Monday, January 6, 2014

It's a shopper beware world

January 6, 2014

Happy Epiphany! Today, in Christian circles, marks the arrival of the three wise kings to greet the newborn Jesus. A lot of folks leave their decorations up until today, but I jumped ship on that this year and took it all down on New Year's Day. But I'm not blogging today to talk about camels. I wish I were. 

Today was not a good day and I feel compelled to tell my story as a warning to others. 

I visited a warehouse "Club" today to get a few things. At the checkout, I handed the cashier my club card and my check. Her cellphone was lying beside her drawer. As she processed my check, she lifted her cell phone in a what I thought was a strange manner and slipped it into her pocket. 

I immediately confronted her, point blank. "Did you take a picture of my check and card with your phone?" 

She replied she did not - what else would she say? I was not reassured and went to the membership desk and asked to see a supervisor. I told him what had happened and he confirmed the cashiers are not allowed to have their cell phones out of their pockets while at the register. I asked them to issue me a new account number on the spot, and they did. 

More worrisome was that she might have gotten my checking account number. 

I went to my bank, had a very enlightening chat about my legal options with bank personnel, and transferred all but the minimal amount to cover the check I'd just written to another account. The bank will assist me in watching to see if anyone attempts to access my checking account.  

Suffice it to say, I'm concerned. 

The management of the big "- Club" pulled the cashier off her station immediately. I hope they insisted on seeing her phone. (Actually, bitchy as it is of me, I hope they fired her to protect themselves. She broke a rule of employment to their detriment and an unhappy customer is blogging about it. They can't view the end result as good promo.) 

I would hope the cashier is smart enough to know I have her name should I suddenly begin to have identity theft problems. Heck, I have a cell phone of my own. I might even have a picture of her stored away for a lawsuit should "problems" arise within my financial empire. I think I'll snap a photo of everyone who is about to handle anything that touches my finances. 

Will I shop at that "Club" again? Not for a long time. Maybe never again. Right now I'm leaning toward the never again, but I might work past it. I'll see how I feel when my annual membership fee is assessed. 

This all happened in the blink of an eye. Had I not been paying attention, she'd have gotten away with it, if in fact she did snap a photo of my information. 

I trusted my instincts which say better safe than sorry. This is the first time I've experienced this and it will change the way I shop. I don't know what has happened to the world in the last few years. Five years ago, I don't think it would have happened. 

If you work as a cashier and your employer says no phones at the register, please remember this rule of employment can also protect you. 

When you shop, be alert. Trust your instincts. Don't be afraid to inform management if you suspect a problem. You may save more people than yourself - even your grandmother. 

KC Kendricks

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