There were 12 employees sitting in the dark conference room watching the third showing that day of the 15-minute loss prevention DVD presentation. The company grapevine travels faster than the phone company, but the whispered reactions from the first two groups didn’t prepare one employee in the last group for the images and the pointed message in the loss prevention video he was watching.
The last of 11 clips taken from a covert vending machine camera was dancing on the screen and as usual, you could hear a pin drop. The previous 10 theft clips included a route driver making a routine collection stuffing cash in his wallet, technicians greedily grabbing bills, two uniformed security guards (one a former technician) using stolen keys to open machines and a changer, greedily pulling at the money. There were also other stark scenes of bold theft exposed.
The rank and file audience was past shock (the honest ones amazed…the dishonest ones numb with fear), realizing this covert camera’s capability and that this capability could now be in their machines and changers. As usual, those in the audience who had stolen or who were actively stealing were fighting for control to push down waves of panic welling up inside. Some could hide it, but others could not.
The 11th and final theft clip showed a young female money room counter reaching into the safe, pulling out a thick wad of cash as the DVD’s video voiceover explained she was grabbing $500 and was about to hide it in the trash next to the safe.
She would return for it when she was alone in the money room, then stuff it down the front of her pants.
As that scene played out, the vice president of human resources standing next to me in the back of the room suddenly poked me in the side with her elbow, excitingly pointing at one of the four money room counters sitting in the audience who had gasped, violently shook, and started to uncontrollably hyperventilate as her counterpart on the screen frantically stuffed the thick wad of bills down the front of her jeans.
Then the red faced money counter in the audience glanced nervously around, hunching down, white knuckled, realizing everyone was now staring at her, not the thief on the video.
The chronic cash losses in that district immediately leveled off.
This was one of many real life scenarios that have played out across the country when a loss prevention orientation program was introduced.
The orientation consists of presenting the DVD to groups of employees, along with a 2-page orientation handout, a VendingCam memo, a GPS memo, an acknowledgement orientation form, and a loss prevention new hire orientation form.
Following are some other real life scenarios.
‘FERRIS BUELLER’ PANICS
The small break room was jammed with the first group of employees gathered to watch a video no one seemed to really know anything about. Slumped alongside one wall, a fresh faced, 20-something route driver, constantly yawning in between bored glances at his watch, met my eyes during my opening introduction as if I was Ben Stein during the droning teacher scene in the movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
After the room darkened, I found a wide angle view allowing me to scan the faces in the now flickering light. As the theft videos started two minutes into the 15-minute presentation, I saw the bored route driver’s body jerk and stiffen as his eyes popped open wide.
About halfway through the clip of a route driver pulling a wad of cash from an open machine and stuffing the bills into his wallet, the tall, lean, baby-faced route boy was swallowing so hard I could see his Adam’s apple bobbing. (This was usually the clip that flushed out the obvious.)
As one crystal clear theft scene after another played out with the word “BUSTED!” flashing after the theft, the young route driver had an expression on his face similar to most people when forced to slow down while driving past a sudden, unexpected deadly car accident on the highway, shocked, horrified…yet unable to tear his wide eyes away. It was no coincidence that Ferris Bueller’s route had the worst cash shortage in the company…and it was no accident the unexplainable losses immediately ended.