We had a lively debate on our Facebook page a couple of weeks ago after I confessed to not paying for a box of cookies that my toddler had pilfered out of our local grocery store.
I know what I did was wrong, and I also know that nothing justified my (in)actions. Once I realized he had taken the box (after the groceries were loaded into my van and he was buckled into his car seat), I should have just marched right back in there and paid for them, but at the time it was easy to explain away why I didn’t — he was tired and cranky, I was tired and cranky, I didn’t feel like waiting on line again, blah, blah, blah. The truth of the matter is, I was being lazy. I did however, go back in on another day and make things right.
I don’t blame my toddler in this case — he’s just two years old, and has no concept yet of paying for things, much less stealing them. The fault was mine and I take full responsibility. In the future, if it happens again, I’ll behave differently.
Still, that’s a small comfort after I read in the New York Post, the story of a Manhattan mom who has been banned for life from her local Fairway supermarket. Elissa Drassinower says she was stopped by security at the upscale store after she paid for her groceries. Apparently, Drassinower says she had been shopping with her stroller and her arms got tired from carrying all the goods she intended to purchase. She placed a half-gallon of milk and a six-pack of beer in the basket under her stroller and went about her browsing. The trouble started when she neglected to pay for the beverages.
“When I was checking out, my son, who was really cranky, started acting up, and I forgot to pay for the milk and the beer,” she told the Post. She was stopped outside the store by a guard who took her photo and had her signed some papers. If she enters the store again, she’ll be arrested for trespassing.
Drassinower says it was an honest mistake, telling the newspaper, “If I really meant to shoplift, why would I pay for the $15 brie and the cranberry Stilton only to steal $3.49 milk?”
Fairway stood by its decision in a statement issued by their corporate office. Drassinower was not arrested and the store did not press charges.
As someone who just went through something similar, my thought was that it was a totally innocent situation. Hey, things happen. We’re moms, we’re multi-taskers, sometimes we get distracted by our kids and sometimes we make mistakes. I was really surprised by the number of commenters on the story who said she did it on purpose and the ban was completely justified.
Update: Just saw the footage of the security tape (don’t you love the Internet?) and now I’m reconsidering. Hmmm. It does look shady. So what do you think? Should this mom be banned or was the security team at the store overreacting? Have you (or your child) ever taken something from a store without paying for it?