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Moral Dilemma: Manager hoarding rare used items at FYE

Old 06-18-05, 04:13 PM
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Moral Dilemma: Manager hoarding rare used items at FYE

Hi folks,

I have an interesting dilemma. I walked into FYE today on my usual run of the used sections, when I noticed a used copy of My So Called Life sitting behind the counter. When I inquired about it, the store associate told me that he couldn't sell it to me because the store manager was saving it for herself so that she could sell it on ebay. He told me that she does this all the time. To me, this is a clear violation of policy and a theft from FYE, since I would gladly pay the full price they were asking for this item, while she has the opportunity to deduct 30% from that price for her discount.

So my dilemma is: Do I contact district management about this? I do feel that this manager is abusing her authority and is hurting customers. On the other hand, I know that being an FYE manager is a shitty enough job as it is, and causing someone to lose her job over something so trivial is kind of lousy.

Any ideas?
Old 06-18-05, 05:21 PM
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How is this stealing from FYE? How do you know this is a violation of their policy? Are you saying that just because someone works somewhere they're not allowed to buy something from there? Give me a break! Stop being bitter because someone found something before you did. Stop your crying and deal with it!
Old 06-18-05, 07:06 PM
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Hate to break it to you, but just about every retail job out there offers a discount on the store's own merchandise, and the employees are going to be the first people to get a crack at any new merchandise that comes in. It doesn't matter if it's Beanie Babies or DVDs, it's all the same. Go into any backroom of a retail location and there will be a locker, or a cage, or a closet, or a drawer, or whatever, where employees have things "on hold" for purchase.

Quite a stretch to define that as "theft." It's up to FYE to put limits on things if they don't want their employees buying select items or even too many items.
Old 06-18-05, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Hi folks,

I have an interesting dilemma. I walked into FYE today on my usual run of the used sections, when I noticed a used copy of My So Called Life sitting behind the counter. When I inquired about it, the store associate told me that he couldn't sell it to me because the store manager was saving it for herself so that she could sell it on ebay. He told me that she does this all the time. To me, this is a clear violation of policy and a theft from FYE, since I would gladly pay the full price they were asking for this item, while she has the opportunity to deduct 30% from that price for her discount.

So my dilemma is: Do I contact district management about this? I do feel that this manager is abusing her authority and is hurting customers. On the other hand, I know that being an FYE manager is a shitty enough job as it is, and causing someone to lose her job over something so trivial is kind of lousy.

Any ideas?
I agree with most of the other posts in this thread you will find that in many retail stores that associates put things away for themselves. However, the fact that the associate working was so blatant about it, I WOULD contact the district manager and express your concern (especially that it was specifically stated that the Manager was going to sell it on Ebay). The Store Manager should have purchased it, when she first saw it and thus taken it out of inventory. It should not be sitting behind the counter and associates should not be telling folks that's the real reason why. If nothing else it will at least get the manager a talking to and might have ramifications on that employee once the manager of the store gets a talking to as well. However, no store that I know of, condones of the practice of under-stocking merchandise so that employees can get what they want first. Now that's not to say that it doesn't happen, because it happens all the time.
Old 06-18-05, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dvde
How is this stealing from FYE? How do you know this is a violation of their policy? Are you saying that just because someone works somewhere they're not allowed to buy something from there? Give me a break! Stop being bitter because someone found something before you did. Stop your crying and deal with it!
I used to work at FYE - it is against their policy. Employees are allowed to hold items, but must give them up to customers who ask for them. Employees are also not allowed to use their discounts on special order or held items, at least according to corporate policy.

Furthermore, it's theft simply because she is holding merchandise from other paying customers. It's akin to me walking into a store, finding an item, and hiding it for purchase at some indeterminate date. She did not buy it. Had she just bought it, I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, but to hold money from the company in order to profit for herself is theft.

