We Are Both Right

Mom “Banned for Life” From Supermarket

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?

3 Responses to “Mom “Banned for Life” From Supermarket”

  1. Enyo says:

    Having seen the surveillance video footage, I’m inclined to think that it was deliberate. If it wasn’t deliberate, then she wouldn’t have moved the stuff that she hadn’t paid for with the stuff that she had in trying to leave. She would have noticed and said that she missed it. She certainly wouldn’t have wigged out on security.

    I’ve seen people do all kinds of things in order to shoplift, including use their children to do it. Having money is no barrier to shoplifting; some people do it for the thrill even though they are financially better off than the employees they are stealing from.

  2. I’m with Enyo. That woman did it. I know there are these kind of accidents all the time with moms, which is why so many women — most of whom I suspect did not read actual news stories about the incident or watch the very damning surveillance tape — have been quick to jump to this mom’s defense. The story never sat well with me [really, you had very few items in your cart, but somehow forgot about the beer, Red Bull and milk, which would have increased your shopping bill by 40%?? You didn't think anything was off or missing??]. But the surveillance tape nails her. She gets her wallet out of the stroller. She takes the bags for the items that were actually purchased and puts them on top of the pilfered goods, and pushes those items to the back. That is not an accident. Not to mention, when she is confronted by security, instead of having the OMG-this-is-so-embarrassing-let-me-pay moment anyone else would have had, she gets belligerent and starts talking about alerting the media and a lawyer.

    It is the store’s policy to ban anyone who steals. If they make an exception for this woman (who so looks guilty, BTW), then they risk discrimination charges from others. I’m with Fairway on this one.

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