The Antique Wood: Shoplifters

One nice thing about having an internet shop is that nobody can shoplift from you. It’s a different story, however, if you have a bricks and mortar business. I am always amazed at what people shoplift.

Now, there are certain people I expect to shoplift from me. Usually, they are the ones I see coming back from the Salvation Army with a sack lunch in their hands. They wave at me a lot and tend to be overly friendly. One day, probably thinking we have become friends, they enter my store. I am immediately on my guard and stand up quickly to greet them and ask if I can help them. It’s about this time I usually catch a whiff of alcohol or drugs.

My sense of smell signals me to stick with them like glue; they are here to shoplift from me and sell to one of the other downtown antique businesses. They won’t sell my merchandise for much, just enough to help them get their next high.

But, what about the other shoplifters, who drive up in nice cars and look honest? My favorite shoplifting story is the one about the punchbowl and cups. Not a fancy punchbowl, but nice and clean with eight matching cups. One day, while dusting, I counted the cups and there were only seven. Frustrated, I rewrote the tag and changed the price accordingly.

Much to my chagrin, months later, I was again dusting the bowl and recounted the cups. Six little cups were staring back at me. Who, in their right mind, is stealing punch cups? As one customer put it, “Someone who has the same punchbowl.” When the punchbowl finally sold, there were only five cups going home with it.

Some other items I have discovered missing over the years were: two large and two small yellow-ware bowls, which I figured left the store hidden in the underbelly of a baby’s stroller; one figurine, of a matched pair of figurines; one small demitasse cup without its matching saucer; and…, and this one still boils my blood, my small hand calculator from my sales counter.

Oh well, it’s not my place to judge; I know that one day these petty thieves will be held accountable. I would love, though, to be around on the day the Lord questions the “punch cup” thief, “Child, why punch cups?”


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