I don’t have little kids anymore, but when I did I took care to use the services of the security team at the mall or the shopping center. I always tell my kids that you have to live defensively and that means I need to be the example of defensive living even in the parking lot. Whenever we would go grocery shopping, I would park the car near a cart return station so that I wouldn’t have to go too far from my kids in the car. In fact, I still use the same practice as often I can at any store where I might need to return a cart. In addition to being in close proximity of the car, there are usually other people targeting that same station. The shoppers go there to return carts and employees go there to collect carts and return them to the inside of the store. The age old rule that “there is safety in numbers” controls even in this situation.
I recall several instances when the kids and I went shopping. On one occasion, we went to a mall to shop. My kids were very young. My daughter was about five or six and my son was walking, but in a stroller. When our shopping excursion was over, it was dark outside. I knew that I would have to monitor the safety of my children and our purchases as we walked at a short-legged kid pace to the car with my head on a swivel looking for potential danger. I was concerned about turning my back to the darkness while I put the kids and bags in the car. So, on this occasion I went to an employee in a mall store nearest my car and asked her to call mall security and have the guy riding around on the bicycle escort me to my car. I remember him arriving and being a little agitated that I summoned him. He said, “You really don’t need me. This mall is pretty safe.” I asked, “Well if it’s so safe, why are you working?” I followed the question with a “Thank you for escorting me and my kids safely to the car.”
On another shopping trip, I was alone when the darkness took over the sky. Instead of asking for mall security, I asked a salesperson to hold my bags at her station which was near the door while I went to retrieve my car. I walked in the well lit parking lot briskly to my car and drove to the store entrance where she met me with my bags. She was very kind and understood my concern about being alone and walking with a handbag and lots of bags.
I never want to look like an easy or attractive target. I also make an effort to employ the services made available to me by the stores and shops that I frequent. There is a reason they hire security and install cameras.