I worked in a fashion retail shop for four years - it was low-middle price range. You could buy pack of 3 tops for £5-7 for example, basic jeans were £10 etc. And we liked our sales rails, marking stock down etc.
On a busy Saturday afternoon we are fully staffed and I am doing some visual merchandising/recovery and happen to hear the front door alarms go off. Protocol was that everyone heads over unless you are handling a customer and first person there deals with it.
I head over but see my assistant manager is already there with a customer. I’m about to turn around when I hear the customer (a woman in her early to mid twenties) start saying, “please, please.” and my AM is in her radio requesting Police.
I head over to help and see that the customer has two bags for other shops but inside of them are tons and tons of our underwear from the sale rails. The alarms went off because some of the reduced stock still has metal tags on them from when they were over £5 (the lowest price we were to tag stock at)
So I head over and my AM is already telling the woman to stay right where she is, pulling out all of the stock and the woman stays, still begging and other customers are walking by, watching what was going on. I’m told to take the stock and ring it up at one of the tills so we can inform the police how much was going to be taken. The shoplifter is crying too by this point.
So I do as I’m told, and whilst at the registers I heard one customer say, “shouldn’t you take her into the back office or something? She’s just standing there, must be embarrassing.”
I couldn’t believe someone was sympathising with a shoplifter - so I said, “for our own safety we can’t- she was willing to steal almost £100 of stock, so we can’t trust her at all. She might have a knife on her, she might try to steal money from the back office.”
Customer didn’t say anything after that. This was almost ten years ago so can’t remember the outcome other than the shoplifter getting arrested.