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This is a question Shoplifting

When I was young and impressionable and on holiday in France, I followed some friends into a sweet shop and we each stole something. I was so mortified by this, I returned them.

My lack of French hampered this somewhat - they had no idea why the small English boy wanted to add some chews to the open box, and saw it as an attempt by a nasty foreigner oik to contaminate their stock. Not my best day.

What have you lifted?

(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 11:13)
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The crime of the century! (Not really)
Due to being raised by morally upright parents who instilled a sense of right and wrong into me at a young age, I have never felt the urge to shoplift. Even when my household is running low on loo paper and my flatmates and I can't afford to buy any nice paper, I won't take a roll from the loos in my serviced office block, we'll just make do with the stunningly cheap "9 rolls for 99p" stuff that the newsagents sells (which, unless you have a fetish for having your anus lacerated with splintery plywood, I wouldn't recommend).

However, when I was 6, I did something that has shamed me ever since. I stole a penny sweet from Sainsburys.

I'll set the scene:
It was a lovely sunny day in the Fens, and my dearest Mama cried: "Let us sally forth to Sainsburys to do the weekly shop! Children, because you have behaved so very well this week, you shall come with me!"
"Yaaaaaaaaaay" cried my Brother and I with great joy, fighting to be the first to get into the car.

We were wandering round the celestial haven that is the Chesterton branch of Sainsbury's in Cambridge, full of glee and delight. My Brother and I were excitedly pointing out rare and exotic foods, and showing off our recently-acquired reading skills to each other ("Ec-on-o-my ham!" "Ba-by-sha-m!"), when the time came for us to depart, and shuffle back to the drab hovel from which we came.

The aisle to the checkouts that we chose housed a collection of small, individually wrapped sweets that fascinated me. However, I wasn't such a good and favoured child that my Mother would buy me a mint humbug, chocolate eclair or string of strawberry bootlace, so she marched straight on, as we toddled behind disconsolately. My hand acted of its own accord, and shot out, grabbing one of those precious parcels of sugary goodness, bringing it into the confines of my pocket with ninja-like speed, unseen by anyone else.

My stomach was churning as we approached the checkout. Already I knew that what I had done was Bad and Wrong, and that if caught, I would be soundly thrashed. But I was surrounded by people now, it was too late to take the sweet out of my pocket, people would see me! But somehow, miraculously, we walked out of the store and to the car without attracting attention. The cries of "Halt! That child has a penny sweet that hasn't been paid for" never came. And then - sweet blessed Jesus! - we were driving home.

However, I was still unsure of what to do with my ill-gotten plunder. I could not eat it - my mother might smell the sweetness on my breath, and demand to know where I obtained it. Besides, I simply couldn't bring myself to eat something that was gained through theft. I could not leave it in my pocket - it would be found. The same was for leaving it in the car. In the end, I snuck it out of my pocket, and clasping it tightly in my fist as I leant forward, pretending to tie up my shoelace. A shifty glance revealed that my brother was watching the horizon, and my Mother's attention was on the road. Gently, to avoid the tell-tale crackly sound of the cellophane rustling, I pushed the loot into my shoe. I walked around with it in my shoe for another 2 hours, before going into the garden to play. I went to the compost heap, which was out of sight of the house, and with my bare hands dug a deep hole in it, pushed the sweet in, and quickly filled the hole in again.

I was safe. Only the acidic stain of guilt on my soul remained. I was never to steal again.

*Epilogue* I confessed this all to my mother about a year ago - she was horrified, and demanded that I go back to Sainsburys and apologise, and give them a penny. Seriously.

Apologies for length, but it's the only thing I've ever stolen, and I felt I had to compensate somehow.
(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 14:19, closed)
was strangely warm and fuzzy. No idea why.

(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 14:29, closed)
Did you go back and apologise?
(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 14:34, closed)
Ah, the quiet existential dread of the child thief...
It's up there with Raskolnikov's breakdown in Crime and Punishment.

(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 14:35, closed)
Did I apologise?
No. I feel that I've told the cashier to keep the change enough times (and been overcharged a couple of times) that they've made that penny back off me, plus interest.

But I still shop there rather than Tesco's every chance I get, to make it up to them.
(, Thu 10 Jan 2008, 14:43, closed)
My Mum recently, and kind of genuinely, called me a 'naughty little boy' when I confessed about something I did when I was about 8. She used EXACTLY the tone of voice that could chill the blood of a child... and it still did a bit.

I'm 42.
(, Sat 12 Jan 2008, 20:24, closed)
My mum once deliberately didn't pay for a packet of sweets that my 2-year-old brother pinched from Tescos cos she was so pissed off with them for putting sweets next to bored children at the checkout. He was eating them as she paid for the shopping and the checkout girl didn't even raise an eyebrow.
(, Sun 13 Jan 2008, 23:27, closed)

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