Retailers have always had difficulty finding and retaining reliable employees. In order to test the alertness of his workers, retailing pioneer Frank Winfield Woolworth regularly traveled incognito and shoplifted from his own stores.
[How bad was the Great Depression? Frank W. Woolworth started selling 5-cent goods in 1878 and added l0-cent items two years later. He did not begin offering 20-cent items until 1932 -- more than 50 years later.]