Sign of the Times?

I got a surprise at a local grocery today: I was asked to leave my daypack in the front of the store because people, apparently using packs, have been ripping them off.

I do not intend to identify the store in this post because I have not had a chance to speak with the owner — a person who allows me (and I assume others) to bring my bicycle into his store.

I can fully understand the frustration of being ripped off and trying to do something about it that might upset customers. I’ll bet it feels like a no-win situation.

That said, this policy works to limit the choices of people who may want to walk or bicycle to this store. Yes, there are alternatives to packs. But will these alternatives also become off limits?

And what about women’s purses? There was a lady in the store at the same time whose purse was every bit as big as my daypack. Yet she was allowed to carry it. I guarentee you it would be easier for her to slip something into her purse than for me to remove my pack, open it, slip something in, close it, and put the darn thing on again.

Is this a sign of the times?

Are people who choose to walk and ride bicycles to shop going to come under greater scrutiny because we carry packs, panniers, and other containers that allow us to carry our daily necessities?

I hope not.

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Comments 5

  1. Brian wrote:

    I’ve been told to check my pack many times in many different cities. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. Even though your pack is no bigger than a large handbag, shoplifters using backpacks are quite brazen. Business owners have told me of teens stuffing a pack with merchandise in plain view, then sprinting out of the store. These little runners know they can cover more ground if being chased with a backpack than a handbag or sack.

    My opinion is that it has more to do with the person carrying the bag (and the owner’s ability to chase them) than the capacity of said bag. I believe owners (especially those of convenience stores and mall outlets) do a “likely to outrun me” check on anyone entering the store with bags and then act accordingly.

    You probably just looked super speedy today!

    Posted 22 Aug 2010 at 3:06 pm
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Brian… Well, I did take my bicycle into the store. So my getaway would have been hampered a bit: turn it around, walk it to the door, trip the automatic door opener, push it through the door (and with my big mirror that’s a bit of a squeeze), get on and ride away with my loot. Somehow I don’t think I’d have been to speedy :-)

    Posted 22 Aug 2010 at 5:21 pm
  3. Keri wrote:

    Just yesterday Lisa and I chained a bunch of store stops with the trailer. By the time we got to our last stop—Target—we had quite a lot of stuff and weren’t sure what to do with it. We took it to the service desk and asked, thinking they would want us to leave our bags there. They didn’t, just told us to carry them with us in the cart.

    Posted 22 Aug 2010 at 7:58 pm
  4. Michael wrote:

    Checking your large bag/pack/purse is pretty much the norm in Seattle and Portland.

    Posted 22 Aug 2010 at 9:37 pm
  5. Coy wrote:

    When this has happened to me, I refused to leave my backpack behind, saying when you require women to leave their purses behind I’ll leave my backpack. No one has called security or the police yet.

    Posted 27 Aug 2010 at 2:04 pm