Confession: I Stole From The Grocery Store

One time I stole when I was a kid, and I thought my Mom was psychic

October 29, 2019

© DENNY SIMMONS / COURIER & PRESS, Evansville Courier & Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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So there they were. Just sitting on the shelf, orange glistening in the sunlight. I knew if I asked my mom, she would say no. My next thought, just take them!

We were standing in the check out line at Stop and Shop, our local grocery store. I could never understand as an adult, why they would put all of that junk right next to the register. Especially once I had children I wondered this. It's like you make it through the whole sotre of saying no to your children about everything you pass. Ice cream? No! Sugary cereal? No! Random crazy straw display? No!

Then you finally get to the register. Now you're busy, loading groceries, listening to the clerk and surrounded on all sides by candy temptation. As a mom, I always found it tough to keep an eye on the kids while also getting my stuff up on the belt. I would frequently have them put their hands on the cart where I could see them.

But this exact scenario was one I used to my advantage as a child. My mother had four children and we were often scene around the community all in tow. Most freuqntly people would look at the four of us and then look at my mother and say, "Oh, god bless you!" I guess four kids is a lot! Especially when you are trying to navigate the big Sunday grocery shop solo, as she always did. On this particular Sunday, I couldn't have been any older than 4.

At this time, my mother was working part time at our local grocery store as the florist. She was off on Sundays and ended up back up there to shop anyways. We were headed through the check out, all three of my other siblings as well. One may have been in moms stomach or a new born. I can't exactly remember. But I do remember seeing that pack of orange Tic-Tacs and thinking how badly I wanted them. 

I looked up to see what face mom was making to decide if I wanted to ask or not. I could tell by how frantic she seemed that if I asked now, it would definitely be a no from her. All in an instant, I decided I would have them anyways and shoved that small pack into my tiny little pocket.

My heart raced as they finished bagging mom's groceries and we began to head to the car. "What if the metal detector went off?" I remembered thinking. We made it through and no alarm. So I kept my secret tic tacs in my pocket until we got home and mom got busy putting the groceries away. I went to the back yard, to the sandbox. I sat there an ate that entire pack as fast as I could, worrying that someone might see. Then I buried it. I buried that empty pack as deep as I could in that sandbox.

A day goes by and I think I am in the clear. I walk into the kitchen and mom says, "Amanda, did you take something from the store the other day?"

I hesitate at first. Then mom pulls the master mom card and tells me that she is going to loser HER job if I don't tell the truth. So I told the truth. She made me go in and apologize. It was mortifying. But I couldn't figure out how she knew. Hidden cameras? Had one of her coworkers seen me? I would not get that answer for more than 20 years.

One day I was telling this story to my children, fully convinced that my mother was a psychic. It occurred to me suddenly as an adult, wait, how DID she know? So I asked her.

"I saw you eating them through the kitchen window."

"Really? No. Really??!!! Come on!"