There’s been this one really annoyingly obtrusive thought running through my mind so much lately while going around doing my shopping. Specifically when I’m in a retail store, like Bed Bath and Beyond for example, and it especially happens when I’m pushing Lachlan in the stroller. I feel this unbearably strong feeling that an employee is going to think I’m planning to steal something. I don’t know if it’s because I am pushing a stroller with a basket underneath where I could easily stash merchandise to steal. I don’t know if it’s because it’s winter and I’m wearing a big jacket where I could easy stash merchandise to steal. I don’t know if it’s because Lachlan’s “baby bag” is a backpack where I could easily stash merchandise to steal. But it drives me absolutely fucking nuts! I feel shame like I’m a thief and yet I’ve never stolen a thing in my life and I don’t have any intentions to do so.
For instance, here I am, going into Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday to look at flatware and glassware. Because for some reason, we run out of forks every 2 days, it’s insane. And I brought Lachlan in his stroller because it’s just easier than carrying him in our slippery winter jackets and hope there’s a working seat belt in a cart seat that’s big enough for him. Plus, his stroller, though it’s fucking ginormous, glides like a dream and I can strap him in, give him snacks on the little germ-free table, basically carrying all our shit. It’s great.
Anyway, I walk in wearing my winter jacket, backpack, and pushing a very suspect looking stroller and head to where I wanna go. But the entire time I feel like I’m being watched in anticipation of stealing something. But wait! Oh I just got a text, I better reach in my pocket for my phone to see who it is. But wait! It might look like I’m trying to steal something small if I put my hand in my pocket! I better produce my cell phone in a very slow and grand gesture of pulling it out of my pocket and doing so in an open, brightly lit aisle or someone watching on the security cameras is going to come out and ask to check my pockets, or bag, or stroller basket, or my kid’s big jacket or blanket draped over his shoeless feet (because he can’t walk, why bother with shoes) and t-shirt material thin pants.
Of course, I didn’t find the flatware I wanted. The one I wanted was apparently available online only, but I find a new drip dry mat for wet dishes and a larger mat to set wet boots on by the door. I head to the register because, look! I’m an honest non-thieflike person. I pay for my things. I produce my 20% off coupon from my backpack which is a fucking joke because it only saved me $2. And the cashier looks on at Lachlan and starts talking sweetly to him asking silly questions, never once subtly implying she thought I stole something. I tell her, ‘receipt in the bag’ and she hands it to me and I place it in the basket underneath making sure to do so slowly so she can see there is no merchandise hiding inside it and head on our way…..to Michael’s which is just a few doors down and Lachlan is being good.
And then in Michael’s, the feeling is even worse! Why? Because there’s so many more small things in here that I could throw in the stroller. I didn’t grab a basket because I was only intending to look. HA! I started looking at stamps and string to dress up my packaging for the crocheted things I wish to sell in Wooldebeest. So I’m juggling about 4 small items because I don’t dare put them in the stroller’s cup holder because that could be portrayed as stealing. But it’s fine, I’ll risk looking like an idiot dropping things than risk looking like a thief.
I head to the register because, look! I’m an honest non-thieflike person. I pay for my things. I produce my 40% off one non-sale item coupon from my cell phone that’s in my pocket, which isn’t a fucking joke because it saved me over $3. And the cashier looks on at Lachlan and starts talking sweetly to him asking silly questions, never once subtly implying she thought I stole something. I tell her ‘receipt in the bag’ and she hands it to me and I place it in the basket underneath, making sure to do so slowly so she can see there is no merchandise hiding inside it on the Bed Bath and Beyond bag already residing there and head on our way home.
So there it is. I’m afraid of looking like a thief. I have a guilty conscience for absolutely no reason and it makes me therefore probably look guilty.