Shoplifting in K-Mart Arouses Little Interest From K-Mart Staff


This blog in no way is an attempt to get K-Mart Staff in trouble. But Melanie, my wife, just told me a story that I find unbelievable. I recount the story in an attempt to get policies and procedures within the K-Mart organisation changed as clearly there is an issue and clearly you and I are paying for it. Melanie was in K-Mart today in Stockland Nowra. During her shopping expedition she witnesses a young woman, about 22, pulling the price tag and coupling elastic off a pair shoes, putting them on, and the shoes she was wearing into her bag.

Melanie was shocked at the brazenness of the young lady and so approached a K-Mart staff member and told her what she had witnessed. The staff member told Melanie to go and tell the staff at the front counter. She did that and was told “we will keep a look out for her.” Which was weird as at no point was Melanie asked to describe the woman or indeed outright identify her.

Aghast at the inactivity, Melanie went to the back of the store and boldly walked into the staff kitchen, calling out, looking for Management. She found a person who identified herself as being in Management. Melanie retold the story for the third time and was told that the Manager would be out in a few minutes and that this happens all the time and yadda yadda yadda I could care less what you just saw (my summary of the conversation). During this exchange she was told this happens four to five times per day.

So Melanie left the staff room and approached another staff member (this is now the fourth time she told the story) who again was less than interested. Melanie was told that it’s hard to approach people and challenge them. Melanie explained that she was prepared to identify the woman and be a witness.

This offer was not taken up and Melanie left the store gobsmacked at the attitude of the staff toward a shoplifter who was caught red handed.

I am left shaking my head. Is shoplifting so systemic within large retailers that they simply couldn’t give a rip? Reality is that you and I, the honest consumers are paying for it.

Come on K-Mart. Time to lift your game.

(For the record, to the best of our knowledge, the woman got away with her free stuff, despite being caught red handed, videoed no doubt on CCTV, and having a willing witness who could and would identify the woman)

If this Blog has been helpful, informative or inspirational to you, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter. Email Subscriptions to my blog are welcome or you can contact me through Facebook (,  Twitter (@PeterPilt) or Insta (@PeterPilt). Have a great day.

Categories: Australian, Current Affairs

Tags: , , , , , , ,

32 replies

  1. Some time ago I too witnessed a theft that was ignored.

    I was shopping in woolies and saw this Asian young lady about 30s or so crouching in front of the bottom shelf of eggs. She was swapping the no name eggs with expensive ones. TWO DOZEN EGGS. I too found an employee and reported it and was sent to the service desk to re tell my story. Waiting waiting while a senior staff member arrived only to be told to repeat the incident. Happens all the time he said while writing down the details. In the meantime I’m sure the lady had arrived home and was scrambling some eggs for her lunch.

  2. Hey Peter. That’s really sad to hear. I just want to let you know that the cause of what Melanie experienced today is more horrific than you would think. I used to work at Dick Smith. We witnessed a very distinguishable person steal a $200 Portable Esspresso machine from us on the video camera. We were briefed by management and told that if he comes in again (which he did the next day) that we CANNOT accuse or suggest that he “stole” from us. Otherwise we can be sued for defamation. All we can do is say “we have someone on camera that looks like you taking an item from us. If it was you, please return it”. The reason staff can do nothing is because of the culture of “suing” that exists in this day and age. The police did nothing for us. Kmart is not to blame, civil and defamation common law is to blame.

    • It’s a crazy system Samuel. Thanks for sharing your story

    • Yeh sad that someone got away with that I got accused of stealing $10 shoes outright . I was harassed at Kmart . I had heels in my bag since id been hanging out with my friend somewhere fancy and being bright I brought my flats for when I walked on the wharf and went shopping. they broke the retail laws what they did but in your case that’s a strong case against someone .

  3. Re kathrynsmithy’s comment. Besides ripping off Woollies, this would also have ripped off the customer who later came and picked up the higher priced egg carton that contained eggs of a different quality to what they’d expected.

  4. Typical attitude in general , perhaps if the staff had to pay for the goods , the attitude might change ?

    • Perhaps you should shut the fuck up and actually work at a place and see how full on it is before you complain, fuckwit.

      • lovely just lovely. Please try and look at the broader picture. It’s not a personal thing.

