I was recently contacted on Facebook by a woman whose purse was stolen at a local grocery store while she was distracted. It only took a second. The woman asked me if I knew of community resources that could help her since all of her money was stolen.
When I shop at grocery stores, I usually see women walk away from their cart with their purse still in it. Their backs are completely turned while they are looking at something. Some of the purses are unzipped and some of them have smartphones sitting atop. Easy access for someone desperate or unscrupulous.
It would not strange look if a woman exited the store with a handbag that was not hers.
I was at Walmart one day when I noticed that I was in possession of a smartphone when I lifted my purse up at the checkout. I don’t own a smartphone. What happened was that in the parking lot, I had taken a cart that a woman who was leaving returned to the corral. She’d left her smartphone in the seat of the cart.
I was at the customer service desk turning it in when she arrived looking very flustered. “I think that’s my phone. Most people wouldn’t have . . . ” she started to say. I recognized her from the parking lot. She said she’d made it all the way back home before realizing that her phone was missing.
- Don’t put your “whole life” in your smartphone.
- Consider using a cross-body purse for hands-free shopping. Turn the flap or zippered side toward you so it’s against your body.
- If you’re going to use a handbag, keep your hand or eyes on it the entire time you shop. Put your cart ahead of you so you can keep it in view. (I usually pile stuff on top of my purse . . . eggs, bread, etc.)
- Pay attention to who’s around you, especially people you don’t know who are behaving a little too friendly and are getting a bit too close considering that they are strangers.
- Only take the amount of money that you need into the store.
- Clean your purse out. Remove receipts and other clues about where you go and what you do.
- Remind every woman you know to keep an eye on her purse.
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