#476: Won’t Get Fooled Again

GETTING MORE TALE #476: Won’t Get Fooled Again
(the long-awaited sequel to Record Store Tales Part 225:  Bait & Switch)

“I knew immediately there was a problem. In his hands was a used copy of Puff Daddy’s brand new smash hit album, No Way Out. It had one of our Bargain Bin stickers on it, priced at $5.99. However the album was a fairly new release, and any used copies we had were always priced at $11.99. I’d never put one of them in my Bargain Bin, ever at this point. You just didn’t throw a new release into a sale bin. As Puffy said, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins.'”  — from Record Store Tales Part 225: Bait & Switch

We had a deceptively simple inventory system at the Record Store.  Each used CD case was empty.  Every one of them was tagged with the price, and a number that would tell me the location of the actual compact disc behind the counter.  This system benefited both our point of sale computer, which updated our inventory live in real time, and it was also a security bonus.  With compact discs safely stored behind the counter, thieves knew they would get nothing by stealing a case.  We made it obvious, by posting large ALL CASES ARE EMPTY signs.  The bastards had to get creative when ripping us off.

In the Record Store Tale above, a scam artist got away with it.  I wasn’t going to let him, but the owner didn’t stand up to the guy, called it a misunderstanding and let the guy have a discount.  The scammer switched price tags, without realizing that the number code on the tags lead to a specific disc.   When boss gave the guy a discount, it made me feel about two feet tall.   I never let that happen again.

My new strategy was quite simple and it worked every time.  When the first guy ripped us off, my big mistake was explaining to him that somebody switched price tags.  That got him on the defensive and he had already prepared his argument regarding bait and switch laws.  I got smart after that, by playing dumb.

The most memorable occasion involved a douchebag in his mid-20’s, and a rap title.  I cannot remember today what the rap title was, but the CD itself was very brightly coloured and easy to spot.  Buddy came up to the counter with a CD case, and the price tag looked tampered with.  They never quite looked the same once peeled off and re-applied, and years behind the counter taught me that.  Sure enough, the number on the price tag led to me the wrong compact disc.  I checked out the locations of the discs in the computer and confirmed the guy had switched a tag.  He wanted an $11.99 CD for $7.99, but it wasn’t going to happen on my watch.  I pretended to look for the disc, but I had actually already grabbed it and put it aside.  The price tag that he swapped it with, the $7.99 CD, was alphabetically right next to the other one.  It was obvious he just grabbed two nearby and switched prices.  I was taking time figuring this out though, so I had to tell him why.

“I’m sorry man but I’m having a really hard time finding this CD,” I explained.  “Each price tag has a number on it that tells me where the disc should be, but it’s not in this spot.  I’ll keep looking.”

As earlier explained, the compact disc I was supposedly looking for was a bright one, easy to spot.  What I didn’t count on was this dude has already seen it behind the counter in its location. But what he didn’t count on was that I had since yanked it and hidden it out of sight!  From the right vantage point, you could have spotted it, but it was gone now.

“Are you sure?” the scammer asked.  “I think it’s right over there,” and he pointed me in the general direction.  I put on a good act of looking, flipping through every disc but his.  “I’m sure I saw it right there.”

“Can you show me?” I asked, knowing it wasn’t there.  I don’t know if he figured out my game or not.  He probably had.  But there was nothing he could do about it.  “Is this it?”  I pulled out a disc with random artwork on it.  “No, but I saw it right there, in that spot that is empty now.”  Yeah, he caught me.

“I’m really sorry but it’s not there.  I’ll keep looking.  Why don’t you give me your name and phone number?  I’ll call when I find it.  I’m sure it’ll turn up.”

“Naw, man.”

Small triumph, but, still a triumph.



  1. Speaking of stickers, price tags etc.

    They are my pet peeve. Your old store isn’t too bad as they peel off easy and don’t damage the cd case. I have tons of ruined(in my opinion, might be a bit of an exaggeration) cd cases from stupid stickers.
    I find thrift stores are the worst. Huge price tags that leave glue residue on the case, or worse when removed tear off the soft case or album cover.
    I was at one place that also used brown packing tape to seal the cd’s up to prevent theft. I told them they ruined all of the cd’s for guys like me, and they had some nice ones.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you brought that up. It leads nicely into a future post I have about when the store wrecks the packaging.

      The worst was Dr. Disc remember their tags? They were combo price tags / security tags. And they left a horrible red residue you’d never get off, ever ever ever.


      1. Correction: for the CDs in the 3-for-$10 bin, BMV uses 4 stockers! FOUR! Two on the front, one in the tray, and one on the back. Ridiculous.

        You mentioned Dr. Disc’s stickers, you’re right. They were brutal. Some kind of metal in them, really hard to remove!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Actually the ones at BMV are shitty like that too. And they use 3 per CD! Front and back covers AND One on the tray inside! Takes forever to get them all off the plastic!


  2. Ha ha that’s awesome.
    I had such grief with shoplifters over the years but we were never really allowed to do anything about it.
    Scammers too. If anyone made a fuss they got away with their scam. Shout and win. It sucked. The stores never won

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I worked in petrol stations for about a decade, and Asda Living.
        The equivelant would be I guess gas stations and Walmart. Only, mine was a specialist one that didn’t sell groceries so it could dedicate more space to electronics, music, dvds, videogames etc
        But yeah… Any job I worked bosses sided with customers to avoid complaints even if it completely screwed over the store and went massively against their own rules.
        Never legitimate complaints either, just would-be thieves and loudmouths


  3. I once caught a shoplifter stealing a sandwich in the 7-11 I worked on nights during university. Watched him stuff it in his jean jacket. He comes up to the counter with just a Mars bar and says yup, that’s all I want. So I rang through the chocolate bar and the sandwich, and said “that’ll be $8.75 please.” He looked all shocked? “$8.75 for a Mars bar? Are you nuts?” I said “no, it’s $8.75 for the Mars bar and the sandwich I saw you stuff into your coat, which is also on film on the camera behind me. How will you be paying today?”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I worked at a Canadian Tire store in the 90’s. When there was a shoplifter they would page a certain number over the p.a. and all the huge warehouse dudes would collectively come upstairs and into the parking lot. Usually the shoplifter was intimidated enough to hand back whatever he stole.
    Now employees can not confront a shoplifter. If they lose sight of him for even one second his lawyer will get him acquitted.
    Some stores have to pay for walkers that are hired to try and prevent shoplifters.
    My wife had a chat with a walker a while ago, and she told my wife about a shoplifter she was holding. The guy whispered to her that before the cops get there, he wanted to take his gun and hide it.
    That 7-11 story reminds me of stuff like that. Those workers should be paid big money to put their life at risk. They could be shot for the $50 they have in the till.
    Not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, crazy stories man!

      Once a woman set off our alarm. She then pulled up her top to show me she didn’t take anything and stash it in her boobs I guess. I just told her she could go, I didn’t wanna look anymore. She could have stolen my Metallica box set and I let her go lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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