WALMART FIRES ASSOCIATE OVER THEFT

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    May 24, 2010 8:12 PM GMT
    It can be argued that she took a risk for violating policy... after all you don't stop people from shoplifting......

    I despise Walmart....

    WICHITA, Kansas (KSN) – A Wal-Mart worker hailed as a hero for stopping a shoplifter was fired Saturday. Wal-Mart refuses to comment but Heather Ravenstein says she was told she was being let go because of her actions Friday.

    “My stomach started turning instantly,” said Ravenstein. “I was like 'Are you serious?' I couldn't believe it. I was trying to save them money and this is what happens to me.”Friday night, Ravenstein saw a suspect with a computer in his shopping cart roll out the front door of the West Kellogg Wal-mart. She was suspicious because the computer had security wire still wrapped around it.
    Ravenstein says the man refused to show a receipt.
    “I just grabbed a hold of it and wasn't letting go,” said Ravenstein. “I wasn't going to let him get away with a $600 computer.”
    Wichita Police say the suspect started to punch and kick Ravenstein before jumping into a waiting car and speeding away. Ravenstein has a small bruise on her shoulder but was otherwise uninjured.
    At first, Ravenstein says managers at Wal-Mart praised her for stopping the shoplifter.
    “They said ‘good job’,” said Ravenstein. “(The store manager) came and talked to me and said 'Good job. You need to be more careful next time. We appreciate you trying to protect our assets.' I was like 'Yeah, I'm not going to do it again.''”
    But everything changed Saturday when Ravenstein showed up for her shift. She says after her lunch break she was sent to a backroom and told she was fired.
    “I don’t think it's fair,” said Ravenstein. “I just hope they catch the guy.”
    Ravenstein is a single mother to a four-year-old boy. She says she doesn’t get child support. She hopes she’ll be eligible for unemployment benefits and plans to apply on Monday.






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    May 24, 2010 8:25 PM GMT
    Sadly, unless you are Loss Prevention or a manager, there isn't shit you can do when you know someone is stealing other than report it. You sign a contract when you are hired in about it.

    It's pretty ridiculous, but true.
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    May 24, 2010 8:26 PM GMT
    I hate that shithole of a company more and more every day.
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    May 24, 2010 8:31 PM GMT
    I don't suppose reminding her of company policy would have been sufficient? Even had her sign a counseling letter, and reread the employee handbook or something? One mistake and you get fired? Nice outfit, that WalMart, glad I don't shop there and support this stuff.
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    May 24, 2010 8:38 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidI hate that shithole of a company more and more every day.

    Most retailers have that.

    I've caught people and couldn't do a thing without putting my job in jeopardy. The laws are some fucked up stuff.
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    May 24, 2010 9:10 PM GMT
    ShinyToyTrev said
    paulflexes saidI hate that shithole of a company more and more every day.

    Most retailers have that.

    I've caught people and couldn't do a thing without putting my job in jeopardy. The laws are some fucked up stuff.

    Does the law say WalMart had to fire her?
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    May 24, 2010 9:42 PM GMT
    I worked retail in college, and it was company policy NOT to apprehend shoplifters. It was documented in the employee handbook that employees would be terminated for apprehending shoplifters. It becomes a logistical nightmare for the company if an employee accuses a customer of shoplifting, and the customer in turn states that they were falsely accused OR if the employee is injured/killed/maimed by the shoplifter. Costs the company alot more in legal fees and settlements than the $600 to replace a stolen computer.
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    May 24, 2010 9:50 PM GMT
    Sounds like Heather has more guts than Wal-Mart. She should be able to move on toward being a cop or detective.
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    May 24, 2010 10:02 PM GMT
    The moral of the story is that people should shoplift from walmart every chance they get!
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    May 25, 2010 12:37 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    ShinyToyTrev said
    paulflexes saidI hate that shithole of a company more and more every day.

    Most retailers have that.

    I've caught people and couldn't do a thing without putting my job in jeopardy. The laws are some fucked up stuff.

    Does the law say WalMart had to fire her?

    That is quite hazy as even the corporation would have to come back her up, or the DM of her sector.

