High Tech Retail meets Low Tech Camping

Every year, our scout troop time travels back to 1830. We camp under white canvas, cook with cast iron, use candles and kerosene lanterns for illumination. We wear period appropriate clothing - includes shoes, socks and the all the rest. On every camp-out we take away the scout's cell phones, but on this particular camp out digital watches, clothes with zippers, butane lighters, nylon - anything pre-1830 is not allowed. The scouts are not suppose to be sending or receiving text messages. The scoutmaster is not blogging.

The idea is this: Learn history by living history.

At this particular camp-out we were encamped with other people from all over the world who are also living history too. That includes musicians, black smiths, and traders -- who peddler everything from buffalo pelts to leather making tools.

One of our scouts decided he needed a leather punch, but because he did not have the $8.00 for the tool, he stole it.

Now our business here at DataWorks, Inc. is inventory control. Loss prevention is part of our product offering. Physical inventory counts, and the tracking of shrinkage is a major part of what we do. We don't relish the fact that our software catches internal thieves, but we do. People have been caught and prosecuted based on our inventory system's controls and features.

So when I sensed that this scout was suddenly endowed with a tool that he should not have had my retail-shoplifting- radar pinged up on full alert.

It took the better part of a day to get the young man to confess to his crime, but he did. Restitution was made by returning to the trader's tent, admitting his crime, returning the slightly-used tool, plus repaying the  trader double his retail price - $16.00.

My logic was that while the item was out of inventory, he lost at least one sale, and he needed to be compensated for the lost revenue plus the loss of stock.

The trader accepted the apology, and then returned the tool and the additional $8.00 to the boy, with the statement, "It took a man to admit you were wrong, thank you for telling me. Here is your tool and the additional $8.00 back. Learn from this and don't ever do it again."

The scout thanked him. I thanked him. The matter was closed.

The value of the experience for me and the young man was that the ability to admit failure is a tough thing to do; but,  the ability to forgive is an even better trait to have in your personal inventory.

If you are interested in the campout regarding the where, the when and the how, that can be explored at this website.