Don't know if you caught this story today in the news section.
The short version is that shoplifters may become more heavily prosecuted in the state of Wisconsin.
This may or may not be representative of what Madison has in mind
As a guy who used to work loss-prevention for a department store chain, I say, "Right on."
That's right. Back in the day before I was a radio host, I busted shoplifters.
When I was 16, I visited with some family in Chicago. My cousin and some buds of his worked as in loss prevention. They regaled me with tales of their shoplifter-busting exploits. To my impressionable 16-year old self, it was riveting.
A couple of years later, I'm moving out on my own and in need of a line of work. I worked in retail throughout my teens and decided that instead of serving customers, I was ready to nail them for stealing. So, I applied for a loss prevention gig for the same chain that employed my cousin.
Somehow, I landed the gig.
I was trained in the fine art of loss prevention and the execution of a bust. I wish I could tell you about all the tricks of the trade, but as a member of the sacred order of loss prevention associates, I am honor bound to keep the secrets secret.
After being fully trained, I was ready to rock. I was going to bust the baddies and save the world, one shoplifter at a time! I felt like one of these:
No, not a dork in a costume, a superhero.
But after a few weeks on the job, I realized I was one of these:
Ah, mall cops. All of the uniform. None of the authority.
Even worse, I was BORED! BORED, BORED, BORED!
Loss prevention is one of THE most boring jobs EVER! You know why? Because by and large, most people are pretty doggone honest. I was being paid to watch people shop. Big, blinkin' yawn fest is what it was.
It was too bad too, as I was about as undercover as it got. Back then, I looked kinda like this dude:
"Dude, Metallica, you know? Like, Metallica. Hell yeah."
I looked like the guy who was there to rob the store blind!
Alas, while I had more than a few close calls, I only scored one true bust. Some idiot kid was trying on a bunch of different stuff right in front of the mirrors on the floor. He would grab a shirt, put in on over the shirt he was wearing, take it off and then do the same with another shirt. I thought for sure that he was going to just leave one of the shirts on and try to walk with it.
Instead, he grabs a pair of Polo gloves, looks around furitively, yanks the tags and jams them into his coat pocket. I picked the tag up from the floor while he wasn't looking, followed him and his mother outside and announced to the both of them that he was going to have to come with me.
Mom was not pleased.
"YOU are grounded forEVER!"
Then I had to call the cops.
Unfortunately for the kid, officers Busty and Chesty weren't on duty that day.
They hauled him off, angry mom in tow.
The saddest part of the whole deal? If the gloves had been worth a buck-fifty less, I could have let him off with a warning.
About a week later, a gal left the store with a shopping cart loaded down with about a grand worth of stuff while I was filling out paperwork. A couple days later, a co-worker was beaten into "I need a hospital" condition over a sweater. I decided that loss prevention wasn't really my calling.
PICTURED: Not worth a savage beatdown
A job where I had to expect the worst of humanity was too draining as was the sheer boredom. I handed in my resignation and never looked back.
Sometimes to find the thing you want to do, you have to figure out what you don't want to do.
Here's hoping that you're either doing the thing you want to do, or on your way there.