Hypothetical situation: This employee decides that she won't have enough money to pay this set for at least six months and the set stays behind the counter the entire time. What about 8 months? 10 months? A year? Is this ethical?
Old 06-19-05, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Furthermore, it's theft simply because she is holding merchandise from other paying customers.
This is not a crime. It could be against policy, but it isn't theft.
Originally Posted by wewantflair
It's akin to me walking into a store, finding an item, and hiding it for purchase at some indeterminate date. She did not buy it. Had she just bought it, I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, but to hold money from the company in order to profit for herself is theft.
She probably just had it behind the counter while she was working and was going to purchase it at the end of her shift. I don't think she was running her own stash of rare items in plain view that she was going to let accumulate for a few months until purchase.
Old 06-19-05, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dvd182
This is not a crime. It could be against policy, but it isn't theft.
She probably just had it behind the counter while she was working and was going to purchase it at the end of her shift. I don't think she was running her own stash of rare items in plain view that she was going to let accumulate for a few months until purchase.
She was not in the store. The employee told me that she does this all the time. He specifically mentioned The Little Mermaid: Limited Issue and Toy Story: Ultimate Toy Box. When I asked him when the item was traded in, he told me "over a week ago."

I really wouldn't have a problem with it if she had just bought the item. To hold the items behind the counter costing the company money is just wrong, period. It wouldn't have surprised me if she listed it on ebay already, and will only purchase it after the item sells. From what the employee implied, she has a nice little outfit running out of this store.
Old 06-19-05, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
From what the employee implied, she has a nice little outfit running out of this store.
Then it's time to bring in the "big guns" and go to the district manager.
Old 06-19-05, 01:54 AM
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When I worked at a video store, I got an amazing deal on Toy Story Ultimate Toy Box (I basically paid twenty bucks for it and it was in pristine condition, but it was used) and turned around and sold it on Ebay for 90.00. I've seen other people do similar things. It's a perk at working there. It's too bad and so sad for the customers. If I were the manager at FYE, however, I would put it UNDER the counter instead of plain sight for people to bitch and moan because they lost out on a good deal.
Old 06-19-05, 04:19 AM
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I'm amazed with this. Who cares if she paid for it or not. You're going to call a district manager over something so petty?!?! Don't you have something better to do? This is exactly why when a customer complains about something like this, I pretty much tell them to F-off! You're lucky you don't come into my shop, because I would take you out back and b=tch slap you. STOP CRYING AND GET OVER IT!
Old 06-19-05, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dvde
I'm amazed with this. Who cares if she paid for it or not. You're going to call a district manager over something so petty?!?! Don't you have something better to do? This is exactly why when a customer complains about something like this, I pretty much tell them to F-off! You're lucky you don't come into my shop, because I would take you out back and b=tch slap you. STOP CRYING AND GET OVER IT!
Ever read Hamlet? "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." It applies here perfectly.
Old 06-19-05, 09:30 AM
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All I have to say is, BFD. It sounds like the OP has hurt feelings over not being able to get a good deal on a boxed set they wanted. Odd how it never occurred to them that the employee could actually be lying or stretching the truth. And even if not, who really cares? It's a boxed DVD set, not the cure for cancer. Speaking of which, even the title is ridiculous... one boxed set is now hoarding?
Old 06-19-05, 09:50 AM
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When I worked at a comic shop, we had to put out the rare variant covers (except for the ones who had "pull boxes") on the shelf. If they didn't sell by the end of the day, I think we were allowed to grab them for ourselves. I always thought it was best to let the customer have the first pick, so as not to piss them off and have them go to another establishment. It could also be that the owners knew they could get full price for these, instead of selling it to us for 20% off.
Old 06-19-05, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dvde
I'm amazed with this. Who cares if she paid for it or not. You're going to call a district manager over something so petty?!?!
I would care and I WOULD call the district manager. It's under stocking and it's not giving the customer the right to purchase merchandise first. Any store is not in business to sell things at a discount to their employees when they can make more money from regular paying customers. Again I'm not saying that this doesn't happen all the time, but it's good public relations to make merchandise in a store available for customers FIRST.

