Surprisingly, I have not had much of a problem with theft. A few bracelets a year, and very rarely, a pair of earrings. 2008 was the worst year (several bracelets gone - usually the expensive woven ones) and I expected an uptick in theft this year due to the bad economy but it was down by quite a bit. By October I had only lost one braided bracelet and one pair of earrings. At the Historic Shaw Art Fair, however, all that ended as I had one bracelet and three pendants taken, all in quick succession. When you see the empty spots it is very disheartening, and there is not much you can do about it. I try not to let the disappointment and anger affect how I interact with patrons, but I must admit that sometimes the shock of the adrenalin rush is hard to overcome.
Now imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when one of the organizers of the Shaw Art Fair left me a voice mail about receiving (anonymously) two envelopes, one with what felt like jewelry and one with money. They were forwarded to me and I just received them this week. It appears from the notes written on the envelopes that a young child took the pendants and this was discovered later by a parent. The parent apologized and returned one pendant in an envelope. The other envelope had a scrawled apology from the child (clearly not very old and still learning to write!) with money for another pendant. I really am very heartened by this and am sure that this is being used as a teaching moment for the child. I never expected to have items returned or paid for and applaud the parent.
If the parent in St. Louis reads this, know that I appreciate having my stolen items returned and hope the child learns a lesson from this. You have integrity I am grateful that people like you are out there. Thank you!! I will certainly come back to Shaw, if I can.