Kirsten Mustain

The other day I walked into a local antique store and the woman behind the front counter told me she did not allow people with large purses inside because they had been having a problem with shoplifting. She told me to lock my purse in the car and come back.

I freely admit that my purse is bigger than some. It is also hopelessly conspicuous, being bright pink with white polka dots. It would be impossible to be intrepid with a purse like that.

Not to mention the fact that it is also packed to the gills with my wallet, my glasses, my sunglasses, gum, a novel in case I ever have to sit and wait, dog biscuits, and various and sundry other items that seem vital to my daily travels. It is rather doubtful that much more could be crammed into this purse of mine Ė certainly not furniture, which is what I was looking for. Not even a cookie jar or a teapot or a set of pig-shaped salt and pepper shakers.

Possibly the woman behind the counter was not intending to be rude by suggesting that I was a shoplifter. Probably her worst problems were merely social ineptitude and overactive paranoia glands.

I smiled at her and told her my money was in my purse. Then I went out and put my purse in the passenger side of my car and myself in the driverís seat and drove to a different antique store where I paid for each item I carried out.

Later I began to wonder if I had been petty. Certainly shoplifting is a problem for retail businesses and they have to do what they think is best to combat it.

However, alienating paying customers is probably not the soundest approach. While one doesnít want to encourage shoplifters, one does want to encourage business, after all.

It got me thinking about risk and trust and positive action vs. negative action.

Clearly one has to be cautious in this world. However, a balance must be struck lest opportunity and profit pass one by.

Meeting life with a fearful attitude is liable to cause one to reject experiences that might be beneficial, like selling a coffee table to a woman with a big purse who has no intention of stealing from you.

Life is risky business, thatís a given.

Regardless of whether you greet yours with fear or faith, there will be times when you lose out.

Knowing this, it seems to me that the best thing to do is to go forward with faith. Faith will allow blessings to flow. Fear will shut them out.