Raising Two Little Kleptos

Wanna hear about how my children helped me shoplift a microwave? No? Ok. Bye.

If you're still here....

This is why I don't take my children shopping with me anymore. Or any less.


Desi was out of town for work.

And our microwave blew up because I was trying to microwave a wet rock. Long story.

I'll save the rock one for another day.


I rarely take my daughters shopping with me when I can get away with it. Thing 1 is 10 and Thing 2 is 4 currently.

It totally stresses me out to take my children shopping with me. It might be my O.C.D., but maybe it's just that children and shopping make me stabby.

Either way, I really don't want to be THAT mom who is yelling at her kids and threatening to take them home...which is exactly what those poor children want and that is exactly why they're acting like total assholes in the store. Anyway.

This time, I had to take them with me. Because sadly, I couldn't do without a microwave for more than a few days after I blew it up and Desi was gone. 


So we went to Target. Once there, I scoped out the endless freaking choices of microwaves a capitalist nation has to offer.

I picked out this cute, red microwave. Yes. Red. Because it was on sale. You know, it could have been purple and I would have bought it because MY family doesn't waste or buy what they actually want. That would be ridiculous.

So. I chose one. I put it in the cart. It was in a box and it didn't sit just right in the basket of the cart. It stuck part way in and part way out. You know how you have to put the corner of big boxes in and they sort of hang across the cart?

Well, Thing 2 is 4 years old and can NOT be trusted unless she is firmly bolted into the cart. Only I couldn't put her there because the microwave was too big to fit in the cart with her in it as well.

I was holding her hand on the side of the cart on the way to the check out. Thing 1 and Thing 2 were both bickering about who was looking at who and one of them was touching the other's jacket accidentally.

I courteously asked the cashier if I needed to take the microwave box out of the cart. She said no, since she could scan it. You know. Like magic.

I fished out the 14 other things we picked up there and was busy telling the girls they didn't need the crap that lined both sides of the checkout and that these were called "impulse items" and that the store demons put those things there to purposely make parents crazy... ER.


Anyway, you know how you can swipe your card before the cashier is finished scanning your stuff?

I did that. Because anything that expedites the situation is a good thing. A WAY good thing.

I paid, corralled the children, snatched my receipt and the bags of crap we didn't need. I even congratulated the girls on a relatively decent shopping trip and thanked them for their cooperation.

When we got home, I unloaded everything and looked at the receipt. I hadn't noticed at the store checkout, but it seemed...really cheap. As far as shopping trips go. Especially shopping trips that involve buying red OR purple microwaves.

Well, it turned out, the cashier forgot to charge me for the $60 microwave. As in, completely gave it to us for free.

Being the rule follower I was trained to be, I was totally and completely wracked to the core with guilt. Wracked, I tell you. You have NO idea. I suffered severely. So did my manicure and bloody cuticles. You think I'm kidding, right? Anyway.

The question was: Do I take the stolen goods back and run the risk of getting in trouble for being a thieving thief???

OR do I keep the hot-popcorn-pyrometer and listen to the Tell-Tale-Micro-Heart every time I heat up my easy mac?

For most people, this would really be a no-brainer.


I didn't DARE tell Thing 1 because she is already obsessed with following rules. She can thank me for that.

I decided that I would, in fact keep the pilfered-practicality and live with the guilt of getting something I really didn't earn. But at least the children don't have a rap sheet. 


So there you have it. I have 4 and 9 year old criminals for children. And I know we're all going to Hell for that damned red microwave.

At least it isn't purple. I can live with it a little bit easier.


  1. oh wow! You criminal. I stole a purse once on the top of the stroller. I went back the next day and got the exact same one off the shelf., went to the cashier and said I want to pay for this. I accidentally took one yesterday. She couldn't work it out. I said I dont want this one I want to pay for the one I stole yesterday. After about 10 minutes explaing and re explaining she got it and let me pay with out taking the item. People behind commented that they have never seen that before. I just needed to do it.

  2. My niece once stole a My Little Pony toy as a baby, but when we went to the information desk to explain the situation and pay for the toy we were ignored for a whole ten minutes. In the end my big sister cracked the shits and left. Without paying for the toy. Best shopping trip ever.

  3. I was just about to hollar...WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU! when I remembered my "free" $80 binoculars. My bad.

  4. Well technically they're only accessories, so I'm sure they would have gotten off with a slap on the wrist ;D

  5. lol, if the guilt is too much for you all you have to do is go back to customer service, tell them you didn't figure it out until AFTER you unpacked the microwave so you are not going to pack it back up and bring it back - but if they want you to pay for it then they can go back to the department, bring a red one, sell it for the sale price and you would be happy to swipe the magic card again.

