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!!!