Okay, so it’s your turn to host movie night and you just finished prepping the living room. You take out your checklist to make sure that you’ve got everything covered, but you realize that you forgot to grab a few packs of popcorn. How could you forget the popcorn? No biggie, you tell yourself. It’s not something that a quick trip to the grocery store won’t fix.
You grab your purse and head to the nearby grocery store. As you shuffle along the aisles with an empty basket, looking for those packs of microwavable popcorn, someone comes to you and asks for help. The person wishes to grab a box of easy-mix gelatin by the top shelf. They meekly tell you that they would do it themselves if they could, but there are some places that a person of their height simply can’t reach.
You offer your assistance and reach for the box of easy-mix gelatin. It’s placed pretty high up so you had to focus and stand on your toes. You finally reach it after a few blind swipes, and you happily hand it to them. They thank you for your service and dashes away, and you continue about your business. A little later, as you walk towards the cashier with your basket now full of microwavable popcorn packs, you decide to check your purse to get some money. Your jaw drops, and cold sweat trickles down from your forehead as you realize that everything inside your purse is gone.
This is a variation of what is called the grocery store trap. It’s a technique used by pickpockets to take valuables from unsuspecting customers. The ploy makes use of misdirection, as the pickpocket would often ask for the victim’s help with finding or reaching a product, before stealing from the victim as soon as their attention shifts to something else.
This video demonstrates how this pickpocket technique works on unsuspecting targets.
The best way to avoid this situation is to be aware that these things happen. Once you have knowledge about these techniques, you can prevent the chances of them happening by keeping your guard up. Be vigilant of the valuables that you have with you. Be aware of your surroundings and who you are helping. There are instances when the pickpocket would have an accomplice. This can get very dangerous. If you smell something fishy, avoid it instantly. Trust your instincts and do not be afraid to walk away.
Even in this day and age, when CCTVs and all manner of surveillance are widely available, crime still exists. Pickpocketing is a crime of opportunity, and the best way to prevent it is to not give pickpockets the opportunity in the first place. Keep your valuable possessions (passports, wallets, credit cards, etc.) out of harm’s way by using Clever Travel Companions gear . Our gears are designed with secret pockets to make your valuables 100% pickpocket-proof.