Customer Catches Cashier Stealing From Company, Wonders What To Do

In a timely coincidence to the New York Times’ story on employee theft, the following story arrived in our tipline about a day ago. The tipster wants to know who he should report this to: the store or the police?

I went to the local sporting goods store, and was checked out by James* [*name changed]. I had about $140 worth of stuff, and he asked if I had cash, rather than credit card. I said no, and he said “if you had cash, you could walk out of here with all this for $100.”

I said no again, and proceeded with the sale. He then proceeded to tell me that they call him “the hook up man,” and that any time I came in, I should bring cash.

I’ve worked retail. I know what he’s doing. He takes the cash, then hands the goods to the customer without checking them out. The customer gets a huge discount, James* gets a huge bonus to his hourly wage.

Right before I was rung up, there was another woman behind the counter with him helping another customer. The woman from behind the counter walked away before James’s offer of a discount. When I called back and asked to speak to the Store Manager I was told he wasn’t in, and that he might be in tomorrow. I was afraid to tell the person on the phone, thinking they might be doing the same thing.

Question: Do I wait until tomorrow to report to the Store Manager, call back and report it to the lower-level manager, or call the police?

Since the sporting goods store is part of a national chain, I’d call and ask for information for a district manager, and report it at that level. Readers, what’s your advice?

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