The only thing I take seriously is my Freedom. And Bacon.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Working In Loss Prevention - Macys, Bloomingdales, Target

Many years ago, I worked as a Loss Prevention Detective at Bloomingdales. Of course, as is often with events in life, I remember the good times. I worked with a team of people, however, there was one guy that I clicked with.

Dave was great. We had a-lot of fun and when I made a call out, he listened to me and took me seriously.

Probably because my first day on the job, he was reading the morning paper, drinking coffee, set for a relaxing day, and I was watching the monitors that were watching the shoppers on the floor and said, "Uh, Dave, I think that guy just stole some jeans."
Dave sighed, temporarily looking up from the paper to watch the customer I had pointed out.
"Holy Shit," Dave said, then radioed the Abington Police that he was about to make a stop.
Dave chased the guy through the parking lot (we weren't supposed to step off the curb but many years ago, that rule was overlooked). One of the cops somehow got into an accident responding (nothing major, just blew out a tire on the median).

But we got the guy (rather, Dave did), and from that day, Dave and I worked really well together. Communicated. And laughed a-lot.

It was a short lived job...everyone left to become cops, join the military, or, in my case, start a sales job that brought in double what working in LP brought in.

Many years have since passed, many jobs, and yet, other than being a paramedic, loss prevention remained my most fun job I'd ever had.

In 2018 I went back to the loss prevention field, this time for Target. Well. Much had changed in the field. And Target...well, unfortunately, the store I was at went through many mangers and the whole store was going through a "makeover." I was also shocked at the amount of creepy things and creepy people (men) that preyed on customers (excuse me, "guests") at the Montgomeryville Store. And the Operations manager did NOT want the public to know about these incidents.

A new Asset Protection Manager came to our store and he was...odd. He told me I cared too much about the job and was too enthusiastic. The AP District Manager told me to do things one way, but my store manager told me the complete opposite. I had loved working at Target my first few months. I was basically solo for 6 weeks after the manager that hired me was moved to a different store and my new manager was in training for 6 weeks. I made it work. But when the new manager, Tom, came in, he was cold, had the personality of brick, spoke about hiring more diverse people, but told me I should me more like Craig and Sam (men). Hmmm. The definition of diversity means variety.

Anyway, I asked to be relocated to a different store, Tom refused, and I resigned.

Off to Macy's I went. The great thing about Macy's  is that I am in plain clothes. When I arrived at Macy's - they too, were in a state of flux. Getting new cameras, new systems that identified people on TrueVue (as you walk out the door, the towers scan what you bought and match it to a receipt. No receipt, it's a good bet that it's stolen and reviewing tape can prove or disprove it.)

My manager, unfortunately, as is too common across most retail organizations, is also the Operations Manager. He is spread way too thin. It's obvious his heart is in Asset Protection. Unfortunately, training is basically bare bones. And I started during the busiest time of the season - Oct, Nov, Dec. The team I work with comes together when working a case, and of course, that's when the job is awesome. However, the team when NOT working a case, is frustrated. There's such little communication and no clear guidelines on how to handle situations. The history of that department is crazy! I keep telling the old timers they need to write a book! From a local cop who was forcing shoplifters from Macy's to have sex with him after he picked them up to take them to the station (he was fired) to a detective who was stealing his co-workers food, and also stealing merchandise and would walk out one door with it, and in another door to get a refund for it!

I used to say if I won the lottery, it's a job I'd do for free, however, there's just such a lack of caring and training from corporate. It's not just Macy's - it's all over. And the criminals have more rights than the people assigned to protect the assets of the companies.

If you're thinking of getting into Loss Prevention, do it. Despite all the problems, it's a fascinating job. You might be good at spotting shoplifters, you might be good at investigations, you might be good at internals, you might be good at auditing, you might be good making sure high risk merchandise has appropriate security measures, hopefully you'll be good at most of them.

It's a thankless job. But it can be an exciting job. And if you are lucky enough to land on a good team, you'll love your job despite the frustrations.

Taco Johns Potato Ole Recipe Update

Taco Johns - Potato Ole Recipe

When I move away from an area, it's usually not the people I miss, it's the food. (KIDDING) (somewhat).

It's been years since I've been to a Taco Johns. They just don't have them on the East Coast. Yes, I know we have pierogies and cheesesteaks and hoagies, but my GOD, sometimes, I just want some damn nachos and potato oles from Taco Johns.

I tweeted about how much I miss those potato oles - they are little crispy crown potatoes that have this fantastic spicy yet a hint of sweet seasoning.
Someone was kind enough to send on a recipe for homemade potato ole seasoning. I tried it out today, and it is fabulous! Granted, it's been awhile since I've had them, but they satisfied my craving! Ole!

I used Ore Ida Crispy Crowns - but I suppose they'd work on tater tots too!
Cook Crispy Crowns as directed.
While cooking, mix:

Taco John's Homemade Potato Ole's! So Good!

  • teaspoons Lawry's seasonings salt (I, however, used Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt that I got from Fresh Market)

  • teaspoons paprika

  • teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

  • After removing Crispy Crowns from the oven - sprinkle on to your liking and serve with sour cream/ranch dressing/or spicy ranch dressing. 

    A reader suggested this recipe from Top Secrets Recipe Cookbook: 
    4 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
    2 tsp paprika
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp cayenne pepper (basically subbing the cayenne for the cinnamon)

    Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
    Sprinkle of tator tots or crispy crowns
    Bake tots or crowns following instructions on package.