Ordinarily, I wouldn’t need to write a blog post about shoplifters. It’s an occupational hazard that retailers occasionally have to deal with, given that there are a few bad apples who spoil the bunch. At Lille, we pride ourselves on our customer service and friendly atmosphere, so the last thing we want to do is take your purse at the door, follow you around while you shop and generally make it feel like a police state. And we are very fortunate, because 99% of our customers would never even dream of stealing from a small, locally-owned, independent boutique in the middle of a recession. In the past, on the few rare occasions when we have been lifted, the cases have resulted in arrest and recovery of the merchandise or restitution for the amount lost (I’m not afraid to chase a girl down the street, even in heels!)
But this weekend, one of my employees fell victim to the worst kind of thieves. Not only are the alleged suspects repeat customers; we also suspect that they are Life In Lingerie readers. It’s heartbreaking for me to imagine that someone could read my daily posts about the trials and tribulations of a small-business owner and then come in specifically to steal from me, but I suppose I am a bit too trusting at times. What’s worse, they conversed openly with the sales girl about the importance of supporting local businesses and emerging designers! According to safetycops.com, 73% of shoplifters are middle- to high-income, and nearly half attended college… in other words, they’re not stealing out of necessity. But I’m not here to preach. I’m here to put out an impassioned plea to my loyal readers who love Lille and want to see the shop succeed. If you see anyone in Portland wearing the Dark Grey VPL Safety Loop Suit (the only other two sold online to ladies in Tokyo and California), please take note. Take a picture, even. That girl stole from us, and she shouldn’t get away with it.