Re: Here's my miff...
Here's an honest question you can ask. What should you do if the card is clearly stolen? For example, if a white woman hands you a credit card which reads "Enrique Gonzalez". Is it your store policy to knowingly perform a fraudulent transaction?
If the cop is an ass and tries to get you fired or something, you could always do an expose. Make a purchase with a friend's card (preferably of the opposite sex) and record the whole thing (audio is easy, video is trickier). If they don't even challenge you, do it repeatedly over a long period. Documenting each trip with a picture of you and the the purchase (with receipt) would combine with the audio to prove you made the purchase, and the credit card/bank statement of your friend would prove how you purchased it. I'm sure a local newspaper or news station would love to see your results.
If you think the store might be suspicious of you, you could always get a friend to make the purchases with your card instead. A different last name of the opposite sex would be ideal since it's clearly not their card.
And if you want to get fired, you can always write the cop an apology letter like "I apologize for following what I thought was store policy to protect customers making large purchases over xx dollars. Rest assured that if your credit card is ever lost in our store we will make no attempt to prevent someone else from using it."
If you know you're right don't be afraid to stick up for yourself, just make sure you have a backup plan if things go wrong. As the paragraphs above should show, I think a little differently than most.
The story: (I work as a cashier)
I check-out the customer as usual, and when it comes time to pay, he offers to pay by credit. Knowing the register requests cashiers to compare signatures for large credit orders, I ask to see his card, which he gives me.
I decide that the signature is too worn to recognize, so I ask for his ID (to check photo/name), which he provides. He shows me it through his wallet, which has a color film over his driver's license.
I'm a bit puzzled because of the film (does his face match the purple one?), and as I'm about to finish the transaction, he asks, "Well, why are you asking for my ID?" to which I say, "To make sure your card isn't stolen." (More words of similar effect are spoken here)
He was flustered, so I finish up and continue to the next customer. I figured he seemed unsure that I would accept the card, so I finished quickly to assure him that there was no problem.
At the end of the day, my manager explains to me what I did terribly wrong.
What was the problem?
Problem #1: Apparently I'm not supposed to compare signatures at all (even though the register reminds us to "Compare Signatures," and customers have told me they like to have been asked). There was a lawsuit a few years back of a woman who thought she was being discriminated against because her ID was checked (even though checks are for orders above a certain dollar value, and random if the order is under that amount). Since then, my company no longer checks signatures. (I missed the memo)
Problem #2: I shouldn't have asked for further ID. My manager told me that he had seen the signature and thought it was clear enough. But more importantly, I should not "question the integrity of the customer." Never. Ever. Even if we know he's a thief, treat him as an honest customer.
Problem #3: The word "stolen" is a bad word. To say such a thing is like using a cuss word. That is, I might as well have said "To make sure your card isn't shit." It goes into the pile of Customer's Integrity policies.
Oh, and he was shopping with his kids, to make matters worse. (Daddy, your card is stolen?)
Problem #4: Turns out the customer was a cop. (Well, actually he did show me his badge before leaving my register) And cops are good at being mad. This customer called for my manager, then proceeded to chew him up and spit him out (after he left my register, so I didn't know). In such a mood, the customer's probably going to contact the highest authority he can (which is, yes, the President of the company). He has, so far, demanded an apology from our Store Manager.
Furthermore, he thinks that somehow this was a personal incident: he must have busted me for some crime and I was getting back at him. (Asking for his ID is the perfect way to get back at him!) Too bad I've never had police involvement in my life...
(There was this one time I was framed at school and the principal called my parents, but that's another story. Point is: clean record)
I may have some disciplinary action in my future.
Or maybe I'll take part in court when he sues the company.
Serves me right for ticking off the wrong customer.