Add Investigator To Your Retail Resume

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Retail workers get training on products and services, how to troubleshoot repairs and a lot of customer service training.  Successful retail professionals are excellent sales reps because they know the products and can match the right product with the needs of a customer.

If you work for a company that sells electronic devices, part of your training may cover how to distinguish authentic products from counterfeits.  At first glance, products may look the same.  If you know what to look for, you can save the company a lot of money by refusing to return or refund them. 

The Business Insider’s slide show, “How to Spot A Fake IPhone And Other Phony Tech Gagets,” is a “show and tell” of a variety of fake products and how to spot them.  Some of the clues are easy to see; some are more difficult.  Knowing what to look for can make you a retail superstar.

Fake products may look like the real thing, but the proof is in the labeling.  In the article, two X-Box stickers are pictured side-by-side.  One lists “By Microsoft”, the creator of the product.  The other, says “for X-Box.”  Wording is a red flag.  So are misspellings.  Fake products are often manufactured in foreign countries and misspelled words or improper grammar is a giveaway.

If a product’s price is too low to be true, it’s probably what the fake product is worth.  Discount stores can have sales, but if you find an IPad online for $9.99, you haven’t found the deal of the century.  You’ve found a counterfeiter hoping to find someone who will be sucked in by a low price instead of someone who checks out the authenticity of the product.  The sellers don’t care.  They just want to sell enough of them to make their money and then disappear. 

Electronic digital devices are expensive, and businesses know that some unscrupulous people try to switch real products for fakes just to get the original purchase price.  So goes the story of a woman who bought an IPad from Wal-Mart and was mistakenly accused of doing just that.  The retail employees knew the signs of a switch, and did their job.  They investigated, and after watching surveillance tapes, a manager concluded that the shrink-wrap on the product that was returned wasn’t the same as the shrink-wrap that was on original products sold at the store.  The product was a fake, with numerous differences and no electronics to even make it work. 

Some fakes are easier to spot than others.  Some have multiple differences, like workmanship, color and a lower-than-normal price.  There is a fine line between determining a fake and looking at all people who return electronics as scammers.  Companies can be fooled, too.  As in the case of Wal-Mart, they eventually agreed to give the woman a refund.  Big retailers can be the victim of large-scale fake purchases.  The burden of proof, however, can be on a customer who is the first person to uncover the fake product.

Retail sales can be a tough job.  Long hours, constantly changing products, difficult customers and demanding supervisors.  Add customers who try to make extra cash by returning bogus products and you add investigator to your list of needed job skills.  Like it or not, educating yourself on how to spot the real from fake is a valuable job skill that make you an appreciated and valued asset and save the company from financial loss. 


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