warning! warning! a repost from December 2012

A repost from December 2012 when I was still working.
It's just as necessary now as it was then, as I STILL see people being so careless.
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.
All good.

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.
Be aware.
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.......


  1. Sadly true.
    Many years ago I left my wallet at the checkout. I realised less than five minutes later. Too late. It was not returned.

  2. .. River... it's amazing how careless some people are.
    It's great that you are reminding us to be careful.... Thanks..

    I saw your Christmas decorations and lights... so lovely... poor Angel.. hope he's gets used tothe lights.. lol
    Hugs.... Barb xxx

  3. Snatch is something I am very aware of. As I brunched in a sleazy Melbourne lane yesterday, I would not put my phone down on the table if my other hand was busy even though I was using it off and on. I kept putting it into my shirt pocket when my hands were full as I ate or drank my coffee.

    But also what I have seen is people leave bags or whatever near to me while they step away for whatever reason. Do I look trustworthy? I am and would repel any theft of their belongings as far as I could go.

    I could tell the snooty Japanese woman sitting next to me on the bullet train as we neared the northern Japan terminus did like me, did not like sitting next to an ageing old white man. She was made up and coiffed to the nines, yet she left her handbag on her seat next to me and went to the toilet. Well, that is probably because it would be very rare for anyone to steal a handbag in Japan.

    I once saw an Asian tourist woman in town have her bag snatched. She was screaming and the lad who did it ran like a rabbit, so fast his face was not really seen. That was before wide spread ctv.

  4. Elephant's Child; oh no, that's terrible, but sadly, not everyone is as honest as we are. Hence the need for this reminder post. The thing is, I see warnings on TV news too, every year, yet people are still careless, especially women with wide open handbags in supermarkets.

    Barbara; thank you, Angel is used to them now. I'm quite shocked at how many people just don't seem to notice their bags etc are either wide open or have easily accessible pockets etc.

    Andrew; I'm thinking that maybe those people have noticed you being careful, so take advantage of that and leave their bags near you. It wouldn't occur to them you may be faking it and run off with their bags the minute their backs are turned. You wouldn't of course, but they are blindly trusting a complete stranger. I am surprised about the Japanese woman though, leaving her bag even though she clearly didn't like you. Maybe you DO have trustworthy stamped on your face, just like I do.
    Those snatch and grabbers could probably enter the Olympics, they're so fast.

  5. Great advice. I'm forever surprised and disgusted at so many people who are careless with their purses, wallets etc.
    I see it all the time, bags left open. Anyone can take the purse, wallet..

  6. All good advice. I have a cross body purse which I turn so that the opening of it is against my body. When I go into the store I take the bank card and put it in my picket, put my purse under the car seat and lock the doors. Perhaps it's a little silly of me but I have yet to have my purse or contents thereof stolen. Keep safe everyone.

  7. All good ideas. When I'm on vacation I'm very safety-conscious with my personal items. Other times, not so much.

  8. Margaret-whiteangel; if I had a dollar for every handbag I see wide open, I could sail through the next ten Christmases without opening my own purse.

    Delores; you're not being silly at all, I wish more people, well, everybody, was as careful as you.

    Kathy G; other times, you need to be. Pickpockets, grab-and-runners don't take vacations.

  9. Great--& necessary--advice, Ms. River!!

  10. I never carry a handbag...I never carry anything in pockets. I doubt anything that I wear has pockets.

    If anyone tries anything with me...they're the ones to watch out!!!

  11. Lee; I love pockets, the bigger the better. My favourite old winter parka has big patch pockets I can fit a book in one and a sandwich in the other, I'll never give that coat up. I carry an across the body shoulder bag a lot, but the zipper is always closed with the pull tab near my hand. Other times I carry stuff in backpacks, all safely zipped, if I'm carrying money there'll be a small padlock on the zipper tabs.


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