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Old 07-12-10, 03:03 PM   #1
Danthesoundman
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To those of you who use backpacks, or bags on your shoulder(s)...

How do you deal with going into stores? I wouldn't think anyone would leave their bag locked to their bike, while someone could unzip / unclasp / open it and steal contents.

Whenever I enter an establishment, they usually ask that I leave my bag up front at the counter. (Though they don't ask females to leave their purses) I've had experiences where the counter person went to lunch and no one knew where my bag was. Also, since there's no standards for this, another bystander could technically claim my bag as they exit, and the clerk might just hand it over to the wrong person. (I know I'm paranoid)

At any rate, leaving my bag at the front counter makes me nervous. I don't like my (nice) bag strewn on their floor, and being kicked by their feet. (Am I just being too anal?)

Well, I, personally, don't like it. Is my only option buying a steel fishnet "Pacsafe" deal to lock up my bag with my bike? This issue has swayed me to drive my automobile when I should be riding my bike to the store. Just to not deal with the hassle.

My bike does not have provisions to mount a rack, nor do I want to invest in panniers and a rack, while I have a perfectly good bag.

I just don't want my bag to leave my sight. Whether it's loaded with camera equipment, or sentimental valuables, I don't want to risk it.

Should I just get a smaller bag, and play it off, like it's my "man-purse"? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:06 PM   #2
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in nyc places will have a place to check in your bags at front. b&h does have this service, but if i tell them it has my camera inside, they let me bring it in the store.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:13 PM   #3
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I live in a very un-bicycle friendly (hick) town. There's usually not even a place to lock my bike up. I am unable to move to NYC at this time.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:14 PM   #4
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I just ignore the person who asks me to live it at the front and carry on about my business. If he/she is persistent, I tell them that they lost a customer and walk out of the store. The average person who wants in wearing a rucksack is not likely to steal. It is the women who carry the large handbags who are.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:32 PM   #5
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I try to pack things well enough that a minor jolt or two isn't going to hurt anything. After all there's no guarantee that stuff won't get bounced around on my commute.

You could always ask them if they're wiling to accept responsibility if something is missing from your bag or if something gets damaged. If not then give them the choice to let you either carry it around or let you take your money some place else.

In my experience most places don't care about my carrying the bag around. If they want me to leave it behind the counter with somebody I'm OK with that. Actually, prior to going on my Thursday group ride, I'll ask the people at the LBS we leave from if I can keep my bag or panniers behind the counter.

Years ago when I worked at a grocery store, we'd never ask people to leave their oversized bags/purses at the front of the store, but some people were definitely watched while they did their shopping. Folks could be pretty creative about hiding stuff so not having a large bag doesn't guarantee that one's not a thief.

Panniers wouldn't really solve your problem anyway. You're still left with the choice of leaving them on the bike or bringing them in. Panniers aren't always the most convenient things to carry around.

Last edited by tjspiel; 07-12-10 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:47 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. So basically, just do it. I like travelmama's suggestion to just ignore them. I think it's rude to ask to incarcerate my personal belongings, so they deserve a rude response (ignoring). Maybe I'll say, "No, I won't leave my bag, but you're welcome to follow me around." Ha ha. We'll see how that works.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:48 PM   #7
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I always wear my bag in a store. I've only been asked to leave it at the front once. I considered it a rest for my shoulder after a hard ride home, although I did take my Leica out and carry it with me..
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Old 07-12-10, 03:49 PM   #8
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just wear it, don't carry it in your hand. if they see you take it off, they assume it's because you're going to put something in it. on all of my bicycle and motorcycle adventures in the south, nobody has EVER asked me to leave my bag at the front. it is usually packed pretty full, though. it also helps that i have a hydration bladder in it, and i'm usually sweating and gulping water out of it when i walk in. keep it on and act like you know what you're doing. if they get uppity, just leave.
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Old 07-12-10, 04:02 PM   #9
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Not only do I bring my backpack in, I bring my bike as well! And no one has ever given me a second look let alone said something to me, and I have been in every type of store from coast to coast.
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Old 07-12-10, 04:03 PM   #10
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There used to be a guy in Seattle who rode around with a huge sword (yes, a real sword) sitcking out of his messenger bag, or it might have even been strapped directly to his back. I'm guessing he never was asked to "leave his stuff at the front door". There could be some unintended consequences in using this approach, but you'll get to carry your bag into the store.