      • Hajesh your rude and unbecoming language is never welcomed neither is your attitude. This, shop lifting, is why it is imperative to have a few real changes in how Australians do things. 1. to have an effective competition policy so that huge businesses will be reduced in size and begin again to focus on customer service; 2. To see that laws that are on the books are actually enforced – laws unenforced or enforced only some of the time cause the environment for anarchy to flourish; To change some of the laws used to sue people for spurious reasons

  5. I’m looking at this one from both points of view. I think k-mart should have security to deal with people who do commit these types of offences, I also think the general floor staff were probably too scared to approach this person ( especially with all the ice and drug addicted people in our town ). The management should have definitely helped Melanie identify this young woman and take further action. This may have helped the person who was stealing to get help and change her path to a brighter and better future. 🙂 thank you for sharing

  6. oh dear that is so not like the staff at kmart (Nowra)..pffttt my son and his friend walked into kmart both holding a 600ml coke in there hand,they both came straight to me near the kids clothes section didn’t go anywhere else..we then went to the self serve checkout to scan the stuff I had brought,after I had finished we then started to walk out then next minute a staff member approached my son and friend and said the friend didn’t pay for his 600ml coke,the 2 boys said yes we did we had brought it at the hotdog place the staff member then said I only seen 1 of you with a coke in your hand not the both of you,the 2 boys then had to explain to the staff member that they had $10 and brought 2 bottles of coke and they had $2.60 change my son even showed her the change,so the staff member kept on going over the bottle of coke,i then told her to scan the coke and it came up as kmart coke,so I gave her the $2.50 to stop her from embarrassing herself as we were leaving the staff member turned to the 2 boys and said its not cool to steal,i had then went back to the staff member and told her how dare she accuse the boys of stealing and I would like my $2.50 back she then said no,i then told her I will be back with the receipt for the 2 cokes just to prove to her how wrong she was..the 2 boys went back to get the receipt from the shop they brought the coke from and the young girl who served them remembered them both..i then returned to kmart and spoke to the staff member showed her the receipt and told her to apologize to the 2 boys she said she would as I turned to the 2 boys the staff member done a runner to the back of kmart..I then approached another staff member and told her the story and she said she will deal with it..end of story no apologizing to the 2 boys what so everytime I go to kmart (Nowra) I make sure that staff member see’s me and she always turns a blind eye to me everytime now..all this over a 600ml coke that wasn’t even brought from kmart..

    • It will scan as a Kmart coke regardless as all it does is match the barcodes. It is all the same product regardless of which store you buy it from, The bar code just lets you know when it was made and what the priduct is. That is then scanned into the shops systems.

      As for the staff confronting a shop lifter, why would they bother when they know if they call the police they let the person go with a warning. The shop then has to fill out lots of paperwork that they know is totally useless. Sad but true.

      Young boys like yours are the only ones they will pick on as they like to bully them into admitting stuff they never did.

    • sorry you had such a bad experience like me what she did was against retail laws

  7. Have seen Kmart Nowra staff being very proactive when it comes to theft There are cameras everywhere in there.

  8. I’m an employee at K-Mart Casula and when I encounter a thief or I’m made aware of one, I always do what I can to make the staff aware of the person of interest, particularly the front door person or the self serve attendant. However, in my case it’s not the Team Members who have little interest in theft, it’s the managers.

    The majority of the time when you complain about someone stealing, the response is “Check their bags on the way out” (Which is expected of a customer greeter, apart of the Conditions of Entry) or “Let them go, we’ll check the camera’s later” but nothing is ever done about it. In fact, quite recently I caught a customer stealing cosmetics, but when reporting it to a manger I was told that “We can’t do anything”.

    So often when it comes to staff not caring, the managers are the reason as to why. If the managers aren’t concerned about it and aren’t willing to help when asked, then why should we care?

  9. I work for a Kmart in New South Wales and I can tell you first hand that this happens so many times a day that it’s impossible to keep up with. maybe I still have hope but I actively seek out and confront shoplifters in my store. I work in a 24 hour location and it’s a bit easier in that respect because there are far fewer people to keep track of. Kmart also have a “no apprehension” policy in place for our safety apparently, which basically means we aren’t allowed to do squat even if we KNOW it’s happening. I’ve caught people trying to steal over $300 and I had the whole incident on footage in the self serve area, and there is absolutely nothing we can charge them with or call the cops for, the best we can hope for is to recover stock. it’s just a shame that there aren’t as many people who are willing to work for their money and actually confront thieves – my idea is that if you keep catching them and making a big deal out of it, they might not try it when they see you again.

