What is the worst first day of work you have ever had?  Last week I starting training a new employee and she had a doozy of a first day and it has to do with Cops & Robbers.

Police and Robber

I never hear of kids playing Cops & Robbers anymore.  We used to play it at my grandparent’s house.  My mother had a stash of her old toys & costumes under my grandparent’s stairs and we would pull out the toy guns, hats,  chaps, and even a crutch and play.  I suppose it isn’t “politically correct” anymore to have kids participate in such innocent activities.  (Though I find it ironic that mass murder/violent video games are a perfectly acceptable replacement for such a childish game).

But I digress…

Last week we had our own real-life cops & robbers incident.  It was quite an “exciting” day for us.  Theft is a very real (and often regular) occurrence in retail.  It’s usually a petty theft where someone slips out with a piece of jewelry or runs off with a shirt from the sale rack.  Most of the time the police are not even involved.  As business owners we write it off as a business expense unless it is of a significant value – though for small business any theft is significant.

I remember the first time it ever happened.  I had recently purchased a one-of-a-kind necklace from my favorite jeweler, 3 Angels.  It was valued at $300.  I had just put it on the mannequin.  My husband and I were both standing nearby.  Within 5 minutes the necklace was gone!  I felt sucker-punched.  I remember feeling very angry and violated.  It was very personal for me.  It was the same as if they had come in to my home.  It’s a feeling I don’t know how to explain.  That theft really shook me up.   We’ve experienced theft several times since then and I still get upset but I don’t have the same gut-wrenching response as I used to.  While I don’t like it I supposed I have had to learn to accept some of it as part of the hazards of retail.

I’ve also learned that those who steal come in all sorts of appearances.  The most memorable theft came from a very beautiful and well-to-do woman.  She managed to steal three Native American sterling silver bangles right under my nose while I was looking up information on another product for her.  She was good.  As soon as she left I noticed the bangles missing – hundreds of dollars in stolen goods.  Another time I chased a lady down the street when she tried to run off with a $200 painted jacket. (Shhh. Don’t tell my cop friends!)

When theft happens it is one of the most frustrating and helpless-feeling moments.  I sill have a hard time accepting that so many people lack the character and integrity to keep them from stealing.  I suppose it is a game to them.  For us on the other end, it is just one more thing that eats away out our chance to make a living.

Last week’s incident resulted in a happy ending.  I was training my new employee on her first day and I decided to step out for 10 minutes to grab a bit of lunch.  When I came back it was absolute chaos!  My store neighbor was in MY store and my new employee was in the ally with the police.  (“Wha? Huh??”)

The store was full of customers and they were all trying to tell me what was going on.  Then Barry the policeman (we love Barry) entered and began shaking his finger saying I should have called 911, etc, etc….and I’m standing there with my lunch thinking, “Will someone please tell me what is going on?!” .  Long story short:  Two bad guys tried to steal 2 mis-matched, left-foot only boots (the guys weren’t real bright), my sweet 60-year-old employee said, “Not on my first day!!” and took off after them (boys & girls do not try this at home), the man who grabbed the boots threw them in a flower pot and turned-on and threatened my sweet Nancy, the police happened to be right there in the ally (Hurrah!!) and nabbed the bad guys, Nancy got a very big lecture from the police about chasing bad guys, and I got a lecture about having inventory displayed on the sidewalk.  The end of the story is that I have my boots back (though I have to hold them because they are now evidence. Humpf!), Nancy is fine, and one of the bad guys is back in jail for another year ( he had JUST been released from jail the day before.  Well, that freedom was short-lived), and you will shortly see me carrying my 9mm gun in the store to remind the bad guys that there may be two short and sweet ladies here but as Nancy’s husband said, “we’re pretty bad ass”.  While NOTHING is worth getting hurt over I also will not sit by and watch people take away from me what I have worked desperately hard for.   (Just a note:  Owning a firearm is not for everyone.  I take very seriously the responsibility of owning a gun & knowing how to use it and the laws of our land governing the carrying and use of such gun.  For me it is primarily a sport but I also recognize and embrace my right to use it to protect myself and the ones I care about.  I strongly encourage anyone considering purchasing a firearm to FIRST participate in training and become educated on the proper use of guns and the laws.)

So that was Nancy’s first day at work.  Surprisingly she showed back up for work today (yea!!)

Now tell me a store about the worst first day on a job by you or someone you know…

Speaking of guns….it’s time for me to head out to the range with my shooting club!  If you follow me on instagram I always post a pic of what we do while out on the range!   Follow me here:   www.instagram.com/rockymtncowgirl


~ Laura

p.s. We have a local shooting club called Rocky Mountain Tactical Ladies.  A wonderful group of women who are experienced, trained, and certified to teach the rest of us the proper use and handling of firearms.  We get together twice a month and learn various skills.  We would love to have you join us.  Find out more here:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/RockyMountainTacticalLadies/