A brave Kroger manager who disarmed a knife-wielding shoplifting suspect wound up fired for his trouble.
The incident (see video embedded below) occurred outside a Kroger supermarket in Arlington, Texas.
Like many chain stores, Kroger’s corporate policy requires employees to avoid physical confrontations with customers when they suspect them of stealing. The company is probably concerned about lawsuits.
The whole encounter was recorded on cellphone video by a customer who observed it from some distance away. “In the video, you can see the unnamed manager approach the shoplifting suspect. The suspect appears to have a knife in his hand. The manager shoves him into a parked car and gets the knife out the suspect’s hand before eventually slamming him down to the ground.”
Arlington police indicated that the alleged shoplifter, 51, had a long rap sheet.
The manager (actually an assistant manager) told local media that he had 13 years of experience in loss prevention and that he felt he handled the situation properly.
Loss prevention is corporate speak for practices that root out theft, fraud, vandalism, waste or any other shady/illegal activities that cut into the profit margin.
Kroger released a statement that explained in part, “The incident … is not a reflection of our company’s fraud prevention protocol, procedures or training … He is no longer employed by our company.”
The decision to fire the manager for disarming the shoplifter did not sit well with some Kroger customers, who expressed their dissatisfaction on Facebook. One representative comment declared that “Your termination of the manager that subdues the criminal shows you have a lack of values and ethics that is needed in today’s society. I will take no part in doing business with Kroger unless there is a full retraction and you show your support for a manager that fully has my support. Shame on you Kroger.”
Another customer wrote that “So an employee stands up for justice and you answer it by firing him? I’ll never buy so much as a loaf of bread from your stores again. Since money is the only language you corporate dogs speak.”
Last summer, Kroger bought Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. for $2.44 billion cash, thereby securing its position as the largest traditional supermarket operator in the US. There are now more than 2,400 Kroger locations in 31 states. Annual sales are close to $100 billion for the company which his headquartered in Cincinnati.
Do you think Kroger was justified in firing the store manager after the altercation with an alleged shoplifter?
[image credit: Mike Kalasnik]