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Humans of Helsinki Airport: Cosmetics salesperson Riitta-Liisa Suovanen

Article published
20.7.2018 at 09:00
Riitta-Liisa Suovanen
Riitta-Liisa Suovanen’s tip led to a perfume thief – who had stolen thousands of euros’ worth of products from the airport shops – being caught at Helsinki Airport.

“I started working at the airport as a cosmetics salesperson in 1987, in the Finnair tax free shop. My job is still the same, although nowadays I work for the World Duty Free Group. In over 30 years, the airport has changed tremendously: the number of customers has multiplied, and the airport has become much more international. The customers used to be mostly Finnish and European, now, most of them come from Asia, especially China.

“Our work community is also very international and multicultural. I work with colleagues who come from Rwanda, Brazil, and China, for example. I’ve known some of my colleagues for over 30 years – since the Finnair days – but I also have many young colleagues. People from different cultures and of different ages definitely make every-day work richer.

“The perfume thief case, which also made the national news, was quite an exceptional situation in my career. We occasionally get shoplifters, of course, but I had never been part of an actual arrest. One of the airport security guards gave us the description of a person that was suspected of stealing thousands of euros’ worth of perfumes from the airport shops. That same evening, a person walked into our store who matched the description perfectly. He even wore the same clothes and shoes. My colleague and I kept an eye on the suspect while he was in the shop, and immediately called the security staff on duty. Security came and caught the thief after he left the shop.

“It felt uncomfortable to have to stalk and be suspicious of someone, but of course, it’s a good thing that he was caught. I find it strange that thieves target the airport in the first place, as this is a closed and well-monitored facility.

“All in all, Helsinki Airport is a great place to work. I like the international atmosphere and meeting different people.”

Read another Humans of Helsinki Airport story about Kaisa who chooses the wines for Wine & View bar

People & Aviation