April 22, 2011

Stealing from Walmart

Yesterday, one of my kids stole a pack of gum from Walmart. I didn't figure it out until today, when I was putting away laundry and found a pile of wrappers underneath a pillow. I confronted the suspect when he/she came home from school. He/she confessed to the deed, but only after telling me a series of tall tales that pushed my patience to the max.

The truth is pretty astounding: he/she took a loaf of sandwich bread out of the shopping cart, inserted the pack of gum between the two slices, and then sealed the bread back up again.

Yikes, I know.

Back at Walmart, the child who did not seem as remorseful as I would like, started to bite his/her fingernails and cling to my leg. When he/she handed the money to the woman at the customer service desk, he/she whispered, "I'm sorry." The woman smiled softly and told him/her not to do it again.

Once we were back home, the child asked if he/she could have a sandwich.

I made him/her one...after I was sure that there wasn't any more contraband stuffed inside the bag of bread.

****
Tell me your stories. Please.

64 comments

Jacque said...

Last year my daughter took two small animal figurines from a store. I didn't notice until we were home. When my older son realized he had been playing with said stolen items, he started bawling. I had to calm him down and say it wasn't a big deal and at the same time try to convey to my daughter the seriousness of taking something without paying for it to which she argued that there were no stickers on it so she thought it was free. I told her we were going back to the store for her to return the items and apologize. She didn't seem too concerned, but when we were waiting in line, she froze up, refusing to utter a word. I had to bribe her to mutter an apology and hand over the little animal figurines. What did I bribe her with? A figurine of her choice, paid for by me. I'm not sure who taught who in that instance.

Erin said...

I once stole one q-tip from the floor of a grocery store. I guess it had fallen out of a bigger package. I have no idea why I wanted. I thought I was going to jail, and I felt horrible for weeks.

Karlee, Tyson and Erin said...

I stole a chapstick from a grocery store once. My mom found out before we got out of the parking lot and made me return it and apologize. I was so embarrassed that I never did it again. I think every kid has to go through that to learn that it is wrong. Don't worry about your kids being career criminals, just worry about when the other three try it!

Nikki said...

Legos. From school every single day. While it wasn't the store I felt awful when I discovered that his teacher had been replacing them (with her own money) b/c they kept going missing - do you know how expensive those things are!?!?!

When I found out what he was doing I made him dump his entire collection into a gallon size ziploc bag and donate them to the class. I still don't think it had the impact I was hoping for and I also feel like I should send the teacher a check or something...

ColleenandKendra said...

My daughter didn't steal anything but she was goofing around in the store and knocked something off a shelf, which of course then broke. We took the item to the register and I made her tell them she broke it and that we would pay for it (the money would come out of her allowance). The manager was nice enough to let it go without us paying for it, but it was a great lesson in honesty, which is what you did with your child, too.

Mal said...

Ya know the thing is, they're not even really stealing from the store so they don't have to pay or anything. A lot of kids steal because they think their parents will say, "no, not today" or something like that. I'd offer a story, but my only child is under 2. No thieving yet. Well, not from a store anyway...

Lisa, An American Mom said...

Um *I* tried to steal a pack of gum from Vons when I was about 8. Except yeah. The checker was my mom's best friend (I was with a group of kids that was buying other stuff) and I was afraid I'd get busted. Not by the police, but by my mom's friend. So I put it back.

I'm a pretty law abiding citizen these days. There's hope for your kids! :)

Beth said...

When my daughter was 4 years old, she stole some hair clippies from a beauty supply store. I didn't realize it until we got home and she brought them to me to put in her hair. I went on to tell her that it's illegal to steal and sometimes people go to jail and then I got dramatic and told her that I loved her SO much and really didn't want her to go to jail because I would miss her. Then I told her we better take them back to the store and apologize and then hopefully they wouldn't call the police to report it. She was really sweating it, clinging to me when we walked in, and handed them to the clerk and through tears she said, "I took these and I'm sorry." The clerk told her thanks for returning them and we left. As we're walking to the car she said, "Do I have to go to jail?" I told her she got lucky this time, and she's never taken anything since.

