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Teen Arrested for Grand Theft at Goodwill Store

Andrew Anderson worked at a Goodwill store in East Naples, Florida, until he was arrested for grand theft. Anderson had been giving discounts to the poorest people who came into the store. The 19-year-old explained that he was trying to help those in need, inspired by the Goodwill, "a helping and giving company."

Anderson says he never knew giving discounts was wrong or even illegal.

"The intent I had was to help people, just like Goodwill says, we help people," Anderson said.

Andrew says out of the two weeks he gave discounts, not once did he put a dollar in his own pocket and he even offered to pay back the money that Goodwill estimates he gave away.

Store officials say none of that matters.

"Our stores are not around to give a hand out, they're around to give people a hand up by providing funding, said Kirstin O'Donnell, a spokesperson for Goodwill Retail and Donation Center in East Naples.

The store officials have a point. Several, in fact.

* Anderson was not authorized to change prices on merchandise.
* Goodwill's mission is employment programs, which are funded by the stores.
* Let one employee get away with this, and others may follow.

But there are other points to consider.

* Goodwill's merchandise comes to them free.
* Arresting a naive teenager is overkill. They could have just fired him.
* It's also bad for public relations.

The store manager estimated that Anderson gave away $4,000 in discounts in two weeks. Either that store is exceptionally busy, or the prices are very high. Would they have moved that much merchandise if it weren't discounted?

Four days later, Goodwill dropped the charges against Anderson. -via The Week

(Image credit: Flickr user Daniel Oines)

Well, if you work somewhere and want to do something that isn't listed on your job description you should ask if you may do it, I mean, his heart was in the right place, but it wasn't a properly thought through thing to do.
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1. Goodwill has a discount policy. Only managers can give a discount but do it frequently.

2. Much of the merchandise is not "free". It is donated and a donation receipt is given to the donor. If the merchandise is sold for less than the donation receipt, Goodwill is in violation of tax laws. In some circumstances, companies give items to good will for a tax deduction and those items will never be discounted. (Around here they have pink tags.)

3. That being said, my cynical belief is that the employee was no modern day Robin Hood and was likely funneling expensive items to cohorts for little or no payment.
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Overkill. All they had to do was give the lad a talking to and if need be sack him. I imagine he felt he was doing the right thing, that he was helping people, and to land him with a criminal record for theft at 19 is in no way proportional to his transgression.
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