Following a story that aired on CBC Television last night, we would like to clarify a situation that occurred between one of our staff members and a customer at the London Drugs store at East Hastings and Penticton St. in Vancouver.
We have decided to include significant detail here to ensure all of the facts are presented.
On May 10th, an unknown male approached our employee, at the customer service desk, asking for a specific item to purchase and when presented with the item, the unknown male took the goods without paying and ran out of the store. The employee was shaken from this theft incident, and the incident was reported to the Vancouver Police and a case number was provided.
On May 14, a London Drugs customer, Mr. Andy Fiore approached the same customer service desk attempting to make a grocery purchase. The same employee, thought he recognized Mr. Fiore as the individual who had made the theft from the customer service desk a couple of days prior.
The employee feeling unsure of what to do, delays serving Mr. Fiore, and calls for the assistant manager to attend the customer service desk for advice.
The employee tells the assistant store manager he does not want to serve Mr. Fiore, believing he recognizes him as the same person who stole from him a few days earlier. There are no other customers immediately present at the desk at this time.
Mr. Fiore overhears this conversation between the employee, and the assistant store manager, and becomes upset. In a matter of seconds, the exchange becomes intense. The employee speaks directly to Mr. Fiore accusing him of shoplifting in the store on the past weekend; the assistant manager goes to Mr. Fiore offering assistance with his dropped grocery items; Mr. Fiore becomes extremely upset, shouting and attracting the attention of 10 to 15 customers in the store; Mr. Fiore uses expletives at the employees and other customers, and makes physical harm and life-threatening threats to the employee. The assistant store manager asks Mr. Fiore to leave the store. The employees now fear for their personal safety and those of customers; the assistant store manager tells Mr. Fiore he is going to call the police and calls 911. Mr. Fiore continues shouting, leaves the store, and re-enters the store briefly one more time.
Back at his home, Mr. Fiore’s partner also calls police. The police attend the store to investigate, review footage and take statements from witnesses of the events, including the threats of physical harm to the staff.
London Drugs Loss Prevention, who was not in the store at the time of the incident, attend the store later to assist the Vancouver Police Department in the investigation, securing and showing video. London Drugs and the police officers determine that Mr. Fiore was the victim of a mistaken identity.
What happens following the incident inside London Drugs occurred between the Vancouver Police Department and Mr. Fiore and we are not privy to this interaction or report.
Head Office at London Drugs became aware of the situation on May 16 and immediately tried to get in touch with Mr. Fiore. Tony Hunt, manager of London Drugs’ loss prevention spoke on the phone with Mr. Fiore’s partner Ms. Sue Pitura. Mr. Hunt apologizes for the incident and the case of mistaken identity on behalf of the employee. Mr. Hunt asks Ms. Pitura what London Drugs can do to help and suggests he could personally meet with Mr. Fiore to hear his concerns and offer apologies. Ms. Pitura says that would be a good idea, and in fact may be exactly what Mr. Fiore needs to put closure to the event. Upon hearing that it is difficult for Mr. Fiore to leave the house in his current condition, Mr. Hunt asks if he can bring the groceries over that Mr. Fiore was unable to purchase and Ms. Pitura indicates that this wasn’t required but agrees that it would be acceptable. Ms. Pitura provides a list of items she thinks Mr. Fiore might have been trying to purchase. It is agreed that Mr. Hunt will visit Mr. Fiore’s residence the next day on May 17th.
Mr. Hunt and a colleague visit Mr. Fiore’s residence. Mr. Hunt apologizes to Mr. Fiore on behalf of the employee and the company. Mr. Fiore sets a microphone and records the interaction after a few minutes after the start of the conversation and initial apology. The interaction can be listened to via Mr. Fiore’s sound cloud recording.
London Drugs would like to reiterate again to Mr. Fiore, that our employee made a bad mistake, and showed poor judgment in accusing him of being the same person who stole a few days prior. London Drugs is very sorry for the actions of our employee and take full responsibility for the actions of our employee. We have apologized in person at Mr. Fiore’s home by a senior company representative, we have sent a formal letter requesting open dialogue and the employee who made these errors has also sent Mr. Fiore a formal letter of apology.