That one time that I stole something from the Wal-Mart.

Mama’s Losin’ It
This post is brought to you by Mama Kat's Pretty Much Famous Writer's Workshop.  And by prison.  Which is where I'll go if any police officers or Wal-Mart loss prevention representatives read this post.

Long ago and far away, I had a high-powered career as a retail bookstore manager, where high-powered equals I worked a lot, career equals I got a 15 year pin, and manager equals I was the one who got to clean the bathrooms whenever someone had explosive diarrhea all over the walls.

It was a glamourous job, filled with travel (twice a year we got to stay in a hotel near the airport in Columbus, Ohio) and rewards unimaginable.  It was leading up to one of the trips that I began, and ended, my life of crime.

Here's some background.  At this point, we had a Regional Director (read: big bucks, no actual work) who believed in building what he called shared memories, which to him meant that at a three day meeting, we got to dress up in three different ridiculous outfits and sit in meetings all day dressed like that so as to lose any shred of dignity we may have once possessed all the while being gently goaded and/or violently threatened to SELL MORE STUFF.  Ah, how I miss those days.

This particular year, Day One was to be Dress As Your Favorite Character From a Book Day, Day Two was Dress As Your Favorite Sports Hero Day, and Day Three Was Hippie Day.

Good times.

I got online and ordered one of these, ironed a red "A" on the chest, and viola, I was Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter.   She's not really my favorite anything, but she's totally recognizable, even to a room full of bookstore managers dressed up mostly as Harry Potter, Hermione, Sookie Stackhouse and Harry Dresden.  I really love Caddy Compson from Faulkner's Sound and the Fury, but didn't want to spend the entire day explaining who I was.  Ok, Day One, check.

For Day Two, since I have exactly zero sports heroes, I - you guessed it - got online and ordered a baseball jersey with "The Beers" on the front, and "12 oz." on the back.  Drinking beer is a sport where I'm from.  Really.  I've medaled a time or two.  Day Two, check.

At this point, I had nearly half a week's salary invested in costumes for a meeting that was designed to tell us there would be no raises that year (true story), I decided to shop for my final costume at Goodwill.  Hippies donate stuff, right?  Anyway, I found some stuff, and used my mad sewing skills, an ugly skirt and a pair of $2 jeans to create these awesome pants:

Home Ec class for the win!

I also found some ugly platform shoes that looked like they were made out of hemp for $2, a vest for $1, and I made myself a headband with the rest of the skirt.  

I just needed a few accessories and I'd be done.

I needed a few groceries anyway, so I stopped at Wal-Mart, a place I typically avoid at all costs, especially after that time I got trapped in an aisle there.  I did my grocery shopping, then wandered over to the jewelry section, where on the clearance rack, I saw a necklace something like this:

It was perfect!  And it was on clearance!  Of course, it was from the Mary Kate and Ashley line, but never mind that.  I've always had tastes that are similar to those of a twelve year old girl.

I tossed it in my cart and headed up front to pay for my stuff.  

After the madhouse of the checkout lane, I headed outside into the bitter cold to load up my car.  

It was as I was unloading the last bag into the trunk that I saw it.

The necklace, the perfect Mary Kate & Ashley hippie necklace, had fallen to the bottom of the cart and was dangling out the bottom, held only by the tag, which was wedged on the side of the cart.

And I hadn't paid for it.

I immediate looked around to see if Wal-Mart security had followed me.  Was there going to be a take-down right here in the parking lot?  Maybe I'd make the next episode of cops.  Whew.  Ok, no security guard.  What about cameras?  Surely they were watching me on camera and getting my license plate number so they could arrest me later.  Plus, they knew my name.  I paid with my debit card and they could track me with that...

Clearly, I'm not cut out for a life of crime.

Ok, think, mj, think.  What would Chuck Norris do?  

I had three options.  1) I could push the cart, necklace still caught in the bottom, over to the cart corral and hope no one noticed.  2) I could untangle the necklace from the cart and go back in to pay for it or 3) I could untangle the necklace from the cart and put it in my bag and drive off like a bat out of Hell and never shop in that store again because my picture would surely be hanging on the bulletin board with the words "Teeny-bopper Jewelry Thief - If Seen Please Detain.  Crazy, Dangerous and Poorly Dressed." under it.

I ran through all the possible scenarios in my mind.  My conscience was telling me to "take the damn necklace back in and pay for it already!" but my super paranoid side was saying things like "They're never going to believe you.  They are going to think you are some sort of attention-seeking klepto with horrible taste."  What to do?  What to do?

So I made my decision, and wore my costume with pride, and even won a prize for second best costume of the day.  

Oh, and I'm not going to tell you what I decided to do.

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I may incriminate myself.

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