Monday, 12 October 2009

Shopping in the recession - watch out!

(By Anna Breeker. Photo by I hardly ever shop at night, but last Saturday I had to go to the supermarket. In the evening, it was not particularly busy. I picked up a few items and put them in my trolley, then I wandered to the next isle looking for a specific ingredient. When I came back to where I thought the trolley was, I could not find it. Thinking that I am a bit of a scatterbrain lately, I walked around the isles again, but no sign of it.>
I asked the shop attendant if she had cleared the trolley and taken it. I could imagine staff wanting everything in order before closing time and it was getting late. ´No´, she said, ´I did not´, and she started looking for it with me. Then she spotted some items out of place, ´Is this yours?' she asked. It was, ´Oh´she said, ´it happens all the time now, people take the trolley to get the euro'.' And do watch your handbag because there have been several incidents lately´.
It is not about the euro, but more about how it makes you feel. I realized I did not feel as safe as I usually do. It took me a while to feel that safe again after my purse was stolen a few years ago from the changing rooms in C&A, it was not only the money but also bank cards, DNI and drivers license that were in it. Months later the purse was found in Tarifa, with the documents, which I had by then replaced, and of course without the money and the bankcards.
And maybe it is even more the fact that while one is happily minding one´s own business, someone is watching you to take their chance at the first opportunity.

Then there are people that ask you for money in the underground parking, a very well dressed lady came to me and asked me if I could help her out. She had filled up the car at the petrol station and then realized she had no money on her. I said thatI had no money on me other than to pay for the parking ticket, but that I could give her a lift to Sotogrande( where she said she lived). She could then get the money and find someone to drive her back to her car. But no, she insisted on cash......

I do suppose we have all heard the scam where someone points out a defect on your car,i.e. flat tire, light not working etc. while you have a look with them, leaving your handbag and car keys in place: both are gone when you return to your seat. The La Cañada area is famous for it, but I have heard of other places too.
These situations take us by surprise, but when the euro gets taken from your shopping trolley the time has come to be even more alert!

I can only tell you what I did. I made copies of: all bankcards, ID, passport etc with the telephone numbers for different banks to cancel them immediately, avoiding having to search for them when you are already stressed about what has happened, and keep them at home. It also makes it easier to obtain new documents. I keep my money and my car keys separate and unless in and around our village, where we all know each other, I will, unfortunately, not offer a lift again.......

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