What would you do?

bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)August 2, 2007

I'm an avid reader, mostly mystery novels. So I joined a mystery book club that meets once a week at Barnes and Noble.

After the meeting I was walking up to the checkout and I noticed the other club members did not come with me. They went directly out the front door with their books. (I forgot to mention everyone brings a book bag with notes, other books, personal stuff, etc.) I was absolutely the only one who stopped and paid. Second meeting I watched carefully. Some took more than just the current book, but no one went to checkout.

I thought maybe the best thing would be to just write a note to B&N and ask if there is an agreement about book clubers paying later/credits/whatever. If no agreement, maybe they better start doing a bag search. Without a doubt this will get the club thrown out of B&N but I haven't gone back anyway.

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Wow, talk about stealing in plain view. I'd probably send a note to B&N too. What a shame.

They're closing some of them down in my area...who knows, could it be partially due to lost sales/theft?


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:27AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Perhaps they had previously bought the books? Were you there when they arrived and did you see them take one off the shelf?
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:27AM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

We don't decide on a book selection until half way thru the meeting. Then someone goes and gets enough copies for everyone.

We talk about books we've read and some people will go get copies of those to look at and often 'buy'.

linda, I know what you're saying. I don't want to believe it either. I just can't go to these people and ask why they are bypassing the cash register. I surely don't want to accuse anyone falsely. I don't want to cause a big upheaval at B&N.

Is it better to pretend I didn't see anything?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:47AM
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That IS a hard call! It may be, as Lindac suggested, that it is their habit
to come early and do their shopping beforehand so they can go home right after
the meeting to get started doing their reading!

Pointing the other *possibility* out to the store manager, might clear it up for you,
because if they had made previous purchases on those nights, he'd probably be aware of
their *habits*.

Were they going out with the books in paper bags, furnished by the store? That may be a clue, as well!
Of course, some bring their own shopping bags, too!

In any case, if you quietly approach the manager, I'm sure he'd appreciate your obvious concern for
the stores' welfare and could either take measures to deal with it or reassure you that things are indeed,
"up and up"!

Shoplifting is incredibly commonplace in most retail stores, and they often have their hands tied, to deal with it,
as it should be! Lawsuits are so rampant that all too often people really can be quite bold about it!

I could tell you STORIES, about shoplifters, etc. but I won't!! You don't want to be tied up all day on this computer,
do you?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:51AM
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Oops, I didn't see your further explanation till you posted, Marnie!

I'd ask the manager for sure, then--asking if he's aware of the *activity*! I don't know, there MAY BE
a reasonable explanation! Have you been with this particular group since it's conception?

I detest dishonesty and theft, etc. on any level--sort of my 'righteous indignation' coming to play, I suppose!
I'd say something, if I were REALLY SURE there's good evidence of wrong-doing!

During my days of working in a retail store, I was approached by security to help them get the bead on ladies going into the dressing rooms. I'd observe what they took in and the *sounds* in the dressing room stalls, and what they took out with them, and checking the stalls after they left. That was before security cameras were in play!

They also asked me if I'd be interested in joining their ranks, but one of the down-sides would have been the possiblity of bodily harm--knifings etc.

I turned it down, cause of hubby's concerns and my daughters now say, "Mom, all they'd have to do is start crying and promising never to do it again, and you'd be hugging them and letting them go"! Sigh, I do have this *indignation* over wrongs done, but there is this *other* under-belly side, too!

However, I think as time is going on and more of those forensics shows, date-line stings etc., I'm becoming more wise to the cons and *schmoozing* of the ingenious criminals! It's amazing how wide-spread lawlessness is becoming!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:02AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if you came to talk about hosta in my yard... and walked out with them .. its stealing

same with the books...

report them .. and pray they rot in hell ...

i would call the store manager.. from a pay phone, and ask why they allow this to happen .... anonymity leaves you out of the loop ... say something like... i might be mistaken .. but are the books free to club members.. as i noticed i was the only one who paid for it ... perhaps i am owed a refund, if they are free ... and let them come to their own conclusions ...


