I, Klepto

A few weeks ago, I committed what I believe to be my first act of what may be shoplifting.

The item was one of those little plastic sleeve things that go into your wallet and hold cards. I don’t use mine for my main cards—there are dedicated slots in my wallet that are more convenient—but I do have keep my supplementals like grocery cards in there. And mine was nearly detached from the tab thing that actually holds it in.

I went to a store that I suspected would have it, as well as a few other things that I needed. One of these things was a new watch band (mine had either broken or was on the verge). In the watch department, I did find one that I thought would work and that looked okay; I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, but I at least know that a gold or silver band would look stupid with a digital Timex.

Note that I said “thought” would work. I didn’t know for certain, because the clerk declined to provide assistance in ensuring the right size, let alone helping me swap the band out with that handy dandy tool they have for swapping watch bands. It did, in fact fit, although I didn’t know for certain until I got home and had managed to take out the old band and put in the new using my fingernails to hold down the plungers on the watch band rod while I slid it into the watch itself. That’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. Perhaps I should set it to music and go on a reality television show.

Of course, you’re here for hard crime. In the watch department, I noticed a selection of wallets and asked if there were any plastic sleeve thingies. As I ought to have expected, the clerk was no more interested in solving this problem for me than she was the watch band dilemma. She did, fairly snidely, direct me to the men’s department.

I eventually found the wallets in the men’s department. They were next to the socks. I did not, however, find any replacement plastic sleeves.

Except one.

It was lying on the shelf below where the wallets were hanging. Fallen out of one, I presume. Tantalizing, regardless.

But no. I was raised right. So I did another tour of the men’s department, looking for legitimately purchasable plastic wallet sleeves. I found none.

Back to the wallet display. The sleeve was still lying there, all alone, with no tags, and no markings of any kind.

There were no clerks around. No people at all. And no cameras that I could see, although I wouldn’t trust myself to notice any.

So I picked up the lone sleeve and slipped it into my pocket.

I still had to get out of there. But my improv training would come in handy. I would simply need to act… normally. Which of course, means, not acting at all. I tried to put the thingy out of my mind as I hit the registers, and the cashier didn’t seem to notice anything odd.

One more obstacle. The exit doors, with their theft alarms. If anything went off… I figured I would probably have just thrown myself on their mercy. I’m wussy like that. I didn’t think there were any tags on the sleeve, but who knows… they could be tiny these days.

Five steps to go.

Four steps to go.

The alarm goes off, and the father walking through the sensor panels with his two kids stops, confused.

Three steps to go.

Two steps.

Still time to back out.

One step.

Zero steps.

I made it.

I think. Don’t run. Don’t look around as if you’re expecting people to follow you. Just walk normally. It’s weird enough that I’m walking to the bus stop rather than a car. Don’t be any weirder.

And success. I did make it out of the lot, and home, without being caught.

Of course, I don’t swear that this story is true…

After all, the plastic card-holding sleeve in my wallet is still about to separate from its mounting tab.

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