By Shelby Louwrens
Dollar Tree is not a business many would think of when it comes to a college town, game days or holiday treats. However, when a business takes in thousands of dollars a day, and everything is only one dollar, the profit margin is not small. And with a profit margin like Dollar Tree, theft is a major issue.
As it turns out, Dollar Tree, like any other business, makes plenty of profit and is just as prone to theft as any other store – especially in the holiday season. At just one dollar, Dollar Tree has made its brand a staple in the Oxford community.
Jerry Page, store manager, said there are special precautions everyone takes at Dollar Tree to protect the store and the employees during the holiday season.
“There are safety precautions in place to keep cashiers safe and keep theft down,” Page said. “Cashiers are alerted after a certain amount of money is in their register, at which point a manager takes the excess and puts it in the safe. It keeps the cash register from looking full, which a potential robber would look for. It also keeps our profit safe, because if a robbery does occur, they aren’t going to take much.”
That has not stopped attempts at merchandise theft from occurring, however. The holiday season, which is quickly approaching, is especially known for theft.
Jessica Dawe, assistant manager, said there have been times where people have attempted to steal merchandise and use fake bills at Dollar Tree.
“Last year, around Christmas, I watched a woman stuff some fake eyelashes in to a box of denture cleaner,” Dawe said. “I have no idea why she couldn’t pay the extra dollar for the eyelashes, but I switched her boxes, so she was probably really mad when she got home, and she paid for the denture cleaner.”
There was also an attempt when the new $100 bills came in to circulation.
“As soon as the new hundreds got in to circulation, we got a counterfeit,” Page said. “But they hadn’t figured out the new bill yet. It didn’t even have the holographic strip to it, so we knew instantly that it was a fake.”
So far, there has already been a fake $50 bill brought in to the store this season.
“One of our cashiers got in to trouble for taking a fake fifty dollar bill and not calling management up to check it first,” Dawe said. “And that was only a few weeks ago.”
This year, precautions are as strong as they have always been for Dollar Tree.
“We tell our cashiers that if someone is trying to rob them, to give them what they want,” Page said. “We can replace merchandise, but we can’t replace people.”
Cashiers are also encouraged to be alert, keep their cash drawer to a minimum, and call a manager if something seems suspicious.
“The more eyes that are in the store, watching for thieves and potential conflict, the safer the store will be,” Page said. “If we can spot them before they spot us, we can normally deter someone from stealing. But the main goal is to keep everyone safe and to keep the store running smoothly.”
Page said the aim this year is to keep theft at a minimum as well, which means store employees will be more alert, and a system will be in order to keep watch on the store.
“We have video cameras throughout the store that play 24/7,” Page said. “We can replay them at any point from the store, and our corporate office can replay them as well. If someone is stealing, we can normally spot it.”
There are also precautions taken for managers and other employees, as well as cashiers.
“A manager is always the one in control of money that goes in and out of the store,” Page said. “But they never go alone, and they have their own rules to keep them safe during the holidays.”
This year, they have a new option to keep their employees safe – police escorts.
“Managers and cashiers can now call for a police escort when they leave the store with money,” Page said. “It’s a really good option, and I think it will keep our store safer. We will definitely be using it once it gets closer to Christmas.”