Maureen said...

My little cousin stole some easter chocolates one time and then back in the car, my aunt (her mom) noticed the shine on the wrapper and confronted her. She held it out and said, "It's a sticker! The lady gave it to me!" Worst lie ever. Her mom made her go in and pay for it. Don't worry - I think it's a normal rite of childhood, you kid is just craftier than others :)

noelle said...

i stole a caramel from a bin once when i was about 4. my mom figured it out when we got in the car and i wouldn't unclench my fist. she marched me back into the store, asked for the manager, and i had to confess what i'd done and hand back the mutilated candy. it was so humiliating i never stole again! it's all good!

Sarah said...

When I was little my younger sister stole a pair of rubber yellow dish gloves from K-Mart by stuffing them down her pants. She might have been 3-4 years old. I remember Mom finding them, bringing us back to K-Mart, Mom making her apologize with streaming tears, mom purchasing the gloves, making my sister throw them in the trash, and the funds to buy the gloves came out of my sister's piggy bank. I would have been about 7 years old... so this day was so humiliating for my sister that the memory really really stuck with me.

Tiff said...

When I was a wee little one, I stole a purple heart shaped eraser... I dug a shallow hole in the backyard and buried it, I was scared my mom would find out!

I never brought it in the house. I would just go out in the yard dig it up, look at it, theny bury it again!

We then moved, so I guess it's still in that yard! LOL!!

Carolyn @ Adrift on the Lake said...

When my brother was about 5, he stole a pack of gum from a restaurant. On the way home, he was offering everybody gum and when we were almost home, my mom asked him "wait -- where'd you get this gum?" and he replied he took it from the restaurant. So my parents gave him the big "do not steal" talk and turned the car around to drive 20 miles back to the restaurant for him to pay for the gum and apologize. However, the woman at the counter sympathized with my brother and said "awwww... you just wanted gum and your parents wouldn't buy you any?" So my mom tells this woman my brother knows it was wrong and he wanted to pay for his mistake. Then the woman told my brother it was no big deal and keep the gum and he didn't owe anything. My dad jumps in and tells the woman they are trying to teach their son a lesson and they would really appreciate her cooperating with them. The woman then gets upset and starts to argue with them that he's just a little boy. My parents finally gave up and decided she was the one with problems. My brother didn't steal anything again and turned out great. He's 47 now and has never done any jail time. :)

The Davis family said...

I used to work at a retail store in the mall. One day, we received a letter from a 20-year-old woman who said she'd stolen some bracelets from the store when she was 13 and she still felt badly about it. She'd included money in the letter to pay for the bracelets. We couldn't believe it! I'm glad her conscience was finally at peace. =)

Angie said...

That is hilarious! You have a very inventive child. Luckily my son is too young to be thinking this stuff up - he's not quite 2 yet. I'm sure he'll have his share of stories as he gets older!

Muse Mama said...

It happens, and that there were consequences, shows that you were a good mom. A lesser mom wouldn't have done anything.

Christy said...

When I was little (2-5??) I was a girly girl and carried a purse around with me everywhere. My Mom said that I would sneakily stuff my purse with goodies that I wanted. She had to start checking my purse before we left any stores so she didn't have to keep going back. :)

Kitten said...

I don't have any kids (by choice) and don't have many friend with kids. But a dear friend of mine had a service dog...a Lahsa Apso who was trained to pick things up from the floor for her...he would ride on the floor of her scooter. Anyway...she was in a bookstore one time & when she got out to the car, she discovered her dog had taken some stuff that apparently had fallen to the floor. She was mortified & took the items back inside, but no one could get mad at the dog because he was just doing his job.
We always refered to him as the doggie shoplifter, though.

Lauren said...