Any of you out there remember this guy? Not sure what happened to him.
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Old 07-12-10, 04:13 PM   #11
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I guess I'm the minority here, but I am realizing it probably has something to do with my "look". I do not look like a "nice" fellow. I guess to some, I might look like a hooligan, or a greasy bastard. I bet it's the clerk's judgement call, and I probably deserve the treatments I get.
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Old 07-12-10, 04:17 PM   #12
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I have a messenger bag with a cross strap while I ride. I keep it on like when I ride. Anyone who would see me knows it would require a good couple minutes and a lot of noise for me to dismantle and open the bag. It closes with about 3 large velcro straps. If they would ask me to take it off, I would tell them that I have nowhere to put it and I trust their clerks as much as they trust me, which is not very much. You have the same argument against them holding onto it as they do for you holding onto it. They're afraid of us stealing from them, but if I take it off I'm worried about them stealing from us.

If they want to fight about it, they aren't worth my time. There is always more than 1 of any type of store.
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Old 07-12-10, 05:13 PM   #13
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If they insist then ask them for a claim ticket for loss liability. Highly unlikely most store will hand you one. Tell them you once lost your camera and notebook at a store because of careless handling of personal property. Then just walk on with your bag in the store.
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Old 07-12-10, 05:45 PM   #14
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if it happened to me, i'd ignore it and carry on....like was stated, if its that important to them, that they'd loose a customer over it, its their loss not mine.
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Old 07-12-10, 06:22 PM   #15
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Since moving out of the States this issue just drives me nuts. In most countries it's totally acceptable for a man to carry a bag around. Let's not mince words here, it's OK for guys to carry purses in most countries. I carry bag, I keep my phone, my wallet, work papers, books, and anything I might need during the day in my bag. It's a Timbuk2 messenger bag so it has the advantages of being pretty tough and also waterproof (we have a rainy season here). Anyways, it's crazy that guys can't carry a purse. When I came back to the States for Christmas last year I was actually asked to leave my bag at the counter of a gas station when I went in. I looked at the man like he was crazy and asked if he wanted my wife to leave her purse there too. He said "no". You know what the worst part is? HER PURSE IS A TIMBUK2 BAG LIKE THE ONE I WAS CARRYING!! Her's was a different size and style but it was visibly the same kind of bag! It's just darn sexism is what it is. America is nuts!

Do you have any idea how nice it is not to have to carry your phone and you wallet in your pocket? It's great! I've been living in a man-purse friendly country for two years now and I have to say that I love having un-laden pants. There needs to be a bag revolution in America. Stand up for your rights! REVOLUTION!!!
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Old 07-12-10, 06:36 PM   #16
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Uh, I'm sorry. I see no advantage in fishing around for my keys, wallet, and phone in a purse. In fact, I'm glad I've never forced anyone to ask two questions when one should have sufficed:

"Honey, where are the car keys?"

"In my purse."

"OK... And your purse is... where?"

Yeah, not the biggest problem in the world but I'm continually amazed how often my wife thinks that: "In my purse" will be enough for me to find whatever it is that's in there.

Anyway, if I have pockets, I'd much rather use those for small items rather than keep them in my mess bag unless it's pouring rain. Not helpful for the non-spandex crowd but bike jerseys are great for that stuff. There's a limited number of places I'll wear a bike jersey though.

Ironically one of the very few places that have actually asked me to leave my bag at the counter was my local bike co-op.

Last edited by tjspiel; 07-12-10 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 07-12-10, 06:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tarkin View Post
Since moving out of the States this issue just drives me nuts. In most countries it's totally acceptable for a man to carry a bag around. Let's not mince words here, it's OK for guys to carry purses in most countries. I carry bag, I keep my phone, my wallet, work papers, books, and anything I might need during the day in my bag. It's a Timbuk2 messenger bag so it has the advantages of being pretty tough and also waterproof (we have a rainy season here). Anyways, it's crazy that guys can't carry a purse. When I came back to the States for Christmas last year I was actually asked to leave my bag at the counter of a gas station when I went in. I looked at the man like he was crazy and asked if he wanted my wife to leave her purse there too. He said "no". You know what the worst part is? HER PURSE IS A TIMBUK2 BAG LIKE THE ONE I WAS CARRYING!! Her's was a different size and style but it was visibly the same kind of bag! It's just darn sexism is what it is. America is nuts!

Do you have any idea how nice it is not to have to carry your phone and you wallet in your pocket? It's great! I've been living in a man-purse friendly country for two years now and I have to say that I love having un-laden pants. There needs to be a bag revolution in America. Stand up for your rights! REVOLUTION!!!
Mad props on the Timbuk2 bag!

