All malled out

The ten-day Made in the Cape artisan market ended on Sunday. It was a big success on all levels, but exhausting — obviously to be expected, and this is not a complaint, but I hadn’t anticipated the draining effect that ten days (eleven hours each) in a busy shopping mall would have on me. You may or may not know this about me, but I am not a shopping-mall kind of gal. I will go to one of the smaller ones if necessary but far prefer to stick to my local shops down in Rondebosch village. The post office is also there, and the library, and a superb barista, and the bank. And there’s always parking.

Anyway, hard work never killed anyone and I’ve had three follow-up orders already, so there is also a good long-term effect of being on show, as it were. The patchwork cushions were especially popular.


We also had some drama! A woman had had her cell phone taken out of her handbag as she was coming down the escalator closest to me. The thief ran past my table and slid the phone in between a pile of my cushions. This was captured on cctv so within seconds I had a swarm of security guards “helping” me go through all my stock. We searched in vain, which made no sense, so I suggested that she had probably had an accomplice who had retrieved the phone very quickly and made off with it in a different direction. Further cctv footage proved me right, and a ring of four women was eventually caught and arrested.

I was reminded of something in one of Ben Trovato‘s priceless blog posts about shopping malls and holiday crowds:

And remember that even though pickpocketing and purse-snatching is considered quaint and old school in this glamorous age of state capture, the pilferers and purloiners are still out there practising their ancient craft. Fleet of foot and nimble of finger, not for them the tedious complexities of tender rigging and money laundering. Handbags are their thing. This is why women should keep a small explosive device in their bag at all times. If the bag is stolen, they can detonate it with a remote control. This will not only teach the thief a valuable lesson but will also help thin out the crowds in the mall. 

So, be alert and keep your handbags zipped up tight !


20 thoughts on “All malled out

  1. Gail

    Love Ben Trovato’s recommendation. Glad you had successful market days. See you and the bday gang in a few hours, yippee.

  2. The Snail of Happiness

    Ten eleven-hour days sounds like a marathon to me. I hope you have some time to recover. You must have had to have so much stock to make sure that you didn’t run low by the end. I’m really pleased that it went well and hopefully you can avoid malls for a month or two now!

  3. katechiconi

    What a marathon, leavened briefly by a spot of crime-drama. I’m glad the stock held up to the ravening crowds, and I’m not at all surprised those lovely cushions were popular. I’d prescribe chocolate and a nice drinkie to deal with your symptoms!

  4. quietwatercraft

    Haha I would definitely be the dingbat who set off my own explosive device by accident ;)
    So glad you had a productive market, and I hope you’ve got some time to recover now it’s over! You should add that to your CV; assisted in the arrest of notorious phone-stealing gang

  5. insearchofitall

    You are a stronger woman than I to endure that much mall time. You must have been working very hard to have enough stock to do 10 days at 11 hours each. Who relieves you to get food and bathroom breaks? As for a small explosive device in your bag, my luck would be I’d blow myself up with it. I’ve never heard of such a thing here. There are people everywhere who think it’s ok to take what they want from others. What gives them such an idea? I’ll never understand it. Smart thinking on your part to let them know there may have been accomplices.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      The owner of the phone thought so, too, and very kindly bought me a box of Quality Street to thank me for searching like a mad squirrel through my display! I’ve had things stolen from me before, it really is a most unpleasant experience.

      1. insearchofitall

        How kind of her to reward your help. I understand when people steal food because they are hungry, but stealing for the sake of stealing makes me wish we could cut off fingers and hands for doing that kind of thing. I told my kids I would do just that if I ever found out they were doing something like that. They knew I might just do it so they never took what wasn’t theirs.

  6. tgonzales

    Oh Jill, I’m so glad that you did great at the mall. I am the same as you; I would rather shop at the little stores. John is the total opposite he loves the mall though. But how scary to have those thieves pick your booth to hide the stolen goods in.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      It wasn’t very scary, just a swarm of security guards in black and yellow like massive bees all around me for a little while. They were extremely polite. Plus I got the Quality Street out of the whole thing!

  7. nanacathy2

    Such drama. I feel we should all keep remote controlled devices about our bags in case of theft, like the securicor ones that let off red dye. So happy the market went well.

    1. Nice Piece of Work Post author

      Thanks, Cathy. I’d probably be useless with a remote-control thing – both parts of the apparatus would likely be in my bag when it got pinched! I have had my entire bag taken off me before, so that wouldn’t help at all.
      Most people here carry Mace in their bags or keep one in their cars – do you, or is life a lot less crime-free over there? My guess is that your answer will be yes. We definitely have to be extremely safety-conscious here, ALL THE TIME. It’s SO stressful. My house is protected with a burglar alarm, outside perimeter beams, razor wire and electric fencing. It’s a crummy way to live.


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