  10. IMHO they are not being paid enough to apprehend. My guess that is the reason they have security. By the time police are called, the person is gone. I am sure this is the reason why Kmart has turned into an oversized $2 shop. It used to be much different with lots of high cost quality goods.
    There has been a shift in our society. It is not now about right or wrong. It’s only about what I can get away with.
    Stealing from Kmart is just one example. Another one is downloading movies illegally.
    Some Christians do not see a problem at all with stealing movies of the net for free. Yet would never dream of walking into blockbuster and sticking one under their jumper. For all intents and purposes, it’s exactly the same thing.

    • even so, security is only on between 10pm and 6am and they have the same powers that we do (none). these thieves know their rights and even though our local police station is around the corner, they never take less than an hour and we are powerless to detain a shoplifter. best we can hope for is to retrieve the stock.

  11. These big box low staff business models, too hard attitude & relaxed or hesitant managers are encouraging shoplifters. If you catch shoplifters (shop thieves) red handed you need to try & get your stock back at least. Hold them if you can, if your 100% sure. That does happen. Reward your team for catching them. Not all shoplifters are drug crazed meth monsters. Time & wages must be spent, just on principle, diligently preparing CCTV for police, personalising banning notices & staff communications about the situation. Police are sometimes great. Occasionally it’s not a priority for them. Customer bags need routine checking (so it doesn’t look personal), & everyone should just accept it. Blame the shoplifters for that not the staff doing their job. Charge everyone that is caught stealing. Most shoplifters caught get fined several hundred dollars now. Repeat offenders get charged. Everyone talks about their rights, not all are applicable in practice. Business hates bad publicity, news unfortunately thrives on it. I think if you steal regularly/occasionally your going to get caught. Especially shoplifting from small businesses, in small towns & where the owner is present or the manager has full authority. Shoplifters are time wasting oxygen thieves. I hate them & I try not to hate anything.

  12. Unfortunately, not only is it difficult to approach thieves instore as the law says they must take the item out of the store to constitute it as theft, companies now have to spend money on security training (Did you know that if you grab anyone in any other place than on their upper forearm – it is assault?). So we have that problem, there is also the problem of the companies being sued. As for Kmart (owned by Westfarmers (Coles, Bunnings, Kmart, Target, Officeworks) in the long run it’s simply cheaper to write off the items then be exposed to the courts.

  13. With all due respect I work for Kmart and on one occasion confronted someone I caught stealing from our back stockroom. I was punched and kicked by this individual so they could get out and away. This is not an isolated incident. Management were very supportive and the police were called. Their response when they turned up 4 hours later was ” don’t bother pressing charges we’ll never catch them”. It’s simply not worth our safety to confront them when the people paid to catch them couldn’t care less. Also even if you confront someone at the door and accuse them they just walk out. This isn’t staff apathy we care a lot there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing people steal when you work for your money but we have absolutely no power. The fault is absolutely not with retail staff

  14. Maybe you should have just minded your own business! Was you expecting a gold medal ?

  15. sadly I was accused of stealing a few years ago . I had two pairs of shoes . 1 pair of heels I had taken off since I had come from lunch with a girlfriend who I was visiting . I had brought my pair of flats worth $10 . we went walking around shopping in Kmart doing what girls do .checking shoes out jewellery . but when we went to pay I was harassed ” you stole them” I was told . first reaction was to break down. I didn’t know how to feel . I am an honest person and I pride my self on it my parents raised me to be honest . I told the woman I had been out to lunch I brought two pairs with me because I was not going to walk on the wharf in heels nor was I going to walk around the shops in heels . I couldn’t have left my heels in my friends car since her other parent was picking us up and I was flying out the next day . so I put them in bag and walked into Kmart in my flats . the woman at the counter said ” that someone had seen me ” I don’t know what was happening if she had lied to get around the retail law which I later learnt about with the course I did .. she kept digging into me I told her my whole story she didn’t believe it and it kind of ticked me off. she then said lets go look at the footage in the office . I said fine! I wanted to clear my name but when I said that she said I will let this one slide .I didn’t tell my mum about it but I told my other friend who I was staying with . I needed to talk to someone

    • for me people who actually shop lift tick me off big time and the fact people who are honest get harassed and people who are not are just left to walk out of the shop ticks me off

    • I also later realized id taken photo’s on me on the wharf in the flats Id been accused of stealing . I think it was the shear fact someone was lying really made me angry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: