News / Winnipeg

Rampant wiener thefts threaten Red River College stores' bottom line

While it might sound funny, the president of the Red River College Students’ Association says he’s not laughing.

A sign asking people not to steal from the downtown campus store is posted Wednesday.

Metro

A sign asking people not to steal from the downtown campus store is posted Wednesday.

Wiener thefts have become so rampant at a local college association’s stores that their finances look a bit like a dog’s dinner.

While it might sound funny, the president of the Red River College Students’ Association says he’s not laughing, as people have been stealing thousands of hot dogs, smokies and other food items from stores they operate at both the Notre Dame and Princess Avenue campuses.

“We have literally lost thousands of dollars because people think it is OK to steal food from The Ox and The Mercantile,” said Benjamin McDonald.

“And it’s not just wieners and smokies. One day, we had someone take an entire display of chocolate bars from the downtown store while one of our employees was busy dealing with another customer. It was a bold move and also completely crazy.”

McDonald said the rash of thefts of food from their stores, which are operated by the students’ association, has prompted them to install security cameras at the Notre Dame campus and said they are in doing the same at the downtown campus.

“I just don’t understand it,” McDonald said. “It’s not like we are charging a lot for these items. It’s $3.50 for a smokie in a bun and $2.50 for a hot dog in a bun. We pre-package these items, but if you can believe it, people will unwrap a hot dog, take a smokie out of another bun and then pass it off as a hot dog. All to save $1?”

It has come to a point where the association has put up signs telling people they will be asked to unwrap their tube steak when they buy, to prove they are not pulling a “double dog.”

“It sounds ridiculous, but what else can we do to ensure we are not getting ripped off by someone who thinks they’re being creative by switching up what they are really buying?”

McDonald said “double dog” incidents have decreased at The Ox since installing the security cameras. He also believes this practice is higher at The Mercantile because it is accessible to more public traffic. He hopes security cameras at the downtown campus will deter the wiener thieves.

“The sad reality is that when people do this, whether it’s students or just members of the public, it takes away funds from the association because we have to cover those losses,” he said. “With every theft, money is coming out of our budget to support things like scholarships, student events and even athletic programming.”

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