I got sloppy. I just could not figure why my food costs skyrocketed UNTIL: a trusted employee was not ringing in credit card sales into the register. He, however would add up the sale price off to the side and then swipe the customer card for that amount. Then of course, he would graciously take that dollar amount of cash out of the register and place it in his pocket. Essentially, he was giving our products away for free. How I finally caught on was I audited the charge slips to the register tapes and found the credit card charges were not on the register tape. What he told me, when confronted, was he gets in a hurry and skips over ringing in the sale. I asked him how he comes up with the price due, he told me he just adds it up in his head. Oh, so a latte, scone and a pound of coffee is easy for you to add in your head that moment? I did not realize he being such a math genius. I now know how he wined and dined his hot new girlfriend at the time. It was on me. I figured it cost me $4K over 9 months. As, I said, I got sloppy.

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I feel for you. I'd bet that he was doing this with cash sales too. Speaking as someone who spent many years as a fastfood manager I can tell you that this is WAY more common than most managers will ever know. If you're balancing your cash drawer to the tape at every shift-change you'll find that the people who do this will frequently be OVER in their drawer. Since they can't get their "skim" out of the drawer exactly right every time they'll undercut their theft knowing that they'll get less attention if their drawer is a few bucks over than if it was consistantly short.

I had a girl once who kept track of her under-rings by dropping coins in the left side compartment of the drawer where we keep the rolled change. Every penny represented a dollar that she needed to get out before her shift was over. When she got close to twenty cents she'd just slide a $20 bill in her pocket and put the coins back where they belong. Pretty slick.

It's always struck me as funny that when a thief is discovered it's almost always one of the (seemingly) best employees in the shop.
How about assembling the evidence and have him arrested and prosecuted?

Zero Tolerance.
This is a story I hear too often. First, I'm sorry - it sucks, it's dissapointing and it makes you feel crappy (we've been there). Usually it's a reason that people start to call us about the POS. The tracking abilities help stop this very fast.

However - there are some ways to track and stop some of this. I have stores (without POS) that have the ever present sign saying that to call if you did not get a receipt. This means the employee has to print and then void - even on a cash register.

Another real low tech way to catch some of this is from a story I had a former gas station owner tell me. He used to take assign a new employee to a shift and then preload the cash drawer with an extra $20 (so tell the employee that there is $100 in the drawer but put $120). If the employee comes out even at the end of the night - you have a dishonest employee.

If anyone ever wants to talk about this in POS just let me know.
I am sorry you had to learn this lesson this way. You really do have to make sure you safeguard yourself in every way. If employees see any gap, any way to be dishonest, the chance of them using that to steal goes up exponentially. Again, sorry to hear you had to learn this lesson this expensively.
what a bummer, i am so sorry to hear your story. we had a similar issue where i work several years ago. We had an employee actually ring up the items, tell the customer what the price would be (the $ was on a digital screen for the customer to see- and we have a touch screen POS system), but after telling the customer the price, the employee would then delete the items, line by line, cash out the ticket, open the drawer- take the customer's money and put it in the register.
apparently this employee would 'save' up the receipts and add up the booty later when counting down the register at the end of shift, then pocket the cash- or family would come through the line during the day and would receive an extra portion of change.

it was a sad, sad deal.

the employee was discovered basically through a hunch. accounting personel began looking through daily transactions and noticed all the voids- the sting operation took place soon after.

now, voids are regulated through reason and signature. every employee *has* to login with their own user name and pin, receipts must be given out to every customer and we have cameras- fortunately- no one is watching every move that is made, but requests can be made to upload film from two weeks ago at approximately 3:10 p.m.
My purpose was to share my experience. I can tell you I am not sloppy anymore. I can also tell you, it is hard work to be responsible all the time. It is a good feeling to have a bank deposit again and to pay my bills. He was terminated not because of theft but because we do not operate the way he was doing business. He fought for his job and swore no money was stolen. It did not matter as, again, that is not how we do business....add items in our head and hope the customer was charged right. Thanks again, your experiences are valuable.
while it's a personal tragedy when it happens on our own turf, it's good to hear these kinds of stories from others to a) remind ourselves that this stuff happens to other people too and b) reminds others that this stuff happens.
I hope you understand, I was not saying your were sloppy. You really have to stay on top of things like this to eliminate loopholes for this kind of thing to happen. It's not easy.
Sandy - good for you for putting the tools to use. There was a story I posted recently on Facebook about a fine dining restaurant here in Washington that had an employee steal 30k over 3 years in this way. Using the audit tools and tracking number of voids by employee is a great way to catch red flags. It's a shame that theft is a part of business but it's good when we can all get together and compare notes!

In my part of the industry (pos sales) we hear these every day. It's a sad part of the job sometimes to hear how people have been taken advantage of.

Here's another small one - I frequent a local fast food place called taco del mar - $4.99 taco meal on tuesdays. I went to different location than the one I normally go to and the person behind the counter is awesome - great personality, friendly, fast etc. Just want you want in an employee. Then at the end of the transaction she punches my frequent buyer card three times! Now, this is supposed to be once per $5 spent. I thanked her and asked why she did that . . . the response was: "it's not my money!"


Sandy Hon said:
what a bummer, i am so sorry to hear your story. we had a similar issue where i work several years ago. We had an employee actually ring up the items, tell the customer what the price would be (the $ was on a digital screen for the customer to see- and we have a touch screen POS system), but after telling the customer the price, the employee would then delete the items, line by line, cash out the ticket, open the drawer- take the customer's money and put it in the register.
apparently this employee would 'save' up the receipts and add up the booty later when counting down the register at the end of shift, then pocket the cash- or family would come through the line during the day and would receive an extra portion of change.

it was a sad, sad deal.

the employee was discovered basically through a hunch. accounting personel began looking through daily transactions and noticed all the voids- the sting operation took place soon after.

now, voids are regulated through reason and signature. every employee *has* to login with their own user name and pin, receipts must be given out to every customer and we have cameras- fortunately- no one is watching every move that is made, but requests can be made to upload film from two weeks ago at approximately 3:10 p.m.
Oh, you did not have to say I was sloppy. I was there already!! I finished reading for the second time the responses. Good education.

Jason Dominy said:
I hope you understand, I was not saying your were sloppy. You really have to stay on top of things like this to eliminate loopholes for this kind of thing to happen. It's not easy.

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