Folks, I have to chime in on the subject of theft and robbery here.
My father worked retail all of his life, as a grocery store manager.
Much of his career was spent in very rough neighborhoods, and theft
was a daily issue. Robbery was an occasional issue, as well. So it's
a subject that is rather near and dear to my heart.
No matter how financially and artistically devastating the loss of
your premier piece -- or even your entire collection -- would be,
it's not worth the loss of your life.
If you find yourself threatened by someone with a weapon, hand over
the receipts and the jewelry without argument. Take careful note of
every detail of the person's face and body build (the things that
they cannot change by cutting or coloring hair, changing clothes,
etc.). Move slowly and deliberately, and speak carefully. Calmness
on your part may promote calmness on their part -- and that's what
you want if they are armed. When they leave, try to notice which
direction they went and if they had an assistant, vehicle, etc. --
again, jot down immediately any details you can remember. As the
adrenaline rush fades, you find yourself forgetting surprisingly
As soon as they have left your place of business, feel free to raise
the biggest alarm you can -- note that more people will respond to
shouts of "FIRE" than they will to "THIEF" or "RAPE" or "HELP"
In a show situation, so-called "smash and grab" thiefs are more
common than armed robberies. Secure cases and secure practices are,
again, the best remedy. But if you are targeted, don't make the
mistake of leaving other items unprotected while chasing them --
raise a BIG ruckus and enlist others to help you chase them and watch
your booth -- don't try to do it alone. And only chase them and
physically confront them if you are reasonably certain they are NOT
All of us -- especially women working shows solo -- should take a
good personal defense course. Many local police departments offer
seminars on personal defense that are well worth the time. If not,
then find a local martial arts dojo who offers something targeted to
personal defense -- you don't need a black belt to be able to
effectively fend off an attacker. And you will probably find (as I
have) that taking the course teaches you to look at your situations a
little differently... to be aware with different senses ... and to
find ways to prevent confrontation and danger before they can
escalate into something nasty.
Just my $.02