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Shoplifting at shows


#1

Last year I lost 5 pieces of jewelry to shoplifters. Four rings and
one pendant. The pendant was scooped up by a woman in Muslim garb at
a gem and mineral show. She hit a lot of other vendors at the show.
Security chased her through the parking lot but they had had one too
many doughnuts and lost her. Rings are an easy hit if you have a
tray of them out on the table. People will try them on then just walk
away with the one they like if you don’t watch them like a hawk. I
used to put all my pendants and bracelets out to let people pick them
up and try them on. I’ve noticed that women like to shop by feel.
When they look for clothing they feel the garment as well as look at
it. It’s the same for jewelry. If they like how a piece feels in
their hand you’re halfway to a sale.

Last week I did a show at a prospecting seminar put on at a local
mining museum. It was a joint project with the museum, the
mineralogical society, and the local gold panning club. It was
attended by about 75 people who paid $25 each to be there. They asked
me to set up there with my jewelry and cabs. It was free for me and I
wasn’t expecting to sell much. Being that I’m president of the
mineralogical society I needed to be there anyway so I thought I
would maybe sell a piece or two. I wasn’t expecting to get ripped
off. I lost four cabs. I wasn’t watching my tables very closely
because I was with a bunch of rock hounds like me and thought I
could trust them. But I guess not. I don’t know if one person stole
four cabs or four people stole one cab each. I even had a tub of
tumble polished stones there I was giving away for free. No need to
steal from me.

I can see where if someone would steal something from a large retail
store they could justify it by thinking to themselves that the store
makes huge profits they can afford it. But when you steal from an
artisan you are stealing something that they put their heart and soul
into. It’s not just the financial loss. It’s the principle of the
theft. But I guess stealing is stealing and a thief is a thief.

Now everything will go under glass. I’ll have to present the pieces
to the customer on a velvet pad. It just seems like a barrier between
me and customers but I can’t afford the losses. I will admit I won’t
miss when the plus sized ladies try to cram my inlay bracelets on
their plus sized wrists.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#2
Last year I lost 5 pieces of jewelry to shoplifters. 

We all feel your pain!

My solution, posted here before (and not original to me) is to top a
hollow pedestal with a black plexi topper with holes drilled in it.
I attach rings with fine steel cable to weights that hang inside the
pedestal. People can play, try on, but not walk off with the rings.
Everyone seems to love it-- though I did get two tipsy women one
night who thought it hilarious to pull the rings up a couple of feet
and let go, very amused by the way they snapped back with a loud
cracking sound.

As for cabs, a lot of dealers glue them to cards…

I wish it were not necessary to put nearly everything under glass. A
sorry commentary-- I have always said, only an irredeemable (shall
we say) jerk would rip off an artist.

Noel


#3

Rick,

Sorry to hear about the losses but exactly what century are you
living in? Anything that isn’t tied down will be stolen if an
opportunity arises. Doesn’t matter if you’re a big department store
or a small potato. Actually the big department stores have a big
advantage. They can afford to hire undercover people to watch for
the thefts. We can’t. So yes put it all under glass. But then I can’t
believe you didn’t do it 25 years ago. I remember doing craft shows
almost 30 years ago in some of the richest communities in
Massachusetts and being ripped off repeatedly. Also, once I opened
the store, being robbed by someone who bought one pair of earrings
and stole another, people getting behind my window displays and
stealing stuff, guys in snowstorms (so that the police had no way to
catch them), and out and out grab and run thieves (who had first
cased us and located the most expensive piece we had out—and yes
they got away with it—the detective department in Cambridge were
useless and I’m too damn old to catch up to them anymore). And then
there are the bad check people (the latest one though is regretting
it–I have too many friends in the police department now and he’s
been picked up on a warrant for the second time in three months—of
course since the court system refuses to do anything about making
him pay up he’ll probably be released again, but then I’ll have him
picked up again as soon as he defaults), the bad credit card people,
the phone scams, the online scams. My goodness, what were you
thinking leaving stuff out without any protection?

