Sooner or later, we all stop at the local convenience store for something or another. Most are attached to a gas station, or at least those are the ones I use on the road. Police officers use to call them stop-n-robs because of the rate they are robbed. Here is an old joke about how cops feel about convenience stores.
Unlike the cop in this video we really do need to pay attention when walking into the store and when shopping. To start with, think of where you park. If possible, drive by the windows to look in first and then park to side of the entrance. Obviously, if you look inside and see someone robbing the place, you probably want to keep driving and call 911. You want to park off to the side of the entrance just in case you missed something. Parking in front of the door is the worst place to be if someone is on the way out after robbing the place.
As you walk inside look at the cars parked in the parking lot. Is there anything unusual? The guy with a mask on, sitting in a running car without plates could be a clue. When you look inside, take a second at the door to look at the people inside. Is the guy with the mask from outside now talking to the clerk? Is there a clerk? When I moved from California to Texas, that was the hardest thing for me. In California, if you walked into a stop-n-rob and the clerk wasn’t behind the counter, it was probably because the place was getting robbed. In Texas, the clerks leave the counter all the time to do other work. The first time I found the clerk missing, I turned around and walked out. I got back into the armored car and got laughed at by my partner for it. He told me the clerk was around the corner taking a smoke break. I still get nervous every time I walk in and the clerk isn’t standing there.
When you enter, you should also be looking for the exits and how the store is laid out. Which way the aisles go and how you can get to the exits, and where that Monster is you came in for (yes, I drink a lot of Monster on the road). As you are standing in line and paying, watch the people that are coming in. Just make sure that the guy sitting in the running car from earlier isn’t coming in.
Lastly, play the “what if” game. Think about someone coming in to rob the place and what you would do. For those of you new to this game, you aren’t the super hero, think about how you can escape and/or keep the robbery from getting violent. If someone robs the place and gets away with the money, it’s still a win for you. Don’t get hurt. The first rule of any violent encounter is for you and your family to get home. Everything else is a distant second.