Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Accidental Shoplifters

Last week, I ran to a certain department store to return a couple of items. While I was there sans children, I thought I'd take a gander at their jewelry department and look at the necklaces. I put my giant purse on the floor between my feet and began to rifle through the accessories.

Now, on the regularly-priced hooks, the necklaces were all neatly displayed, about four or five to a metal prong, but in the clearance area, the necklaces were shoved about twenty to a prong. Every time I touched a necklace two others fell onto the floor. I kept bending over, picking them up, and putting them back.

Eventually, I went up to the register and paid for my new purchases and then skedaddled home. A few days passed. For some reason, I needed something from my purse and dug my hand clear to the bottom in an effort to find it. I felt something strange, unfamiliar.

I pulled the foreign object out of my purse and low and behold, it was a necklace with a clearance sticker on it from that store I had visited a few days previously. I had inadvertently stolen a piece of jewelry! (And a hideous one at that! It was a giant hot pink circle medallion on a long gold chain.)

I had a little chuckle and made a mental note to take it back to the store. Lucky for me, my dear friend Tracy frequents said store and mentioned that she was headed there. I suckered her into taking the necklace back for me. She was a great sport about it and only requested that if I got a phone call from her from jail, that I post her bail. I mean, that is only fair since I am the one that stole the necklace in the first place.

Now, that is a cute little story, isn't it? Oh, how funny. Mendy stole a necklace by accident. Then, she gave it back. No harm, no foul. Right? I mean, it was totally innocent. Who couldn't see that?

Well, dear friend and devoted reader, I have another tale to tell. This one is not my own. It's my sister-in-law's. I'll try to tell it as briefly as possible.

Upon returning to the USA after living abroad for 6 months, my sister-in-law needed to go to the grocery store to restock her house with essentials. She was jet-lagged from her journey halfway around the world, but bellies were a growlin' at her house, so she set out to do some major shopping.

She felt herself dragging down the aisles at the neighborhood grocery store where she's shopped for the past ten years. Her eyes saw a Red Bull. She pulled it off the shelf, popped the top, and began to drink while she shopped. (Who among us hasn't done something similar?) She piled her groceries high and eventually checked out, paying the cashier $400 in cash for all that she had purchased.

While walking to her car, she was stopped by a policeman and asked, "Excuse me, but do you have a receipt for those groceries?"

"Absolutely," she replied as she handed him her long receipt.

"Did you, by chance, pay for a Red Bull?" he queried.

Suddenly, it hit her. Her Red Bull. She didn't remember paying for it. But it wasn't in her hand anymore. "No. I don't think I did. I'll pay for it now. I don't know what happened to it."

Basically, she had set it down somewhere in the store while she was shopping and had forgotten all about it. She was denied the option of paying the $1.67 on the spot and issued a citation for shoplifting right then and there.

Since, she has gone to court where a judge accused her of thinking that she is above the law because she actually had the ability to pay for what she stole. She has been fingerprinted. She got her mug-shot taken and was bodily searched for her mistake.

And it's not over. She has to go back to court again to try to plead her case to a different judge. Is this not crazy? Yes, she stole a drink, but she didn't realize it. When she did realize it, she tried to pay for it, but the store wouldn't let her. It was just an honest mistake.

Like the one I made last week at that department store. Only, I got lucky and didn't get caught. (And it's no accident I'm not typing the name of that store. I don't need any charges filed against me!)


Anonymous said...

What a family we have. I am so glad you did not get caught. I'm using this experience to teach my kids a lesson. They already refer to the time mom had to go to jail cuz she was a theif!

Rachelle said...

I can't believe the Red Bull story. who hasn't made that mistake. And frankly I have watched real shoplifters at work and they clearly mean to do it.

Ruth said...

Oh my goodness! That is a crazy and horrible story. I can't believe they would take it so far. How terrible.

Kellie said...

Holy Cow. That is ridiculous. I hope your SIL's story has an eventual happy ending. And next time, try to steal something that would actually go with your wardrobe!

Christie said...

Crazy crazy story, the red bull one is nuts. Who hasn't had that kind of thing happen. Why just yesterday i headed out of childrens place with a head band on Katies head. Luckily I noticed as we crossed the threshold of the store and ran it back in, but I have ended up with TP on the bottom of my cart that a cashier didn't see and a bottle of Sanitizer under a toddlers bum. All made "right" in the end, but still, same as the red bull and jewlery, totally an accident

Cami said...

That is a HORRIBLE story about the Red Bull! Yikes.

Um, but for the jewelry--I have done the EXACT same thing! Only, I bought the necklace, and accidentally got the exact same one in my purse somehow. So it took me a long time to realize I had two. Very strange.

Margaret said...

Yeah.. You don't want to get me started on the new american system of justice that makes 1/100 americans felons.

supersonicjan said...

Craziness! I always thought if your kid stole something, the lesson came by making them go back and pay for what they stole. Hm.

Dawn Bader said...

Gotta love our justice system. The Red Bull thing happens to people all the time... your SIL gets treated like a major criminal and yet, murderers (not mentioning any names) get off scott-free. Yup... that's real justice.

Jenni said...

Holy Moly! I can't believe that - your poor sister in law! We all do stuff like that accidentally, how horrible that they wouldn't believe her!

Beckie said...

Oh goodness. I am so sorry for your SIL. I hope it gets better.

Amber said...

I hate what happened to our poor sister-in-law. It's more a story of a rent-a-cop heady with power than one of shoplifting, if you ask me!!

Glad to know you came clean on your own theft!

laura said...

Wow, who knew it was so easy. And who knew I married into such a crime ring. Never a dull moment.

Deb said...

i still can't believe that story about your sis-in-law. that is absolutely crazy. but evidently, light-fingeredness runs in the family. :)

Joni said...

Ok, what grocery store basically arrested your family member for not paying for her Red Bull? I am seriously going to boycott. That is totally ridiculous. I know what it's like to go shopping right after a long plane ride -- you are exhausted, life feels weird, and if you make an honest mistake, well, that's life! No mugshot required.

Seriously, we need to start a facebook complaint group or something.

Mendy said...

Joni, good point. Why didn't I mention them? It was Allen's in Springville, UT.

Anonymous said...

I totally believe it! After the warrant for my arrest, I don't put anything past the law! That's too bad the store took it to that extent, and if I were her I wouldn't set foot in it again!!! Freaking Red Bull...geesh!

Sommer said...

I am appalled! That is ridiculous they would take it that far!

The Jensen Family said...

WOW!!! That is crazy!!! I hope everything works out for the best for your friend.

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There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill