Manager: Felony Theft

Manager’s living room

I was a manager at a comics store in the mall and I’d been there for a while.

My friends and I were working when the liquidators came in.

Congratulations! You’re going out of business!

After a company has been liquidated, it tends to only stay open for a few months. We want you to work for us through this process! Why hire and train an entire new staff?

The next step in the process is taking an inventory of all the comics, games, and toys, the guy said over and over again as he was explaining the process to us. Today is Monday, we’re taking inventory on Thursday. The inventory on Thursday is the inventory that matters.

Liquidators buy inventory based on estimates, so if the stuff is worth ten grand, they’ll buy it for three and try to sell it for seven in a short turnaround. The rep made it very clear that our salary and bonuses would be based on how accurate their inventory was, and how little they lost through what is called shrinkage. Shrinkage is the variance between what they’re supposed to have and what they end up having.

These guys work on the same bases of commission. It’s a bottom-ended business. Pennies on the dollar type of stuff. So whatever inventory was in the store on Thursday was the inventory that mattered. As for the inventory on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday…

He was all but giving us the keys to the store. They do the formula—it’s cheaper to let these kids take armfuls of stuff than it would be to train temps. Or so they thought.

In the backroom, there was a full-sized Dalek replica. It had come in on a late shipment and we had good reason to believe that neither the old company nor the new liquidators knew about the over-sized pepper shaker’s existence.

Whovians pay serious money for Daleks.

By Monday night, it was listed on eBay. By Wednesday morning, we had built a crate and shipped that four foot six cyborg to upstate New York where some nerd was very happy.

We split the three grand three ways and worked through the liquidation. I found a new job with little effort. On my resume from the comic shop? Management team specializing in theft prevention.