Date: October 24, 2006 (Happy birthday, Cash!)
Time: 11:55 p.m.
Place: Super Wal-Mart
What: Behaving like a shifty shoplifter
Actually, this isn't an isolated incident. It seems like every time I go to Wal-Mart at night, they think I'm a shoplifter. Almost without fail, I am asked for my receipt at the door so they can check the items I'm carrying out or else have my credit card signature carefully scrutinized while cross-referencing my driver's license. Now, don't think that I am unappreciative of those Wal-Mart employees who are doing their duty to catch those who may be stealing credit cards, but I have never seen other people treated in this manner, so it's weird. Or maybe I just don't notice, but I seriously have NEVER seen anyone get stopped for receipt-checking at the door.
I have decided to make a list of activities that may cause me to appear as if I am going to steal. Then maybe I'll pinpoint my problem(s).
My Chosen Hour: So, I guess I'm going at the wrong time. It's late at night, and I should mention that there are a lot of ...um... interesting people at Wal-Mart at that time. Sometimes they're sleeping in the parking lot in their respective vehicles, etc.
Or, maybe the night shift employees are just bored and want to check my bag because they have nothing else to do. And maybe that's why the checker comes out from behind her station to have a look at the bottom of my cart to make sure I'm not forgetting to pay for an item that I've placed there.
Appearance: Since it's the end of the day and really late at night, I typically am not in my best form. My hair is typically unbrushed or up in a ponytail. My makeup has deteriorated. A lot of times I have just finished exercising. For example, the most recent time I went shopping I had just been "Pump It Up Exceed" -ing. You know, dancing. Sure, I was wearing some nice slacks, but my hair was looking wild, and I had been sweating profusely. But, I thought I was doing a good job of pretending to look nice by throwing on a leather jacket and some nice shoes. Maybe I was wrong? Maybe I have a 'shifty look' about me. Maybe that's why people always voted for me as the killer when we played Mafia during Sunday School when I was a teen.
I've also wondered if I look shifty just because I'm a young-ish person by myself. Maybe I am being not racially-, but age-ly-profiled. If I were older, maybe they wouldn't think I am a shoplifter. Or maybe if I had a child or an older person with me, maybe I wouldn't seem so shifty.
Purchases: Perhaps I seem like I'm trying to get away with something because I purchase in bulk. Sometimes it's not actually in bulk, but maybe I'm restocking my entire bathroom with all needed supplies. I don't like to go to Wal-Mart very often, and I like to have extra of everything on hand, so I typically purchase a lot of stuff at the same time. My most recent purchase featured 20-something rolls of toilet paper because, really, why buy only a few at a time?
I should mention, though, that sometimes I've got a really random item in my cart. So, for example, let's say I have some soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and ...a camping chair. Is that weird? The last time I went I had tons of toilet paper, a wide variety of hair products, multiple boxes of things 'n' stuff, and a TV and VCR. First off, who buys a VCR? Why would anyone want a VCR? Well, I wanted one. So there. But, maybe the checker was thinking, "Surely anyone who actually wants a VCR is a shoplifter!" Wrong!
My "No Bag" Policy: If I can easily carry my purchases out of the store without the use of a plastic bag, I like to do so. Why? Because we have an entire drawer-full of plastic bags at home. Also, I am a big fan of the principle of "Reduce" when it comes to the consumption of non-edible items. (If they're edible and tasty, I say, "Mmmmm, more! More!") The "No Bag" Policy typically warrants the careful scrutinization of my receipt and the items that I'm carrying. One time I was even chased out the door by the greeter. What a greeting!
I Am Slow: One reason I like to go to Wal-Mart late at night is because the store isn't as crowded. The lack of crowd drastically reduces my need to say "hi" to a hundred people I know in the store. It also typically prevents a mini high school reunion (and believe me, I like to avoid those as much as possible). Another reason I prefer night shopping is that I can park my cart in an aisle and sit there and stare at all of the choices. I can go back and forth comparing brands, products, and labels so that I can make the purchase I want to make, without feeling like I'm in anyone's way. Also, sometimes I'm not actually looking to buy an item, I'm just browsing for knowledge of the product if I am contemplating its purchase in the near or far future.
So, now that I've detailed what, in my opinion, are the tell tale signs of shoplifting, which I exhibit, I think I've figured out what I should change: