To catch a thief

One sunny Saturday several years ago, I noticed some suspicious activity. A terrible twosome was working our store. As Floor Manager, I never want any shoplifting going on during my watch and I want our store to be known as one that does not tolerate any shenanigans. I
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One sunny Saturday several years ago, I noticed some suspicious activity. A terrible twosome was working our store. As Floor Manager, I never want any shoplifting going on during my watch and I want our store to be known as one that does not tolerate any shenanigans. I had just returned from lunch and saw the two exit their vehicle, they took the best parking spot right near our store entrance. Right away I knew they were up to no good. They were moving from place to place and looking around alot, trying to see just who was watching them.

Usually, the shoplifters we catch are going after small necessities, like socks. If a genuinely needy person came to us and just said, "Hey can I just have this pair of socks?" We might say, "Sure, take 'em." We have a soft spot in our hearts for cold toes here at Northern Mountain.

Anyway, this pair of thieves was acting stealth and I did not actually see them taking anything. Still, I noticed by their body language that they were not the normal paying customer. Then, I noticed one enormous swelling pant leg on one of the perps and then I saw his partner distracting another employee. I called the "Code 11," which is what we say when we encounter suspicious activity in our store, and then watched their every move, but not so much as to let them know we were onto them.

Before they were ready to leave, I went outside and moved my Toyota pickup from the street and blocked them into their parking spot, bumper to bumper. Knowing the the driver could not leave without his car, I waited outside and the thieves,with stolen North Face Nuptse Jackets and Vests in their pants, were greeted by the waiting cops. Now we all know how compressible down is, but you will notice if someone stuffs these into their pants and tries to make a run for it. The team was caught stealing with nowhere to hide.
-- Jason Telford, Northern Mountain Supply, Eureka, Calif.

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.snewsnet.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.

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