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Welcome to YomiJ Volume 12 (or so... Who's counting?)
As my six or so loyal readers may remember from YomiJ Volume 3, I worked at Best Buy for quite a while when I lived in the U.S.
After some time, the shine started to fade and I was losing heart at work. The thing I wanted to do was take a trip. A real vacation seeing as I had never really had one. Unfortunately, as is par for the course in my life, I didn't have the money, so I started saving up.
Just when I thought I couldn't wait any longer, a miracle occurred and suddenly $2400 fell into my lap!
With that, I got ready for my trip to Australia! (Yes, Australia. Follow the previous YomiJ link to see how that turned into Japan.)
Anyway, where did this $2400 come from you may ask?
Well, if you followed the very first link, you already have an idea!
In my last year and a half at Best Buy, I lived with a roommate. He was also a Best Buy employee although he was just a regular media employee. He ended up getting a girlfriend that, literally, always wanted to go out for dinner. Not just any dinner either, but to the fancy and $80+ per plate restaurants.
Now, much like myself, this guy was not what you would call handsome. So, it wasn't normal for him to have a girlfriend so, in a word... WHIPPED!
The thing is, he didn't have the money to do this and, after a few months, he had just about burned through his savings.
Things got tight in the townhouse we lived in and he was often begging off bills for a few days and then a few weeks until, eventually, he owed me about $600. I told him he had to pay up or he wasn't going to be living there anymore. He said that he had been working to sell a bunch of his stuff anyway because he wanted to move out and get a place with his girlfriend.
I really didn't see this happening, so I asked that he pay me off before he left. He said he would do so and, about 3 weeks later, he came through with the money.
A week or so after that, he was packing up his stuff and leaving.
No problems on my end, he came through and I was happy.
My neighbor was my best friend; also a manager from work.
We kept seeing my now ex-roommate at work and he kept talking about how he and his girl were still together and how great their new apartment was and about how nice the dinners they had been going to were.
My neighbor and I spoke about this often just because it was so strange that he had the money to do this. When I asked him about it, he said he was still selling his stuff on ebay. I said, I thought it should be gone by now, but he said he was doing fine.
Having been roommates with him for quite a long time, I knew his ebay username and decided to check out his auctions.
I log in only to see that he had well over 30 items listed just then including multiple iPods, handheld games systems, memory cards and more. Checking his history and feedback, it was clear that he had been selling similar items for a couple months before at least.
Of course, the first thing that comes into my head is what you all already know. This guy, my ex-roommate is now a huge thief!
Then, I start thinking about how he got that money he owed me so quickly and about how he had enough leftover to move out almost immediately and then realized that he started this while he lived with me.
I knew that there was no way that I wanted to be hung as part of this as I'm sure he must have shipped some of the things from my place so, the very next day, I went into the store with a list of items currently on ebay and I started an investigation of SKU numbers. After doing some visual stock counts, I found that, iPods were off count by 11 and he had 10 listed.
PSPs were off by 6 and he had 3 listed, and so on... (numbers are estimates - I can't remember exactly of course)
I knew at this point that I had to get someone else involved, so I spoke with the Operations Manager at the time and told her what I suspected.
She and I went through the list piece by piece and found that, while not perfectly matched, everything he had for sale had drastic differences in actual stock counts in the store.
We knew that it had to be true.
I went to the General Manager and, just as I did with the OM, outlined the entire situation from the beginning and then laid out our stock count results for him.
He said that he would look into it and that was all I heard about it for 3 long days.
Then, when I come to work on the 4th day, the GM wanted to speak to me in the Loss Prevention office. The first thing I thought was, no way, this ing thief tried to say I was in on it!
Luckily, I didn't have to wait long to find out this wasn't the case at all as, when we went in there, there was a police officer with a statement for me to sign. The GM slapped me on the back and said that it was the biggest confirmed theft they had ever uncovered in the store. Apparently, they arrived at his new place and, after just a few minutes of questioning, he broke down and told them everything. Not only did he have the ebay records, but for some reason, he kept record of EVERY SINGLE ITEM he had ever taken. They totaled it up to just under $25,000 at manufacturer's cost which, as you well know, is no where near market value on many items.
Anyway, it wasn't too long after that that I heard he was locked up and that he had plead no contest in court and agreed to pay it all back with interest over time.
I didn't think anything would be coming my way as the Honesty Pays program wasn't very old at the time and no one knew if it worked for salaried employees, regular employees only or what. Actually, in my store, no one even seemed to know how much I would get if anything.
So, with no warning what-so-ever, I go to check my account for my direct deposit paycheck on payday approximately 2 months after this whole thing began and suddenly I was a couple thousand dollars richer than I thought!
Turns out that I got 10% of the recovered total and, as he agreed to pay it all back, it was all considered recovered!