Connect with us

The Case of the Missing Nose Print Kit

When Shelby believes a longtime customer has stolen from her, she must decide what to do.




Shelby touched the nose print necklace she wore and smiled at the new display of pendant kits on her checkout counter. A friend had gifted Shelby one of the kits, which she used to capture her own dog’s nose print and send it back to have the pendant made. Shelby loved the necklace so much she ordered the kits to sell at her store.


Real Deal is a fictional scenario designed to read like real-life business events. The businesses and people mentioned in this story should not be confused with actual pet businesses and people.


NANCY GUINN is founder and president of Dog
Krazy Inc., an award-winning pet supply store in Virginia with six locations. Also a clinical pet nutritionist, she consults with veterinarians and pet parents alike. Nancy shares her life with business partner and husband Chris, and their pets Sushi, Pork Wonton, Stirfry Fatguy, Tala, Jimmy Dean and Max.

They had arrived that morning, and Shelby had put one gold kit and two silver kits on the counter. The gold kit was a bit pricier than the silver, but she knew there would be customers for both, pet parents who would love and cherish such a personal pendant, too.

A few minutes later, the doorbell jingled and longtime customers Kaitlyn and Snowball walked into the store.

“Good morning, Kaitlyn. Good morning, Snowball,” Shelby said as she did one fi nal adjustment to the display. “Hi Shelby,” Kaitlyn replied as she and Snowball walked toward the canned food to grab their regular assortment. Shelby followed to show them the new cans that had just come in — she knew how picky Snowball was when it came to the texture of her meals and wanted to suggest the new options.


Cans selected, they all headed to the checkout counter, with Kaitlyn and Snowball grabbing an enrichment mat and some treats along the way. Shelby began ringing up the items and pointed to the new pendant kits on display. “For if you want a lasting memory of Snowball’s nose print,” she said, adding “Or if you have a friend who would love one, it makes a great gift.” Shelby then turned to grab a shopping bag for the purchases.

All packed up, Shelby offered to help Kaitlyn to her car. Kaitlyn declined, and they left with the bag of goodies.

Another customer walked in, and Shelby greeted him and asked what kind of pet he was shopping for that day. After helping the customer pick out a cat collar, she walked him to the checkout counter. Shelby immediately noticed the gold nose print kit was missing. She finished checking out the customer and scanned the counter for the kit.

Shelby knew she had put the gold kit in the display, and it was there when she began checking out Kaitlyn and Snowball. Shelby had been with the other customer the entire time, not turning her back because he declined a bag. No one else had come in.

There was no other explanation: Kaitlyn had taken the kit. How could her longtime customer steal from her, Shelby asked herself? She regretted not installing security cameras but never thought she’d need them for her small store.

The Big Questions

  • Should Shelby call Kaitlyn and ask if she missed ringing up the kit?
  • Should she call the police and report Kaitlyn for theft? Or chalk it up as a learning experience?
  • In addition to installing cameras, how can Kaitlyn prevent this in the future?
Julia B.

I had this happen 20-plus years ago. I did nothing. It has haunted me since. Now older and wiser, I would call Kaitlyn and say, “I’m so sorry I didn’t ring up your nose print kit. Do you want to give me a card number over the phone?” Act as if it was my fault for not ringing it up and let her save face. That way there is no question if she has it, just how she wants to pay for it. Then I would not mention it again, but keep an eye on her. I did get cameras put in not too long after my incident.

Audree B.

If Shelby doesn’t have cameras, she needs to get them installed immediately and make sure that all areas she’s concerned about are covered. Without seeing the theft with her own eyes, she can’t accuse anyone of anything. Shelby may believe she put out the display with one gold and two silvers, but did she? We owners have a million things going through our heads and might really believe we did something only to find out we didn’t. How awful it would be to accuse someone of stealing without proof. If she can confirm that Kaitlyn did in fact steal, then Shelby needs to decide if she is indeed a customer worth having. Chances are if Kaitlyn did steal, then this might not have been her first time. Sometimes it’s OK to fire a customer.

Kelly B.

