The Time When the Hypervigilant Security Guard Was the One Stealing

More tales from my life in retail

I loved working in retail. I love to shop, so of course, I would love to help others find the perfect merchandise, too! But there was one aspect of working for a large department store that I didn’t enjoy. 

There are lessons that are meant to be learned, such as the people most adept at calling out sins are usually the most guilty of it themselves. Such was the case with this one security guard I worked with at Hecht’s. 

Ugh. This guy. 

He was just a jerk. His whole persona reeked of it. Not only that, but he was ruthless in calling out seemingly benign problems on the selling floor. 

We never knew when he would just randomly show up to audit a drawer. He would accuse you of swiping money, claiming he saw you on camera, embarrassing you in the process in front of fellow associates and customers. And when he couldn’t find any errors, he threatened to catch you next time. He reduced multiple associates to puddles of tears, including me, with this scare tactic.

And there was a time that I was returning something. I hadn’t been working in the store that long. He practically ran across the store to berate me in front of associates and customers to tell me that I needed to go through the proper channels to return something. Apparently, there was a form I had to fill out. I was mortified! And his behavior was truly unnecessary. 

I wasn’t even 20 years old, working retail, and had to deal with this bullshit every shift. He indeed created a toxic work environment. My fellow associates and I were always on our toes. 

He was equally ruthless with actual shoplifters and was the type to walk the floor and try to catch them. Since most of my time at Hecht’s I worked in men’s collections, he was frequently nearby. If you were shopping for Polo or Tommy Hilfiger and you fit a certain profile, you could expect to have a shadow as part of your shopping experience. It was gross. 

Since I only worked on breaks, and this was the age before cell phones, the news took a bit to travel. So imagine my surprise that on my first shift back home from college, I learned that this security guard had been fired! Not only that, but he had been the mastermind behind a very elaborate black market scheme, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise. He would be spending some time behind bars. It was a crazy story! 

His behaviors were meant to distract us from what was actually happening. If he looked the part and was acting like he was trying to figure out why the store was losing so much money, he thought he could deflect from his own actual crimes. 

Am I comforted that he spent time in jail? Maybe. But the best part was that his absence made the work environment seem much more at ease. 

I didn’t know any better. I thought that all department stores had crazy vigilant security. I’m glad that’s not how it’s supposed to be. 

But I certainly learned the lesson about hypocrites. 


Do you have a story like this about someone who was quick to call out sins or crimes but was guilty of the behavior themselves? I’d love to hear about it!

As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness, speaking about the human experience, and in fighting for social justice. Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Boco Gear, SaltStick, SPIbelt, Goodr, Noxgear, and Switch4Good.

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