A Walmart employee has gone viral and sparked discussion on TikTok after claiming they let a thief get away as apprehending them would get them fired.
In a video with over 45,000 views, Kristy (@asap.kristy) says she was on her break at Walmart when she saw someone leaving the store who appeared to be carrying stolen merchandise.
“We made eye contact, and I was like, sir. I am not going to do anything. On top of that, if I literally come and stop you, I will literally get in trouble and get fired,” she recalls. “So I just let him walk out.”
@asap.kristy It’s not worth losing your job over. #fyp #work #foryou #worklife #viral ♬ original sound – Kristy Nguyen
While it may seem counterintuitive to those who haven’t worked in retail, Kristy’s reaction was entirely correct.
It is generally accepted that employees should not pursue shoplifters. This is the case for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is employee safety. For example, the shoplifter may have a weapon, or an employee may hurt themselves in pursuit of a thief.
That’s why many stores have “no chase” policies that say employees should not go after shoplifters. In some cases, employees have allegedly been fired for violating this policy, such as a 2010 case in which a Kansas Walmart employee was allegedly let go after attempting to stop a shoplifter.
Back on TikTok, users echoed this sentiment.
“For people that don’t know: it’s cheaper for the company to let him walk out then pay for medical expenses if the worker gets injured,” claimed a user.
“At my job we are told to not get within 10 feet of the member if we see they’re stealing for own safety. Or to get away from them if we notice,” alleged a second.
“All retail stores tell you NOT TO PURSUE,” proclaimed a third.
“When I worked retail a lady pulled a knife on my manager because she confronted her,” recalled a further user. “Is it worth stopping them? No.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Kristy via email and Walmart via media relations contact form.
Update 2:12pm CT January 26: In an email to the Daily Dot, Kristy shared why she did not follow the shoplifter.
“I didn’t pursue the shoplifter because at the time, I was on my break and I personally didn’t see him steal,” she wrote. “I only saw that he had a bunch of noticeable items hidden under his purple jacket and he was holding it up with his hands. He also was walking extremely fast and went through the side door that employees come in from instead of using the front door.”
“The main reason for not pursuing was because i did not want to lose my job by chasing after him and walking out those doors without anyone around to help me if anything were to go wrong,” she continued. “My job and my own life is worth more than any amount of merchandise.”