I would call Kaitlyn and say, “Hey. The other day when you were in, I remember you looking at the nose print kits. Later I noticed one was missing. Did I accidentally put it in your bag while we were talking? When you get a moment, would you check? I’d appreciate it.” This will let Kaitlyn know you follow your inventory and have a pretty good idea she took it, but it gives a plausible reason for the item to be in her possession without outright accusing her of theft and gives her a gracious way of returning it. She might say, “Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t unpacked all of the bags yet. Let me check and see if it’s in there.” Or maybe Kaitlyn will miraculously find it in the trunk or under the seat where the bags spilled. After that, I would let it drop because I don’t have any proof. And get cameras.

Cindy Michelle M.

This is a tough one. I wouldn’t call the police, and I’m not sure if I would call Kaitlyn and ask. I wouldn’t want to offend a longtime customer. The cost of the kit may not be worth the potential lost business. Definitely a learning experience. It may help to not have to turn one’s back on the customer for a bag. Ours are under and to the side of our register. Also, would the manufacturer have the ability to determine in which store the kit was sold if it was sent back to them?

Joyce M.

I think Shelby should chalk it up to a tuition payment in the school of retail business. Not sure cameras would help, but I am sure she will be more observant now.

Diana F.

I would call Kaitlyn and say something like “OMG, I’m so sorry. We were so busy talking that I completely forgot to ring up that gold nose print kit for you!” Then I’d shut up and see what her response is. If it’s denial, I’d push a bit further and ask her to check her bag, explaining that I’d just put them out right before she came in, so it may have simply fallen into her bag accidentally. If she denies it again, I’d make sure to keep a sharp eye on her next visit, and chalk it up to lesson sadly learned. I’d also make darned sure to have cameras installed as soon as possible, with signage about how theft hurts small businesses.

Alexis B.

Even though Shelby’s hunch was probably accurate, without the camera to review and confirm what actually happened to the kit, she has to write it off to a loss and a learning experience. Cameras are your friend. Small and large stores benefit from them. We have been ripped off many times, sometimes right in front of staff’s noses because they aren’t paying attention. We have cameras, and they don’t necessarily deter but they do let you see who and what actually happened.

Pattie Z.

I would not confront Kaitlyn unless I wanted to lose her as a customer for good. Anything of high-dollar value like jewelry would be best kept in a locked acrylic case, preferably close to the checkout area, so the customer can see them and you have the opportunity to “show, tell and sell.” Take the incident as an opportunity to make sure expensive items are secure or to re-evaluate whether your store should be carrying something of this price point in the first place.

Dawn T.

Yes, I think Shelby should call Kaitlyn and ask if she remembers seeing the kit. This way she is not accusing her, but just inquiring with her. Hopefully because she is a longtime customer, her conscience will get the better of her and she will apologize for taking it or offer to pay for it. No, she shouldn’t call the police and report Kaitlyn for theft because she has no real proof that she stole it. If she has inquired with Kaitlyn and she has not confirmed or admitted anything, weighing the positives versus the negative she should just chalk it up as a learning experience. Yes, she should install cameras as well as get a locked display box for expensive items. With her store offering new items and growing, it would be a good investment.

Penny M.

I would call Kaitlyn and ask if I accidentally put this product in her bag. At that point, most likely Kaitlyn will realize that she has been caught and bring it back. I would try taking the “responsibility” even though I knew she was responsible. And I would never turn my back on her again!

Tasha H.

Although I have cameras pointed at the back and front side of the counter, without having cameras she could call and ask if she accidentally bagged that item when she was showing her or something similarly nonaccusing, or she could post on social media asking if any customers found the item in their bags and hadn’t purchased it.

Paula G.

If she was a longtime customer, I would call right away and say, “Kaitlyn, I’m missing a gold kit, and I think I might have accidentally put it in your bag. Could you check for me? That way, Kaitlyn will know but not feel defensive and might bring it back saying, “Oh my. It was in my bag.” At that point, I would know.

Paige E.

I think I would call the customer and phrase it as such: “Hi, Kaitlyn! Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing, but I realized after you left that I completely forgot to ring up the pendant kit we talked about. I realized when I walked back up after helping another customer and the gold one was missing. We can get that taken care of the next time you’re in, and you can show me how cute it came out!” She may deny taking it and if so, it is what it is, but phrasing it so casually may help. From there out, just being extra watchful when said customer is in. And get those cameras installed.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular