Lesser known facts about retail stores you might want to know

Ever wondered about what goes on behind the scenes at retail stores? I certainly do. Back in high school when I worked at Safeway I had a pretty good sense of how things worked. People shopped, waited in lines, and broke items (accidentally). Those that were a little on the lazy / inconsiderate side would return items in completely different locations from where they found them, or decided not to buy them were called “go back items.” I never thought much about any of this before, but now I do.

Let’s fast forward to now, and I am more curious about what else is going on that I wasn’t really paying attention to before. Recently, I have been paying attention to the communication that happens between employees, specifically at Walgreens. Since I am a strong advocate for good customer service, and don’t like waiting (prefer self checkout when possible), I have picked up on a code often used when the lines back up, “I C 3.” At first, I didn’t think much of it. But, between a little context and research, I learned that this is a code for when there are more than three people in line (it actually means “I See Three,” as in people). Cashiers call “I C 3” all the time now it seems. When I was there earlier, and heard that, I wondered what other codes are used in retail announcements. So, I went to research.

retail stores
When retail stores existed during when this photo was taken, the Internet probably didn’t exist

Turns out that there have been a few other curious people. This Daily Finance article discusses a few codes used in Walmart and Kmart. Among them include codes for suspected theft and yikes, shootings.

Here’s something else you might not know. Stores track your purchases, and I am not talking about when you use your loyalty cards. If you return a lot of merchandise, you might end up on one of many of retail tracking databases. What can get you on retail stores lists? Frequently returning, “renting” an item, meaning that you wear once and return, or otherwise obvious usage and you attempt to return something.

The point is, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes at your favorite retail stores than you might realize. There’s than just toothpaste sales going on there, you might want to pay attention.

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