s house, but, only if one of the units could follow her to make sure she was going there. She agreed.
When the unit returned, he said that she pointed out the house where she was going, but he told her he couldn’t leave until she went into the home. Finally, he said she exited the vehicle with much hesitation and ran naked to the door. She stood there for several minutes until a woman let her in. He complimented her figure, among other things, and we all had a good laugh.
The next night, the same girl returned to the gate. This time, she brought cookies, to thank us for allowing her to enter the base the night before.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

In the life of a Security Consultant

I got a call in the middle of the night and it was a customer that had almost his entire inventory stolen from his warehouse. I was half asleep and he was begging me to meet him at his location. Hell, he wasn’t even my client. On the way there, I thought to myself, “Why the hell is he calling me?”
I got there and it was a mess, cops everywhere. The suspects had driven a truck through one of his walls and, once inside, had loaded up everything in sight. He greeted me; he was on the verge of a breakdown. I felt sorry for the guy.
I had to ask him how he’d gotten my number and why he called me. He told me that the alarm company servicing his warehouse hadn’t even called to report the break-in. If it wasn’t for someone who had just happened by, seen the damage and contacted the police department, no one would have known he’d been broken into.
In his anger, he asked a police officer if he could recommend a security company to him, and although it was against Department policy, the cop felt sorry for him and gave him my number.
After the cops were gone, I stayed with the guy until his employees started showing up. Then, I went to my office and designed him the system that he really needed. While I was working on the design, another consultant came up to me. He informed me that, a year earlier, he’d met with the owner and informed him his system was inadequate. The guy wouldn’t budge because he said he had an agreement he couldn’t get out of.
It’s sad when someone thinks that because you have an agreement, you’re locked in, because, really, you’re not. As a consumer, you too have rights, and if your alarm company is not performing in the manner they guaranteed when you paid for the system, you can cancel the contract, for “Failure to Perform”.
Since he’d suffered such a huge loss, the installation manager agreed to have the system installed the same day, which made the customer very happy. I informed him that he could go home and rest, and that his business would be safe in our hands. He thanked me repeatedly and left.
A few months later, he called to thank me for the new system. It seemed that, earlier that morning, someone had attempted to gain entry into the building. Our company contacted the Police, who arrived on scene within three minutes, capturing the culprits in the act. The client was ecstatic; he now wondered when I could design a system to protect his most prized possession, his home and family.