Friday, August 29, 2008

The Tale of the $6.00 per Hour Security Guard

Once, I worked as a guard for a company that had a Government contract. It was really easy, but the pay was lousy. I made $6.00 per hour. Every day, I’d get the paper when I got off and look for another job. The guys I worked with thought I was crazy.
Late night, we’d stand around and talk. They were basically happy making peasant wages. Not me, every night, I’d tell them I was getting out of here the first chance I got.
Guys would ask me, “Where you going to go and make more money than this working security?”
I’d tell them I was worth more than six bucks; I was going to find a job for at least twice that. They’d all laugh and say, “There are no $12.00 jobs in security,” and that I should stop dreaming and get back to work.
Then one morning, just about the same time I got into bed after the night shift, the company I worked for called. The personnel lady informed me that my security clearance papers hadn’t been filled out properly and they wanted me to come in right then and correct them so they could conduct the background check.
Now, I’m not a fool; I knew that this clearance was going to cost them at least ten thousand dollars and they wanted to pay me six fucking dollars. I told the lady that there wasn’t a whole lot I’d do for six dollars, and getting out of bed to drive thirty minutes to fill out a form was one of the things I would not do. I hung up the phone.
When I got back to work that night, the supervisor came to me and inquired about the forms. I told him the same thing I’d told the lady on the phone. Then the asshole asked me why I had to be so belligerent. At that moment, I gave my two weeks’ notice.
Later, we were outside having our normal talk, and all the other officers again told me there were no twelve dollar jobs, and that the company we worked for was a good company, and that I should go fill out the form and stay.
I did my two weeks and told them all to take care; I was going to find me a good paying security job.
The next day, I landed a job for $13.00! I worked for a couple of months and, one day, I was on my way home from work when I decided to stop in and check on my old friends. I pulled up and they all came out and asked how things were going.
I explained how I had landed a new job and what it paid. They all got excited and I told them that there were no more thirteen dollar jobs, I got the last one. Before I left, I also informed them I was waiting on my weapons permit and that I was in line for another job that paid eighteen dollars an hour. They almost went into shock. I laughed all the way home.
Several months later, after I had started working my new job, I dropped by to check on them again. This time, I was driving a shiny new 300ZX. I pulled up and they didn’t have a clue who the fuck I was. They all stood there looking to see who was in the car.
I got out and they almost fainted. I told them about my latest job and its eighteen dollar pay, and they almost shit. They wanted to know how they could get a position at the new place. “Sorry,” I told them, “they have no more eighteen dollar positions. I got the last one.”
But, before I left, I couldn’t help but explain to them about the new position I had accepted. I’d taken a position overseas that paid a whopping seventy thousand dollars! They couldn’t believe it.
The moral to this story is, if you feel like six bucks is all you’re worth, then six dollars is all you’ll ever get.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why I arrested my best friends girlfriend

