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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

{Accidental} Five Finger Discount

Have you ever been out and become distracted (by kids, a wandering mind, or just your surroundings) and ended up accidently breaking the law? You know, like driving along and suddenly noticing you’re going 20 over the speed limit? Or following the car behind you, not realizing that you just ran a red light? I think everyone has done something like that at least once in their lives. But what about something a bit more serious. Like shoplifting. Not intentional shoplifting, more like… shoplifting by distraction. Yup, I’ve done it. More than once, actually. I have left a store with something in (or under) my cart and not paid for it. The big question is, What did I do about it? Did I: a) Go back to explain the mistake and pay for the item? Or b) Just let it go, not wanting to explain or bother? Well, the answer is B. Go ahead and judge.

The times that this has happened to me were very innocent mistakes. On more than one occasion, I have forgotten about a case of Pepsi on the tray underneath my shopping cart. I was already at the car when I realized it, with two kids and a cart full of groceries. I did feel a bit badly about it, but not bad enough to actually trek back into the store and pay for it! Another time at Wal-Mart, Hubby and I chose a new clock and put it on that bottom rack of the cart. Oops. Another forgotten item. We didn’t realize until we got to the car. It was busy, we had tired and cranky kids. It just didn’t seem worth my time to go back, although I know it is the Right Thing to Do. Does that make me a bad person? Honestly, I don’t really think so.

I am an honest person. If I was walking down the street and saw someone drop money or their wallet, I certainly wouldn’t keep it. I would flag them down and give it back to them. If a cashier handed me back the wrong amount of change, I would point it out. Even if I noticed the Pepsi under my cart before I left the store, I would go back and pay for it. I don’t mean to steal, but it happens sometimes.

Has this ever happened to you?
If so, have you gone back to pay for it or did you just keep it?
Do you think I’m a horrible person?
(Please tell me I’m not the only one who has done this!)


  1. Oh yes, it has happened to me. And I'll tell you, if I have both boys strapped in the car before I notice I'm not likely to go back. Though, admittedly it's always at the grocery store and usually not an expensive item. But still. I've done it. Mea culpa.

  2. It sure has happened to me and depending on the situation (how far I'm parked and whether its -25 or not) I have gone back in to return the item - I couldn't be bothered to go back to the end of the line and wait another 15 mins for that single item.

  3. Yes, I have done this. And my conscious is such that I've either gone back that day or gone back the next to pay for the item. Even if it was something like a can of soup.

    No, I do not think you are a horrible person. : )

  4. I don't know if I accidentally left with things. Hmmmm... But, I have done the opposite, leaving things I paid for. I hate going back.

  5. Oh, I love a good confessional. :) I've come very, very close to walking/rolling out of the store with items unpaid for. I don't think I've done it, but I do think I'd have a hard time mustering up much guilt when it comes to Wal-Mart - other than the guilt I've often felt for shopping there! :)

  6. I don't think you're horrible either. But I'm another Amber. Chalk it up to my upbringing, and the fact that it would eat at me if I didn't go back.

    More often?

    I've paid for something that hasn't been loaded into the car. And then it's 50-50 whether or not I go back.

  7. A big thing of toilet paper was on the bottom of the cart and I didn't realize until I had loaded the kids and shopping back in the stroller. So I totally didn't go back! It wouldn't be worth it to me or the store to do it. :-)

  8. I think stores expect things like this to happen from time to time, especially big ones like Walmart!

    The only time I ever intentionally shop lifted was when I stole a pack of juicy fruit gum as a child. I hid it in my room, until my dad found gum wrappers all over the floor and questioned where I got them. I think I lied :P

    Now here's a question, has anyone made their kids go back and apologize for stealing something from a store?

  9. I've both taken things without paying for them and left things I did pay for. I think it evens out.

  10. Stuff under the cart always gets me. Usually cat litter. And I never go back inside either. I figure I'm saving the store money by getting my cranky kids out of there before they drive away other customers!