    So no...but you don't think other people would put their ass out on the line, do you?
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    May 25, 2010 1:01 AM GMT
    sorry but walmart was actually right in this instance and she was fired for cause so she is likely disqualified from unemployment benefits. retailers have policy's to not stop shoplifters for a reason. the policy's are in place to protect the employees. a shoplifter can assault employees when stopped, and easily could have a gun. This women got hit and bruised, but she was lucky. she could have been killed. walmart A) can't take the chance that she will try that again, and B) is setting an example that this kind of behavior is not tolerated.
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    May 25, 2010 1:07 AM GMT
    I probably won't steal from Wal-Mart now. Knowing that the employee attempting to apprehend me will likely lose their job is deterrent enough.

    Well, unless I really need that flat-screen TV.
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    May 25, 2010 1:51 AM GMT
    Well, I hope that Target has a nearby store, and they hire her with a lot of publicity. I'll bet some shoppers would move more of their purchases to Target, and discover the famous WalMart savings aren't all that great, or even nonexistent. And the Target stores are much nicer, with nicer customers.

    I understand WalMart and other retailers have policies regarding how to respond to shoplifters. But I wonder if she was properly trained and informed of them?

    Even in the military discipline of the US Army, before I could punish a soldier I first had to establish that he or she had been properly trained & advised that a particular offense was a violation of regulations. And if they hadn't been, then they got that training, with little or no punishment, just a warning and a second chance.

    If the Army could operate that way, why not WalMart? OK, she made a bad choice. Things turned out OK. Counsel her, and I doubt it'll happen again. You don't fire her.

    I'm sorry, but if WalMart can't be as understanding, rational & humane as the harsh military, I want no part of them.
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    May 25, 2010 1:55 AM GMT
    This is standard in most if not all big chain retail stores. Store associates cannot touch or hassle customers. Those customers, even the crooked ones can sue. Courts like to side with the customer.

    The anti-Wal Mart force is strong with this thread.
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    May 25, 2010 2:39 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidWell, I hope that Target has a nearby store, and they hire her with a lot of publicity. I'll bet some shoppers would move more of their purchases to Target, and discover the famous WalMart savings aren't all that great, or even nonexistent. And the Target stores are much nicer, with nicer customers.

    I understand WalMart and other retailers have policies regarding how to respond to shoplifters. But I wonder if she was properly trained and informed of them?

    Even in the military discipline of the US Army, before I could punish a soldier I first had to establish that he or she had been properly trained & advised that a particular offense was a violation of regulations. And if they hadn't been, then they got that training, with little or no punishment, just a warning and a second chance.

    If the Army could operate that way, why not WalMart? OK, she made a bad choice. Things turned out OK. Counsel her, and I doubt it'll happen again. You don't fire her.

    I'm sorry, but if WalMart can't be as understanding, rational & humane as the harsh military, I want no part of them.


    And what if she had gotten herself shot and killed?? imagine that publicity. plus what if she had attacked a customer who actually had bought what she claimed he was stealing. There are a dozen ways that this could have gone south for the employee and the store. she made a very bad decision and got what she deserved for it.
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    May 25, 2010 2:55 PM GMT
    Hmmm...you guys live in the US, so why not email Walmart and ask them to re-instate her in Loss Prevention, as she obviously has the stuff for it?

    Tell them their decision will help you decide where to spend your money. Nothing like voting via the cash register. icon_wink.gif

    -Doug
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    May 25, 2010 3:08 PM GMT
    geez, what a shame
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    May 25, 2010 3:10 PM GMT
    As much as I dislike shoplifters I have to agree with the policy of not getting physical with a suspected shoplifter. The employee was right to question the guy with the computer, but wrong to get physical with him. What she should had done was continue to follow him out and take down the plate number of the car he drove away in. The plate information and store video could then be turned over to the cops.
    It would be a nightmare for a store if an employee (especially one not trained as a security guard) got physical with a suspect and it turned violent or if the "suspect" actually turned out to be innocent.
    I would had preferred if the manager could had wrote her up or something instead of firing her though. Since the local manager praised her actions at first I am guessing it was higher ups (maybe a district manager) was the one actually pushing for her to be fired.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    May 25, 2010 3:14 PM GMT
    chungo44 said


    There are a dozen ways that this could have gone south for the employee and the store. she made a very bad decision and got what she deserved for it.


    Chungo is right... she is getting what she deserves for it... a hero's appreciation and a dozen new job offers, so I understand.
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    May 25, 2010 3:26 PM GMT
    wow. just wow. on all sides. double fucking wow.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 25, 2010 3:28 PM GMT
    I understand that these anti-involvement policies exist not only in WALMART, but also in gas stations where workers are told to cooperate with thieves demanding money at gun point.

