Smear Campaign

Turning Shit into Gold since 2006

Sixteen and Shoplifting

Anytime someone goes undercover there is bound to be drama. With every great business comes the great threat of thievery. To help control the problem many retailers employ a secret shopping service that follows suspect shoplifters through endless aisles of retail. Shopping straight into a reusable bag, stuffing empty boxes of expensive vitamins into trashcans in the customer restroom, or eating what has not been paid for are all easy ways to spot a person conflicted with sticky finger syndrome. If the loss prevention officer’s suspicions are validated and the sneaky shopper steals from the shop then they have the authority to pounce like a pimp on a Tootsie Roll.

As with most modern methods of search and seizure there are rules that must be adhered to in order to prevent claims of perversion or malice on behalf of the suspect. No, this is not a Dick Wolf production, just a little common sense law and order. To give a good example of what I am blabbering about there was an incident once at work that resulted in the mandatory release of a shoplifter who was sly enough to offer sexual favors in return for freedom. 

The hippie chick had locks of dirty dreads drooping over her stoned eyes. Her Renaissance Festival satchel was full of stolen shoes, pricey hand and neck creams, a package of warm sushi, and a lemongrass-scented candle. This was no accident; this was a calculated dash and grab operation that had obviously worked in the past. What also worked was her attempt at evading arrest. Swiftly as the stinky young woman had swiped the goods she was soon on her knees in from of the loss prevention officer, offering a blowjob in return for an undocumented release. Immediately the claim against the peace loving, weed smoking, shoplifting hippie had to be dropped. She was allowed to return to her highway underpass sanctuary, handcuff free. With no one else present in the office during the interrogation to witness the verbal barging there was plenty of room for the woman to let false sexual allegations fly.

When the patchouli drenched Cliff Bar bandit was escorted off of the premises, thanks to her dangerously inappropriate offer, a change in procedure when handling female suspects had to be made. From that day forward it was always necessary to have an employee of the fairer sex present whenever a woman was taken into the back office for questioning.

For the two years following the implementation of this rule I was privy to endless sessions siting in as the female witness, allowed to watch women with a knack for stealing and a conscience clouded by denials try to talk their way out of the inevitable trouble that their foolish practices had created. It was like getting paid to watch a live action episode of Jerry Springer, with a dash of Dr. Phil, sprinkled with a touch of Cheaters. The perpetrators ranged anywhere from the highly educated to the watermelon snatching homeless.

As entertaining as it was to watch an attorney’s assistant grovel for forgiveness after putting an overpriced, pre-boxed salad into her Birkin bag, it was even more fun to be present when three teenage girls smirked their way out of a pickle and into a hotdog bun. The carefree gals were students at a private school for the alternatively gifted, which really means it is a school where rich natives send their precious offspring. A place where their children are allowed to explore his or her individuality through unstructured, self appointed yoga and astrology classes. It is a system where the students pick and choose their passions for twenty grand a semester. Spoiled brats, ever heard of them?

One of the girls was eighteen years old and quickly on her way to a third DWI. The second suspect was most likely the third wheel of the group. She was clearly in it for the perks of popularity. What was really killing her spirit in the moment of law breaking brashness was the realization that she was barred from checking in on her Facebook account. No phones until the police arrive, young lady.

The third girl was the youngest cub in this pack of privileged prima donnas. Her name was Trystan and she was not shy about playing dumb. Her over amplified mascara and crotch hugging cutoffs made her look far older than the sixteen years she claimed to be. Once her high school ID confirmed her underage status it was time to get parents involved. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the youngster was under the guardianship of her sister. Trystan’s’s twenty-two year old sister, an actress, who was actually on the set of a movie and would not be able to answer her phone. Further prying lead LP detectives to discover that Trystan’s mother was somewhat involved in her daughter’s life but was currently living out of state. Maybe even another state of mind. Regardless, if this woman could be reached then Trystan could be released with her friends.

Realizing that the parents of these hooligans would simply pay to have any charge removed from their criminal records the loss prevention officer decided to slap the girls with criminal trespass warnings and send them on their way. Trystan was asked to dial her mother’s telephone number. She happily obliged. After a less than stimulating conversation with a woman in Los Angeles, who could have cared less about what her delinquent daughter was up to, LP allowed the teen to be released into the custody of her friend with the two DWIs under her urban outfitted belt.

Once all the paper work had been filled out it was time for the ladies to be led from the back office. “Sir, I’m sorry we’re so stupid,” Trystan said as one of the LP officers handed the girls back their IPhones. She instantly began texting and walking, easily ignoring what had just happened. The closer they got to the store exit the nearer she was to reaching that state of ignorant bliss that ruled her existence, but not before she could get in one more jab.

“I sure learned my lesson.” Eyes fixed on the phone screen, Trystan smiled as the sarcastic epiphany slipped from her lips. In equal tone the LP answered, “You look very distressed.” What should have been the end of their interaction was prolonged when Trystan replied back with, “what does that mean?”      

 It is entirely possible that Trystan truly did not know the definition of ‘distressed’ but it was more likely that she was letting everyone know that stupidity was her weapon against the rules and realities of the world. The less she knows the more she gets. Hopefully she will learn a thing or two in next semesters advanced journaling class and figure out that self-reflection is crucial to the obliteration of her comfortable ignorance.     

-Ellyn Ussery-

One comment on “Sixteen and Shoplifting

  1. Ted Fero
    December 23, 2012

    I miss the Death Star.

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