By Marian Addison
“I can’t today; I have so much reading to do it’s not even funny. Next time though, for sure.” That was me lying. I have a more pressing agenda than feigning a friendship with an ex-coworker I hate. No, instead, today I am going shopping. I am a shoplifter, never prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Anyone can shoplift. The reason people get caught is that no one knows the rules. Don’t get greedy. If nothing else, it’s just not cute. I hung up my phone and put it in my bag, familiarizing my arms with the swift movement much of my success can be attributed to. Personally, I see no point in even carrying a bag if you can’t put mountains of stuff in there with extra room. The second rule is thieves can’t be picky. Yes, pick what you want to take, but you don’t always get everything in its best condition. I go by this idea: if you want it enough to destroy it, you’ll never be disappointed.
Since shoplifting is a crime, one needs to be very careful. Everyone in the store turns into a zombie-monster if they find out what you are doing. I am visiting a store that I come to very often. Most of the employees who work there know my face because I am a frequent customer. So the third rule is pay attention. Who’s around you, where are cameras and blind spots, who patrols, who recognizes you, when did you last visit, items bought? These are some of the preliminary questions one asks oneself when walking in the store. The most important question when you are familiar is: is anyone following you?
And the last rule: act like a customer. That’s all you are to the employees. When you see someone in public acting nervous or sketchy, what do you think? No different in a store. I turn down the aisle of my first pick-up location; I smile to a small blond lady. She’s helped me find so many things, what a nice lady. I pick up a few things; one has a cardboard wrapper and therefore if discovered in bag will be suspect; two have none. I sleeve the two sans wrappers, discreetly using my hands to slide them up my sleeve while carrying them around, weaving up and down the small area grabbing another cardboard contained thing. I’m done in the make-up section so I go to my first blind spot, around the other side of the nail wall amongst cards and cleaning supplies. Do a quick check for sensors.
I rip the one I found off and throw it between the wall and the display, and then everything goes in the bag including the things in my sleeves. I peruse the jewelry section finding a couple of pieces I like, sleeving them as well. On the way to my second blindspot I see the manager, this old guy getting grayer, balder, and more and more bitter with age. I give a polite nod and a smile of encouragement to let him know that one day I will leave this town and my plague of shoplifting terror will haunt him no more. I reach right behind the men’s jackets, my second blindspot, and relieve my sleeves into my bag. Upon shouldering it I feel the weight gained and it’s time to leave.
A quick loop around the store to the soup aisle for appearances, I pick up a can of soup for the day and proceed to check out. I make friendly chatter with the cute checkout guy, and walk the last hallway walk. Grocery bag with soup and purse full of good things, I start my exit. Once past my point of no return (the seasonal display) my walk turns to a strut and my heart races. “What if I forgot to check something? What if…?”
As I pass through the sensor gateway into the free world, I don’t breathe, imagining for a second the loud clanging of the thief alarm calling all dogs, the previously friendly employees drooling out of their brain-hungry zombie mouths chasing after me, running as fast as I can but just not fast enough. They catch me and drag me down into the depths of department store Hell eleven stories beneath the ground, where I am doomed to rot for all eternity waiting to be eaten when the zombies get hungry, only to regrow my brain overnight in a gruesome Prometheus fashion.
The absence of alarms when I walk through the doors is deafening. I smile as I think about the manager and all the people I’m pissing off. I slow my pace and breathe fresh air. A dramatic ending is necessary for some, but the best end to my everyday dose of excitement is calm silence when absolutely nothing happens.