When I go shopping at the expensive stores, I find that the Sales Rep are still judging me in some sort of way. I get the impression that I’m being watched as if I’m about to steal something. I don’t know what it is but I don’t look like the type to be stealing. During this time of the year when the mall is busy, I think it’s a little hard to steal something and try to get away in a crowded mall.
I stopped by Limeridge today to pick up some gift boxes and wrapping paper. But usually when I’m in the mall, I don’t just buy what I need. I ended up buy a shirt and a pair of pants because they were on sale. Not to mention a couple of books as well. I shouldn’t be spending anymore money but I’ll end up spending that money later on anyway so I might as well do it now and save myself a trip later.
I stopped by Hallmark and searched around for the gift boxes and wrapping paper. There was a set of three rolls that cost around $7. I could have easily bought wrapping paper at the dollar store in Jackson Square but that mall closes early all the time. They close at 5:00pm from Monday to Wednesday and then they stay open till 9:00pm on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s located in the downtown core where majority of the city’s traffic flows are occurring but due to certain circumstances, the mall decided not to open too late during the weekdays.
As I was walking around Hallmark, one of the workers entered into the area where I was lurking. If I had spider senses, they’d be tingling right about now. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed that she’s just doing her job, which in this case, was to pull out a card and then put it back. I grabbed the rolls of wrapping paper and then went to look for gift boxes. I found some close by and proceeded to look around the store some more.
Oddly enough, that same worker appears in my area again. Again, I assumed that she’s just doing her job, which in this case, was to pull out a card and then put it back, again. That was a little suspicious to me but I guess I’m suspicious to them as well. A tall Asian guy wearing a bright yellow jacket is apparently very suspicious. The yellow jacket makes me very incognito. It’s not like I’m trying to go unnoticed while I’m shopping around. I was probably the most noticeable person in the mall. If I was in the “Where’s Waldo?” books, you would have found me days before finding Waldo.
I had enough of that lady following me so I went to pay for my stuff because that’s what I do when I shop, I pay for stuff. When I arrived at the cash register, there was an elderly woman working there. She was wearing Christmas colours so I assumed she was a nice person. But when it came time to pay, I changed my mind. I wanted to pay for the purchase using my debit card so I gave her my bank card. She swiped the card, punched in the total and then she pushes the keypad towards me in a snotty kind of way. I was paying for this item so the least she could have done was hand me the keypad. It was like she’s too high up in society to be associating with me. I gave her a little look but she was looking away so she didn’t me. I keyed in my PIN and placed the keypad back on the counter. I said my “Thank you” and left the store.
That is the last time I’m going to that Hallmark. I prefer shop at places that have good customer service. If the store gives me attitude over anything, I don’t go back to it. I understand that Christmas is like hell for retailers but they have to understand that they need to treat customers with respect. You can’t assume that your customers are potential thieves just on appearances alone. You need other things to back up that assumption.
A few Christmases ago, a friend of mine was accused of shoplifting. Not a Christmas goes by that I don’t think of that night. We were in high school at the time and it was Boxing Day. Limeridge mall was packed with people. There was no room to breathe at all and someone kept stepping on my heels. My friends and I were looking to get some new shoes so we went into Champs. After looking around for a few minutes, we saw nothing that we like. One of our friends decided to buy a volleyball so we hung around the store for a while because the line was long.
When we left, my friend was approached by two officers and one of the employees of Champs. Out of all the people in the store, they singled out my friend and questioned him. The employee said that some other customers saw my friend take a hat and stuck it in his coat. When no hat was found, the employee made some stupid remark, “So, are you a magician or something? Where’s the hat?”
My friend had no hat. Although his jacket was bulky, he didn’t have anything hidden underneath it. After wrongfully accusing my friend, neither the officers nor the employee offered an apology. Back then, we didn’t care too much because we didn’t know better. But now, as I look back on it, the more I think about it, the more it angers me. If that had happened recently, I’m sure the officers and the employee would hear from me.
Being accused of theft without actually being confronted is just as bad. You know that they’re thinking that you’re up to no good but since they didn’t come right out and say it, you can’t do anything. All you can do it just stay quiet inside and not cause a scene. After Hallmark, I went into Tip Top Tailors. After buying a $200 coat from them, I would assume that they would have some recollection of me. But the guy that helped me last time with the coat didn’t remember me at all. He kept his eye on me the whole time I was in the store. Using my peripherals, I can see him looking in my direction. I assumed that he was just looking around and by chance I noticed him the same time he was looking in my direction. But then I turned to look at him and saw that he was staring right at me.
Is there something about the way I look that labels me a potential thief? I don’t think thieves walk around the mall with a bag full of gift wrapping papers. I don’t think that someone who likes to take things has any plans on giving back. But obviously, to the Sales Rep at the stores that I visited, recognizing that having a Hallmark bag filled with Christmas related items translates into something suspicious. It’s things like thos that makes me choose online shopping over shopping in the store.
It has to be something about my appearance that are making these people believe that I’m about to steal something. When I’m dressed up in my preppy outfit looking all GQ, everyone greets me with a smile. They even take the initiative to hand me free stuff. I was walking through the Bay the other day when one of the ladies that work in the perfume/cologne department greeted me and handed me a cologne sample. It was a cologne called Sexual by Michel Germain. She also gave me a sample that she had sprayed onto a paper and told me to keep it in my pocket and by tomorrow, I’ll smell great. But walking through the Bay today, I’ve received nothing but evil stares.
When I worked at the library, I didn’t assume everyone that entered the library was a theft even when they set off the alarm. I gave them the benefit of the doubt because sometimes the alarms go off and the patrons have nothing at all. Unless they gave me reason to believe that they were stealing, I didn’t assume that they were. After working in an environment like the downtown library, you start to understand the characteristics of people and you learn to out from a crowd.
The Sales Rep should learn to have a little more trust on their customers. Not everyone in the world is out to screw over their business. Thieves are clever at their game and if they wanted to steal from you, they’ll do it. They could probably take something from right under your nose and you won’t even know about it.