As an asset protection specialist for a Bay Area based retailer, I usually don't "talk shop" outside the office because it would be inappropriate for me to comment publicly about the work I do. But I find it amazing that in the 20+ years I've been in retail, some things will never change.
Today my manager asked me to look into a potential internal theft issue regarding company issued gift cards. I found information in my audit to support the case, performed the necessary actions to prevent loss, and notified the appropriate personnel. This is the third time in a month an employee has been caught stealing gift cards. Not only did we terminate the last two we caught, we had the local police arrest them.
Many employees that steal from us do it because they have financial problems. Sometimes it's a significant other who took all of his/her money, or a family member with a huge medical bill due to a serious illness or injury. Sometimes it's because he/she needs to support a drug habit.
While these are all understandable reasons to steal, the end doesn't justify the means. For me, the incurable insomnia created from the guilt and shame are reasons enough. I value far too much the few hours of sleep I do manage to get during the week.
I'd like to think that everyone we've caught stealing learned his/her lesson and won't do it again. But in reality, not likely. Next time they'll just work harder on not getting caught.