And by the way Jewelers Mutual, an insurance company TRULY owned by
the policyholders did just formally announce that they will be
refunding their policyholders up to 8% of their premiums. You should
all be looking at getting your insurance through this company.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G,
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#4

Hi Rick,

Here’s one way to ‘secure’ items that need to be ‘tried on’ for what
ever reason & still leaving them accessible to the public.

Stop at a fishing tackle shop & get some 49 strand stainless steel
fishing leader.

Cut the fishing leader into pieces aprox 24 inches long.

Drill a number of small holes in a flat piece of wood.

Using bead crimps or something similar wrap the end of a piece of
fishing leader through a ring shank & crimp it.

Place the other end through a hole in the piece of wood.

Place the end of the fishing leader through a hole & a key ring &
crimp it. The key ring should have enough weight to pull the fishing
leader back through the hole when the piece is released.

If your pieces are ‘one of a kind’, the item will have to be cut
from the leader if it’s sold. If each is a ‘sample’ the customer can
be given an item from stock.

This won’t work for cabs. About the only way these could be secured
is putting them in a case.

Dave


#5

Thanks to Dave and Noel for the tips on securing rings. Having rings
accessible to customers to try on does lead to sales but is too much
of an opportunity for the people with less scruples.

I’ve seen gem dealers with their cabs glued to the cards. Maybe I
read too much into people’s actions but when they can pick up the
stone and rub it in their hand the start to develop a bond with the
stone. Plus it’s a good conversation starter because all of my
stones have a mirror finish front and back. But alas I must put those
under glass to be sure that hand doesn’t got right in the pocket and
walk away…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#6
Sorry to hear about the losses but exactly what century are you
living in? 

Basically I’m and old hippie that lives by the golden rule of doing
as to others as I would have done to me. I guess not everyone has the
golden rule book on them. I’m a very trusting person and
unfortunately it has lead to a more than a few disappointments and
financial losses in my life. I am a firm believer in Karma but need
to take steps to protect of my goods at shows. Like my grandpa used
to say, “Locks keep honest people honest.” So I need to make it a
little less convenient for the border line thieves and be watchful
for the pros.

Yes, it takes a special kind of worm to rip off an artisan at a show
(apologies to worms for associating them with scum). But the real
disappointment was getting the cabs ripped off by my fellow
rockhounds. I wasn’t acquainted with everyone there but felt I was
with my brethren rock hounds. I guess rock hounds can be thieves too.

So the jewelry under glass is a no brainer. I’ve got a couple ideas
on how to display the cabs without putting them in tacky Rikers
mounts.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#7

This is another reason to have a good insurance broker. Our
requirements for shows include the use of display cases, and two
people being present at all times, and showing only one piece of
jewelry at a time–which for those of you that have worked on the
retail side of jewelry know, that is the way it should always be
done.

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

Michael
Associated Agencies, Inc.
associated.cc


#8

This thread reminds of our loss at the Savannah SNAG Conference. One
of my personal samples of cast titanium disappeared. It was a green
ring designed by Douglas Downer and cast in 6/4 titanium. It has an
almost “moonscape” surface. One of four that I have/had from early
experimental casting. The last time I saw it it was a student
visitors hand. I am sure it is hidden away, certainly a trophy that
can’t be worn.

Value: None or Irreplaceable

Bill
Bill, Deborah & Michele
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#9

I like to believe that most people are basically honest. I did about
3 shows per year for 10 years. All my work was always out in the open
on a table or display stand, and not secured down in any way. I never
had a single piece go missing.

Milt


#10

No suprises are the best kind

I was at a show where i had been assisting as a club member. One of
the dealers had given me a good deal on a used machine. I had another
dealer meet me and i purchased a lot of stone.