When I was a kid (I was 8 and had just been baptized) my sister, cousin and I stole baby bunnies from our neighbor. They were just so cute and tiny and we figured it wouldn't hurt if we just "borrowed" them. My mom found out and made us take the bunnies back, and the lady gave us this big story about how since we stole them and held them all day they smelled like people and if she gave them back the mom would eat them, so she had to kill them, and because we stole them we basically murdered baby bunnies.
I'm 27 now and I just figured out last year that the lady was full of it. I thought I was a baby rabbit murderer. Needless to say, I never stole anything again (and thought I was in BIG trouble with Heavenly Father for killing bunnies after I had just been baptized).

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

I used to have to check my son's diaper bag anytime we left a friend's house. he'd just very quietly go over to his diaper bag and deposit into it whatever it was that had taken his fancy. Lucky for me, I had friends who thought it was hysterical. I don't think he's ever stolen since then (he was about 18 months).

Anonymous said...

At age 4, I stole a purse while my mother carried me out of the store. Neither she nor my older sister noticed until we were well on our way home in the car, but once she realized what I had done, my mother turned the car around and made me apologize. That was my biggest theft- before that I had stolen a handful of beads, which I conveniently lost on our way back to the store to return them.
This was all in addition to setting off car alarms whenever I could get my hands on a pair of keys, stealing rocks from my aunt's garden (who was also my neighbor; occasionally I would return said rocks with pepper packets. I don't know why), and ate gum from under restaurant tables.
The good news is, it's been about 12 years since all of this, and I haven't filched anything! I also haven't gotten so much as a detention in school, and only eat gum from wrappers. Your kids will be fine!  And I'm so grateful my mother put up with me, as I'm sure your kids will be.

kodie said...

my 3 year old slipped at least $120.00 worth of clothes from babyGap into the bottom basket of my double stroller two summers ago. i was shopping with my sister, who always uses the bottom of the stroller as her shopping bag storage, so i thought it was all hers. we went to split everything up before we left the shopping center and realized i had 4 white dresses and 3 white sweaters that i did not pick out. i hoofed it all the way back to babyGap (at the opposite end of the shopping center, of course and in 95 degree heat - pushing my 3 year old and newborn!) and i handed the goods over to the clerk with a most sincere apology. he took the items, tossed them on the counter and went on with what he was doing. obviously they weren't missed while they took a ride in my stroller. of course, the people that witnessed my initial discovery thought the whole thing was hilarious. me, not so much.

Mom said...

One of my brood who shall remain nameless, visited the local K Mart with a "friend" who convinced my kid to slip a couple of DVDs into coat pockets. Then when security pulled my kid aside, that "friend" conveniently disappeared leaving my child with a $400.00 fine but thankfully no criminal record. My kid worked an entire season of Jr. Jazz to pay that debt. The "friend"? Didn't contribute one dime!
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

Rene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rene said...

Eight years ago my granddaughter, who is almost nine now, was so cute walking thru the store with her little purse on her arm. Lots of smiles came our way as I shopped with her. When we got home she showed her mommy her purse. It was full of "hair things", ribbons, barrettes, etc... She was such a cute little thief that I didn't even catch onto to her. She is nine now and I am happy to report that there have not been any more incidences (that we know of)

Karen T said...

When one of my boys was about 4 or 5 years old, he took some candy from the neighborhood store. As soon as we found out, we marched him back to the store to confess and pay for the candy (he'd already eaten it). Unfortunately, the clerk at the store tried to minimize the situation and ruined the lesson we were trying to teach by refusing to take his money. I don't know that my son ever stole anything again (it's been 17 years now), but he likes to make comments on how easy it would be to steal this thing or that thing at the store. I really don't like that he looks for holes in the system. Good thing you had cooperation in handling your situation.

Kira said...

I think my mom (Sandy/Mom) a few posts up has that story wrong. At least when I heard it. The "friend" borrowed his jacket when they were inside the store. He had it on the entire time as they approached the front doors he tossed it to my brother and dashed out the door when the alarms went off.