    I am totally with you on rule following and I'm not sure I could stand the guilt - even though you didn't do anything wrong - it was the inattentive cashier who was at fault.

    Frankly - if you want to assuage your guilt, just keep saying that if you do go back they will likely fire that cashier - so keeping it and keeping your mouth shut will help a person keep a job.

  6. I was hoping you wouldn't go back. While shopping at Walmart I put our case of bottled water under the cart and by the time we reach the cashier the kids have me so frazzled I sometimes forget to tell the person that it's down there. oops!

  7. Just for a second I thought you returned it. Thankfully you didn't. Look I'm not encouraging shop lifting but this wasn't your fault, the cashier forgot. No one will miss it. Once when were in Ikea we bought a whole bunch of big things. We leave the store and the hubs is like I think the lady forgot to charge us for a kids chair. I'm like no so I go to check the receipt and yes she had. So I look at the hubs and I'm like let’s make a run for it before they realize that we didn't pay for this. Again not encouraging stealing but when they forget to scan an item not my fault. The fact that I pray that a cashier forgets to scan an item every time I go to the store might be a problem (just kidding….maybe). The economy is hard. We need to save money where ever we can.

    BTW I loved “meeting” you the other night on the webcast. I tried to find a way to comment but I have no fucking clue how G+ works.

  8. LOl! I am still laughing that you call them Thing 1 and Thing 2! Getting a freebie is always a bonus when the cashier forgets to scan something. Finders keepers! I wonder if you could get a free car this way? Hey, they might forget it after the test drive.

  9. So funny! I would have the same conflicted feelings! Just think about all the money that you've probably spent at Target in the past...it's like they probably owed it to you anyway ;) Unintentional "shopper rewards" ;)

  10. I saw the word vodka here and forgot whatever the hell I was gonna say.

  11. NOW here's what you do. When Desi returns home and notices that the microwave has obviously turned red, he will ask, "Did you buy a new microwave?" (You know, after the obligatory "Luuuuucyyyy... you've got some 'splainin' to do!").

    Just look at him and say, "nope. Why?"

  12. I. FREAKING. LOVE IT. Obviously, I would be riddled with the same guilt as you. I would. I wont even let my kids pick up a penny if we are inside the store. I love that you bought the red one bc it was on sale. I love that that makes perfect sense to you. And here's the thing. You just CANT go back to Target to return it, or get charged even. Because when you DO, you will end up spending AT LEAST $60 more on stuff you don't need. AT LEAST. So in the end, they will rip you off $60, like they always do. You did all of the right things. I would imagine A LOT of big ticket items walk through the store that way.
    And ps, my kids totally think those toys are there strictly for the purpose of playing with while mommy unloads and pays for the groceries. Then they are required to put them all back into place before we leave. I swear. And they do it EVERY TIME.

  13. I accidentally steal stuff all the time although it's never something that costs more than five bucks! I always feel bad when I do, but it's kind of a hassle to go back to the store since we shop in a different state! Thanks for linking up with Your Place.

  14. I'm like Molley. I would have gone back to pay for it. I'd have taken the children, too, because it is a good lesson for them in being honest, even though the mistake wasn't yours.

    (I came from the Your Place @ Equis Place link up.)

  15. Unless you hitched that little red microwave up your skirt and waddled out via Jane's Addiction Been Caught Stealing, that was just karma doing you a solid. Now give karma a high five and go make some popcorn to go with the vodka. I'll bring the mixers and some ice.

  16. i would have gone back. karma will come a knocking!
    popping in from the equis place link up!

  17. Um, yeah, I love Target. Please go back and pay for it. You're making the prices go up. Shrinkage is shrinkage, whether it is intentional theft, unintentional theft/error, or damage on the shelf, we all have to pay for it in the end. Even now it isn't too late.

  18. I went to Wal-Mart years ago and bought a bunch of stuff, among them a purple cordless phone. I brought it home, hooked it up, and went on with my life. A while later when I was going through receipts I realized that I hadn't been charged for it. It wasn't very expensive anyway, and several days had already passed. So I let it go.

    From then on out,THAT PHONE WAS POSSESSED! The Wal-Mart demons had apparently found out and possessed my phone, therefore punishing me for the next year until I finally flung it into the trash.

    Needless to say, I've gone back and paid for forgotten items ever since. I don't want any more retail karma. But that's me.

  19. When Beege was a baby, and we were buying all that baby crap that they need, we went to get a stroller. There were two boxes, one was a stroller, and one was a "travel system" - aka stroller, car seat, car adapter.

    So we pulled the ticket for the stroller, because we couldn't afford the "system", and an employee brought it to the front for us. When we got it home, we unpacked the box, and lo and behold! Travel system.

