Rachel Rogers was employed as a sales associate at the Lululemon store in Peachtree Corners, Ga., for five years. But after the same group of looters attacked the store for the fourth or fifth time, making off with thousands of dollars in merchandise, she called 911.
Assistant Manager Jennifer Ferguson described the scene. “All of a sudden we see some gentlemen run into the store in masks and hoodies,” Ferguson said, “They swiped until they couldn’t hold any more product and ran out the door.”
But a week later, Rogers was fired. She had apparently run afoul of a company policy that had a “zero tolerance” for calling 911.
Certainly one can understand a company directing employees not to interfere in a looting incident. But Rogers was fired for disobeying a company policy that prevented her from calling the police to the scene. As it was, the same group of thieves hit another Lululemon store in the area the next day and were caught.
The “no 911 call” policy was initiated to protect the company, said Ferguson.
“We are not supposed to get in the way. You kind of clear path for whatever they’re going to do,” Ferguson said, “And then, after it’s over, you scan a QR code. And that’s that. We’ve been told not to put it in any notes, because that might scare other people. We’re not supposed to call the police, not really supposed to talk about it.”
Ferguson’s husband James described the fallout his wife and Ms. Rogers were subjected to.
So, this crew is in jail. Partly because of the courageous and brave actions of Jenn and the other employee.
This is where my blood begins to boil. These are two exemplary employees, both leaders and looking to advance within the company. And what was their reward? They were immediately terminated without mention of severance or any financial consideration. Then, as the two terminated employees compared notes on their zoom call experiences, it comes out that the Regional Manager for Lululemon openly questioned why they would call the police. Stating that it would “look bad for Lululemon to be the company calling the police”. Are you kidding me? These ladies are heroes of sorts. They did what we all HOPE we could do in a similar situation. They were brave and courageous and honest and good citizens.
Retail businesses have apparently decided to accept the huge losses in merchandise taken by organized gangs who have woken up to the fact that no one really wants to arrest and prosecute them. “Shoplifting” or felony theft are “victimless crimes,” we’re told.
We, the consumer, pay for these crimes through ever higher costs for merchandise and shopping in an unsafe environment.
Which brings me to my closing remarks. I do not and likely you do not want our area to end up like San Francisco or Portland, where retailers are pulling out of the cities due to theft and crime. Where citizens are afraid to go to certain areas because the police are not or will not be called. If we, citizens of the community, allow criminal activity to go unchecked, that is tacit approval for them to continue their ways. This is not what our country, state, or community are about. Law and Order must have a respected place and criminal activity must be punished. Furthermore, brave and courageous citizens and employees should be commended, not punished, for taking a stand.
The brazenness of these criminals is matched in intensity by the stupidity and fear of management. Metro Atlanta will become more and more like San Francisco and Portland — and all other major cities — because they refused to learn the lessons of big cities in the 1980s and ’90s.
“Broken windows” lead to a broken society.