Shoplifting Mom Tells All

It’s rule number eight.  Don’t steal.  Seriously, look it up.  Among the revelations that come with being a mom, I never thought I’d be breaking rule number eight of the Ten Commandments, or that I’d be claiming that my kids made me do it.  And it’s happened more than once.  Holy cow.

            I find myself in the Target parking lot after an hour of combo cardio shopping and squats from picking up items that the baby has chucked from the cart, bags already loaded back into the car, when I pick up the toddler to find hidden underneath her, items that we took from the store without paying for.  (Queue the stunned look and pregnant pause.)  Obviously the exit gate shoplifting scanner thingies didn’t beep when we passed through, so I’m ok, right?  The cashier didn’t notice, so I’m ok, right?  I just saw the 20/20 show about how major retailers actually plan for a certain amount of “shrinkage,” so I’m ok, right? 

            No.  I have to load the baby and the toddler back in the cart, trudge back into the store, and own up for these items totalling $6.39 before I can lay my head to a pillow tonight.

            The next week, we just make it through the Wal-Mart checkout line when I notice the open box of graham cracker bears that the baby has almost devoured.  When I try to own up, the checker says to me, “I thought they were yours.”  Yes, they are since possession is 9/10th of the law and my daughter clearly possesses 9/10 of them by now, but I haven’t yet paid for them.  The checker wants me to get lost rather than mess up the rhythm of her line, but I hang tough and cash out anyway.

            It’s the cupcakes that do me in.  While sitting in a local bakery where the owner knows me, I coerce the counter kid to hand over two beautifully decorated carrot cupcakes to busy the kids while I am making my cake selection.  When all is said and done, I scoop up the kiddies and race back to the car to crank the air conditioning.  Once the car is cooled, nothing on earth could convince me to turn around and pay for the tasties that we innocently just stole, so I have to phone the shop and ask them to add the cupcakes to my tab.  I can’t do this anonymously.  They know me there.  How embarrassing.

            I’ve been mulling over the moral of the story for a few weeks now, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.  Even organized people can overlook things?  Children learn more by watching than through words?  Kids make you do things you never imagined?  Stuff happens?  Lighten up a little?  Yes, all of the above.  I know I’m not the first mom to do this (repeatedly), but I hope that I’m modeling doing the right thing when nobody is looking, which is the definition of integrity.  But it sure would help to hear if you have your own mommy shoplifting story to share.

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