What are your checks and balances when you have employees managing your business?
A rigid stock control is very important when you have employees; today we have cameras where you can stay at home and monitor what goes on in your business. You have cash registers and as in my case as a small business, we always used duplicate or triplicate receipt books.
The second location was doing well, sales were not huge but we were able to cover overheads and make some profit.
I thought security, except for the occasional theft was very sound, until a customer approached me one day and asked me a very puzzling question. “Why are your prices at your second location higher than those in your Bridgetown location? I apologized if there was an error, but I assured her that the prices were the same.
She continued to argue with me and insisted she was correct. To satisfy the customer, I gave her the money to purchase a candle shade and verified the price in the Bridgetown location. She was asked to visit the second location and bring me the receipt.
The customer did as she was asked, and returned with the item and receipt a few days later, Low and behold she was correct; there was a different price on the receipt. I spent a sleepless night trying to solve the puzzle of the receipt.
The following day, I visited the second location without notifying the sales manager of my intended visit., picked up the waste paper basket and the receipt book and left without an explanation.; I thought if there was any cheating the answer had to be in the waste paper basket.
About five minutes before closing time I received a telephone call from the nervous sounding manager-“I guess I am fired, but I was not stealing from you” I did not respond to the firing but informed her that I will see her on the weekend
What my very clever sales manager was doing, was, taking my prices off the products and when a customer bought an item, she would insert a piece of light card under original receipt and write the receipt for her price. After the customer leave the premises she would tear an original receipt from her own receipt book, place it over the carbon paper and write my receipt for the correct price, I will see that my receipt was a duplicate for the correct price.she would pocket the balance.
During the interviewing process, I would always inform the successful applicant that there was a zero tolerance for theft of any kind; I did not have to terminate her employment, she did not show up for work the next day or any day after.
Naturally I took all the past receipt books and inspected them carefully to see how much cheating she had done. I t was obvious that it was a daily routine. When you hold the duplicate receipts up to the light, you can see the imprint of the two different prices.
It would appear that cheating was a regular occupational hazard, The Bridgetown location did not escape.