I would like to share a secret with the security team at Westfield. It doesn’t matter if they read this, they don’t trust me and so won’t believe a word I say. The thing is people, I’m not a shop lifter. I know its hard to believe when I meet all of the stereotypes that they taught you in store guard school, but its true. Not only am I not a shoplifter I have never been one, I am neither a reformed nor an ex shop lifter. I would go so far as to say that I have never lifted a shop in my life and furthermore I have no intention of ever doing so.
If you want to protect the revenues of the store that you guard then you should associate me with a voice in your ear saying “he’s behind you”. I am not suggesting that there is always a thief behind you when you are looking at me but, when you’re looking at me, you are certainly looking the wrong way. There is another problem with you presuming that I have criminal intentions in your store. Your attention is directed at a 40-year-old mischievous child. I entered the chemist today and attracted the attention of a store guard. I watched as he went through his mental checklist and ticked ‘baseball cap’ and ‘rucksack’. Of course he stopped here and didn’t go on to conclude that the bag was in fact already full and that I am pretty much an old cripple.
Having hit his headlines I believe that I have two choices I can declare my honest intentions or toy with him. I have heard talk of another way, some say that you can simply go about your business but frankly I think it’s just rumours. Having realised I had his attention I ducked down an aisle whilst adjusting my cap. I didn’t actually move my cap but movement of the hand to the peak symbolises a wish to cover one’s eyes and avoid eye contact which is a classic guilty move. A brief queue allowed me to enquire of the pharmacist and discover that the product that I required was not in stock. This exchange also meant that the store guard had to break off and circle an adjacent aisle. Departing the pharmacist I made a quick inspection of something on a lower shelf before heading for the exit. The lower shelf inspection actually allowed me to duck below the top of the display and thus meant my head was not visible to the store guard for a crucial few seconds.
The store guard knew his patch well and picked up behind me midway to the exit. By this time the store guard is close behind in order to tackle me when the alarm goes off. It is as critical moment because he has a short window between the alarm and my potential ‘escape’. A quick tack left at the very edge of the store gives the impression that I am trying to avoid the RFID loops and adds spice to the exit. Then, like an innocent shopper, I am through the exit, no noise, no alarm and a store guard left to slowly stew in his adrenalin. I don’t even need to turn and view him, my knowledge is confirmed by the two mall guards outside looking deflated at not having a pursuit.
To me this is as entertaining as wearing a suit when people expect a T-shirt or indeed a T-shirt when they expect a suit. It is only a fool who judges by appearances it is an extremely inefficient way of viewing the world.