Skip to comments.Wichita employee who stopped theft fired by Wal-Mart
Posted on 05/26/2010 5:41:11 PM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner
Heather Ravenstein tried to save Wal-Mart some money Friday by foiling a shoplifter's plan to steal a $600 computer, but it cost Ravenstein her job.
When asked about the situation, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Anna Taylor e-mailed this response:
"While we appreciate her intentions, Ms. Ravenstein's actions put her safety and perhaps the safety of our customers in jeopardy and, in the process, violated company policy as it pertains to how we treat people in our stores. As an unfortunate result of these circumstances, Ms. Ravenstein is no longer employed by our company."
(Excerpt) Read more at kansascity.com ...
Fortunately, it appears that this story is going to have a happy ending:
No good deed goes unpunished.
They should have just reprimanded her with a warning letter to her file and then sent her to some additional training course. The PR hit they took is not very helpful.
A story like this makes you want to go shoplift something at Walmart, doesn’t it?
This action is going to open up a stampede of shoplifting at Wal-Mart. Whether they intended to or not, what they have just declared is that shoplifting at Wal-Mart is ‘legal’.
To enforce these rules in exit check situations, Walmart needs a written and reasonable set of rules with the employee's signature at the bottom. For what they wanted an acceptable rule would be: Do not stand in anyone's way. Ask for receipt, if ignored, DO NOTHING. Wait til it is safe for everyone, then contact loss control and inform them.
I'm pretty sure Walmart can't produce such a document.
Hopefully the locals will loot the store til upper management gets tired of the store manager.
Heather Ravenstein tried to save Wal-Mart some money Friday by foiling a shoplifter’s plan to steal a $600 computer, but it cost her her job.
“I’m a single mom, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” says Ravenstein, who is 30.
She has worked at a Wichita Wal-Mart for almost two years, most recently as a customer service manager.
Friday night around 10:20, she was standing near some registers when she saw a man with a computer coming up the main walkway of the store.
“Action Alley is what they call it,” she says.
“He was walking rather fast, so it caught my eye.”
Ravenstein says the man kept walking and set off an alarm. She went after him.
“Let me see your receipt, and then I’ll take this off for you,” she told the man, referring to a sensor on the computer.
Ravenstein says the man refused and kicked her.
“And then he punched me in my shoulder, and then he finally gave up and just let go of the computer.”
Ravenstein walked back into the store and sat on the floor.
“I was shaking pretty bad,” she says.
Assistant store managers immediately checked on her.
“They all came out and made sure I was OK,” Ravenstein says. “They thanked me.”
The next day, about two hours before her shift was over, Ravenstein says an assistant manager asked to speak with her. He then told her it’s against Wal-Mart policy for anyone but a manager or someone in asset protection to try to stop a customer from stealing.
“He said there’s really no gray area,” Ravenstein says. “It just goes straight to termination.”
She was told to turn in her badges and keys.
“I was in shock at first,” Ravenstein says. “I didn’t think anything like this would happen.”
Nor did she know about the policy, Ravenstein says.
“I’ve never heard of it.”
She says she has stopped people for forging payroll checks on more than one occasion.
“They never once said, ‘You’re not supposed to be doing that.”’
When asked about the situation, Wal-Mart spokeswomanAnna Taylore-mailed this response:
“While we appreciate her intentions, Ms. Ravenstein’s actions put her safety and perhaps the safety of our customers in jeopardy and, in the process, violated company policy as it pertains to how we treat people in our stores. As an unfortunate result of these circumstances, Ms. Ravenstein is no longer employed by our company.”
Ravenstein filed for unemployment Monday.
“The main thing is I’m worried about my son,” Ravenstein says of 4-year-old TJ.
She says she’d like to go to school to work in the medical field, perhaps as a nurse.
She wants “a career, not just a job.”
For now, though, Ravenstein says she simply needs to make money, and it’s not likely to be in retail.
“After this experience, no. Probably not.”
I know if I worked for WalMart and I saw someone stealing I keep my mouth shut.
I think this is an upper management policy. We had the same thing (dont stop anyone) here in a Dallas suburb.
Thank you Anna Taylor for putting your name out in public. The policy of your company is that you will never face consequences for stupid policies and base it on the "you endangered yourself and opened us up to liability" argument.
I am going to write that yes you are going to face consequences and you and your company are wrong for terminating an employee for stopping theft the way she stopped it. And, lawyers who wrote your policy and encourage that kind of thinking are also going to face consequences. Now, let's see who ends up being correct in this matter.
Something has to be done about the lawyers who are behind these kinds of actions by companies. The lawyers must face real consequences for creating this kind of system.
Oversized bureaucracies kill companies, governments and nations.
Central planning never works.
Simplest possible structure is always the best. ALLWAYS.
Since old man Sam died, Walmart is not run the same. He was a tough businessman, but it has become what is killing corporate
“As an unfortunate result of your insulting me, your face is no longer unsmashed by my fist.”
Likely as not.
It's OK with me as long as the management makes it perfectly clear verbally and in writing, to the employees, so they can happily keep their jobs while cheerfully holding the door open for shoplifters.
It is likely the insurance company. No insurance company wants to pay out when an employee or customers are killed or maimed in stopping a theft.
I realize that circumstances cannot be foreseen. Byt insurance companies are usually the ones setting up rules like this.
If they employee knows the rules, then decides to try to apprehend the thief, then they may well lose their job.
Consequences. Some people never forget this stuff. And, some things are more important than money...like principle. Consequences. Mark my words.
The principle is to keep people from getting hurt. That is why they have these rules.
You own a company, you get to make the. Too often employees think they know better than the owners. They do not.
This has nothing to do with employee vs employer concept. You’re still not getting it. I don’t work for Wal-Mart and probably never will. Something things are fundamentally right and some are fundamentally wrong. Crime is not being sufficiently punished in this country to deter it. Morality is not taught nor encouraged. This is far bigger than getting fired by Wal-Mart for chasing down a thief. Consequences. Those who can’t see it, never see it coming.
You’re not getting it.
If an employee can’t understand the instructions I’ve given them ... for WHATEVER reason, they can collect their last check.
One last time and I'm not going to continue arguing with you. You can believe what you want to believe. You're thinking in terms of the old standard of authority where the person in authority tells those below him/her what the rules and instructions are which are to then be followed. You need to go and visit a number of public high schools and watch what happens on a day to day basis. The coming society simply does not accept what you're saying nor are they going to accept it.
You can threaten to withhold a paycheck, terminate someone, blah, blah, blah. Pretty quickly, some lawyer will turn your "rules" around in your face and someone else will own your business. Teachers try to set rules and procedures for students and work assignments and all of that is blatantly ignored by some students. You should see it on a day to day basis. You (with your mindset) would be in shock. No real enforcement or punishment exists and those students will soon be working adults who have all their educational lives seen that the system doesn not require them to respond to authority. And you think YOU can effect that?
Teachers who try to enforce rules and procedures and see that students complete assignments are quickly ostracized and harrassed by parents who do not agree with YOUR take on things. Those who think the way I described far outnumber those of you who think differently. The entire system will eventually collapse and consume YOU in the collapse. That is the concept to which I am referring.