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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Price is Right, or is it Wrong?

Kristen talked about a topic that has provided some interesting answers from people who spilled their own guts stories, and Nicole posted hers as well. Wheew!

I am guilty. I join the masses.

What am I guilty of? Oh, the shame.
You little thief! I'm talking about stealing.

Not in terms of grand theft auto, TVs, banks, embezzlement, con artists, or jewels. You know, the time-spent-in-prison type of stealing.

More like, oh my goodness! How did I walk out of the store with that? Oops, the cashier and I both overlooked the bottled water under my cart. I'm so embarrassed, that toy I let my child play with in the store, made it outside with us.

Do you go back in the store and explain what happened, then pay for it? Were you already at home, and it was too much trouble to go back? Does it depend on what the item was?

Since I don't have children yet, and have not walked out of the grocery store with unpaid bottled water under my cart, I'll have to tell a story or two from my own experiences.

I recall a time, many years ago, when my mom and I were visiting my dad on a business trip out of town. We went into a store similar to Big Lots. Maybe it was Big Lots, I don't remember. We were browsing the aisles, looking at the random junk they had. I was old enough to know that stealing was wrong, and I still don't think I was trying to do it.

I picked up part of a broken cat toy, a rubber ball, and was playing with it in the store. In fact, I had not taken it out of it's packaging, it was already loose on the floor. I recall how bored I was, so playing with it helped a little. By the time we finished in the store, I had forgotten about the ball. It was about the size of one of those super bouncy balls that use to cost 25¢ from a "gum ball machine", but only like 1¢ to actually make. Honestly, I wasn't thinking about it when I walked out of the store with it in my hand.

My mom saw I had taken the ball, when she noticed me playing with it in the car. Then the lecture and scolding began.

Oh. my. goodness.

I cried, and tried to explain that I didn't mean to take it. Essentially, I had forgotten that I was holding onto it when we left. She continued to tell me that I stole it. Now why would I do that?

That's when I got mad. I know, I know. She was just trying to instill in me that stealing was wrong. I already knew that. She just couldn't, or wouldn't believe that I took it absentmindedly.

Okay, she was probably thinking, oO( How could my child take something? We've never had this problem, and we've talked about how stealing is wrong. )

Now at this point in life, I know that no matter how I ended up taking the ball, she wanted to scare me, and make me understand without a doubt that stealing was wrong.

My mom turned the car around and went back to the store. Then she made me walk back inside, tell them what happened, and return the ball. I did. I walked back in, all nervous and scared. The person I talked to looked at me kind of funny, because they didn't know where the ball came from. Then I think they realized it was part of a broken cat toy. They thanked me and that was it. I bet they threw that silly ball away too. Ha!

All in all, it was a good lesson learned. I think that was the main point.

I learned my lesson and I'm glad. I still think my mom could have handled it a bit differently, but that was then and this is now. I'm not worse off because of it. She didn't ruin me. I'm not scarred for life.

When J and I have our own children, we can teach them about things the way we choose. Maybe we'll do something similar.

My other story involves a "mega mart" we all know and love. J and I were buying a bunch of items. There were paint supplies, brushes, drop cloths, latex gloves, primer, paint, and some 5 gallon buckets with lids.

Here's the thing. Oddly enough, the lids and buckets were priced individually. I'm not quite sure why, since the buckets should have come with the lids included. Don't you think? Why would you buy a lid on it's own? For a really big Frisbee? Anyway, we checked out and paid the cashier and then went home. We later realized that the cashier did not charge us for the two lids. They were maybe 75¢ a piece. I could be mistaken on the price, but you get the idea. The cashier didn't realize that the lids were priced individually, and included them with the buckets. We didn't see her make the mistake, so we weren't able to correct it.

Should we have gone back just for two lids with a grand total of $1.50? Maybe if we noticed it in the parking lot, sure. However, after we had driven home, it probably would have cost more in gas to make another trip. The good thing? This hasn't happened again.

That brings me to another issue, I can't stand when cashiers/baggers start on another customer before the first one takes their groceries and leaves. One time I paid for my groceries, and two bags were accidentally taken by the previous customer. Granted she took forever to write her check, put her receipt away, grab all her bags (plus a couple of mine) and then leave. Pfft!

I realized one of the bags was gone, because I was looking for my produce. Thankfully I was allowed to go back and replace what had been taken, but I didn't notice the two containers of half and half from the second bag. Sigh.

So, is stealing okay? No. How will I handle the issue with my children? We'll know that when the time comes.

What are your thoughts? Any stories? What did you accidentally bring home?

2 thoughtful comments:

Shauna said...

Nice post. You'll be fine when you have kids - the fact that you think about such things so much is a good sign.

I left the store once with a toy without paying for it. Nicholas was the one to point it out to me. I thought he had handed it to the cashier (I was more focused on getting him to a bathroom before we left the mall that I didn't realize the total was so small). So we went back to the store and paid for it.

glee said...

I have such a conscience that I HAVE to return to the store. I've had clerks look at me in disbelief when I returned something that was worthless.

Your grandfather did something when your uncle picked up a ring from a department store and said that he thought it was just a nice ring that he found. I really believe he thought that was true. My dad later saw the ring and got the story out of him. They went to the store where my dad bought the ring and a my brother had to wear the ring on a chain around his neck until he had paid off the entire thing. It took a very long time. He never picked anything up off the floor in a store again! This father, remember, is your mother's dad, so now you may understand how she was raised.

You and J are quite strict with your Kira. You'll have to be careful to not be too strict with your children. I work in a school office and see kids who have gotten in trouble and how their parents react. One little boy got suspended for a day and his parents took him to an amusement park! There are others whose parents, we know, will treat them very roughly, so many issues are simply dealt with at school instead of sending the child home. It seems like many parents take their parenting cues from the kids or from their peers.

Parenthood is tough.

You are one of the toughest people (meaning most resilient and resourceful) I know. You'll do fine.

Love you!

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