Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Accidental Shoplifter

I never knew it would be more difficult to right a wrong or try to explain to someone that I just wanted to pay for something I had forgotten to pay for. You see, I went to the grocery store and I got a cart even though I only needed a few things. I put the half gallon of milk in the bottom and the other things all ended up in the area where little people belong. When I unloaded onto the conveyor belt I totally didn't see the milk. 

Unloading at the car, my phone rang so I answered it. I loaded everything up in my car, returned the shopping cart all while chatting away without ever thinking about the milk I had just put in the vehicle. It wasn't until I was unloading at home that it struck me. I checked the receipt and low and behold I had just shoplifted a half a gallon of milk. 

Now the little inner rebel is like, "ha, ha, you got away with it!" The good girl side felt guilty. The realistic side said while it doesn't matter in the big picture, but every penny does add up. I didn't rush back to the store to fix it, but the next time I was there I went to the customer service desk. I showed them my receipt and asked to pay for the milk. Here is how the exchange unfolded:

"I don't understand? We didn't give you the milk you paid for?" the woman asks while holding the receipt that clearly doesn't have any milk on it.

"No, I accidentally didn't pay for the milk I have at home."


"So, I would like to pay for it."

"I would have to have the milk to scan it."

"Can I get another one from the cooler and you can scan that one?"

"I guess, but I don't understand the problem. If you already have the milk why do you want to pay for it?" My patience is wearing thin. 

"It's not that I WANT to pay for it per say, but I feel like I should pay for it." In the woman's defense, this might have been a bit more abstract than she was capable of.

"Fine, get the milk." I go back to the cooler, bring up a new half gallon of milk for her to ring it up. She scans the milk, I pay and then she proceeds to bag the new milk and hand it to me. "Here you go."

"You want me to put it back in the cooler?"

That's some good lighting for jail!
"No, you already paid for it take it home."

"I was paying for the milk I already have at home, not THIS milk."

"Look lady, I don't know what kind of scam you are running here, but you paid for this milk so you take THIS milk."

I relent. I did the very best I could. I did consider leaving the milk on the counter and running out the door. Can you imagine the look on her face? What would she have shouted? "Security! Stop, the girl paid for something she didn't take!?" At least now I can consider the milk a gift from the store rather than an act of civil disobedience.

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