Kmart employee sabotage

Submitted by libcom on December 29, 2005

An account of some low-payed discount chain store employees ensuring they got a fairer reward for their labour by Karl, a stock clerk

Working at Kmart was your typical teenage shit job. The job was boring. Everyone who worked there hated being there; it was drudgery. The aspect that was really depressing was seeing people who had families work there, making the same amount as a teenager. It was sad to see people support their kids on shit wages. I don't think any employee, except for upper management, made more than $15,000 a year.

The day after Christmas, 1979, the store laid off a lot of people, even people who had been working there longer than I had. To get even with the company, I started stealing.

The first things I took were two music cassettes that were in the stock room. I stuck them in my sock and walked out. When I got into the appliance department I gave my friends discounts on batteries and cassette tapes. Everything was minor until I was moved into the camera and jewelry department where I was under a lot of pressure. I couldn't take it anymore. I knew that other people were taking stuff but everyone was really quiet about it. I had a friend come in and I gave him a shopping bag filled with six Minolta and Pentax cameras - about $400 each - and a couple cases of film. I charged him $1.99, which was the price of some batteries. I made sure that I stapled a long receipt onto his bag. Then two security guards walked up and we engaged them in a twenty minute discussion about shoplifting. Later, my friend walked out the front door. After that, it was easy.

I was transferred to building materials, where I had access to a large garage door. My friend had a big car and we loaded it up with garage door openers and ceiling fans. At Kmart they only went by department sales - they didn't have I.D. numbers like other big stores - so they didn't know what item was being sold. We could sell a load of plywood and the company would think we had sold a load of garage door openers. My friend would go out and sell the stuff and we would split the profit. We did this three or four times a week. I think we stole close to $100,000 worth of merchandise. We wouldn't give a second thought to leaving the shelf empty, and when we ran out we would order more. I told some of the people who worked there what I was doing and most would say, "I couldn't do that." Then one day I saw my friend going outside with a huge box filled with about $20,000 worth of stuff, everything from gold chains to stereos.

In 1981, Kmart 3399 had the worst yearly inventory of any Kmart in the country. The store had $500,000 in invisible waste. That year we fudged the inventory: instead of marking one ceiling fan we would mark five. The same people who were stealing were doing the inventory, so we were able to cover our asses real good, but it made us wonder who was taking the rest of the stuff. In reality, the store probably had lost between $750,000 and $1,000,000 to invisible waste.

An ironic story is that one Christmas I took four cases of Atari games and gave them out as presents at the store's Christmas party. I later found out that security was taking stuff too. The person in charge of the warehouse was taking stuff by the forklift load and putting it in the back of his pickup. Nobody ever thought to check that guy.

I don't think I did that much damage to the company. In 1982 the company blamed the store's problems on management, most of whom were transferred to other stores. The store never fired or caught anyone stealing, but the store's reputation did bring management morale way down. Just think, they were in charge of the worst store in the entire country.

This is an edited extract from Sabotage in the American Workplace by Martin Sprouse taken from

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Submitted by sunnydazzy on December 6, 2013

I find this story,shocking! I know it was in 2005 and now it's 2013. But these are the reason's that Kmart is failing.
I normally don't comment in a way to make anyone feel unjustified, But this is one exception!
Why would you feel the need to "get back at the company"
For one, all companies layoff due to cuts, overhead etc, I was laid off from a job I loved and still not over the shock. It's been 3 yrs. But I still speak and have very high opinion of the company.
Now to address the stealing! Any employee, any that steals ,and or states to get what i deserve! I can't believe this!! Even if you don't want to bring God into the picture,this will come back on you. As I'm sure it has.
I started at Kmart, 14 months ago. I've been passed up many times for promotions,get blamed for things I didn't do or someone did I was helping with and left them in charge to go do something else. I would never steal anything!
I agree with the total dislike for the job. There's nothing else in my little town but Walmart and other fast food places. ( moved here from Orlando fl,as my daughters husband was transferred here and am now STUCK! Trying in overload mode to get out of here!)
But I would not and can not blame Kmart for my dismay,or circumstances! I have the power to get what I need to be happy with my job and employment!
Bottom line. And yes now I'm bring God into it! Work as into him, that gave you life,forgiveness for even what you have done. He will open doors to your joy and happiness!!