Feb 24, 2007

PSA about Purses

A few weeks ago, our handyman was over installing our new kitchen sink. We were chatting and he told me that his wife had had her purse stolen right out of the shopping cart at the grocery store and they were in the process of trying to shut down all their credit cards. They were in a nightmare of waiting to see if her identity was going to be ripped off and their credit cards run up to the sky.

I started asking him how it happened and he said, "She turned her back on her cart and the purse was sitting in the seat where a child sits". I suggested that it may have not happened if she had used the seat belt to snap around the purse handles and he said, "She did". That stunned me because I have been known to do that. I will wrap the belt around my straps and zip my purse closed. However, I do NOT ever walk away from my cart and I usually wrap the straps of my purse under my hand on the handle of the cart. I haven't done that since he told me what happened. I keep my purse on my shoulder.

Since then, I have been really aware of how many purses are just hanging out there for the taking. Today, in the grocery store, I could have stolen SIX purses in about 20 minutes. There were all SORTS of purses laying with mouths wide open in carts where the owner was reading yogurt labels or wrestling kids. Most of them were tucked in the bottom of the cart, but within easy reach. Several were sitting in the top of the cart - completely unzipped with the wallet floating at the top. Its owner was not even paying attention.

About 2 months ago, I went to return a cart to the little cart corral at the grocery store and noticed a purse sitting IN a cart. I had seen someone return a cart out of the corner of my eye while I was unloading mine so I grabbed the purse and started looking around for any cars just pulling out. A woman about 60 was just starting to back out of a space. I held the purse up and ran towards her car. She rolled down her window and gasped! It was her purse - she had forgotten to get it out of her cart. She's lucky it was ME who found it. Even if she had already left, I would have taken it home and called her. Others wouldn't have been so kind...

I wanted to scream in the store today, "HELLLLLO, LADIES!!!!! PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PURSES!!!!" If I was bolder, I would pick them up and hand them to the owners with a warning.

We had a car broken into about a year ago and a check book stolen that my husband had neglected to bring in the house. Three checks were written on the book before they caught the forger. I assume she wasn't the one who stole the book, but was the recipient of it. The police knew her well - she was a meth-head - as are most of these types of criminals. They will do any dangerous or stupid or desperate thing (like steal a purse in the middle of a grocery store) just to pay for their habit.

So, that's my purse PSA for the day - keep it on you and keep it closed. Identity theft is a nightmare. We only had three checks written but we almost had to close our bank account that we have had for 20 years. We DID freeze our credit so that no one without a password can use it. That's been a good thing, but it was scary to have to wait and watch for several months to see if anything else was going to show up. I can't imagine having my credit cards, drivers license and (for those of you that might carry it still) your Social Security card stolen.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder. I am guilty of doing this from time to time. I hate carrying my purse so I drop it in the cart.

americanmom said...

Good reminder. When I get to my car, the first thing I do is put my kids in their carseats (if they're with me), put my purse in the front seat, then lock the car, and put my keys in my pocket. Then I unload my groceries. I'd rather someone steal my groceries than my purse or my kids!