I Saw Her Steal a Sandwich from Starbucks!

 I was second in line at Starbucks in concourse B of the Phoenix airport. Service was excruciating slow. A middle aged women stepped behind me in line for a moment, then loudly said ‘excuse me’ as she pushed me to the right. She walked up to the refrigerated display case, paused, took a turkey and cheese baguette sandwich and got back in line behind me.

A few seconds later, she turned around and walked briskly out of Starbucks. The sandwich was still in her hand. At first I assumed she forgot her wallet and was going to retrieve it. Then I thought maybe she was going back to tell a travel companion about the sandwich choices. But … she never returned. I was in shock as I saw her steal a sandwich from Starbucks!. I’ve never actually witnesses someone shoplift. I was thinking who does that? Still perplexed, I thought perhaps she didn’t have any money and was really hungry.

When it was my turn to order, I told the barista that a women just walked out with a sandwich. He looked at me uninterested and replied that people do that at least several times a day. He said he is very busy and can’t pay attention to everything. No wonder airport concessions are so expensive – they have to raise prices to offset the stealing!

If asked, I would not be able to describe this women other than she was middle aged, Caucasian, a few inches taller than me, and heavier than me. That’s it. I didn’t notice her clothes, if she wore glasses, her hair color. Nothing. Had this been a serious crime and not a missing sandwich, I’d be absolutely no help to the authorities. I realized that I really don’t pay much attention at times and vowed to change right then in both my personal life and business.

For the next hour, I observed people at the airport. I saw two well-dressed business men bump into each other (hard!) since they were both looking down at their phones. The confrontation was not pretty. I saw individuals come to a dead stop right at the top of the escalator not thinking about anyone behind them. They seemed more interested in getting their bearings than preventing a pile up of bodies. It was a mess. Roller bags got tangled together, people were tripping into the crowd, and colorful words were yelled as the escalator continued to unload more people into the chaos.

I stopped at a restroom and the scene wasn’t much better. I saw ladies leave trash on the floor when they missed the garage can. One women walked away and left the faucet water running full blast. I was disgusted by the first 6 toilet stalls before I found one that was fairly clean (water flushed, no tissue cover stuck on the seat, floor clear of excess toilet paper.)

Perhaps people are simply distracted by talking on their phones while using the toilets (guys, does that happen in your restroom or is this a girl thing?) Maybe folks assume everything is automated these days so they don’t have to care. Either way, some people just don’t take a moment to pay attention. If they are this unaware in their everyday life, are they this way in their business too where full attention really counts?

I share these true stories because lack of awareness can bleed money in your business. I know I get overwhelmed with things quite often. I found that when I stay completely present and focused on my business, it grows and performs well beyond my expectations.

Are you paying close attention or just letting things happen? Here is a short checklist to help you stay focused and aware in your business:

  • Do you know the exact amount of income you need each day, week, and month to hit your yearly sales goals and are you on track?
  • Do you review your invoices to ensure there are no overage charges?
  • Do you have leading indicators in place that identify trends that could impact your business (on time customers suddenly taking longer to pay, repeat orders are less frequently and smaller than in the past, website traffic is declining)?
  • Do you stay connected with your clients just because – with no selling intention? (I call one client each weekday just to connect. No selling is involved – unless they ask of course. It’s all about supporting them and deepening our relationship. It’s my “I was just thinking about you call’. My clients love it and I feel good as well.)

Of course the checklist could be longer, but this is a great start. I challenge you to be more aware in your day and watch what happens as a result!


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Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.