As an employee or representative for your company, you are given the privilege and trust to oversee merchandise and transactions alike. This is a huge responsibility and should be viewed as a show of faith by your company and managers.
It is essential to be aware of external relationships with family and friends that can pressure you into breaching this trust. Poor judgment in this area can, and almost always will, cost you your job and may result in both criminal and civil charges. In these tough economic times, none of us can afford to be unemployed or have a record. It all starts with “the hook-up.”
So just what is “The Hook-Up”?
It starts at an early age and is almost ingrained in us. We want to help those closest to us. In high school, your first job may have been in the mall food court or a local restaurant. What was the harm in giving friends and family a few extra chicken nuggets or “hooking them up” with a free drink? When you would go to see your sibling or friend who works at the local clothing store, he or she would “hook you up” with their employee discount. You may have looked the other way when your friends came into your store to “shop” without paying for the merchandise. How many of us worked as store clerks and let our underage friends and relatives buy alcohol?
We all want to help our friends and loved ones, but we have to know where to draw the line. Each day businesses lose hard-working, quality employees because the employee misused the power given to him or her by the owner or store manager. Most didn’t think about the consequences of their actions or didn’t realize the actual harm in what they were doing.
Many management teams have investigated and fired many good employees who have made decisions, without management or owner approval, to give “the hook-up” to family members and friends, believing that it is not harmful to the business. Many have significantly discounted merchandise for family members and friends or have looked the other way allowing friends to shoplift. Over time the employee begins to be used more and more by those they trusted the most, and it is a difficult situation to stop, once started.
Bottom line: remove yourself from the situation. Tell those close to you that you can’t help them in your store, but your manager or coworker will do all they can, within company guidelines, to get them the merchandise they need. Let them know you value your job and for them not to put you in a situation that could lead to you losing your job or worse.
Your real friends and family will understand.