If she wanted to purchase the set she should have done so and taken it out of the store. Or if this establishment wanted to condone under stocking, at least hide the box set under the counter or in the back. Then the customer wouldn't know it was occurring in the first place.

If the associate was lying then they shouldn't be working there in the first place and that will be dealt with when District Management gets involved. If an associate is lying about this to customers, what else are they being deceptive with in their jobs?

I've seen this happen in my past experiences in retail and I hated it. Sure I want be able to get a good deal as much as the next guy; but true Customer Service means the customer comes first and that seems to be absent in most of the retail landscape these days. You would think that stores wouldn't want to get a bad name for themselves in the times we live in. People will hardly ever give you a compliment to attract new customers or keep your current ones; but you can surely bet they will relay on the BAD information that will make you lose some or keep you from getting new ones. To me it's just not worth it.
Old 06-19-05, 06:12 PM
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Why do customers have a "right" to buy the merchandise first? Is that some kind of rule people make up to justify getting pissed off? I dout it's a store policy at FYE or many other places. Like I said previously, the only real fault I find in this story is that the manager left it out in plain view of everybody else, and that is just asking for complaints. Put it under the counter, or out in their car, as it was also suggested.

What is thought of good customer service/bad customer service in this situation sounds more like a customer is just plain upset about not being the first one in on a good deal. That does not mean a store has bad customer service if their employees manage to get a good deal before you, or don't give you a chance to snag that deal. It means you saw it behind the counter and now equate what they did with something bad, because you didn't get your way. That's just childish, if you ask me.

If I bought something at a store, or put money down to reserve it, and it was the last one and somebody else saw it and thought they should have it, TOUGH LUCK. I don't care if I was just a customer or if I worked there, my money is good whether they get full price or a discounted price from me. Even if I didn't pay for it, and they are holding it for me, get over it.

Second, it was BEHIND THE FRICKING COUNTER. It was NOT on the sales floor. What if you go to Borders where they put things on hold for people behind the counter? You see the last copy of the book you came in for there, and it's being saved for somebody else. Maybe it was paid for, maybe not, but you made up in your mind you should have it. Should you get it? HELL NO!!!!!!! It was not put out for sale. My So Called Life at FYE was not put out for sale. Why the hell do customers think items BEHIND THE COUNTER are available for them? They are behind the counter for a reason. GET OVER IT.

Last edited by calhoun07; 06-19-05 at 06:20 PM.
Old 06-19-05, 11:17 PM
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If I worked there, I'd put everything in the store on hold behind the counter and then tell any customers who inquired that I'd sell the item to them for 10% off after my shift ended.
Old 06-20-05, 03:08 AM
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The real problem here was the chatty employee. He should have just said the disc was no longer for sale. Going into an explanation of the manager's ebay habits was a mistake.
Old 06-20-05, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tasha99
The real problem here was the chatty employee. He should have just said the disc was no longer for sale. Going into an explanation of the manager's ebay habits was a mistake.
I think if I were the manager, and I had an employee that lacked common sense like that, I would not be too happy with the employee.
Old 06-21-05, 12:15 AM
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Employees holding items for themselves until they get off of work is called "understocking." Most retail establishments have a policy against this sort of thing. Most companies want to make sure that the consumers at least get a shot at getting deals such as sale or clearance items first.
Old 06-21-05, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by wewantflair
Hi folks,

I have an interesting dilemma. I walked into FYE today on my usual run of the used sections, when I noticed a used copy of My So Called Life sitting behind the counter. When I inquired about it, the store associate told me that he couldn't sell it to me because the store manager was saving it for herself so that she could sell it on ebay. He told me that she does this all the time. To me, this is a clear violation of policy and a theft from FYE, since I would gladly pay the full price they were asking for this item, while she has the opportunity to deduct 30% from that price for her discount.