    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:51PM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Ken, I love your idea. Ask for a refund because I didn't know the books were free.

I think you're right. I should do this. Stealing is stealing. Maybe the store manager could just ban tote bags, carry alls, etc. That way nobody gets accused, nobody gets hassled. If they have the guts to walk out with books in plain sight, that's store security's problem.

Thanks for the input everyone. Ken, be suspicious of anyone coming into your yard carrying a bag and shovel. Even if they say they are only looking for their lost dog. lol

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 3:14PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I would go to the counter at another time and ask about the costs for the book club. Then ask "does that include the books?" or if no cost is mentioned ask what about the cost of books and then ask is there some agreement that book club members can borrow the books to read and return them later? Then mention why you are asking.
Play dumb....could be something you are missing....but I have heard that the "shrinkage" on mall bookstores in enormous. the books sit out there almost in the aisle of the store....and there are hidden shelves and aisles and I would bet they lose more than they sell....which is one reason why a book at B and N costs more than that same book at Sam's club.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 4:06PM
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i_dig_it(z5a - Illinois)

At the B&N here in IL they all have those huge metal security things you have to pass through when going through the doors. I also know the books have some kind of metal security tag on them that has to be scanned at the checkout to de-activate it.

Maybe that's just here in IL, I don't know.

If you don't feel comfortable asking the other club members about any policy or discounts you are entitled to as a member, then I definately would mention at the counter next time you are purchasing a book that you are "in the club" and you "think" this one is free for club members as you noticed the others were not paying for their copies.

Let us know how this turns out.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 12:32AM
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OT here, but I didn't know if you had ever heard of paperback swap on the internet?? You post books and then you get credits when someone requests them and you ship the books, then you can pick out books from other members lists and they send them to you, I am a avid reader as well, mostly mystery. Yes these are used but they are "usually" in excellent shape. To tell you the truth I go to the Salvation Army grab up a bunch of paperbacks that are in good shape (and I do go to the counter and pay for them) and post them, just so I can order the mysteries, then I keep em. I am a mystery book horder, lol!!!!!

I don't have any answers that the others haven't given you on the stolen books, but I can tell you I would find some way of getting those people what they deserve, this is what continues to drive the price of merchandise up (that and gas prices but anywhoo)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 7:39PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

I think you've got some good suggestions in this post, but just wanted to add that my daughter is an assistant manager in a well known retail clothing chain, and the loss due to shoplifting is unbelievable. Tens of thousands of dollars a year, and this is in this one store in one mall. Imagine what the company sustains nation wide! And then think about why it costs us so much to buy all the stuff we buy.

And, as said before in this chain of posts, stealing is stealing. It's not right. I hate 'tattling' on someone but this is an immoral and illegal activity and it shouldn't be allowed to happen.

I think your doubts were right and that asking the good people of your favorite hosta forum was exactly the right thing to do :-)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 4:08PM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Thank you all for your suggestions and for giving me the push I needed to do the right thing. At first I thought store security should have been more observant. Then I got to thinking how much more books would cost us all if 1. stores had to have more security and 2. all of the rest of us are paying for stolen books in the end. I wrote a letter to the manager and just told him/her what I observed. If the store is interested in catching them in the act they will have to put an observer in a position to watch them. Otherwise they can just take steps to prevent the book clubers from hiding books in personal totes or purses. I didn't sign the letter because I didn't want to give further details to the store, the police or the book club memebers.

It's really sad. The store gave the club a really nice place to meet and an opportunity to look at their huge selection of books in a leisurely manner. They don't deserve to be taken advantage of. If B&N decides not to allow them to meet at the store because of this, they will have to find a restaurant or coffee shop where theft won't be a temptation for them. I get an email club update a few times a month. I'll let you know if the email mentions anything about this.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:57AM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)


There is one problem with your solution as I see it. If you met with the club there only once, maybe staff doesn't yet recognize you. But if you shop there often, or have been with the club a few times, you may be recognized as a part of the book club. Assuming the staff has now been alerted to possible theft by book club members, you may have brought yourself under suspicion by choosing to remain anonymous with your complaint. If I were you, I wouldn't hang out with that particular book club any more (anyway). People are often judged by their "friends"....

