Employee Theft Opportunity And SEI’s Share


A franchisee from my area recently sent me an e-mail regarding a theft procedure adopted by one of her employees that eventually raised a red flag at corporate, resulting in her getting a “bill” for SEI’s share of lost gross profit dollars. The bill was presented in the form of a “Financial Impact” report based on a worksheet charging the store for the theft.

In this case, the employee would scan age-restricted products, press the Exit and No Sale keys when the age verification screen popped up, give the change to the customer, and pocket the money. Since the employee didn’t use the Void or Abort keys, the thefts were much less obvious as the main screen only gives us the option to view and print Voids, the Log File, and the Electronic Journal.

Loss Prevention/Asset Protection provided the franchisee with a report of all the suspicious transactions that included the product, time, amount, transaction number, and employee number so she could investigate. As it turns out, all this information can be found by viewing the Electronic Journal.

On the right-hand bottom corner under Transaction Type there are several options, such as Normal Sale and Customer Return, and a few that can be used by enterprising thieves, like Cancel Age Verification, No Sale, Memory, and Void & Abort Transaction. The most important, however, are PLU Inquiry and No Sale, both of which an employee can use to find out the price of the product and pocket the money by opening the register on No Sale. You can choose any of these options and print them to verify the validity of transactions by looking at your security system if you have cameras installed with register views. I had no knowledge of these options until I got the e-mail from the franchisee and did some research.

Most of us were never trained how to detect this kind of employee theft, and it is not justified that franchisees should get a bill for SEI’s lost gross profit dollars using some kind of a worksheet without any proper training to detect all this. Franchisees should also be able to view all the details of these transactions much as SEI’s Asset Protection team can so we can verify the validity of transactions like Cancel Age Verification and PLU Inquiry.

Franchisees feel this is a double loss for them, as they have already paid for all these products in the form of Audit Shortages and now have to pay SEI for its lost gross profits. More open discussion and a positive approach will go a long way to solve this issue. Perhaps Asset Protection could start training franchisees on how to detect new types of employee theft as they develop through some kind of special classes or presentations during quarterly sales meetings. In the meantime, however, franchisees can save some money by printing all these transactions and verifying their validity on a daily basis.