Customer Service & Retail
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Retail Workers Share Their Secret Codes

Updated September 20, 2018 126.2k views12 items
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Retail stores have many codes to alert employees to danger or unusual circumstances without worrying customers. These messages cover a range of occurrences, from a building fire to calling in a threat, with a few meddlesome codes in between.

Retail is one of the most demanding and stressful job industries. There are positive aspects of working in retail (employee discounts), but there are also downsides (dealing with unruly customers). For the more calamitous events, secret codes are there to help. Whether it's a shoplifter or something more terrifying like a missing child, the systems alert employees to urgent situations. Stores can use these codes for a bit of fun and, on occasion, to save lives.

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  • 'Code 99' Means Someone Found A Lost Kid Wandering Around The Store

    In contrast to the severity associated with a "Code Adam" or "Code Yellow," a "Code 99" at an IKEA store means a kid was found wandering alone in the store or hiding somewhere. Mental Floss interviewed two IKEA employees, Jana and Marie.

    Regarding a "Code 99," Marie said, "There are so many wardrobes to hide in or bed skirts to hide under. If a kid really wanted to be hidden, it would not be too hard."

  • 'Bruce Wayne' Alerts Loss Prevention To Potential Shoplifters

    Loss prevention is vital in any department store; the industry could salvage as much as $27 billion in revenue annually if all stores employed a loss prevention team.

    Redditor /u/blakemake revealed a code they used to signal loss prevention at his former store. 

    "I used to work at Nordstrom, and when they wanted LP to show up, they would page Bruce Wayne. But when the shoplifters got hip to that (yeah, I know), they started paging Barry Allen."

  • 'Lance Contusion' Means The Store Needs All Hands On Deck

    Redditor /u/Johnner_deeze explained the Best Buy store where he worked had a code for when they were busy while understaffed. 

    "When I worked at Best Buy back in the day, we were short people, so we invented a fictional employee. When he was paged, everyone knew we needed all hands on deck. 'Lance Contusion to media answer center north.' Looking back, this was unnecessary."

  • 'Freddy Got A Puppy' Alludes To A Customer With A Bad Toupee

    According to Redditor /u/Th3Beard3dOn3, one family-owned business developed a code to point out customers who had bad toupees:

    Grew up in a family-run business. My mom and the store manager had a code for guys in toupees. "Oh, did you hear Freddy got a puppy?"

    "What kind?" The bigger and uglier the dog, the worse the toupee was.

    "Oh, it was a schnauzer, pug, pitbull, [and] poodle mix." This would go on 'til one of them was reduced to tears. Wasn't done over the intercom, but they were always within hearing distance.