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How to feel like a criminal every day

Very simple — just go into many, if not most retail stores. Oh, and it helps if you are young (or even youngish) as well. And possibly (though not always), carry a bag.

This is something that’s really started to annoy me recently. The persistent “can I check your bag” rubbish that any young person gets when leaving many retail stores. Not only is it a pointless exercise, it is often demeaning, and always complicated and inconvenient. It’s got to the point where I won’t go into many shops if I’ve already got bags or shopping from other places — it’s just not worth it.

Of course, you just know that any older person who is in the same situation will never have their bags checked, even though they’re just as likely to be thieves.

And to make it even more farcical, 90 percent of the time when they check you, it’s such a minor, cursory check that anyone really trying to steal could hide things well enough to get away with it anyway.

In many ways, it really is a “perception of security” issue, just like most airport searches and most modern security. They want to show people they’re trying to tackle thieves, while not really doing anything much to truly stop it (well, not with this step anyway).

So mostly, I just grin and bear it, or just avoid the various stores altogether. Of course, I wonder when they’re going to start making us turn out our pockets … maybe I’ll be old enough to be out of the “criminal” category by then.

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