The Dundee shop worker that stole thousands - how could he have been caught earlier?

21st January 2016
by Steve Gill

This one simple process that takes 5 minutes would have saved M&S thousands

You probably read about the shop worker in Dundee who was caught after stealing thousands from Marks & Spencer.

I couldn't understand why he was allowed to steal so much before getting caught - hundreds each day. Using my 5 minute simple process, I'd have caught it the first day - before he'd even left the building.

The police would have been called on the first day

What is this 5 minute process?

I know it as real time cash.

It basically allows new members of staff to have their cash drawers counted once or more times a day, while longer serving members of staff can have their cash drawers counted less frequently - even once a week if you wish.

How does this 'real time cash' work?

Its pretty simple really, but your epos system needs to be able to handle it.

Every till cashier is given a drawer with a letter on it - A, B, C etc.

Each drawer contains a fixed float to begin with - lets say £100.

The drawer contains £100

New employees

When your new employees finish their shift, they hand back their drawer with a letter on it - lets say its drawer A.

Because they are new, you count their drawer right then before they leave. The epos system has been tracking the cashier/drawer combination so it knows how much should be inside.

Real time cash shows the breakdown clearly

Long term employees

When your long term employees finish their shift, you put their drawer, uncounted, in the safe - lets call it drawer B.

When they come back in for their next shift, you give them back drawer B.

The system knows how much money is in it, and which cashier 'owns' the drawer.

This process can carry on for weeks if you want, as the system keeps track of it all. You decide when to count the cash - giving you more time for other tasks.

Multiple counts a day if you want

You could even take drawer A from your new employee mid way through their shift, and give them a fresh drawer 'C' instead.

The system knows you've done this, so it keeps track of how much should be in both drawers.

This means you can count the drawer whilst allowing the cashier to continue serving.

Your new employee can continue serving customers while you check their drawer


It really is as simple as that.

Yes, you'll need more cash drawer inserts - but the cost of those is tiny compared to the amount of time you'll save, and the fact you can catch any staff theft within minutes.

In fact, announcing to all staff you've implemented real time cash will reduce the likelihood of staff trying to steal.

You'll need an epos system that offers real time cash, but it'll be worth it. In all the retailers I've consulted for, implementing this process has saved them thousands of man hours each year.

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