It’s getting to be the holiday season again, and while by now you have already done most of your buying for the season and started to think about your advertising budget, it’s also time to review your security.
The old jeweler’s joke about someone coming to your store late for an appointment and saying, “ Sorry, I was held up,” and the jeweler responds, “ Never say held up to a jeweler,” always gets a laugh from the customer. But, in reality, our security is something all of us need to be aware of.
Most of us know of a sales-rep who has been hit on the road. One of my friends heard a noise as he got his bags out of the trunk of his car. He turned around and was hit in the head with a piece of pipe. He was robbed, but is here today to tell the story. Another sales-rep was followed, and when he got out of his car was confronted by several men with guns. He was pushed to the ground, robbed and, fortunately, not hurt. Both of these people are smart, savvy, long-time members of the jewelry community. If it can happen to them, it can happen to any of us. So what lessons do we take from their misfortune?
Lesson #1: Always look behind you. If you are carrying jewelry to your repair shops, don’t allow yourself to become complacent about your surroundings. Remember that if someone is following you, they are preying on your lack of self-awareness. Remain vigilant at all times. This takes an effort to do. It is natural for us to assume that we are safe in our comfortable, familiar environment. As we repeat week after week the same routine of going and coming from our stores, we get used to and comfortable with our situation and forget that someone who is looking to harm us is aware of where we go and is waiting for the easiest moment to strike.
Lesson #2: Don’t be distracted. I heard a story about a jeweler getting on an elevator with one other person. The person stood behind the jeweler and after the door had closed said that there was mustard on the back of the jeweler’s sport coat. In fact there was, because he had put it there! When the elevator stopped, they both got out and the man grabbed the jeweler’s brief case and ran while the jeweler was distracted paying attention to the back of his coat. Thieves will try to distract your attention and may be working in pairs or groups. Don’t let a distraction make you forget about your briefcase.
Lesson #3: Keep a look out when you open your store. Never open your store alone. Always post one person across the street, parking lot or mall to watch as you open your store. Be sure that your “look out” person has a cell phone handy in case they see anything suspicious or a problem. Also remember to check your surroundings as you get to your store. Look in your parking lot for unfamiliar cars or people sitting in their cars for no apparent reason.
Lesson #4: Have a code word. When a suspicious person has entered your store have a code word that you can use with your staff to inform them that you are working with a person that you are not comfortable with. Use the word or name in a commonly used sentence that would not make the customer aware that you are suspicious of them. After all, they may be a legitimate customer. Use a customer’s name like Mr. King as your code and then say, “Has Mr. King been in today to pick up his repair.” That will alert your staff that they should be aware of the person you are working with and keep an eye on them, ready to call the police if necessary.
Lesson #5: Limit the number of pieces of jewelry that you show. As the holidays approach, jewelers tend to have more customers in their stores than at other times of the year. The customer that you are with might be perfectly honest and you may even know them. But if you show too many pieces at one time, someone else at another counter might be watching and decide that the time is right to grab and run. Limit your exposure by showing only one or two pieces of jewelry at a time.
Lesson #6: Review your security plans with your staff. Remember that your security plan has to be put to use by all of your staff. Call a store meeting and use security as your main talking point.
We all become comfortable in our daily lives. We have our routines and go about our daily business almost without thinking. Our brains just work that way. We often forget what we know and need to be reminded again and again. This list of security issues is far from complete, but it will act as a reminder that we need to be vigilant as long as we are in the jewelry industry.
SOURCE – Alperin, James. “Security in and around the Jewelry Store.” National Jeweler. 6 Sept. 2011. Web. 21 Sept. 2011. <https://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/independents/market-developments/article_detail?id=27132>.