How to Stop a Thief

CashboxI was shopping with my elderly mom recently. She was pushing the cart, and like most women, she placed her purse in the seat. She frequently left her purse unattended in the cart as she shopped. I finally mentioned to her that she was opening herself up to theft by not hanging on to her purse. She replied, “I guess I am just too trusting.”

How about you? Are you too trusting? Now is the busiest time for makers at shows. You are distracted with customers, re-stocking and straightening. If your cash box is left unattended, you might find yourself the target of a thief, also.

We like to think that people respect how hard we work for our money. We trust that people are honest. Unfortunately, that is not always true. While you are busy working, someone may be intently watching. You are now a target.

This warning applies to show visitors and even other vendors, unfortunately. Do not assume anyone has your best interests at heart unless you know them well and they have proven themselves. If it sounds as though I am victim-blaming, I am not. The thief is totally in the wrong, but you are the one who will likely pay.

What does a vendor do to prevent falling victim to a thief?

Before the next show, plan to protect those precious, hard-earned dollars. Here are some ideas:

  • Fanny pack – I know, ugh. They won’t win any fashion awards, but they are a practical solution. The money is always there, close at hand. They are also handy for taking money and giving change and a reasonably priced investment to ensure only you have access to your money. Did I hear they are coming back?
  • Apron – We have all dined in restaurants where servers wear half aprons with pockets. This is another great option for keeping money secure and close at hand.
  • Secured hidden area – You may have a spot in the booth that nobody else knows about under a table and tablecloth that feels like a safe alternative. This may be true while you are close by, but don’t leave it to run to the restroom or an unscrupulous person might help themselves.
  • Tethered Box – Get a box with a cable tether that connects to the table so that even if someone grabs it, they cannot walk off with it.

Sadly, shady people exist in every community. Be vigilant. Don’t let the busy season become one of anger and tears but plan a theft-proof system and be aware of your surroundings. Never let the money out of your sight and make it difficult to get at. That alone will deter would-be thieves.

Make this season the best yet!

Do you have additional tips for preventing theft?

May your days be full of bubbles and wax (and money),

Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles Magazine

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