Safe drops and fables

I arrived for an afternoon shift and, after our usual afternoon power play wherein I’m not allowed to be paid for the 30 seconds it takes to pull on a uniform shirt, the store manager told me, “We need to have a conversation.”

…about safe drops. Specifically, I’m allegedly not doing them often enough, nor are most of my coworkers, and we might be subject to “written warnings or termination” if we don’t shape up.

My reaction disappointed her, as does my reaction to most of the higher-management bullshit she repeats at me.

She trotted out the “safety” excuse, too, which she’d cribbed from a memo from the area manager, a memo that she later left behind the front counter so we could all enjoy it:

When you have more than the allowed cash in your register you are putting yourself, your co-workers and the company at risk letting potential robbers know robbing us is a worthwhile deal. We want the customers to know we make regular drops and we want to be known as the Company who is not worth robbing.

Or as I explained it to a coworker later: “They imagine that convenience-store robbers post this stuff on the forums at, sharing info on how much a given store has in the drawer. Because $50 isn’t worth the risk, but $80, oh yeah.

(Side note: “” redirects to a WorldNews category page.)

I found the corporate line completely implausible and proposed a more likely explanation:

If corporate tightens up the safe-drop requirements, cashiers waste more time making safe drops, and customers waste more time waiting for the cashiers to make those safe drops… but other people’s wasted time is a negative externality. And clerks sometimes have to refuse sales because they can’t make change for a large bill, but that’s an easily ignored opportunity cost, even if the store would have to get robbed at least monthly to cost the company as much money.

The amount in the drawer during a robbery, though, is a line item. It’s easily measured, and thus within the cognitive reach of middle managers who want to maintain the illusion of control.

I summarized this as “it’s the money,” because as an employee, I have to constantly risk-assess how openly I scorn the corporate hierarchy, but I have no reason to believe that any of this company’s decision-makers care about anyone else’s “safety.”


Categories: PiecesTags: ,

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