Zumiez Shoplifting Policy (What´s Covered + More)

Alternative stores don’t necessarily seem like the most obvious target for theft, but you might be surprised by the problems that they face. How do these places handle shoplifters? What is the Zumiez shoplifting policy?

Zumiez does not appear to have a clear and universal shoplifting policy, so individual managers appear to decide how to deal with incidents. They are likely to rely on police intervention and their stores are known to lack certain key security measures.

Read on to discover more!

Do Shoplifters Target Zumiez?

As an alternative apparel store that primarily targets the skateboarding, snowboarding, and motocross market you might not think that shoplifters would see a lot of value in stealing from a Zumiez, but they do have quite a significant problem with theft.

Even though there are less than 750 Zumiez stores in the country, they often appear in the news because of shoplifting issues, with one store in Chicago even reporting as many as 28 incidents occurring in the span of just 60 days.

It is also a common thread that is reported by many ex-employees of the company. On the anonymous company review site Glassdoor, a lot of former employees mention theft as one of the most significant problems that they had to deal with while they were working there.

So why is this such a problem and how does the company deal with it?

Does Zumiez Have A Universal Shoplifting Policy?

Before we go further into what is going on with shoplifting at Zumiez, we should first acknowledge that it is very hard to know exactly what any specific internal policy might outline for a company like this.

The shoplifting and theft policy that Zumiez has in place is outlined in its employee handbook, which is not made available to the public. Providing this information would help potential shoplifters to avoid the security measures that they do have and would make the employees more vulnerable, so the exact details of such a policy are rarely released.

With that being said, the comments of former and current employees, as well as the details from actual incidents, do give us a picture of what the stores are telling their staff to do – or what they are not telling their staff.

What Is The General Zumiez Shoplifting Policy?

From what we can tell, it seems as though Zumiez as a company puts a lot of the responsibility for handling the issue of shoplifting on the local managers and sales associates at their stores.

A high number of former employees have complained that very little was in place from upper management to help individual locations deal with theft and that the employees could even be blamed for incidents that did occur.

They seem to tackle the problem on a case-by-case basis, bringing in new management or expertise when problems start to arise. Managers will try to work closely with local law enforcement as their main tool against shoplifting and will call the police to deal with most offenses.

Overall, it does not seem that Zumiez has the kind of clear theft policy that you often see from other major retailers.

Most retail companies will establish a shoplifting policy that is very clear-cut in terms of what employees are actually expected to do. This usually takes the form of either a “no-chase” policy or a “pursue and detain” policy.

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No-Chase Policy

Under a no-chase policy, employees are instructed not to try and stop a shoplifter from leaving the store. This kind of policy is designed to prevent the situation from escalating and reduce the risk of the store receiving lawsuits from either the employees or the perpetrators themselves.

Often, a no-chase policy will actually tell employees to offer very attentive customer service if they do interact with potential shoplifters as this will make sure they are closely monitored, make them feel uncomfortable about stealing, and allow the staff to gain as much information as possible without putting them at risk.

Policies like this work because the store is able to recover its lost revenue even if the shoplifter leaves with the merchandise.

They can get some of the money back through their insurance and they will contact the police and prosecute the shoplifter through the legal system as well.

Pursue and Detain Policy

The other common form of shoplifting policy that many retailers use is a policy that instructs staff to actively try to detain a shoplifter until the police can arrive.

This kind of policy can act as a much stronger deterrent than a no-chase policy, and it may make it more likely that the stolen merchandise is recovered and the perpetrators are definitely punished.

However, a pursue and detain policy does put employees at risk, and it can open the door for potential lawsuits, so they are becoming less common.

The amount of money that a company loses from a single shoplifting offense is rarely as much as it could lose in a personal injury or wrongful detainment lawsuit.

Where these policies do exist, many companies will hire dedicated loss prevention officers and security staff, and these will be the only employees that are allowed to directly confront or attempt to physically detain a shoplifter.

Can Zumiez Employees Detain Shoplifters?

It does not seem as though Zumiez is overly clear about what their employees should or should not do when they believe that someone is shoplifting at their store, so are they actually allowed to try and detain the person responsible?

In almost every US state, any private citizen is legally allowed to hold an individual that they believe to have either committed a crime or is in the process of committing a crime. This applies to sales associates as much as it does to members of security.

It is also legal to use reasonable force to hold a person for a reasonable amount of time until the police arrive.

Therefore, Zumiez employees are within their legal right to confront and detain a shoplifter but it is not clear whether or not the company explicitly instructs them to do so or not.

Why Does Zumiez Struggle With Theft?

Why is it, then, that Zumiez stores seem to have such a big problem with shoplifting?

Partly, it seems that it is down to the company’s lack of a clear and well-informed shoplifting or theft policy. Without a robust policy like this, managers and employees will find it very difficult to know what they should do to combat the problem, and potential shoplifters will start to take notice and take advantage.

Also, many former employees of Zumiez have noted that they do not utilize as many security cameras and security tags in their stores as other retailers.

Without an extensive camera system, it is much harder to monitor every individual in the store and there will be less evidence to give to the police. This makes some Zumiez stores look vulnerable.

Of course, it definitely doesn’t help if the upper management of the company is placing the responsibility on its employees rather than coming up with new and better ways to support their staff.


So, what is the Zumiez shoplifting policy? From the reports of former employees and the way that reported incidents have been handled, it seems that there is not a very clear shoplifting policy for all Zumiez staff to follow.

Ex-employees have complained that theft is a major issue that is not dealt with particularly well by upper management, and some locations report a very high number of incidents compared to other retailers.

Shoplifting at Zumiez stores appears to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, with individual managers often relying on local police to deal with it.

Reference Source


Lindsey G.

Lindsey is the founder of BackyardApron.com. Lindsey is writing about all topics related to Food, Grocery, Shoplifting and Store management. Her job also included covering trendy new food products and kitchen staples.

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