WASHINGTON, July 13 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today, WakeUpWalMart.com, as reported by the New York Times, revealed a new internal document which detailed Wal-Mart's recent changes to the company's shoplifting policies.
The new changes abandon Sam Walton's policy of 'zero- tolerance,' in favor of a new policy which tells workers not to stop shoplifters for items under $25. The internal Wal-Mart policy document was given to WakeUpWalmart.com by a former Wal- Mart worker who is deeply concerned with the negative effect this policy will have on other Wal-Mart workers, the company, and the community.
According to the internal Wal-Mart document, the new shoplifting policy has changed from "Shoplifter Apprehensions" to "Investigation and Detention of Shoplifters." In particular, the new shoplifting document explains to Wal-Mart workers that "the guidelines for prosecution of shoplifters have changed: the retail value of the merchandise recovered must exceed $25, and the suspected shoplifter must be at or between the ages of 18 and 65."
The change in shoplifting policy is a dramatic departure from Sam Walton's policies. Sam Walton believed shoplifting was "one of the biggest enemies of profitability in the retail business," and even linked employee bonuses to reducing the shrinkage in each Wal-Mart store.
"Wal-Mart has truly forgotten where it came from. Instead of valuing workers, Wal-Mart is brutally restructuring the company by cutting hours for hundreds of thousands of loyal employees which is negatively impacting customer service and destroying worker morale. Now, Wal-Mart has gone one step further. Instead of addressing the serious issue of crime at Wal-Mart stores, Wal- Mart is abandoning Sam Walton's zero tolerance and is now letting some shoplifters go," said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
The shift in Wal-Mart's shoplifting policy follows widespread reports from Wal-Mart workers, many in the Loss Prevention Division, who have witnessed deep cuts, scheduling changes, and other restructuring at Wal-Mart stores. In fact, as reported in the New York Times, J.P. Suarez, Wal-Mart's Loss Prevention director admits the company is making these changes as a cost- saving measure. As Suarez states "it was no longer efficient to prosecute petty shoplifters, 'If I have somebody being paid $12 an hour processing a $5 theft, I have just lost money'," he said. "I have also lost the time to catch somebody stealing $100 or an organized group stealing $3,000."
Wal-Mart's change in shoplifting policy also follows the well- publicized release by WakeUpWalMart.com of a study of police call incidents at Wal-Mart stores. The study, entitled "Is Wal-Mart Safe?" analyzed the official 2004 police incident reports (i.e. calls for police service) at 551 Wal-Mart store locations. According to the study, based on the number of reported police incidents for the sample, it is estimated police responded to nearly 1 million police incidents at Wal-Mart in 2004 costing taxpayers $77 million annually.
WakeUpWalMart.com is a national grassroots movement of 245,000 Americans who have joined together to change Wal-Mart into a responsible and moral corporation. Web: http://www.WakeUpWalMart.com
Contact: Chris Kofinis of WakeUpWalMart.com, 202-486-6422
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