    I think firing is too harsh of a penalty to reinforce the message. Perhaps they should dock a worker's pay for acting unsafely. icon_idea.gif
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    May 25, 2010 3:35 PM GMT
    I wouldn't jump to any conclusions. Since we are only getting her side (Wal-Mart, appropriately, had no comment), we really have no idea if there was anything else going on.

    As for the shoplifting policy, any retailer would rather lose a $600 computer then to have an employee murdered in the middle of the store. In college I was an usher at a movie theater, and we weren't even allowed to kick somebody out for sneaking in a back door. We called the police and quietly kept track of the punks until the cops showed up.

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    May 25, 2010 3:47 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa saidWell, I hope that Target has a nearby store, and they hire her with a lot of publicity. I'll bet some shoppers would move more of their purchases to Target, and discover the famous WalMart savings aren't all that great, or even nonexistent. And the Target stores are much nicer, with nicer customers.

    I understand WalMart and other retailers have policies regarding how to respond to shoplifters. But I wonder if she was properly trained and informed of them?

    Even in the military discipline of the US Army, before I could punish a soldier I first had to establish that he or she had been properly trained & advised that a particular offense was a violation of regulations. And if they hadn't been, then they got that training, with little or no punishment, just a warning and a second chance.

    If the Army could operate that way, why not WalMart? OK, she made a bad choice. Things turned out OK. Counsel her, and I doubt it'll happen again. You don't fire her.

    I'm sorry, but if WalMart can't be as understanding, rational & humane as the harsh military, I want no part of them.
    Exactly. It does no good to have employees sign mounds of paperwork upon initial hiring if they don't explain what the paperwork means (yeah she probably signed something about not touching customers). And the "one strike you're out" policy is completely absurd.

    What really turned me against Wal-Mart (several years ago) is when I applied, went through three interviews, then was blatantly told I'm overqualified. Hell the only education I had at the time was high school and ETA school from the Navy...nothing that could be used to pursue any type of professional employment in the civilian world, or that showed any qualifications other than the ability to do what I'm told (standard military training).
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    May 25, 2010 3:50 PM GMT
    oh please i am sure there is more to the story than this article. Does she have any prior verbal or written warnings? Does she have a history of showing up late? Does she have a history of being confrontational with employees/consumers? The list is endless and none of us know the BIG PICTURE.

    The article, in a very victim written way mentioned she has a child. If you have a child why would you as a mother put yourself at risk trying to stop a thief from stealing a lousy $600 computer? Doesnt make sense. I am sure she also violated company policy. Quite frankly i am sure her intentions were good but she put herself,customers and other co-workers at risk by trying to be a hero. Sorry but what she did is not common sense and quite severe. Walmart is not alone with firing people in these type of circumstances. I believe Sprint fired a few employees who tried to stop a thief.

    Get real fags.
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    May 25, 2010 3:59 PM GMT
    Well I worked for Wal-mart for a couple years. I even worked Loss Prevention (so I WAS able to stop shoplifters)

    And everyone can hate on Wal-mart all you want (though most people still shop there). There IS a lot ot hate or look down on Wal-mart for, but in my opinion, this instance is not one of them.

    The primary reason for policies like that are, sadly, because of a fucked up legal system we have. In order to protect themselves, Wal-mart has to have policies like this, that state that only certain employees can stop shoplifters, and even then we had a strict checklist we HAD to observe before we can make a stop. Honestly, some of you harping on this company would also be the ones telling someone who was stopped that WASN'T stealing that they should sue. And many people did. And so policies changed. I had so many times I was 90% sure I had a thief, but if I lost them at ANY point in the store, or didn't have the visual record of them taking an item IN the store (even if they were carrying an empty case or wrapper) I couldn't make a stop, or I'd be fired. Simple as that.

    Our society is too sue happy. And Wal-mart, being the devil that they are, has adjusted accordingly.

    Again, Wal-mart does plenty of unethical things (feel free to message if you want to know more of them) and they do some things that are just rude or mean. But this story, while to an outsider seems ridiculous, is no moreso than someone burning their crotch on McDonald's coffee and winning a lawsuit against them.

    That's just my two cents (though at 20% off and rollback price, so it's really only 1.03 cents)