One of our LP managers had a problem with an employee who was ripping off merchandise on Saturdays, which happened to be the manager’s day off. When I found out about it, I asked her why she didn’t call me so I could come in and take care of it. Well, the girl in question was the girlfriend of my best friend, and he himself was a LP manager at one of our other stores. I explained that I didn’t have a problem with it and she’d be treated like any other suspect. The case became mine.
The first Saturday, I came in and positioned myself in a tower behind a display so that I’d have a clear view of her department all day. Well, that didn’t work because all hell broke lose during the shift. The first major call I got was a customer attempting to walk out the store with some comforters that he hadn’t paid for. I caught his ass on the escalator, tall ass brother with two expensive comforters and no store bags. I jumped on the escalator behind him and gently whispered something to the effect that, if, he attempted to leave the store without paying for the merchandise, he’d have to deal with me. He never said a word, never turned around. When the escalator got to the bottom, he dropped the merchandise on the floor and headed straight out the door. First crisis over!
I got back into position. As soon as I was settled, I got a call that a customer had a gun. Damn! I left my perch and went to check on the situation. I got to the department just as the guy was exiting the store. The department manager walked with me, telling me what the guy had said and done in the department. Not his lucky day. I walked outside and the first cop that came by, I relayed the info to him. They picked his dumb ass up for aggravated assault. By the time everyone had finished with their statements, the day was over. The girl I came to watch, she smiled and waved on her way out the door. I swear, I couldn’t remember, but, I thought those sunglasses she had on belonged to us. Oh well, one thing about a successful thief, they are like satisfied customers. They always come back.
The next Saturday, I met her when she entered the store. I walked her to her department so I could make a mental note of everything she had on and in her possession. I instructed store management that I was working on an internal case; I was not to be disturbed unless it was absolutely necessary. The first couple of hours in my perch were boring. The fun started when the girl working with her in the department went on a break. She made her way over to the costume jewelry counter and removed a pair of earrings. She did the whole bit and placed them beside her ear while looking into a mirror. No doubt, she was looking for me. She then removed the earrings from the backing and put them on. I had to admit they looked pretty good on her. She then put the backing in the drawer under her register.
Later, she walked into the women’s clothing department, next to where she worked, and selected a pink jacket. She took it back to her department and put it on. When she tried on that jacket, everything clicked. I knew then what was different when she left the store the week before. It was a tan scarf. I didn’t notice it when she left because I was so busy, but I could see it vividly in my mind. Also, it didn’t hurt that the same scarf was hanging in the department next to where she got the jacket.
So what she’d do was, the day before, select the items she wanted to steal. She’d wear something that would match the item she was going to take and no one would notice because it didn’t come from her department anyway. She put that pink jacket on, and I swear, it matched her outfit perfectly. My heart started beating fast, especially when she started looking for scissors to cut off the tag. When she couldn’t find a pair in her department, she simply tucked the tag inside the sleeve.
Everything was cool until the girl working with her came back from break. She said something about the jacket, probably about how pretty it was on her, and my suspect began twirling around in front of the mirror like she was a customer. I knew, at that point, she couldn’t take the jacket because the other girl had commented on it. Damn. But I still had the earrings to hope for.
It’s funny, if you ever go into a loss prevention office, watch the officers work, we go into this cheerleader mode and we become the little voice in the suspect’s head whispering, “Come on, take it, please, nobody will know, nobody.” All the time, we’re rooting for people to fuck up so we can catch them.
Finally, my suspect went on her lunch break which meant she was probably going to be exiting the building. When she went to clock out, I went into her department and retrieved the backing from the earrings.
When she was leaving the building, I managed to run into her but I made no mention of her new earrings. Actually, I could have arrested her as soon as she left the facility with the merchandise. But, management was a little soft and they might believe her story that she’d tried them on and forgot to remove them before she went to lunch. However, when she returned and I faked going to lunch, the earrings mysteriously disappeared.
Now, all I had to do was watch her for the rest of the shift to insure she didn’t try to put the item back without my knowledge. This would be rather difficult since I now had the backing in my pocket.
After a while, I started rooting for her to put the items back, but with less than twenty minutes to go before closing, I didn’t think she would. Damn. Even though I’ve arrested employees before, this one was going to be hard. This was my best friend’s girlfriend; she’d even been to my house, met my girlfriend. Damn. I do have a bit of a conscience.
Shit! I picked up the phone, called my friend, told him the situation, and informed him that I could go downstairs and tell her to give the earrings back and there would be no harm and no foul, or the other option was, I could treat her like all the rest of our suspects and bust her. It became his decision. He didn’t even think about it, he said, “Do your job, bust her dumb ass!”
She exited the store, said goodbye to me and the store manager (who didn’t have a clue what the hell was going on). I followed her outside and arrested her. She cried like a baby. Then, she begged me not to tell her boyfriend and pleaded with me to pick her up from the police station so she didn’t have to call him or her family to get her. I felt bad but I had to explain to her that I couldn’t pick her up because it’d be a conflict of interest. So I told her to call my girlfriend and she’d pick her up from the station.
That was one of the toughest things I had to do in my early years in LP. As for my friend, it didn’t bother him at all. He broke up with her that same day; he told me it was disrespectful for her to be stealing when she knew what he did for a living.