In the late 90s, I worked for a large national chain of electronic stores. It was a lame company, but I needed a job.
I was a salesman, and we were paid basically on commission. But after the store closed, we had to work a 1/2 hour without compensation–counting the register, cleaning the display cases, vacuuming. We were understaffed, so the store wasn’t always thoroughly cleaned during that 1/2 hour after closing.
The regional manager was pissed by the lack of cleanliness, so he wanted us to work 45 minutes unpaid, not just 30 minutes. No way. They were not paying us big bucks and stock options. I was earning slightly more than minimum wage. I was willing to give them 30 minutes of daily unpaid labor, but I wasn’t going to give them 45 minutes. If the company really valued cleanliness, they should’ve hired a janitor or paid us for our free time. But they didn’t.
So the regional manager punished the staff by removing the table from the employee break room. This meant we had to eat lunch with the food on our lap, or in our car.
Up until that point, my co-workers and I were relatively honest and didn’t shoplift from our own employer. But removing our lunch table was a blow to our dignity and an insult to all our hard work. We took it personally. Perhaps we should have filed a complaint with corporate headquarters or a government agency. But we got our revenge the old fashioned way: we robbed ’em blind.
Sure, we occasionally stole some big ticket merchandise and listed it on eBay. But mostly we’d ring up small cash transactions for batteries or film without offering the customer a receipt and pocketing the cash. Since there was no table for a bagged lunch, we’d use the cash to eat out at restaurants. Every. Single. Day.
Eventually, management figured out that the inventory was suspiciously out of whack, so they posted signs in the store informing customers to contact the corporate office if the customer didn’t receive a receipt. But the customers ignored the signs. (Duh.)
That lame company probably would’ve saved a ton of money just by hiring a janitor. And we would’ve had a clean store, too.