Christmas is fast approaching!
What? You already knew that?
Well okay then.
Now for the rest of my announcement.
Bag snatchers, pickpockets, grab'n'run people.
They're out there.
Well, all year round, but they're much more prevalent at this time of year.
I may have touched on this topic before (last Christmas?), but I'm going into it again.
And again and again if necessary.
People, please beware of your surroundings!
Keep your bags, purses, small electronics etc secure.
I've just watched A Current Affair, with a young magician showing just how careless people are and how very, very easy it was to relieve people of their belongings.
This young magician sat next to an older man who was eating his lunch and taking absolutely no notice of the young man who sat down next to his open backpack.
And stole something from it.
The magician then moved on to a woman whose handbag was hanging from her shoulder, but wide open.
No trouble at all for him to lift her purse out and walk away.
(the "stolen" items were returned in each case with recommendations to be more aware)
The program also showed people in supermarkets moving away from trolleys where their handbags were in the baby seat, open and unattended.
Just like *that* your purse/wallet/phone/camera, is gone.
A young mother attending to her baby in the pram was completely unaware that someone walking very close to the pram had lifted her exposed phone.
A man had his camera taken from his pocket.
Mobile phones sticking out of back pockets were easy to lift out.
(again, the "stolen" items were returned with explanations)
You may think I'm being alarmist, and that's your prerogative.
Now read this.....
Every day that I am at work, EVERY DAY, I see dozens of handbags open, (wide open with contents exposed for anyone at all to see and maybe help themselves) in trolleys, while the owner turns away to select fresh produce, or canned goods, even to step away completely and front up to the deli window to consider the relative merits of purchasing sliced chicken over sliced ham.
Think about how you will feel, arriving at the checkout to pay for your purchases, only to discover that your purse is gone.
And now, there's a new problem.
The self-serve checkout.
We all know that cash can be obtained from regular checkouts when paying for your items.
You ask for the required amount and the (smiling) assistant hands it to you.
The self-serve checkouts also have a cash-out option, but because an assistant doesn't hand you the cash, some people, (more than a few) forget to take the money from the change slot when it pops out.
The next customer to walk up to that machine will see the cash and if he or she is honest, will hand in the cash to the service desk, where you can collect it, if you have your receipt that shows which machine you used and how much cash you requested.
If the next customer is NOT honest, he or she will pocket the money and there is nothing we can do about it.
Your money is gone.
Just last week, I moved to a self-serve checkout with my own purchases and saw $70 in the change slot.
I took it to the desk.
I'm asking all of you to please take care.
Zip your bags.
Secure your pockets.
Lock your cars.
Do NOT leave small items clearly visible on car seats or anywhere else.
Tell your friends.
Spread the word.
Have a happier Christmas.
One more thing.
No matter how much your baby is whinging, crying, screaming, DO NOT give him or her your wallet to play with.
Money and credit cards will be lost on the floor as you go around the aisles.
And the finder may not hand them in.......