in with a sigh, out with a …. mirror!

There is that horrible moment when you realize that you have been shoplifted. It is met with utter puzzlement, followed by mentally going through the day, trying to figure out WHEN and especially HOW it could have happened.

We’ve been pretty confident and calm for the first half of the year as there were no incidents after Christmas.  During that time, we had a few pilferings, which was aggravating but lest, we understood the need – somewhat.

So imagine my surprise when early this week, I discovered a dress gone (doubled up hanger), a skirt (gone with the hanger), an empty hanger. It did not stop there, which made us think that it must have been a group of people or a pair, well trained in the art of shoplifting as we could not figure out HOW they would have accomplished all of this.

To me, there are two aspects to STEALING:

Trying to understand shoplifters and how they work so we can spot them easier.

Setting up the store so that shoplifting is minimized.

Shoplifters come in many forms, some just do it once for the thrill while others have made it a profession and are VERY good at it. The ones that double up hangers may have tried an item on IN the dressing room, may have gotten two sizes of the same item, slip one in their purse or bag, double up the hanger and then return the other item to the rack. Very clever. We tried to do it on the floor but it seems too cumbersome not to look awkward.

Then there are the pairs or groups. They might not even come in together, pretend that they are complete innocent, non-connected shoppers.  While one is at one end of the store, the other gets busy at the other.  Or one is asking you some questions to distract you while the other pockets some stuff.

The paralyzing aspect of all of this is that if they WANT to shoplift, they can get away with it even IF you spot them.  They may run out, or threaten you or raise a stink. Unless you’d be like me and would be MORTIFIED if someone saw me doing it.

As for setting up the store, we decided to make the store more ‘visible’ to our eyes and bought a mirror right away.

no more secret handling…

Now we are looking into video surveillance (fake or real).  We’ll put up signs that make shoppers aware that we are WATCHING them. Such unnerving events also serve as a good reminder not to become too comfortable  – we need to be vigilant and assertive.

As for the stolen merchandise – you have to let it go. It IS painful, especially for us small business owners. But it will hurt even more if we dwell on it.

The shoplifters WILL pay for it either way. Karma is fast at work.

1 Response to “in with a sigh, out with a …. mirror!”

  1. September 23, 2012 at 16:03

    Sorry to read that, but seems to be part of the business.

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