The Creative Shopper

They say that crime doesn’t pay. That’s not always true, of course. If you get away with it, then you got paid. Maybe it only pays for those people with a certain degree of common sense. Although the argument would go that those who become criminals have no common sense, so I suppose the argument is mute.

Sometimes it pays in ways unintended by the perpetrator. Sometimes crime pays us. It’s the really stupid people who make the most entertaining criminals. Crime by stupid people pays off for us in laughter, and let’s be honest, a certain sense of superiority. From time to time you hear about the haphazard would be store burglar who gets trapped in the store room and has to dial 911 to rescue him. Then there’s the sleepy burglar who breaks into a home intending to steal valuables but instead decides to raid the refrigerator of the leftover pu pu platter and eats so much that he falls asleep on the couch watching pay per view porn.

You hear about these inane criminals. The videos are hilarious. It’s really something to actually witness one. A case in point was the young man, and I use that term only as a courtesy, who decided to steal a ski mask from my store before choosing to rob the cashier of the money in her register. In my years at store security, I have never seen anything like this guy.

I first noticed this guy meandering the men’s section trying on jackets on the 60 percent off rack, looking at shoes in the clearance row then staring at his gift card. He also blew out some overly potent flatulence that made small children run and the rest of us dry heave before moving away to a safe distance. His flatulence kept him on my radar.

Rule number 1: Don’t eat or drink large quantities of those things that give you intestinal trouble before attempting to commit a crime.

A ski mask on the hat rack caught his attention. After examining it for a moment then surveying the area around, he pulled the black and white cloth over his head making him look like an emaciated panda bear with a price tag hanging from his cheek. Admiring himself in the mirror, he shook his head back and forth and back and forth and up and down several times before turning around and bending his head in a very uncomfortable way as if trying to verify the back of his head was covered, pulled it off then blew out more gas.

Rule number 2: Bring wardrobe and supplies for the crime with you.

I suppose this moment is when he concocted his master plan of robbing the store.

Rule number 3: Plan your crime in advance.

His demeanor changed after discovering the ski mask. The rich man attitude kicked in or the entitlement attitude or the greed attitude or maybe the smell of his own gas finally frazzled his brain. Suddenly, he had a shopping cart and was walking up and down every aisle stacking the cart with shoes, sneakers, shirts, pants, underwear, socks and even a new coffee maker. The cart became so filled that items were falling out of the cart and scattering across the floor in a trail marking his haphazard path.

Finally he made his way to the checkout line. Shuffling through the variety of items in the cart looking for something: the ski mask. Turns out he forgot the ski mask back on the hat rack.

Back to the men’s section for the mask. A few more items fall to the floor and even more flatulence in the air before he retrieves the ski mask and returns to the line.

Unfortunately for him he chose the ten items or less line where he was promptly chastised by several of the patrons in line.

Rather than simply move his cart to the adjacent line, he paced up and down the aisle counting the number of people in each line. this guy actually considered self checkout. Line 4 had the most people waiting to check out. Perhaps he was impatient, or the lady with 15 coupons changed his mind, but he moved to line 3. There were three people there, but this guy has second thoughts when he notices Johnnie, our six foot six, motorcycle riding guy, was the cashier. Off to line two. Line 2 is adjacent to the jewelry section. This guy walked over to the jewelry section to ask if he could checkout there. He could not. Ignoring line 2, he settled on line 1. Line 1 is closest to the exit. Line 1 had 1 lady in it. Shendala worked line 1 that day; good choice for us, bad choice for him.

He puts the ski mask on, price tag hanging from his chin just before his turn at the register then waits for the lady in front of him to return her credit card to her wallet and her wallet to her purse and her purse to her shoulder then her purse back to the counter to retrieve her keys then the purse back to her shoulder and her shopping bag in the other hand before leaving the register.

Rule number 4: Timing a crime is very important.

By this time the other security guy, Joe and I were standing at the customer service desk not more than 20 feet from line 1.

Rule number 5: Be aware of your surroundings.

Finally it’s his turn. Before he can make a sound Shendala scans the price tag of the ski mask. Only then does he declare it’s a stick up demanding all the cash in the drawer.
Shendala noticed me calling in the incident. I shook my head to indicate this guy had no weapon on him.

“$6.99″ Shendala demanded of the inept robber.

The deer in the headlights look on his face was priceless.

“Maybe you didn’t hear me. This is a stickup. Empty your drawer. Give me your money. ”

“Oh no. See all that stuff in the cart. That’s on the store. See all this money in the register. That’s on them. That cap though, I scanned that in. That’s in the system so that’s on me. You are not taking money out of my pocket. Oh no.”

“They’ll understand. I robbed you.”

“Have you ever worked retail? Have you ever worked? Cause if you had a j-o-b then maybe you’d understand the position you are putting me in.”

Blank response.

“$6.99.” The slight growl in her voice almost made me feel badly for this guy.

Blank response.

“I got college bills to pay unlike your unemployed, living in the basement of your mothers house probably wrack up cable porn bills because your too stupid to search for big titties on Google self.”

I guess he realized how badly he’d lost control of this stick up and decided to school Shendala. “Have you ever been held up before. This is not how it goes. You’re supposed to just do what I say and hand over the money. I just walked out the door the other four times.”

“Oh, I don’t believe that. No. What store will just let your skinny, little, one gust of wind blows you over self, and not tall enough to ride the roller coaster self walk out the door?”

“I swear. I got deodorant from the Dollar Buy.”

“Did you think to use it?”

“Dog treats at the Buy Here.”

“Late night snack while your watching cable porn?”

“I wore three shirts out of Cool Guys.”

“$6.99.” At which point Shendala crossed her arms  and cold stared this guy.

“Wait a minute. I have a gift card. Scan that through.”

“You scan it through. Who am I to you? And its called a swipe.”

As this guy swipes his card through the reader, Shendala looks over to me. I give her a thumbs up as two patrol cars park in front of the store entrance.

With a big smile Shendala tells the guy to have a nice day.

He pauses a moment with that crinkle face some people have when they suspect they’ve forgotten something. Perhaps, he forgot about the money in the cash drawer, or maybe just gave up, but he pushed the cart to the door. He doesn’t even notice Joe, Shendala and I and I follow him out of the store.

He did notice the two local P.D. waiting when he cleared the door. He tried to be inconspicuous and walk between them, but that did not work out for him. Joe and I described what we saw, and Shendala did as well including his confession to four counts of shoplifting. In an act of giving us all the finger, I suppose, but in what should have earned him a possession of a deadly weapon charge, he dropped one last fart bomb.

Rule number 6: Choose your target carefully.

6 thoughts on “The Creative Shopper

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