Gratuities and Samples can be Costly

Sales reps and merchandisers are in and out of your store on a daily basis. They sometimes offer merchandise to our members that is either discontinued or a new item as a gratuity or a sample.

These items can be as small as a pack of gum or as valuable as a bottle of wine. Every company has a strict policy on accepting these free items and it is important that you understand it and closely follow it.

Your job may be on the line if you remove these items from the store in violation of these policies. Several members have recently been terminated for doing just that. The severity of this discipline may seem heavy handed, and in our view it is, but companies have prevailed in past arbitrations when the unions have tried to defend their members.

There is no protection from possible discipline by asking the sales rep to put the merchandise in your car for you, so that it appears that you are not removing the product. Some members have used the excuse that the merchandise that they received was a gift from their friend, the sales rep, or a donation to their favorite charity.

The rules are the rules and these excuses will not exempt you from possible termination.

Most policies require your store manager or district managers’ approval before you can accept and remove this ‘free ‘merchandise. Every one of these past terminations could have easily been avoided if members just followed the rules.

Always get permission from management before accepting and removing product from a sales rep. If you are not sure of the policy, ask management.

The best advice that we can give is to not accept free stuff from vendors. It is not free; it can cost you your job.