    I was so upset. We couldn't afford it, and it hadn't even been our fault, but considering keeping it was making me feel like I would vomit. I am such a rule follower. I felt like a criminal. After an hour of sobbing and trying to decide whether to take it back or not (because we really did NEED a car seat), my rule abiding *grandmother* finally convinced me to keep it.

    And then the next week, it went on sale for the same price as the stroller on it's own. So all that agony was for nothing.

    1. You just made me feel WAY better. Srsly.

  20. Wait. I'm still trying to figure out how your kids shoplifted the microwave? I think they were involuntary accessories to the crime.

  21. During a home remodelling project, we purchased 3 ceiling fans - each approximately $150 - major ticket items. We went to pay, and noticed that the cashier forgot to charge us for one of the ceiling fans. When we pointed out to him that it appeared he had only charged us for two of the three, he proceeded to argue with us. For 15 minutes. I even did the math for him - nope. He would not budge. So, what else was I supposed to do? Who knew they were giving out free ceiling fans that day?

  22. For me in those situations it's less about actually getting the thing for free and more about how the store generally treats people, whether it's a situation where the error will come out of the cashier's pay, etc. If I know it will be written off and it's a store that has gyped me in the past or I've had problems with, I wouldn't give it a second though, but if it was someplace that typically treats its customers well and I know the error would come out of the cashier's pay, I'd go back to rectify the error. The funny thing was that on one such trip, I bought a bunch of stuff at a store that I had a lot of problems with and the cashier that day was a total witch! When I got home and realized she hadn't charged me for a dress, I was so mad, I didn't care - I wore it once and the thing disintegrated in the wash!! Karma?? LOL [#TALU]

  23. My husband calls me honest Abe. We got a bike for free once. This was years ago BK and we were getting bikes for the two us at Walmart. They only rang one up. I was about to say something and he pushed me out of the way. I felt super guilty but I got over it. TALU

  24. Oh no lol -
    My kid shoplifted a book one time. After finding it at home, I never went back to pay for it. I had plans to, but you know.

    I would have probably went back to pay for the microwave though. I would be scared the in store cameras would link me to it and then get my contact info from my charge card transaction. (talu)

  25. This happened to me when I was in law school, although it wasn't with a red microwave. (Seriously?! A red microwave?)

    It was a leather bag for my laptop. It was when laptops first came out and I needed a nice bag and I found one for around $100, which is crazy expensive to a law student.

    I checked out with all my stuff and realized when I got home they didn't charge me for it. I debated and ultimately didn't go back and pay for it. I know, I suck.

    But I can't look at that bag without feeling guilty. I hope that isn't the way it is for you and the red microwave. If you use your microwave the way I use mine, you'll be feeling a lot of guilt. :-)

  26. Hmm...interesting post. The comments were enlivening too. I don't really have a strong thought one way or the other. But now I'm curious how you'll feel about the microwave down the line. I've forgotten to pay for stuff in my grocery cart before. Sometimes I go back, sometimes I don't.

    But in that case, it's consumables. Like Lisa's laptop bag, it'll haunt you. LOL.

  27. LOL! I figure that the stores over charge us so often, we deserve an occasion freebie. In one month, between Albertson's and K-Mart, we were over charged $15. Hubby didn't want to go back in and argue with the managers to get refunds. He's a baby like that.

    So, enjoy your free microwave, you've probably earned it! :)

  28. That made me laugh!! the guilt will go away in time! Following you from the Tuesday Tea Party. Come over and say hi!

  29. Once you answer this question, you'll know what to do:

    How much are your honesty and reputation worth?

    If you're willing to give it up for $5 or so, then I guess you're in the category as a lot of those who figure they deserve "freebies." Myself, I consider my honest reputation priceless. I would go back (or call) asap. Yes, it will be a hassle. Yes, it's not your fault. The bottom line, though, is that you didn't pay for that microwave -- and you know it. You'll always know it. What will you say to Thing 1 or Thing 2 if they pocket a candy bar -- "Hey, that's ok, Honey...if you get away with it. I did!"

    You do that -- and you'll gain a reputation in your town for absolute honesty. And when it comes down to a situation when it's your word at stake -- your reputation will stand behind you. I would rather have that than a bazillion dollars or a red microwave.

    1. Well, your point is well-made. So...I intend to return that stupid microwave tomorrow! Then, maybe I'll have a peaceful night's sleep!

  30. I was thinking about the story of the tycoon

    and the beautiful girl...she was attending a party on his yacht when he asked her, "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars."
    "Sure," she blushingly said.
    When they got back to the room, he said, "Would you sleep with me for five bucks?"
    "What kind of girl do you think I am," she blustered.

    "We've already established that," he said. "Now we're just settling on price."


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