By Kemi Olatunde
“I trusted my sales boy so much because he was hardworking but he nearly sent me to the cleaners before I discovered that he was a thief”
their employers into a walking corpses if care is not taken.
Her words: “I employed Friday last year to help with sales in my shop. I sell all sorts of drinks wholesale. Initially, he behaved responsibly until after some months when I took stock of my shop and discovered shortage of both goods and cash. I usually send him to deposit large sums of money in bank for me which he did initially perfectly. Then, he began to keep part of the money for himself.
“After the discovery, I interrogated him and he told me that he diverted my goods at times. He also confessed that on several occasions, he stole my goods and sold to some of my customers at a cheaper rate being stolen goods.
“On hearing this, I became devastated. He took me to the people he sold my goods to, some of whom he claimed were yet to give him balance. I collected my money from them and also ensured that Friday settled me as regards my stolen goods and money. I sacked him from my shop without receiving anything from me as severance pay.
“I ought to have been suspicious of him when I noticed that he started the habit of making several calls in the shop but I never did.
“When I told those around my shop about it, they all said that they used to see him take goods away from my store through the back entrance but felt that I was aware.
“I no longer hire sales boys who will live with me in my house but those that come on daily basis and I no longer trust anyone. I trusted Friday, took him as a son but he still stabbed me at the back. They are indeed wolves in sheep clothing.” Another business woman in Shagari Village area of Akure also narrated her ordeal.
She said that a lady, Patience, who claimed to be 25-year-old was brought to her last year from Plateau State and that after carrying out the necessary medical tests on her which result was negative, she accepted her.
She further narrated “Initially, she was nice and hardworking, in fact, she used to give me anything she saw in a hidden place and based on this, I treated her like a sister and left everything in my house at her mercy.
The relationship was perfect until few days to the end of her stay when she unleashed the devil in her. Unknown to me, she might have been planning the crime for the time she would leave.
“She stole money from me, an amount which I cannot ascertain and also carried a drum of 225 litres which is being sold N12,000 now.
“She promised to return this year and sincerely, she called me earlier this year that I should send transport fare to her to come down to Ondo State from her state but I declined due to what she did.”
A poor widow, Adeola Oni had a bitter experience with a Yoruba lady popularly called ‘Alhaja’ whom she employed as she was afraid of being duped by the yearly paid employees that are majorly from the Northern part of the country.
According to her, Alhaja was worse as she did not only steal large sums of money from her but also took almost all her goods, leaving her to become a shadow of herself.
Mrs Oni tries her best to make ends meet as she has three children to cater for alone.
Due to the ordeal of people who employ the Northern maids, she decided to take someone from her tribe (Yoruba) so as to guarantee her safety. She treated Alhaja like a sister. Although, a Civil Servant, she took loan from a microfinance bank to start up drink business in Shagari area of Akure. Every morning before she left for work, she would stop by her shop to check her goods and also drop food for Alhaja.
“This went on for a while until she noticed a massive drop in sales. She became disturbed and began to investigate. Soon, the cat was let out of the bag and Alhaja’s shady deals became exposed. It was a morning the poor widow will not forget in a hurry as Alhaja heaped the blame of her crime on the devil’s head.
“I thought that Alhaja is committed to her duty as she is always the first person to get to the complex and the last to leave not knowing that she had hidden agenda.
“Alhaja had sold all the drinks in the inner part of the store alongside the crates and covered the space with just few crates that were sighted with most of the bottles inside emptied. She was able to pull it off due to the fact that she inflated prices of the goods to discourage customers from patronizing her.
When the secret became revealed, the boss fainted on the spot but was revived by passers-by who in turn wanted to unleash mayhem on Alhaja who fled for her life.
After few days, the boss went to arrest her as early as 4:30am with the help of her flat mates and she was made to pay back before she was released from the police station.
Mr Edward Apata who deals in provision explained that he sleeps with his eyes opened in order not to be sent to early grave.
According to him, sales clerk, when they want to steal, act without giving a second thought to the consequences of their actions stating that they required adequate monitoring.
“I have two males assisting me in my shop as I deal in wholesales. These guys have dealt severely with me in the past through their actions. There is no amount of care you give them, they will still misbehave. To them, you should work while they reap the reward.
Even though I have CCTV in my shop, they are just too smart. At times, they give my goods to customers to take outside for them while they go through the other door to get it from them. At times, the customer takes it home and later get it at their convenience.
“I pay them good salary, feed them two times in a day as well as give them transport fare on daily basis, yet they are stealing from me. They are all the same as I have been employing them for over a decade.”
Mrs Bade Adetutu, a shop owner in Oke-Ijebu, Akure said that it is important that they are being monitored in order not to ruin one’s business.
Giving her ordeal, she said; “I have employed many of them and I can describe them as necessity.
“Most of the time, you are frustrated to the point of inflicting injury on them due to their action. There is nothing they cannot steal. Some of them initially pretend to be responsible, but show their real self towards the end of their stay.
“Due to all I went through with them, I decided to employ my sister who turns out to be worse. She stole a bale of clothes and sold it at a cheaper rate. In fact, she relocated me to square one as there was nothing for me. It took the intervention of our families to have the matter resolved.
Before then, I brought a 22-year-old girl from the village who also robbed me blind before she was sent packing. It is either she sold my clothes to customers at a cheaper rate and the money transferred to her account or she takes the cloth away from the shop and sends it to the village to her siblings. Before she was caught, some of my customers used to call my attention to her appearance as she used to make very expensive hairdo but I never took any step until I caught her red-handed.”
A proprietress of a private school in Akure and a wife of a former commissioner in the state who craved anonymity stressed the need for all to be vigilant while having them under their roof.
“I started requesting for their service in 2005 when my last child was through with her secondary school education. I have seen it all when it comes to them that is, the good, the bad and the ugly. Is it their recklessness, disloyalty? They can steal anything even after caring for them. One of them stole a faulty generator which was to be repaired and sold it. Another one stole all the electrical appliances during the renovation of my house. A lady stole the bag of make-up I sell and took to her heels by jumping over the fence. All I can say is that they are necessary evil.”