Several years ago, The Sandbar decided to open a gift shop. You may remember our (first) adventure upstairs at the bar- weeks of painting, cleaning, and setting up a shop full of fun t-shirts and other beach bar trinkets. We named it Hurricane Dave’s Ocean Shop. The store was a big hit and we sold lots of shirts and coconut bras decorated with Bahama Mama toys. There were all kinds of cool toys we sold too- like the hula girl bike horn, the wind-up fish out of water, tiki coasters, and outdoor string lights.
Over time, we decided that it was hard to maintain an appealing gift shop and stock so many shirts at a time, and there were other things we wanted to do with the space. Dave created a small storage unit for t-shirts behind the bar downstairs, but we still had one cabinet upstairs to store the extra shirts.
Dave installed a camera system that worked in tandem with the cameras at the door downstairs; the staff could flip a switch on the camera to keep an eye on anyone who went upstairs. In the earlier days, very few people were busted on camera- there were a few people who were caught on camera trying to steal something, but more often the guys happened to catch topless girls trying on coconut bras.
Recently, however, I don’t know what has gotten into people. More and more often, people keep stealing shirts. As soon as a customer goes upstairs, the camera gets switched over so they can be watched. And almost every time, someone is caught stuffing a shirt in their purse, their coat, or even down their pants. One time, Dave saw a guy stuffing one of the parrot mugs we used to sell in his pants. He confronted the guy at the stairs and didn’t even give him the option of leaving the mug- it was in his pants and he had to pay for it.
Usually the customers are just confronted and told to hand over the merchandise they just shoplifted. Amazingly, so many people say "but I thought they were free." As if we would just have a cabinet full of shirts, with prices marked on them, out there for free. And you’d be amazed at the people doing this- groups of women in their 40’s have been busted, as well as friends of employees, and even a man in military camouflage. Of course there are the expected drunken college student thieves, but they aren’t necessarily the majority.
What is wrong with people?