The Day I (Almost) Stole From Target

The Day I (Almost) Stole From Target

Hollaback if you love Target. I know you do. Don’t be ashamed. I love Target so much that my kids ask if we’re going there on a regular basis. Target and “Cheekin Feel A” are our two favorite ways to spend an afternoon in this family. Except for Daniel, who insists on going to work and providing for us. Whatever.

So last week, Jenna and I went on our daily weekly pilgrimage to Target. Since she is a “beeg guhl” now, she will no longer deign to ride inside the cart (You guys know how I feel about the Target carts anyway). Which is mostly…fine. I mean, I used to go through Target without running after a tiny giggling maniac while simultaneously dragging a loaded-down cart behind me, but I didn’t get nearly as many steps in, so it all works out.

My little helper wanted me to put everything in the bottom section of the cart, so she could add it by herself. I didn’t want to be a dream-crusher, so I said she could do that, and when she wasn’t looking, I put the items up in the main cart so I wouldn’t forget any.

If this was a musical, the soundtrack right now would be full of ominous tones.

I had to get an item from just about every section (except for the toy aisles, which I avoided like the flipping plague), and Jenna trotted faithfully behind me, occasionally playing a hilarious game where she hid from me and my heart stopped and then we all laughed and laughed. Finally, we were ready to check out.

I paid for my items, and Jenna asked to get into the cart, so we were all set to go out the door when a customer service person stopped me.

“Are there any other items I can help you purchase today?”

If you have ever worked retail, you know this line. You know it by heart. It’s the line drilled into you as the proper response if you see someone stealing from a store. There are a lot of rules about what you can and can’t say to a terrible merchandise stealer, even though they are a MERCHANDISE STEALER, and that is a standard party line. “Are there any other items I can help you purchase today?” actually means “I know that you know that I know you’re stealing, and you’re a jerk face for doing it, and I hope your stolen items all break.”

So when the customer service rep said this to me, I knew what she really wanted. She wanted me to ‘fess up about my thievery. But I had literally just paid for my items. What could the issue be?

The rep looked down at my cart. Past my bags, past my toddler, and down into – you guessed it – the lower part of the cart. On this section were the following items: Three (3) bottles of craft paint, one (1) pack of stickers, two (2) containers of peach-flavored yogurt, and one (1) boot. Yes, the one boot confused me the most, too.

Apparently I hadn’t been as diligent about watching my little shopper as I thought I had.

“Oh! I’m so sorry. My daughter was putting stuff in the cart and…” I trailed off as I realized I was blaming a two-year-old – who was currently sitting in the cart and therefore could not have possibly been grabbing things from the shelves – for what looked like outright theft.

Slowly, shamefully, I put each stolen item on the customer service shelf. I offered to put them all back, but the rep declined. Can’t say I blame her. Then Jenna waved goodbye to everyone, smiling and blowing kisses, earning more and more sympathy as she was carted away by her criminal mother.

We got into the car. I put her in the seat. “Jenna, we don’t take things from the shelves, okay? Mommy always has to pay for it at the front.”

Jenna smiled. “Okay, Mommy.” And then she laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

It’s now been four days since my last Target run. If you see me there with a fake mustache on, just keep walking. And stop Jenna before she gets to the parking lot.

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