Open Forum

New dishonest people

  • 1.  New dishonest people

    Posted 02-10-2019 13:48
    I have been in business for four years now and have had a pretty honest and respectful clientele so far.  Lately we have had a rash of people taking other peoples clothes from the driers.  As has been discussed a lot of people leave their clothes unattended in the dryers and leave to run errands. Until this year no problems, but for the last two months 4 times people complain that some one took their clothes.

    We do have it posted not to leave clothes unattended and that we are not responsible, but my question is how do we stop it?
    When we review the film we have seen on case of people being airheads and taking things assuming that it was theirs we did ask them to bring the clothes back, but we have not seen them again since then,

    Should I post another sign no one will read that says theft will be reported to the police with the video evidence?

    Do we confront the thieves  next time they come?  In past posts it was mentioned that one should not show the video to the victim which I agree that it should only be shown to the police, but do we show it to the thief and confront them and ask them to bring the clothes back? Do we call the police when they are here and show the cops what they have done in the past and have the police give them a CT (Criminal Trespass) and just tell them they are not welcome any more?

    I do not want to start getting bad reviews because some people choose to be dishonest.

    What do you all think one should do to handle this issue?

    Kindest Regards

    F Salas
    Freedom Laundry
    Denison TX

  • 2.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-10-2019 14:41
    Some people will try to upgrade their wardrobe by taking from others. These folks often watch for someone approximately their own size, and then wait for that person to leave their clothes unattended. A few pairs of jeans can be expensive.

    If if you were remodeling your store I would recommend Super High Speed washers (350 to 450 G-force) and reversing dryers.  Since these washers remove so much water, it only takes 12 to 14 minutes to dry, so customers probably won't attempt to run errands.

    Directly confronting a thief is a bad idea. It's not your duty to monitor the clothes of every customers. By going to do errands the customer is rudely tying up your valuable dryer capacity.

    Post a sign in your store that reads: "Clothes left unattended in washers and dryers may be moved to a cart by management. Do not leave your clothes unattended. Not responsible for the loss of any clothes or item under any circumstance. This is a self-service Laundromat."

    Do not allow staff to confront or accuse anyone. An untrained enforcer can lead to conflict and liability.  I certainly wouldn't want. staff to interfere.

    As the owner, you do have a right to approach your customers. It's up to you if you want to get involved. I handled similar situations with a dose of humor and a big smile. "Heh there, I see you're folding my sister's clothes for her. I know most of her friends, but I don't think I know you?  I'm Larry and you are?"

    Larry Larsen
    Anaheim, CA
    Distributor - Insurance - Consulting
    Cell: (714) 390-9969

  • 3.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-10-2019 16:25
    You need cameras, cameras, and more cameras...Along with at least 1 or 2 monitors to SHOW people they are being recorded.

    Paulie B
    Multiple Mat Owner since 1976
    New York City, NY

  • 4.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-10-2019 19:41
    Edited by Deward Stout 02-10-2019 19:43

    You let the general public see all the different cameras angles? Is that a good practice?
    So anyone can see what is being recorded?
    Where did you place your monitors so the whole world could see them?

    Deward Stout
    Hurricane Laundromat & Storage
    Hurricane UT

  • 5.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-10-2019 19:53
    Edited by Paulie B 02-10-2019 19:58

    No, I always kept about 4, sometimes 5 off the monitors.

    2 in the front inside the store, and one near the back where people think it's more private.

    Even when you have cameras, people forget they are being recordered so the monitors help remind them.
    Hidden cameras are great, especially by the change machines and the counter, but no deterrent factor..

    Paulie B
    Multiple Mat Owner since 1976
    New York City, NY

  • 6.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-11-2019 13:00
    We have the same problem and I would love to solve it but I don't believe there is a genuine solution. It is incumbent on my customers to keep an eye on their own belongings. Repeatedly I have had people walk away from their wallet or their purse and expect it to be there when they return. This creates an attractive nuisance and I have little sympathy for their plight. I had a guy go berserk when he left his chainsaw in the back of his truck and returned to find it missing.

    No, no more signs. I have one list of disclaimers. That's it.  All other signs are those of encouragement. Peppering the place with a bunch of signs telling your customers to behave is ineffective and demeaning.

    Michael Shewmaker
    Downtown Laundry Express
    Hilo HI

  • 7.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-11-2019 13:33
    I have this happening here too. Just last week, I have 5 cameras inside and a monitor that shows they are being recorded. Cameras outside and it catches the license plates. Do you think the police are going to chase them down for a few stolen items? Lady left her clothes in dryer for 12 hours. My sign is "Quarters are for washing and drying... not for storage."
      I'm thinking of printing photos and posting them on "The wall of Shame"

    Harry Pruyn
    Solano Cleaning Center
    1219 Solano Ave.
    Albany, Ca
    510 524-0254

  • 8.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-11-2019 13:35
    Criminals play the victim card if you accuse them of being a thief.  If they do come back, just say, "Hi.  I noticed last week on video that you took laundry from the wrong dryer.  Could you return it?  When they refuse or deny it, show them a screenshot.  Just say, "Well, it looks like you and it would be really embarrassing for the both of us to have to use the police to figure this out."  They still refuse or deny, just say, well, I think that you should find another place to do business.

    For theives, I print their picture and post it by the changer and FB page.  Let the whole town see that someone is petty enough to steal someone else's drawers.  I did this to a man that was stealing toilet paper.  Haven't seen him since.  Customers get a laugh because everyone knows someone.

    A woman called me last week and fussed me out because she couldn't find her clothes that she put in the washer 2 hours prior.  I was dumbfounded and told her, well, it is an unattended mat.  You left them.  How am I responsible for it?  Awkward silence them she asked if I could check the camera.  Turns out that they were still there.  Someone rewashed her clothes.

    Don't worry about reviews.  You can't make everyone happy.  Everyone has their own opinion.

    Chris Mallam
    Norfolk VA

  • 9.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-11-2019 14:00
    Edited by Paulie B 02-11-2019 14:04
    I agree with a lot of what Harry and Chris  just said.

    It all boils down to the basic thinking in our society now that if someone experiences anything negative, that it is NOT their own responsibility, but the responsibility of somebody else.
    This is especially true when they want to blame a business for their own refusal to watch their own stuff.

    If you have a sign that says: "This is a public place where all kinds of people are around. Keep watch over your property. We are not responsible for your property being lost, stolen or damaged". warned them.

    Now, anything that point to the sign and say..."It's impossible for us to constantly hang over everyone's belongings. All kinds of people walk into laundromats, mostly good, but also some bad people. We have cameras. I'll be glad to go back to see what happened so you can file a Police Report. They may be able to catch them with a decent photo".

    This gets them off your back and onto where it belongs...The Cops take over now.

    Paulie B
    Multiple Mat Owner since 1976
    New York City, NY

  • 10.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-11-2019 14:30

    I call it "the you get a prize generation ".  Back when schools decided that every participant in a school event or contest should get a prize so that no one felt slighted, teachers handed out prizes to everyone.  Today, those kids, now adults, fail to accept responsibility for their problems.  After all, they've always been a winner so how can they be responsible for anything negative?

    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Spring Lake MI
    (616) 566-1987

  • 11.  RE: New dishonest people

    Posted 02-11-2019 23:21
    Cameras help. I've noticed by watching the film that what happens almost every time is someone removes a load that is done to use the dryer leaving it in a basket or on a table. People will then look through it and take an item that appeals to them, possible thinking it's donated clothing. The bottom line is customers assume all risk if they leave their stuff unattended.

    Brad Seder
    Brad Seder Person
    Santa Rosa CA