My 6 year old stole a hat from Walmart when he was 2. He had one just like it and I couldn't remember if he had it on when we went in the store or not. It wasn't until we has just left a friends house were he had given it away that it dawned on me that I refused to let him wear it when we left the house. Years later I told the friend about the shoplifted hat. I couldn't bring myself to go back and demand the hat so I could return it. My boy was "smart" though. He took the tags off of it and put it on his head in the store. I had no idea it wasn't the one in his closet.

UK Yankee said...

I stole buttons from the store when I was 7 or 8. They were in this big tray and they'd fallen off the paper from their original sets. So, of course, I thought they were free since they were just lying at the bottom of the tray on their own. My mom found out, took me back to the store, and made me apologize to the store manager and give them back. I was so scared! I was convinced I was going to jail as we waited for the manager to see us. I never had any desire to steal again!

Becky J. said...

When I was about 5, I stole 2 plastic eggs from a craft store. They were in my pocket and my mom asked why I kept putting my hands in my pocket. She found the eggs and made me take them back in and tell the employee that I stole them. I remember being so horrified and embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

When I was ten i stole a candy a bar (a snickers to be precise) from our local grocery store, i felt so bad i couldn't eat it but i was too afraid to admit what i had done so i just dealt with the guilt and it eventually went away. Fast forward 6 years by now i had completely forgotten about it and i'm now an employee of this very grocery store and i watch a little kid steal a candy bar! I tell his mom after they get outside she of course feels terrible makes him give it back apologize etc but this whole scenario reminded me of the snickers i had stolen! I walk up to my boss who is the same owner from back when i stole it apologize and pay him for the candy bar! He laughs hysterically, accepts the money and thanks me. I'll be honest i felt so much better after paying that back it was totally worth it and no i never stole anything again after that.

Anonymous said...

I took a pack of tic tacs from the store when I was a child and my Mom made me take it back to the store manager and tell him that I took it and that I was sorry. I was prob 4 yrs old and I am 40 now....I STILL remember that and have NEVER stolen anything again!

Meg from Ga

mom24orsinis said...

I remember stealing a floral plaque when I was 5, with my much older 6 year old friend...my Mom, found out, we went back and I returned it and apologized. I was sure it was my bad influence friend that made me do it...

And then it happened when I was in Junior High, and truly, this time, it was a bad influence friend...I told my Mom what this friend had talked me into that night...my Mom called her Mom and we went back, returned the stickers and apologized...

THEN, when I was in college, I was falsely accused of shoplifting...I bawled my eyes out as the undercover cop at Mervyns refused to believe me...and we ended up suing this time...I was vindicated and I've managed to stay out of jail ever since :)

Tennille said...

Tonight was the open house for the new school which my children will be attending. It is a beautiful school. Everything I had hoped for for my children. Pristine. Clean. Unmolested. Until that is, my child got a hold of it. There was a pile of markers sitting on the ground which Donny decided was for "decorating" the outside of the school. I looked appropriately disgusted and stormed my children off. Donny and I dropped off the rest of the family then we headed to Macey's for supplies, which he had to buy. We scrubbed for a good 30 minutes, but made little progress. I took him home, got a new arsenal of scrubbies and went back, alone. After another half an hour of scrubbing and EVERYBODY that passed by had to make some stupid comment to me, I went to find the principal to confess our sins. I feel sufficiently humilated. He asked for me to show him, after which he laughed. Then said they have industrial strength graffiti cleaner that will take it off in two seconds. He said I will laugh about it in 10 years. The head custodian said it was a nice break from the swear words he had to clean off of the high school. It's a good thing he didn't have to clean out my mind because there were quite a few choice words going through my mind tonight.

Crazy Runner said...

