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February 6, 2016

How Can You Prevent Theft In A Bazaar?

Truth be told, you can’t prevent theft. You can only minimize it. As a concessionaire you have to be aware of the scenarios and try to prevent such things from happening.

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Here’s how:

  1. Thieves often have accomplices. So should you. While most bazaars just have 1 – 2 people in charge of selling, try getting another person [a friend or a partner] whose job is to watch over the products. Thieves won’t strike when there are more than one ‘seller’ talking to the customer or when there are more than 2 people watching over the merchandise. If you can’t afford to get an extra person – you can try the second option…
  2. Secure your items in a way that it cannot be easily swiped off the table or shelves. Use hooks. Once the customer leaves, put everything back in its place immediately – that way you will know what is missing and when it happens.
  3. Keep fixing your items. Everything gets messy specially after you’ve got 2 – 3 customers handling the same merchandise. Most thieves take advantage of  messy stalls and distracted sellers to swipe whatever they can off the display table. Put only sample items on display and the rest of the stock behind the table. Get somebody to ‘prepare’ the items for the customer and tell them, “Let me give you a newer stock.” That way, you can put the sample on back display and the thief can’t pocket anything without you noticing it. Also, expensive items should be placed near you or inside the booth.
  4. Don’t let customers put their bags on the display area. Sometimes it can’t be helped. The customer wants to try a bag organizer and there’s no place to put their bag. If that happens, make sure that you are not the only one paying attention to the customer. In fact one should always watch what the customer puts on the table. If it isn’t the customer “accidentally” lifting a product or two, it could be somebody else stealing something from both you and the customer.
  5. You can’t keep watch when you are tired. You can’t go on 12 to 14-hour shifts of talking to people nonstop.  You need to take a break and so does your staff. Put them on shift, when possible. If not, then give them at least an hour or so for breaks.
  6. Avoid blind spots. Sure we’d like everything to be eye-level and placed where the customer can see it. The question is, can we as sellers, see everything from all corners of the booth? If you’re selling in a 2ft x 3ft worth of space, this is a no brainer. But if your booth’s more than 6 feet in length and 5 feet deep, you need more than just an extra pair of eyes. If you can’t have that extra person , then try using a mirror to let you see what’s going on from the far end of your stall. 
  7. If you need to leave your stuff overnight, check out the security of the area. Is your booth located near entrances/exits? Can you secure everything in a rack? If not, can you just set up the shelves and then come earlier the next day to set up the display?

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At the end of the day, always check how much was lost. Integrate that into the price and do what needs to be done to avoid it from happening again in the future.

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