27 Sep, 2011 @ 10:16
1 min read

My Zara nightmare on the Costa del Sol

EXCLUSIVE By Wendy Williams

IT is a shopping nightmare to put anyone off retail therapy for life.

Having had her bag stolen on a shopping trip to Marbella last month, expat Freya Rodgers, 27, was then accused of shoplifting and finally ordered to remove her car or have it towed away.

The restaurant owner, who lives in Lanjaron, had come down to La Canada shopping centre for a day out with her mother.

But while she was trying on some clothes in the changing rooms at Zara, a thief ran off with her bag.

“I immediately told the sales assistants, but they just shrugged their shoulders,” explained Rodgers, who owns restaurant Ambienza.

“They were so rude and unhelpful it was disgusting. I actually filled in an official complaint in the store.”

But then to make matters worse, the staff even had the audacity to imply she had stolen something herself.

“It was unbelievable. They did absolutely nothing to catch the thief but when I left they actually followed me out and asked to search my shopping bags,” added Rodgers.

“I wanted to kill someone.”

But sadly this wasn’t to be the end of the nightmare.

“I had literally everything in my bag including my car keys. But when I explained the situation to car park staff, they told me that if I didn’t move the car the police would take it away.

“In the end I had to pay a tow truck 200 euros to take it to a garage.”

So angry was Rodgers, who set up her restaurant with boyfriend Oran earlier this year, that she filed a complaint with Marbella town hall and Zara’s head office.

But a letter she received this week, said simply that they take no responsibility for what happens in the store.

When the Olive Press spoke to La Canada director Javier Moreno he admitted that incidents happen but insisted the figures were not alarming.

“We have 20 million people who pass through our doors each year, and in relation to the number of incidents it is not that high,” he explained.

“We have cameras in place but people need to be more vigilant with their belongings.”

James Bryce

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575


  1. Duh. sure, if it was my Zara shop, my staff would get spanked badly. Not for the theft but for behaviour. An arrogant client is still a client, it is all in the game. But somebody who has a business here as well, asking for the conplaints book because she does not look after her own posessions peoperly????? No wonder she shops at Zara. And still thinks the Costa del Sol is one big all in hotel. You live here, you have your own responsabilities as well. Look after your own bag is one.

  2. If you earn less than a grand a month, would you start playing heroes by chasing thiefs and risk a knifing? Of course not. Just fill out a denuncia and give it to your insurance broker. Job done.

  3. @me, have to admit you are right.

    I remember (selective memory) service with a smile …….

    Is it just my advancing age (+50-) and thus my perception, or are thing just plain not as “pleasant“ as they used to be ?

  4. @Boulder. That is exactly the all inclusive hotel mentality I mean! Poepke like you who expect that wiping their a*** is included in the price of cheap Zara sh*t, and get really upset to find out it is not.

  5. there you go Dirk, shop attendants like waiters, car park attendants etc etc get paid to be friendly and helpful unlike the police who get paid to fight delinquency


    lets try again in Dirks World

    shop attendants like waiters, car park attendants etc etc get paid to be unfriendly and unhelpful unlike the police who get paid to drink coffee be useless and write multas to any and all who are not friend and family while making sure to stay out of harms way awaiting early retirement due to overweight and paranoia symptoms resulting from acceptance of too much bakshish over the years and the remote possibility of getting caught …… must be nerve racking.

    Things are bad enough without conforming to stupidity.

  6. Precisely Ad. Why highlight this case? Handbags are stolen every day of the week in every country of the world, and the changing rooms of clothing stores are an easy target. One’s personal property is one’s own responsibility. I can’t understand how the shopper in question did not leave her handbag in her mother’s care, for example, while she was trying on clothes. It all sounds rather odd. Also, the shopper, despite having her bag with all its contents stolen, was able to pay for goods in Zara, and also pay the €200 to have the car taken away. I am supposing that her mother (who had taken care of her own handbag) had the money/card to pay for all this. Yes?


  7. ….. quite elementary my dear Patricia, it seems you make a good hound dog – putting all the forensic circumstantial evidence in its place …….. Freya R. alias Moriarty can’t fool a doodle poodle once it is on its trail.

  8. Ok Albondiga, say you are a working in a shop and earn 890,- Eur per month netto. You have two young kids and your wife is ama de casa. You are friendly to your customers, because you may get the 25 Eur bonus for the month. You suffer inane and stroppy tire kicking customers all day in silence. A fierce looking guy runs out of the shop with a bag. You may be looking at the chance of becoming a hero, saving a bag with some keys, 120 Eur in cash, some cancellable cards and a family picture. And you may get fatally stabbed in the process, earning the eternal gratitude of your family who’s left fending without you.
    Wake up, Albondiga.

  9. Dirk, why are you spinning such fantastic stories ?

    890Euros, 2 kids, alma de casa, getting fatally stabbed and your family who’s left fending without you……..

    Sounds a bit like a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the ergoline family is involved.

    I don’t think anybody suggested the shop attendant should be Clarke Kent alias Superman and stop or run after a potentially dangerous thief.

    BUT normal human behavior such as being understanding, maybe offer to call the police, pull up a chair, contact your supervisor, possibly a glass of water AND some calming and understanding words would have been adequate, wouldn’t you say ? Instead of a shoulder shrugging

    As to being a 890,- p M. earner > strange but in my experience the people that do their best (YES with a smile – comes with the territory in customer service, believe it or not) usually go places ……..

    Back to sleep with a smile – you stay awake and remember

    Be careful out there.

  10. Well said, Dirk. And in any case handbags are stolen from changing rooms (and in a busy store a lot of people are in and out of those changing rooms) in a manner least likely to draw attention. I don’t know about Zara, but I notice that most shops have a sign warning customers to look after their personal belongings, while stating that the shop has no liability in the matter. It is not the shop assistants’ job to baby-sit the customers.


  11. I happen to know the lady involved having her bag snatched, the olive press have not reported the incident as explained.the said lady was somewhat dismayed to read the article. why do people beleive reporters who have nothing better to do than sensationalise an everyday occurence in crime free spain. Judging from the comments made here it sounds like the bloody thief is the victim! maybe people should get a life, you’ve got one chance, enjoy it and don’t waste your time with pointless comments. by the way i do enjoy most of the olive press. yours, ray

  12. Albondiga, I suspect you are not Spanish. You certainly have no idea of the labour market as it is. Or what’s left of it. You can go around many restaurants or shops nowadays complaining about the service to people who are paid as above, and often three months late. Happy smile!

  13. @Anon & Dirk,

    How bizarre. When you go out to spend your hard earned money, assuming you earn anything, you don’t expect to get robbed whilst still in the shop. Anyone open to the public has a duty of care to the customers who are on their premises. There are cameras in that branch of Zara and in the shopping centre.

    Al Bondiga is right when he says
    “…BUT normal human behavior such as being understanding, maybe offer to call the police, pull up a chair, contact your supervisor, possibly a glass of water AND some calming and understanding words would have been adequate, wouldn’t you say ? Instead of a shoulder shrugging”.

    Anon and Dirk your posistion seems to be “I earn less than I think I’m worth therefore I needn’t be a decent person.” Perhaps you are the type of people who stoodby and did nothing while a girl was attacked in Benalmadenas’ Plaza SolyMar recently. Look out for just yourselves and you may just find yourself alone when you need help.

  14. Unfortunately, it is precisely within shops (and airports, and malls, and train stations) that thieving goes on. And it is unlikely that shops would put cameras trained on the cubicles of the women’s changing rooms!! And the thieves know that well too, and they know people will be distracted while trying on clothes. And it is all done with stealth. The thief does not charge through the shop waving the handbag aloft yelling “look what I stole”, to thereby make sure the cameras catch him or her on film! !
    Come on!!

    Handbags get lifted in restaurants
    frequently, usually when left hanging off the back of a chair, or on the floor. It is the customer’s responsibility to look after his or her belongings.

    I don’t think it is helpful to compare a handbag robbery in a shop to “standing by while someone is being attacked” in a public place.


  15. Well said Patricia. Someone here just compared a handbag with a person! Does it get any weirder? Take care of your handbags, man-bags, any personal belongings like the ones mentioned on all the signs in big stores where the same big stores do not take responsibility for them.

  16. So, if someone steals something from Zara, those cameras would be checked, but if customer is robbed while in Zara, nobody bothers with checking cameras? No wonder this girl is upset!

  17. I think I said it is unlikely (for obvious reasons!) that there would be cameras trained on the women’s changing rooms. The thief could easily saunter out of the changing room area, with a handbag (nothing unusual about a woman carrying a handbag!) and that is all the store cameras would show.

    I also note that the article does not state (oddly enough) whether this person reported the theft to the police – if for no other reason than to have a copy of the report for her insurance company. Also, she preferred to pay (allegedly) €200 to have her car towed away to a garage, instead of letting the car park attendant call the police to do so. A good opportunity to report the theft, too. Get a visual: the police arrive at the car park: “where are the keys of the car”. Answer: “they were stolen as they were in my bag which was stolen in Zara store”. Incident reported.
    And I doubt if the car would have been towed away.


  18. Spain has a very long way to go in terms of customer service, it is a word that is alien in the Spanish language and many toursists to this country comment on it, with regards the car incident, another example of “The rules” which seem to be totally inflexible , unless of course it applies to planning regulations, Mayors, town hall officials and large sums of cash !! Love Spain but the attitude towards customers , who after all keep peoplein jobs is Appalling

  19. WOW!! Any of the above commentors with UNoccupied time?
    Here’s an UNfortunately typical case of a bag snatching while unattended, plus a shop attendant who doesn’t want to be bothered reporting this to the “uniquely efficient” police forces in Marbella…. errhhhh, what’s news here?
    Until someone insures the laws are ENFORCED in Spain…
    Stop wasting your breath and ENJOY Spanish life as you can.
    If you NEED efficient/effective police action, with Court enforcement .. return to the UK. Or have you read….?

  20. All these posts about such a trivial, unimportant incident…
    So many immigrants with so much time on their hands?
    Get a life, work for a charity, go fishing…whatever…

  21. Only 2 weeks ago a friend of mine had his bag stolen in the changing rooms in Zara , Puerto Banus .
    Money , Phone , Passport etc …
    Hindsight is a wonderful thing but you cannot leave possessions out of your sight anymore …. these ‘low lifes’ do this for a living . Would love to catch one in the act !!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story


Next Story

Affordable art in the Axarquia

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press