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Walmart worker fired for stopping shoplifter

posted 5/26/2010 11:00:06 AM |
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  StraddleMyNose


WICHITA, Kan. - Heather Ravenstein tried to save the Wal-Mart corporation some money Friday by foiling a shoplifter's plan to steal a $600 computer, but it cost 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 Walmart 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 security 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 company policy for anyone but a higher-level 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 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."

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."

AP

******************************************************************

My opinion is, why are there so many idiots in high level postions in businesses and companies around the U.S. with no common sense whatsoever, who punishes good hard working employees? So, they think her actions put other people (including yourself) at risk? Lets get it straight, it was the shoplifter who did this.

If in this same position as the fired Walmart employee was, would you have done what she did, or would you have looked the other way?

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Comments:

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Ewe_Wish

May 26 @ 11:07AM  
She should get an attorney.............and file a lawsuit so big that she doesn't have to worry about having a career.........because if that policy was not posted............its not a policy they can enforce.............and besides she got the shit beat out of her.........so in essence she got hurt on the job.........there are a lot of attorneys that would sue for less cause..................JMO
onehornytoad69

May 26 @ 11:31AM  
At my local Wal-Mart....they have so many Stealing ...anything and Everything....Beer, Soft drinks....dvd's cd's/Players.... TV's, etc. that if its Not in a Bag...they will check your Receipt to make sure the Items are on there!!!
I will make it a Point to Ask them on my next Visit....."what would they do if They Busted someone"!
I can remember last 4th of July.....the Greeter's told me of Many Carts loaded with Beer and other stuff being Stolen!!!! But after they get in the Parking Lot....they are Home Free!!!
But yanno... There has to be a Policy/Protocol for this!!!
I guess I would have ask the Question..before I started the Job.....Just saying
wissadp

May 26 @ 11:32AM  
I agree with ewe if it is not posted it is not policy. If they would look at the security cameras they would see what happened. most walmarts have greeters by the doors for alarm purposes
casuallylooking

May 26 @ 11:36AM  
because if that policy was not posted............its not a policy they can enforce.............and besides she got the shit beat out of her.........so in essence she got hurt on the job.........there are a lot of attorneys that would sue for less cause..................JMO
My opinion also. And make it very public knowledge.
WalMart employees are given many papers to sign when they start there, if this was not in them there is nothing they can do to punish her for breaking policy.

By her stopping people from cashing checks that weren't theirs, she was actually saving them money. The computer missing can be turned into their insurance as shortage of goods and they are reimbursed for it.

To answer your question, Shawn, I would have done the same thing.
casuallylooking

May 26 @ 11:38AM  
But after they get in the Parking Lot....they are Home Free!!!
Here they can Not be stopped for shoplifting until they step out the door with it. Other wise it is looked at as they could still change their minds and return or pay for it.
Wordsofwit

May 26 @ 11:53AM  
This has happened before with Wal-Mart. It happens with other retailers also. What often happens in a well publicized story like this is that a competitor or other firm will offer the ex-employee a job. Besides, if an employer canned you for something like that, would you want to work for them again?

I also wonder if it was a mom and pop shop instead of Wal-Mart if the story would have even been covered.
ThePurpleProphet

May 26 @ 12:08PM  
I almost got fired for the same reason at Sears Hardware, but since I wasn't told about the rule before hand they decided to keep me and screw with me until I quit. 2 months later the store closed down. I'd like to think I played apart in that. They didin't have anyone who could play my part...doin everything. I feel so much better.
RJ53

May 26 @ 12:22PM  
When I worked in retail, before you ever hit that floor the first time they gave you a handbook of rules and it was up to you to read them. I am not sure if Walmart did that or not. In most stores only management, someone with the same authuroity as management (for instance I worked in the store but worked for corporate headquarters) or security is allowed to stop a customer for leaving the store with an item and an employee or lower level management can be fired for doing so. It is for the employee and customer safety. She could file a lawsuit however for them not providing a safe environment for their employees.
RevDocLove

May 26 @ 12:58PM  
Sue the fuck out of ol' Sam's estate
1bunny629

May 26 @ 12:58PM  
I am with everyonelse on this. She wouldn't have done it if she new there was a rule against that particular action. In the 2 years she worked there this has bound to have happened before, ao even if it wasn't in the rule book she would have heard about it. Bad move on Walmarts part.
flavorbuster

May 26 @ 1:01PM  
It isn't like she could have called security .... observe & report is all they would do & I guess she could have went by that but the system protects the bad & keeps the good with their hands tied. This kind of thing has happened with a good citizen helping a cop in the past & got charged with police interference or something of that nature. Anyway a Top Gun security officer shot & killed a person last night .
surv6969

May 26 @ 1:49PM  
So does the greeter have the authority to ask for a recite? They do every time the alarm goes off at the Walmart I go to and they go through your bags until they find what set off the alarm. See if I ever stop for the alarm again at Walmart.
straightup_9

May 26 @ 2:17PM  
So does the greeter have the authority to ask for a recite?

Yes, they do have the authority, since their duties are part of "General Store Security"

She definitely has grounds for a lawsuit, even had she been aware of the policy, based on the fact that no one came to her aid, (i.e. the person or persons hired and/or designated by Wal-Mart to provide security)
Ewe_Wish

May 26 @ 2:22PM  
See if I ever stop for the alarm again at Walmart.
I want to be a greeter at Surv's store.........there will be some strip searchings going on............whooo wheee....
surv6969

May 26 @ 2:29PM  
I want to be a greeter at Surv's store.........there will be some strip searchings going on............whooo wheee....

............................................you'll have to catch me.
Ewe_Wish

May 26 @ 2:34PM  
............................................you'll have to catch me.
I'll just trip you with my cane.............
ThePurpleProphet

May 26 @ 3:08PM  
I wanna be strip searched,
Wordsofwit

May 26 @ 4:06PM  
they gave you a handbook of rules and it was up to you to read them.

If it is like the Wal-Marts around here, the rule book was probably written in Spanish.
theSkwirl

May 26 @ 4:32PM  
She'll have another job pronto.. someone will appreciate her can do attitude.
sugarnspice005

May 26 @ 6:31PM  
I agree with the others..she should sue them.
StraddleMyNose

online now!
May 26 @ 6:37PM  
Dayna, very good comment. I totally agree with you

By her stopping people from cashing checks that weren't theirs, she was actually saving them money.
treas, I agree with you. She was saving the store money by catching this with the checks.

Purple, you're probably right as far as why they went under there.

RevDoc, I think I would sue if i were her

Surv, you're absolutely right. I see this at my Walmarts as well where the greeters check your receipt.

Straightup, we're in total agreement about the receipt and a good case for a lawsuit.

If it is like the Wal-Marts around here, the rule book was probably written in Spanish.
Bruce, you're probably right.

Sam, I can see that as well. I'm sure after this being in the news, she will have a few jobs to pick from.

Thanks to all of you for all the great comments!
Cootiesprayer

Jun 7 @ 4:05PM  
Well i can tell you that I worked at one & we had a woman attempt to leave with a tote of stuff & a non manager stopped her & he didn't lose his job...sounds like they were looking for a reason to terminate her I have never heard of this before...she should sue them that's ridiculous.

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Walmart worker fired for stopping shoplifter