There was even a beer commercial here recently making fun of men and bags similar to a purse. It's a flipping joke! I have so much crap I ride with on a daily basis:

-wallet (timbuk2 travel wallet) - just too many cards to keep in a normal bifold/trifold wallet
-personal keys
-keys to the store i work at
-cell phone
-ipod
-extra shirt
-2 cable locks (sometimes 1 cable/1 u-lock)
-lighter
-smokes
-body spray/deodorant


Seriously... pockets? I would have to wear industrial cargo pants and I'd look like a potato. Not to mention I wear shorts almost year round. Pockets are a joke, not the bag. It's not fishing around if you have a place for everything. How is feeling around in a pocket with potentially 5 different things not at all a hassle?
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Old 07-12-10, 06:49 PM   #18
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If I'm commuting, I'll just wear the backpack into the store. If I'm doing a dedicated grocery/shopping run, backpack stays home and I use the Nashbar Townies.

Of course, while wearing the 'pack I'm using both straps- just like as if I was riding. Even my sling bag is worn with the cross strap engaged.
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Old 07-12-10, 07:56 PM   #19
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I wear my backpack into stores all the time. Never been asked to take it off. I've never had that problem...
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Old 07-12-10, 08:29 PM   #20
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Sounds like the usual profiling to me. For the same reason(s) cops will pull you over.
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Old 07-12-10, 08:35 PM   #21
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I never get asked to leave my pack. If they did, I'd politely tell them I'd rather not leave it. If the insisted I'd probably just leave. As long as they weren't pissy about it I'd still go back if I needed to.
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Old 07-12-10, 08:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Johnny Hive X View Post
Mad props on the Timbuk2 bag!

There was even a beer commercial here recently making fun of men and bags similar to a purse. It's a flipping joke! I have so much crap I ride with on a daily basis:

-wallet (timbuk2 travel wallet) - just too many cards to keep in a normal bifold/trifold wallet
-personal keys
-keys to the store i work at
-cell phone
-ipod
-extra shirt
-2 cable locks (sometimes 1 cable/1 u-lock)
-lighter
-smokes
-body spray/deodorant


Seriously... pockets? I would have to wear industrial cargo pants and I'd look like a potato. Not to mention I wear shorts almost year round. Pockets are a joke, not the bag. It's not fishing around if you have a place for everything. How is feeling around in a pocket with potentially 5 different things not at all a hassle?
Not everything goes into my pockets. Wallet, keys, phone, and change. Just stuff I need quick access to and like to keep with me. Most of the time not even keys. The office uses a key code and so does our house. I do need to a FOB to get into the office after hours, so that along with other keys I only occasionally use goes into the mess bag or panniers. My phone doubles as an iPod/camera.

Anyway, I have eight pockets on my shorts right now. Only two have anything in them at the moment. Typically, I'll have 3 pockets filled. Sometimes 4 if I'm carrying an actual camera. There's not much fumbling when I'm looking for something.

My point was that even though I have a messenger bag I don't use it like a purse. It's more like a combination laptop bag and suitcase for me. I carry a laptop, work materials, extra clothes and random stuff in it.
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Old 07-12-10, 09:01 PM   #23
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I've gone into numerous stores and other places wearing my assault pack, only problem is when I remove it to get a toy for my 8 month old.

Before that I had gotten a mesh backpack and only had it looked at when going to the movie theater.
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Old 07-12-10, 09:03 PM   #24
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I commute with a bag, but I guess I don't carry enough in it to have ever had a problem. I usually bring my wallet, keys, phone & a change of clothes. If I go into a store, everything except the clothes goes into my pockets. If I know I'm going to the store after work, I'll leave my change of clothes at work & pick it up the next day. I have 2 smaller packs (a Mountain Hardwear Scrambler & a golite ion) that will fold up very small. I then stuff them in my pocket or into my water bottle holder.

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Old 07-12-10, 09:21 PM   #25
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surely we could get a legal type to draft an intimidating "declaration of responsibility for contents" that we could whip out and ask the offending clerk to sign (verified by photo id) as I often carry proprietary documents on flash drives in the bag (yeah, right) as well as higher end audio and photo equipment. It only seems fair that the store chain assume legal responsibility if it demands physical custody...

but seriously, I've never had a problem saying, no thanks, I'd rather hang on to my stuff.
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