A former Home Bargains employee has given an insight into the day to day of the job while revealing some top secrets behind finding the best deals.
Grace Payne spent a brief two years with the discount chain after taking the job on at the age of 16.
It was eventful first day in her role as she was shown CCTV footage of people regularly shoplifting items – from condoms to chocolate and clothes.
She was stunned to find that everyone, from “mums, to teens, to even grannies”, were among those who dabbled in stealing things.
Grace said that it was a real eyeopener.
The now 20-year-old told the Mirror : “If we spotted them we had to run to the front of the story and press a button.
“They included ‘flower lady’ who always had massive flowers in her hair, a mum who would sneakily put things in her basket, and other people as well – all nicking things.
“I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for.”
Grace said that a bell would sound to alert staff to a shoplifter about six times a day, before managers could be seen sprinting through the store trying to catch them as they raced out into the street.
She said the most shoplifted item was teenagers stealing condoms, but chocolate and clothes were high on the list as well.
The aspiring air stewardess said she once walked into the staff toilets to find “poo absolutely everywhere”, including being smeared across the walls, and suspected a customer had sneaked their way in to do it.
She also revealed she was yelled at regularly by angry customers, but added she never felt like she was put in any danger at work. She said: “It was cheap and people were in a rush, so you would get people really, really frustrated with you.”
Customers would also try to bag items for free by breaking it themselves and claiming it was faulty.
Grace said even though it was a “dramatic two years”, she learned a lot and still shops at the store to pick up the great deals on offer.
Sharing her tips on how to find the best bargains, she said if stock has been in the store for a while, it often gets discounted if the shop decides to discontinue it, so sometimes it’s worth waiting to see if the price will be slashed to as little as a penny.
‘Star buys’, which are often discounted products, were always located at the front of the store, so make sure you don’t miss them on your way in – with newly-opened branches often offering better star buys to draw in customers.
If you find an item that genuinely isn’t up to scratch, Grace advised talking to the manager, saying they will take you seriously and may offer a discount.
She also said the best to shop for fresh produce is the morning when the items already on the shelves would be discounted to make way for that day’s stock.
Home Bargains has been contacted for comment.