Thief, or just kinda dumb?

I was momentarily suspected today of theft by a woman working the cash at the corner store near my office. Upon reviewing the incident, I don't blame her.

What she saw:

A scruffy-looking, thirty-ish guy walks into the store. He wanders around the snacks. After lingering for an eerily long time around the chip aisle, he picks up a bag and heads to the cash register. There, he grabs a copy of Frank magazine and mumbles, "Hello."

He hands over the money. As the transaction ends, an older woman enters the store, creating a momentary distraction. The man takes his snack and magazine, then quickly snatches a Maritime Merchant (advertising paper) from a nearby stack and turns to dash out of the store.

"Sir!" she blurts out loudly. "You have to pay for that."

What really happened:

Yes, I'm a bit scruffy. I didn't shave today or yesterday. And I never learned to tuck in my shirt.

Despite the healthy lunch I packed this morning, I'm feeling a bit peckish. I walk into the store. I tell myself I'm going to find something decent to eat that isn't a bag of chips.

I walk past the chips, just to make sure they're there. Indeed, they are. I then walk toward the area where they sell small bags of peanuts and sunflower seeds. Arriving there, I realize I truly do want chips. I head back to the chips.

So many types of chips. Do I want potato or tortilla? Oh wait, there's a whole bunch more on the other side of the rack. I grab a bag of Doritos.

I walk to the cash. Just when I should be politely making eye contact, I see the stack of Frank magazines. It's a guilty pleasure. As I'm deciding whether to pick one up, I realize I haven't greeted the woman behind the cash. I awkwardly mumble, "Hello."

She rings in both the chips and magazine. As she does, I notice a stack of Maritime Merchants. The container they're kept in describes it as a "Free Classified." Great! I think to myself. Erin has wanted me to pick up one of those.

She hands me the change. An older woman enters the store. I take my merchandise. In the same swoop (thinking, "I'm minimizing movement by doing two things at once!"), I grab a Maritime Merchant. I turn around and make for the door.

"Sir!" blurts out the woman behind the cash. "You have to pay for that."

The awkward conclusion

Me: Oh, I -- (I realize what she thinks I've done) -- it says here "Free Classifieds."

Her: (looks at me like a dirty thief)

Me: Uh.. that must mean.. free to advertise. I thought... Ha ha. Oh. Ha! Oh god. (I put it back on the pile)

Her: (looks at me like a dirty thief)

1 comment:

Dead Robot said...

That's embarrassing. Next time, unabashedly run from the store yelling about cyclones and earthquakes and Kraft Dinner. I doubt they'd follow.