An Innovative Solution for a New Problem

Photo Credit: My Sister’s Closet

Covid has brought out the best and the worst of us. It has brought out the most ingenuous and the most intellectually lacking. But one downside that many retailers are dealing with is an ingenuous worst: using masking as a way to steal with less of a chance of repercussions.

Cities such as San Francisco and Chicago have been dealing with this issue all through Covid, as lax criminal enforcement combined with masking policies have turned many of their stories into free-for-alls for crooks. Other cities plagued by riots such as Portland have been having trouble identifying the most disruptive forces because of masks.

Ann Siner, the CEO of Scottsdale’s My Sister’s Closet, My Sister’s Attic, and Well Suited, was dealing with a similar issue in her stores. But unique problems require unique solutions, and she was up to the task. After recent thefts of expensive bags, she decided to implement a new policy: if you wear a mask in their store, you need to show your unmasked face on camera first.

This action was prompted by a single theft of about $15,000 worth of designer bags, an action that they are currently offering a $5,000 reward for information. Mask policies have also coincided with a time of increased drug addictions, thus fueling an additional need for money. 69% of retailers have said that they have seen a recent increase in theft in their stores, thus underscoring the need for retailers to control what they can (policies within their store) regardless of the externalities that they can’t (Covid, drug addiction, and enforcement).

New challenges have surprised all of us over the last year and a half, and ingenious responses made to counteract them. We applaud this forward-thinking way of balancing our need for safety against both the virus as well as criminals. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this adopted much more widely.