Friday, February 13, 2009

Where's the Trust...


Where exactly did we go wrong...to trust our fellow man that he/she won't rob us blind the minute our backs are turned. What makes a person steal from us, totally disregarding our interests and disrupting our faith in humankind???
Yesterday, while up at Sister's Garden, I was anxious to talk to Barb about her recent trip to MY FLORIDA(the nerve)...and I could tell there was something bothering her and Elaine. She later confided in me that they had a shoplifter in the stores the day before.
It's a problem we all in retail worry about, especially at Christmas and these times of uncertain futures. A young girl in her early 20's, the most frequent of thieves, was shopping with a very large purse and was observed in a blind spot looking at clothes, but it's all ages and all incomes.
Now as a retailer, we know our inventory...we work on it every day, as we make vignettes out of every item to create a theme and for visual effects. Many items are color-coded for effect also. We know what has sold each day, what has been moved and I know many of you store owners know that when an item is not in it's designated area, you look for it to be misplaced or...the unthinkable...this is how we keep track of our stuff.
So when something is not in it's place, you panic, as was the case of the vintage sweater that had just been brought in and displayed...but was now missing. Heads-up time for both Barb and Elaine, which both hate to be put in this situation...who doesn't.
As Elaine followed the girl to the upstairs, she noticed a tag hanging out of the large purse she was carrying, knowing full well what it was...the vintage sweater. But the sad thing is, you start to doubt your own eyes...did I really see that...then you know you have a situation and must act sooner or later.
So the girl buys a few mundane items...PUTS THEM ON A CREDIT CARD...and leaves the store. In the meantime, Barb has walked outside and written down her license number and waits for the girl to confront her. You have to catch them outside the store, because we all know the law favors the crook...right...
So Barb asks her to see in her bag because she believes the sweater is there, to which the girl gingerly complies...Barb is shocked as she pulls from the bag $500.00 in stolen inventory!!! Barb ask the girls what is she thinking and she apologizes immediately. She is asked NEVER to come to the store again and warned of the dangers of getting into this disgusting habit...it only hurts everyone.
I know more and more shops are putting signs in the windows asking ladies not to carry in large handbags, but to leave them in their cars. It's for our protection, as well as keeping prices reasonable not having to cover the lost profits from theft.
This was very traumatic for Barb and for Elaine, without having to ask you to keep your bags in you car, please put yourself in our position and do it without prompt. I know Theresa from Time-worn Interiors, just had the theft of valuable merchandise from her booth also, it takes it's tole on everyone...we've all been there.
We love our business and want to serve you the best we know how, but please help us save the American dream...and enjoy that retail therapy!!!

15 comments:

High Desert Diva said...

Sad...

MarionL said...

That's such a bummer. I'm glad she confronted the girl....maybe it'll scare her into stopping.

I now use huge, sturdy reuseable bags for my groceries & clothes, shopping and I feel guilty just bringing them into the store because people give me suspicious looks. I bundle them all together into one bag, but still...people like her make it hard for others who are trustworthy. Shoplifting is an epidemic, especially in these hard times, but there's no excuse for it.

Wildeve said...

How disconcerting that they had to deal with that.
This is off the topio, but speaking of Sisters, you mentioned in a comment on Willow's blog that someone came in and said she was wildeve. Just curious about that.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I'm glad they recovered their merchandise without an ugly scene. You would like to think the shoplifter learned her lesson, but it's doubtful.

Marnie

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

They were very lucky to get their merchandise back, but having been in this biz for many years it never surprises me. I bet she could have paid for all the merchandise she had stolen, but it was the thrill of having stolen it that was appealing, but...she didn't think she would be caught. I hope she learned her leason, but sadly I bet she didn't! The signs must be put up unfortunately for all of us that work so hard to find the things! We've all been through this if you have a business I'm sure.

summersundays-jw said...

It has to start with parents & I think so many young parents are failing to spend time teaching children about scruples & morals. they grow up thinking they're owed something & if they don't get it, they'll just take it. The only problems we've had (that we're aware of) were 2 little old ladies off a tour bus. Talk about making you feel bad.

Linda Sue said...

I, too, have had many little shoppes in the past. Arranged in artistic manner so when something was missing it would be glaring! Still got ripped off and when I realized that a beloved, hand chosen, part- of- the -picture object had just walked, my heart would sink. I came to distrust shoppers, closed my shoppes and went online...not nearly as much fun. I miss setting up, the ambience and the welcoming people into the shoppe with a buttermint or a small cup of tea, closing was difficult but my heart is better for it.

cconz said...

i've often wondered how bad shoplifting has become. It is sad, It will no doubt be more so now. I was at hyvee grocery store and 2 lady's were walking ahead of me out the door. Then at full speed 3 guys bolted out the door and nabbed the 2 women ahead of me. "What the hell" i thought. I'm glad that barb nabbed her, she should have called the cops, or her parents.

Jeanne said...

I worked retail (in the computer department) for many years, and "shrink" was always a big issue. But a much bigger issue for the boutique shop.

time-worn interiors said...

I'm so glad Barb was able to recover her merchandise! I hate people who steal! Hopefully people like that get theirs down the road somewhere!!
Theresa

Shab-n-Chic said...

This is bad..and I have been a little lax in watching shoppers with large bags. I am happy the merchandise was recovered, but it makes you wonder what she has taken in past visits. My current partner had an antique shoppe before ours and actually caught a lady putting a table into her trunk that was out in front of the store! That blew my mind.

Greyscale Territory said...

This kind of behaviour is such a shame! I am sure that it is like a kind of sickness/mania where once done it must be done again.

Perhaps your post will show the pain shop owners suffer both in loss and confronting the thief!

sarayutouched said...

Faith in mankind takes a hit again today...

here's to the moments that restore our faith in the good!!

Sure could use some of those!!!

Anita said...

Wow- that sucks. And Barb is so gracious. I mighta just kicked her little butt! Becuase my purse is so large (and heavy) lotsa times I will just ask the shop owner to keep it behind the counter for me. TYhere are usually happy to do so- gives you 2 free hands to look.

Whewn I had my shop, I had things stolen and it was a real lesson to my own girls- who realized quickly that we had paid for those items and now we had lost money- and we would likely raise the prices ont he other things to make up for it- so it hurts everyone.

Thanks for sharing this Sharon- it makes people think.

Anita

Utah Grammie said...

It's a sad, sad thing. I now go into stores with just my wallet. Seems we have become so selfish, so self-absorbed, that we can't think of consequences, not only to themselves, but to those they have stolen from?? Sad, sad thing...and to think the shop keepers feel so badly and the girls was probably just mad she got caught!