4 Lessons & 6 Actions to Take to Prevent a Throw-Away Loss
There are some things that you just don’t want to admit. Remember the guy who showed up to work with a cast on his leg? Each of the umpteen times he was asked what happened, he would have much preferred to relate his having injured it saving someone from a burning building than have to tell the truth: He had slipped on a pat of butter that had fallen off someone’s tray at the local Gilded Stable smorgasbord.
That same feeling happens each year to several Jewelers Mutual policyholders who sheepishly call to report a loss as a result of their having thrown their merchandise in the garbage. Ouch. That’s a tough story to have to tell.
You might be surprised at how commonly this occurs.
Jewelers Mutual covered these losses, of course. Nonetheless, we’re sure that each of these jewelers would have preferred not to have suffered the loss in the first place.
Although Jewelers Mutual upholds lofty standards of responsiveness and service to our customers who have claims, no one wants to make the phone calls, file the paperwork, and wait even a short time to recover the loss if he doesn’t have to.
Most of these types of losses occur in relation to the shipping or receiving of packages containing jewelry. The good news is that you can avoid a throw-away loss by heeding lessons from these losses and taking a few simple precautions.
Lesson #1: Finish what you start
Some of these losses have occurred when the recipient of a package partially opened it and then left it somewhere near a garbage can, with the intention of removing the jewelry contents at a later time.
Unfortunately, other store associates or cleaning staff subsequently mistook the apparently opened packaging for trash and dumped it (along with its jewelry contents) in the recycling or garbage, which subsequently was hauled away.
Lesson #2: Don't be distracted
Similarly, jewelers have been interrupted or stopped midway through the process of preparing a package of jewelry for shipping. Upon returning to complete the work of packing and labeling the goods for shipping, they find that someone mistook the envelope or box for trash and threw it out.
Lesson #3: Search thoroughly
Sometimes these losses occur simply because the recipient of a package did not find the jewelry contents inside. Remember, to secure the contents, some individuals will tape envelopes or zip-lock bags to the inside of shipping boxes.
Lesson #4: Cross-check
Other losses relate to discrepancies between the shipping documentation’s list of shipped items and the actual contents of the package. The shipper swears that all of the items were packed; the recipient swears that one or more of the items did not arrive.
The following actions can help to prevent your exposure to the aforementioned scenarios:
- Locate your recycling and garbage receptacles away from your shipping, receiving, and packing areas. Don’t make it easy for someone to inadvertently throw away jewelry merchandise.
- Always complete a shipping or receiving task (packing and unpacking) before moving on to something else. Don’t walk away from a partially opened or incompletely packaged parcel containing jewelry.
- Thoroughly examine all received packing materials before throwing them out. Remember to check the inside surfaces of all boxes, as envelopes or zip-lock bags containing merchandise might be affixed to them.
- Break down all shipping boxes before throwing them into the recycling or garbage.
- Consider installing a surveillance camera to observe all packing, shipping, receiving, and unpacking activities. This can be particularly useful in resolving disputes about discrepancies between the shipped-items list and the actual contents of the parcel.
- Train all staff who prepare and/or receive parcels on how to ship and receive jewelry in order to prevent merchandise from being thrown away. Document the contents of shipped and received packages and make sure uniform procedures are followed.
Remaining aware that the risk of throwing away merchandise is real, and developing simple habits to avoid such mishaps, can spare you from a lot of hassle.