As if retail wasn’t hard enough

The complexities of running a retail business combined with low margins prevalent in the mass market leave little room for error when it comes to achieving operating profitability. For any retailer to produce a profit is quite an accomplishment, and in the case of Walmart it is even more impressive when factoring in some of the extracurricular activities that go on in its stores.

A couple examples stand out this week. First, a report out of Maryland suggests an unsuspecting man sat on a toilet seat in Walmart that had been laced with super glue. The man, unable to extricate himself from the commode, cried for help. Rescue personnel who arrived on the scene had to unbolt the toilet seat to transport the man to the hospital. Toilets at Walmart stores tend to be located near the front of the building by the checkstands so the incident likely caused quite a stir as emergency personnel moved about with curious shoppers and cashiers looking on.

The second matter involves a video featured on YouTube where someone who goes by the name of Kipkay illustrates what the voiceover describes as a harmless and funny prank to perpetuate at the local supercenter.

Apparently, the acoustomagentic tags present on many high theft items can be reactived once deactivated at the checkout. Kipkay suggests a funny prank is to take one of the deactivated tags back to a story and rub a magnet on it to reactivate and then stick it on the bottom of a cart. When an unsuspecting customer leaves the store they will activate the security system.

“No harm done, just a fun prank,” according to the video which clearly show the prankster at a Walmart stores.

The prank is neither funny nor harmless. Rather, it has the potential to aggravate customers and significantly disrupt store operations if loss prevention personnel become involved in an escalating situation. That’s understood by those in the retail industry, but the more than three million people who viewed the video may have a different perspective.