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A Close Encounter With Accidental Theft

By October 22, 2010 November 20th, 2011 Humor, Personal Stories

On one particular work day, I decided to go shopping for some groceries with a coworker. It is something we actually do fairly regularly, as we work in the heart of downtown Montreal, where stores are abundant and easily accessible. After visiting a mainstream grocery store, we decided to visit an organic produce shop. Not a random one, mind you – as my mother just-so-happens to work there during the day. Given that the store is so close to where I work, I have a tendency to drop by fairly often. As such, I know the owners and other employees to a degree, and we get along pretty well. They even started giving me a 15% discount on everything I buy, which is essentially the same rebate my mother gets.

Organic grocery store

Photo by Steve Loya

They’ve always had problems with theft, especially since stores started selling re-usable grocery bags. To counter theft, they have cameras installed throughout the store, and they also ask that customers leave their bags at the front desk when they come in. Usually, when I visit, I don’t bother taking off my backpack. I don’t like having to worry about my belongings, and, naturally, I know I would never steal. It seems they agree with the latter, as they never asked me to leave my bag with them.

So, as I walked into the store on this particular day, I was carrying a re-usable grocery bag, one filled with groceries from another store. Without really thinking about it, I walked in as I usually did, and walked towards the refrigerators, seeking a particular product: Slow Cow. Slow Cow is pretty much the opposite of Red Bull, both in function and in name. It is a product that will help you relax, rather than help you stay active.

Slow Cow

Photo by Francis Bourgouin

So, once I saw the can, I took it off the shelf, and dropped it into my bag. It took about three seconds for me to realize what I had done. I placed the drink in my bag, amongst other products from another store. It could certainly be interpreted as an attempt at theft. Upon realizing this, I immediately retrieved the can from my bag, and at that precise moment, the owner turned the corner, and greeted me. While still holding the can, I greeted him with enthusiasm, all the while thinking how bad the situation must look. I’m still holding the can, and he appeared at a perfect moment to see me remove it from my bag. It took most of my mental strength to suppress the smile that was forming on my face. It was something I would have expected to see on Seinfeld. Thankfully, the owner seemed to assume nothing was odd, which was exactly the case. Had it been shown on Seinfeld, I suspect a different outcome would have been written. It just all seems so illogical, so ridiculous… why would anyone target such a friendly store, one that is also close to his work and his family? It just suggests a significant lack of analysis and thought, to the point where one would suspect mental instability. Seems like a perfect scene for George