Please let us know how things go.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:38AM
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Oh my goodness, Nancy! You are SO right!!! Or, she could go up and introduce herself, to the manager, and own up to the *tip*!

Nancy, I remember my mother telling me something like what you said--"you are often judged by the company you keep"!
Back in the days of my youth, I would sometimes take up with kids, with not-the-best reputations, often from troubled families,
the ones not often seen as the 'good' kids and very often *shunned* by many, including parents! I felt sorry for them and would
find myself befriending them, talking to them, spending time with them while others would not. My mother always worried
about their potential influences on me, as would ANY concerned mother! I've "been there and done that" myself, as a *mother*!

Thankfully, I very rarely really fell into doing what I knew wasn't the right things to do or be, but that was only by the grace of God
in many instances, I will admit! There were times, it was difficult not to go along with *the crowd* as I'd often be teased as being 'Mom'
or 'goody-two-shoes'! It was usually said in a good-natured way, though!

However, I found in many instances, these kids weren't nearly as *bad* as their assigned reputations! They were just identified as such,
by their families' reputations, in many cases! And even those who may have had a lifestyle not generally accepted in those days, they were
really looking to be loved by someone and did what they thought would get get them *love*--but sadly never really did achieve that end
for them, using those *means*! Very sad!! Whether it was guys, looking to be the *toughest* or girls being the most *giving*, it never
went well for either--in the long run! I have wondered what some of their lives are like right now! I really hope, it is much better for them,
these days, than back then!

Oh well, I digress--down *memory lane*! Didn't expect to take that route today!!

Good thinking, Nancy--you obviously *think things through*!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:38AM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Nonsense! Bean saw some people stealing she thinks...she told management about her suspicions, management will watch for stealing. If she not stealing she has nothing to worry about. And I don't believe this book club is a band of thieves, and as yet no one really knows if some members are stealing books or if other arrangements have been made.
I think she did the exactly right thing. Being under suspicion if fine if you have done nothing wrong. Worrying about what the clerk in a book store will think if you hang around with THAT book club is so very 4th grade.
And as for the comparison with a child hanging out with the wrong crowd, Bean is an adult, educated and responsible she has no worries about people thinking ill of her.
And Hey_j if you were hanging aropund with juvenile delinquents, I don't blame your mother for being concerned, but if you were simply befriending kids who had a rough go in life, like a dead beat father or a divorced family then shame on your mother.

Keep us posted, Bean. I am betting the store will be unconcerned and treat it as normal shrinkage. After all the employees of chain mall stores really have little concern with the corporation's bottom line. If you really want to get something done, direct your inquiry to Leonard Riggio the head honcho and the man who made B and N what is is today.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 12:51PM
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Nope, Linda, they weren't juvenile delinquents--yet--but I think it was always my mother's concern, that they could be in time! I'd have never chosen to *hang with* kids that were criminals! Some were from broken homes, multiple marriages, alcoholism, etc.! But then, so was I--at least one divorce and remarriage and believe me, it didn't mean my parents weren't VERY strict with me, cause they sure were--thankfully!

It was more the loose gals--the term used then! In their cases, as I recall, the three gals I befriended lacked good appropriate affection from their fathers and were looking for it, in all the wrong places. I had hoped to convince them that they were going down a path that would end in a life of dumpings, ill treatment and regret! But, the cast was already set for them, apparently--and they seemed to think I was just naive and not "with it"! Very sad!

I had some of the same lacks in my own life (appropriate affection and my step-father had a type of alcoholism, not constant but bad when in it's grip) but thankfully, I was spared their regrets, again, by the grace of God, and a neighbor who made sure I was in church every Sunday! I know, that was why my life was different, at that crucial and impressionable point, of my young life!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 5:19PM
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