The Case of the Suspected Shoplifter There’s a suspicious person in optical that you think may be stealing… Do you confront them, call the cops or play it safe? It was a typical bustling day at Sharpview Vision. The reception area was full of people waiting for their appointment so one female patient with a toddler started to browse. After pursuing for a few minutes the woman sat on the floor in the optical area. By this time a few chairs became available so sitting on the floor seemed somewhat odd. Kaitlin, who worked at the front desk, took note. As Kaitlin walked through optical, past the patient sitting on the floor, she reached the opticians desk area and whispered, “I wanted to give you a heads up that there is a patient sitting on the sales floor playing with her toddler, it’s kinda odd.” “Thanks for letting us know,” said Chelsea, one of the Opticians. “I’ll go touch base with her and see if she needs anything.” Chelsea walked to the woman, still sitting on the floor, “Hi, I’m Chelsea. Do you have any questions, or can I help you look at eyewear while you’re waiting”? She responded, “No thank you, I’m just keeping my son occupied before my appointment.” “Let me know if you need anything,” Chelsea said. She stayed nearby and did busywork so she could keep an eye on her or answer any questions if they came up. EDITOR’S NOTE: Real Deal is a fictional scenario designed to read like real-life business events. The businesses and people mentioned in this story should not be confused with actual businesses and people. The woman began trying on sunglasses and asking her toddler what he thought of them. “Do you like these?” She would switch pairs and ask again, all while remaining on the floor and never looking in a mirror. She kept grabbing more sunglasses and had 10 or more pairs balanced all over her legs. Chelsea approached her again and asked, “Can I take any of these glasses off of your hands?” “No thank you, I’m just trying them on,” the woman replied. Chelsea went to her desk to update the other opticians. Her coworker Janet piped up, “I was watching this on the camera. Did you notice she’s wearing cargo pants with like eight pockets?” Just then a technician came to the front and called the patient’s name. Chelsea saw that the patient had set the sunglasses on a table in optical and began putting them away. There were now four empty glasses stands. She found the office manager, Ryan, and showed him. The two went to the optician desk area where Ryan asked, “Did any of you fill the holes in optical today or did that patient just pocket four pairs of sunglasses?” Each optician began wondering if they had, and they all came to a consensus that because it was busy they were unable to remember. Janet said, “Every night the closing optician fills all of the holes, so we would have been squared-up when we opened. None of us have sold any sunglasses today so it’s looking like she stole them.” “I guess we will see what her pants look like and how she acts when she comes out of the exam room,” Ryan said. “I am uncomfortable confronting her since it’s a female patient. I don’t want any #metoo repercussions.” QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER 1. Does Ryan call the police during the suspect’s appointment so he can remain “hands-off” and the police can resolve any issues or does he confront her himself and how? 2. There are cameras in place, when they review the footage later and she did steal, in addition to reporting to insurance do they notify the police? 3. Should the practice have a theft suspect policy in place or is each situation too unique to have a blanket response? Fill out my online form.