This is a topic that most of us would rather not talk about. We certainly don't want to believe it could happen to us. But let's face it theft is commonplace in the retail industry. Forbes reported US retailers lost $60 billion retail shrinkage in 2015. Reports of thefts at antique malls, shops and even auctions are reaching an all time high according to Antique Trader. Those numbers are staggering. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to have been in this business for 17 years and to have only suffered smaller inexpensive losses. Even when I was a shop owner in Blue Ridge, GA it was rare for things to go missing. Was it luck? Maybe. It has been in more recent years that merchandise and has sprouted legs and walked off. So who's stealing?
As a vintage dealer this is a business risk we all take. No matter how hard we try it's not realistic to think we can prevent all thefts. If someone really wants it bad enough they will take it. However there are some preventive measures than can be put into place to protect your goods. While these tips may be helpful they are not guaranteed.
AS A BOOTH DEALER
* Place a "Smile you are on camera" sign in your booth
* Place a camera (real or fake) in your booth
* Place a locked case in your booth (give the key to the staff)
* Place smaller pocket-sized items in cello bags bags crinkle and make noise
* Try getting a booth closer to the front of the store or near checkout
* Try clear tape or clear bags for bundling some items together
* Rent showcase near the front for valuable items
AS A SHOP OWNER
* Place "Smile you are on camera" signs throughout the store
* Place video cameras throughout the store
* Install Door Chimes
* Hire extra staff to work the front desk
* Hire staff to walk the store isles and help assist customers
* Install convex mirrors throughout the store
* Ask customers to leave large bags at the counter
* Install showcase alarms
* Install anti-theft devices near the front doors
We posted a thread on Facebook yesterday asking dealers for advice on this topic. We are gonna share some of those comments here in case you missed that post.
Leigha Young Burnham: Photos of inventory in the booth. Not just my inventory list. Then, at least I can locate it if stuffed in another booth by customers who change their minds or if I want to claim it as a loss.
Renae Hamby: he place where I rent has a locker at the front door. She asks the ladies to leave their purse in a locker and gives them the key. Usually doesn't offend. If it does, they take their purse back out to the car. At one point she stopped asking and immediately had a large quantity of silver stolen. So the policy is back. If you're not a thief, don't be offended.
Jolity at Antique Co op: This is a hard one. I've had many things stolen, of all sizes and all values. If someone is determined, they will find a way to take it. Not everything can be secured in a case. Customer service is key to prevention. Walking the floor and making your presence known will help a lot. Offering to take things to the register for them as they browse will also prevent items from being taken. Monitor cameras and approach people if you see something.
Rose Cauthren Jubb: You don't have to invest in a huge case either. I started out using a small jewelry storage display case that I got at a craft store in their paintable section. I popped two d-rings on there (one on the case side and one on the door) so they matched up and I could pop a lock through them.
Sara Cambreleng: I have always accepted the fact that a certain amount of theft and breakage will happen. I gave myself a number ( in my head) that I will 'lose' a year. It doesn't stop the loss but makes it easier to accept.
We hope these tips have been helpful. We would love to hear what precautions you take for your booth. Please feel free to comment below.