For the past few months I have been working part-time in the M&S Foodhall, Lime St Station, Liverpool to help pay for beer. I’m new to retail and the hours are appalling and the money a disgrace but it’s good fun.
Shoplifting is endemic and it’s not just the obvious bum, wino and scally suspects but the respectable, well-to-do and opportunistic who probably steal the most by not scanning every item in their basket.
I tend to look after the tills, four self-service and one cash till. And to help pass the time I compete with our munchkin security guard, Carl to catch the most shoplifters. A daily, often hourly occurence.
Yesterday, about 3:30pm and an hour+ into our shifts Carl turns to me and says 1-0, watch this … and walks towards the exit. I barely glance up and keep focused on the self service tills. He’s caught someone.
Moments later sure enough Carl is trying to ushur a Yeti back into the shop from the public concourse but the hairy suspect is behaving very aggressively and not cooperating and Carl is struggling and visibly angry and upset.
As the closest team member and at 6’+ I swiftly moved to support Carl and stood very close on the shoulder of the hairy suspect whilst two quick thinking members of Network Rail stood watching/filming the incident on their body cameras. Carl had saliva on his jacket and was apoplectic shouting you fc*king spat on me!?!… The hairy suspect appeared to calm down and despite my concerns we all retreated back into the shop. And chaos ensues…
Suddenly, the hairy suspect falls to the floor in the style of Cristiano Ronaldo and proceeds to play dead. Get up! Get up! There’s nothing wrong with you shouts Carl. I panic and contradict him No, stay down. Do not attempt to get up sir! He’s too big to handle in a small shop full of customers. We should have dealt with him in the public concourse.
Carl proceeds to try and search the hairy suspect who miraculously regains consciousness and a spontaneous wrestling match breaks out. The hairy suspect produces a small vanilla milkshake and trys to drink it whilst shouting Help! Help! I’m being attacked! Carl nearly explodes and trys to grab the milkshake and now it’s everywhere. Carl and the hairy suspect are covered. The hairy suspect produces another identicial bottle, opens it and starts thowing the contents in all directions. He trys to stand and falls into a chocolate display, now there’s chocolate and milkshake everywhere. Customers are running for cover.
Thankfully, at this point the police turn up. It apparently took seven of them to get him into a van. And I spent two hours giving a witness statement. I don’t blame Carl for being very upset. Spitting on someone is disgusting behaviour. And the police hope to charge the hairy suspect with assault.
A day in the life of a retail assistant. And please don’t go shoplifting in Lime St. The munchkin man will get you.