So my dilemma is: Do I contact district management about this? I do feel that this manager is abusing her authority and is hurting customers. On the other hand, I know that being an FYE manager is a shitty enough job as it is, and causing someone to lose her job over something so trivial is kind of lousy.

Any ideas?
Welcome to reality. Life isn't fair and if you call someone, all that will probably happen is that they will tell the person to hide it better so it doesn't happen again.

Is FYE going to do something major over something so trivial? Probably not.

Do you really need to go on the internet and ask people what you should do over something like this? I guess so. Most people I know can handle things like this themselves.

What's the worst that will happen to you if you call? You will lose some precious time out of your life. Will it get you the dvd? No. Will this ever happen again if you call? Probably.

If you are going to do something then do it. Stop wasting time on a forum arguing with people who don't agree with calling. This isn't doing anything about what you are complaining about. This isn't accomplishing anything with FYE.

I'm not trying to attack you personally, it's just so annoying to see people run into some problem and go tell everyone on a forum about it asking what they should do when they are already thinking about calling the company. Just do it and then tell the story about your problem and what your resolution was.
Old 06-21-05, 07:54 PM
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This whole thread is an excellent illustration of why customers often don't get the service they feel so entitled to receive...what employee would go out of their way to help anyone who would get so overwrought over something so trivial? FYE is lucky to lose a customer like this!

And OP, if this is such a huge issue for you, why don't you get a job in a video store so you can have first pick of the used DVDs that come in, instead of complaining that someone else does?
Old 06-21-05, 08:06 PM
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You better verify the manager selling it on eBay before trying to get them fired. What if it isn't the manager's DVD's but some other persons and the clerk was just making up a story and has a beef with the manager. Wouldn't you feel like a jerk for getting someone fired for something they didn't do?
Old 06-21-05, 08:21 PM
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It is called 'understocking' and most major retailers have policies against it. You don't need to get into the Ebay aspect.
Old 06-21-05, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by calhoun07
Why do customers have a "right" to buy the merchandise first? Is that some kind of rule people make up to justify getting pissed off? I dout it's a store policy at FYE or many other places.
While I think the OP should just let it be (it really isn't worth putting someone's job in jeapardy) most all retail chains do have a policy against under stocking or short stocking.

For people who buy toy...action figures this is a huge problem. A lot of people who work in the toy departments get first crack at fresh cases of toys and cherry pick all the chase or rare toys to sell at insane mark ups on ebay. Not placing the items on the shelf and hording them is something some overzelous managers will fire people over. This is pretty much true of anything, especially things like Tickle Me Elmo's and other craze type toys. I can totally see how the same situation could arise on the used dvd and video game market.
Old 06-21-05, 10:15 PM
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Even if the employee gets a discount, what business is it of the store or anybody else what they do with the DVD when they get it home? Unless they are selling stolen store merchandise on Ebay (which I have seen people do), I don't see where the problem would come into play.

I worked for a video store. When I was there, there was a manager determined to get an employee fired because she found out that he was taking posters and display pieces and selling them on Ebay. Keep in mind when I say "taking" I don't mean stealing. He was asking the store manager first before he took anything and it was all cleared, all on the up and up.

In the end of the brief investigation, the employee kept his job. The manager wound up getting transferred to another location (the one who was stirring up the trouble) but not for reasons related to her trying to get the employee fired, but for a multiple of reasons.

I also know that employee would snag rare games when they came in for trade. He freely admitted to people he could sell some of them on Ebay, and others he got for his personal pleasure.


But if selling merchandise you score through legit means at a place you work at would create waves, here is an idea: SHUT THE HELL UP ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO WITH IT!!!

And if that manager bought the MSCL set legitimately, and likely the store made money off of the purchase above and beyond what they paid out to the customer who originally brought it in, then I still don't see a problem. It's clearly not a case of "hoarding." She isn't snatching up rare limited edition copies of a DVD here, she managed to find a good deal on ONE SET. To compare it to hoarding rare action figures or other toys or merchandise doesn't make sense to me.

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