I had a small bag of decent stone which had been given me, so when I
was helping at the shows end, I put the bag in the dealers truck as a
suprise. - WRONG THING TO DO - He thought I was stealing from him. I
had to let him search my truck and showed him the suprise present I
left for him in his.

It left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Not what I had intended. I
make it a point to have no more suprises when dealing. The outcome
may not be what you intend.

Tip - When I open my briefcase, I turn it so the person on the other
side of the counter is at my side and can see all the contents of my
briefcase. They have told me they like it that way.

ROBB = Retired Old Baby Boomer


#11
I had a small bag of decent stone which had been given me, so when
I was helping at the shows end, I put the bag in the dealers truck
as a suprise. - WRONG THING TO DO - He thought I was stealing from
him. I had to let him search my truck and showed him the suprise
present I left for him in his. 

I’ve been mulling this over since I read it a couple days ago and it
has put me on a slow simmer. If I was in a situation like this I
think I would have left more than a bad taste in his mouth. Accusing
someone of stealing and then searching their vehicle without any
substantial proof or law enforcement involved is way out of line.
While this was going on I would have got the show chairman and the
police and/or security involved. This did happen in the United
States, right? We do have property rights and he had no business
searching your vehicle.

I am involved in our clubs annual show and every year as well as
being a dealer. Every year we have one or two dealers we don’t invite
back for various reasons. Unethical business practice, use of foul
language, chronic complaining, trashy presentation, to name a few
reasons. We have plenty of dealers on a wait list. That dealer should
have been kicked out of the show and blacklisted from future shows.
Some people in small business have no business being in business. If
that makes sense.

I’m sorry this happened to you when you were just trying to be a
nice guy. I agree you should respect dealer’s boundaries and never go
into their area when they are not there. A friend of mine did our
club show for the first time a few years ago. There was a rough stone
dealer setting up beside him. The show opened the next day so when
the dealer finished setting up he covered his tables and rocks with
sheets and left. My friend is a real fan of turquoise and he lifted
up one of the sheets just to take a peek. Bad move. Stupid move. What
was he thinking? A couple dealers saw it and wanted to call the
police and have my friend removed from the show. There are some
things you just don’t do. Even when your intentions are completely
innocent you should never give even a hint of bad intentions.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#12
But alas I must put those under glass to be sure that hand doesn't
got right in the pocket and walk away... 

I’m reminded of an old friend who used to make a healthy living on
flea markets. Many people have their table in the shape of a U,
surrounding them. He would never do this, he found he couldn’t track
the whole thing visually. He would only ever have a straight table
right in front of himself.

Paul Anderson


#13

Bill, Deborah and Michele,

This thread reminds of our loss at the Savannah SNAG Conference.
One of my personal samples of cast titanium disappeared. 

It’s truly a very sad commentary when someone who is one of us
steals from a vendor. It’s abhorrent. I’ve been thinking about this
and wonder how you’d feel if I addressed it in SNAG News, because
this sullies SNAG’s reputation as well and makes me sick that it
happened on my watch. My hope is that it might smoke out this person
to return it to you anonymously. What do you think?

Dana
SNAG Executive Director
541-345-5691


#14

Complex situations are prevented best by avoidance of the appearence
of impropritory. Some situations are difficult to avoid entanglement
in. “A mild answer doth turn away some wrath, some times.” Otherwise
suck it up and walk on.

The next year the dealer who I had left the suprise gift for, was
attacked while loading up after another show. His attackers were
suprised while robbing him. He was left badly injured. He had and
still has my deepest sympathy.

Also the next year the local club closed due to lack of new members.
The club’s old guard had a need to maintain controll to the exclusion
of younger members. The club’s demise was self inflicted. I have no
sympathy.

p.s.

I invited the dealer to look in my truck as I had nothing to hide. I
had worked as security at the show.

The local club’s directors still sided with the dealer. And I still
have a bad taste in my mouth.

And I am still walking on.

Robb.