Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sticking It To The Security Man.

The reason we write our blogs is to impart our experiences and loves with every one of our readers, and while it's fun to trawl through pages of blogs to get the best review of a product you're staring at in Boots, you get a fair few strange looks from the security.

The reason behind this post is my plight in Boots the other day as I was eyeing up the Rimmel Apocalips, I was searching some blogs for swatches of a shade, and the security man decided to stand right behind me and read over my shoulder, all the while keeping his eyes on the items in my hand that I was pondering over.

I realise this kind of treatment is most probably because of the way I look, security often judge me for the black leather, the blank look on my face, and of course, my jittery actions because I'm fearful I'll look like I'm shoplifting when in fact I'm just deciding on a lipstick. The Very British Problems Twitter page confirms this isn't just me, it's a British thing to make sure our hands are in view at all times so we're not accused of shoplifting.

It's by no means just a Boots situation, in Debenhams once I had to ring my mum to ask about a product, and the staff swarmed around me like I was doing something horrific. Apparently I can't even call someone in a shop without an entourage.

In Superdrug I'm often looking at my notes on my phone to make sure I'm getting the things I need, and I'll have a sales assistant come up and ask if I need any help. If I need help, I'll ask. I'm aware it's your job, but just because I look like a lost Hells Angel, it doesn't mean I'm about to hold the place up at gunpoint while calling for backup on my iPhone. Believe me, even if I wanted to, I wouldn't know how. I'm a 20 year old student, not a terrorist. If this is what your conventional terrorist looks like, then I want to leave the country.

In HMV, I always have my phone out to check my wishlist while also checking if things are cheaper on Amazon. I once had a shop assistant look over my shoulder and tell me where to find the DVD I was looking up. What the fuck are you reading my phone for?! What happened to privacy? What happened to just wanting to enjoy the shopping experience and find things for myself? I wouldn't have minded his interjection if I'd had a face like a lost child in the supermarket, but I was stood in an aisle letting an elderly lady past me in the small aisle. Courtesy clearly isn't acceptable nowadays. I can't be the only person that does that, surely?

The problem is, this assault doesn't just end as you exit the shop doors. In my city, charity touts and Big Issue sellers are around every corner, to the point I purposefully avoid the high street as soon as I see one on the horizon. Thankfully if I am caught by charity guys, I still get away with the excuse 'oh I'm 17, I'm too young to donate sorry' and I can walk away painlessly. But there are times when they get too persistent. One was determined to make sure I was lying about my age by keeping me talking beyond my 'sorry I'm running late for my bus' pleas. I missed the bus and ten minutes later I had enough and started walking away. My problem there is that I'm too polite. I won't tell someone to outright leave me alone, it's physically impossible.

I'd love to know if you have similar experiences so I don't feel like it really is just me looking like a trainee terrorist/amateur shoplifter. Experiences such as this make me anxious to even go shopping, to the point I'll avoid an aisle if a security guard is near, even if I do need something from there. I'm half tempted to learn an obscure language, say Swahili, so I can tell them where to stuff it without feeling quite so guilty.

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  1. This would piss me off so much! x

  2. It's probably the British thing that makes me nervous about touching my bag in shops, even to read a just received text.
    I'd love to take my Mac Ever hip, which I'm scared to take out the house in case I lose it, into a shop to swatch hunt an affordable dupe that you can find without risking an overpriced fake but putting a lipstick into my bag would look so suspicious even if it's just come from there.

  3. This is all so true!! Whenever I need to look in my bag for my phone or for something else, I ensure that i'm standing out of an aisle, right in the middle of the bloody place...just so it's obvious I am not stealing anything!! WHY are we so damned paranoid in this country?! It's not even an age-related issue: I'm 41 and am still sometimes regarded with suspicion. Must be the black & the lace & the flounces & the tattoos. TUT. :-/


  4. Oh I can so sympathise with this! I get followed by security in shops all the time. I don't quite understand why though - I'm not even 5ft so it's not like I look particularly intimidating! I dress a little differently but I don't think I look like the thieving type! I went into co-op the other day and I followed all the way round the store. I only went in there to buy a coke and I didn't have any bags with me, I wasn't wearing a coat and I was wearing a dress with no pockets, so how they thought I'd be able to steal things I don't know... :/ It really puts me off going back into places. This is why I like internet shopping!

  5. Security guards in Boots always make me feel so guilty, even if I'm just harmlessly swatching. It's like they're judging me for wasting the testers.

  6. So much love for this post, it's wonderful! I've had it where I'm making note on say a book or film I want to buy and I get the most awful looks off staff, eek :( xxxx

  7. I love this post. It's not just you, I ge it all the time. Followed everywhere! More so when I was in college, full goth look just obviously cried out 'watch me I'm stealing' I even had my bag searched in one store and I hadn't even opened my bag whilst in the shop and it was on my back. It was a coffin so maybe they thought I had some kind of power to get stuff in ym bag without touching.
    I do think people take one look at you and decide your not the usual dressed person and seek you out thinking your going to be trouble.
    I always have notes on my phone of what I want/need to buy and always feel guilty about looking at it to make sure I've got everything.


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