When I was eight my sister and I stuffed our pockets full of balloons... we really thought they were free. My dad flipped out, drove us back to the store and made us tell the lady we stole them and give them back. I didn't think it was fair, because we didn't know we were stealing. But you better believe I've never stolen anything in my life thanks to that. You did the right thing!

Donna said...

When my hubby was 15 the cops busted him shoplifting from a local store. They hauled him off to jail and called his parents (small town, the cop knew him). His parents didn't get mad, they were just very disappointed. He said that whole incident turned him around. He had been shoplifting for a while and because he disappointed his parents he felt so guilty he never did it again.

And my kids have stolen and been taken back to the store to pay for the items. I think we've cured the shoplifting problem. Now we're on to bigger and better problems.

Parenthood, the Biggest Adventure in Life!

Janet's page said...

After being told no, my oldest stole a pack of gum. Found out once home. Dad said we'd take it back in the morning, I said Oh no we wont we'll do it now!!
The first woman at the counter had the nerve to start saying that it wasn't a problem. I cut her off and said oh yes it was a big DEAL, and looked past her to the security guy and he scared the crap out of the boy,( I didn't think he could get more pale:)) Thank you store security guy, he will forever remember that day and that stealing could have serious consequences.....

mama loquita said...

My middle son stuck a packet on M&Ms in his jacket's pocket at the checkout line of my local supermarket. When I paid for the groceries and was getting him ready to leave, I dug my hand in his pocket to get his gloves and found the bounty. He said "it just got there". Thank God, the cashier saw it all happen and was very nice to him when he returned it and had to apologize. I gave him the BIG talk on the way back home from the store. He never did anything like that again. It is good to explain them the concept of personal property, stealing, God's commandments, honesty and integrity. They are all big words and concepts but you can drive them right home when you can turn a mistake or lack of judgement into a life lesson.

Kristine said...

my kid took one of the gift cards from the 'gift card store' that hadn't been activated and I didn't see it til we got home. So in a way it was no big deal (piece of plastic) but I FLIPPED on her. Explained how her foster sister stole from a store while on probation and the police put her in juvie. The police do take children away from families for stealing and put them in kid jail if kids don't ever stop stealing!

So once the tears came I was pretty sure she was teachable - so we trounced back to the store and I MADE her tell customer service what she did and say sorry. We were not moving from that spot til she owned up to it. The walmart lady looked like she was about to be nice about it but she looked at my face and I shook my head at her and gave her a grumpy look (as in lady, you let my kid have it!!)

She got the message and told my kid if she EVER stole again she would call the police on her.

Thank heavens for mean walmart ladies!

Problem solved. not one incident since then.

Anonymous said...

When I was a little kid, I was way into crayons and drawing and stuff. On a few occasions, I took crayons from my first grade classroom to add to my collection at home. One day I had one of them in my pocket, walking around at school. I heard a police siren somewhere in the distance, and was convinced I'd been found out.
I ditched the evidence through a hole in a fence, as casually as possible, so I wouldn't be implicated even if it was found. Luckily, no embarrassing parental intervention was needed to put an end to my life of crime.

Steff said...

When I was 6 or 7, the WWJD bracelets were REALLY popular and I wanted one so bad. I lived with my grandparents and my grandma would not buy me one! So one day when we were at JoAnne's Fabric Store, I STOLE ONE. Yes, I stole a What Would Jesus Do bracelet. She found out by the time we got to the car, because I had geniusly put it around my wrist after we walked out of the door...

Cheryl said...

I stole gum from a store when I was younger. My friends Mom picked us up from dance class and took us to the store and we each took a pack of gum and put it in our leotard. Her Mom found out and we had to go back and pay for it and then to extra jobs to pay her Mom the money she paid the store with. I am 39 yrs old and never stole again...there is hope for your child! :)

Megan said...

I was at a pet store with my mom once and I found a pack of cat (or dog) treats that I wanted our pets to have, so I threw them in the cart (they got paid for, but my mom didn't realize what I did until later)

tarichuck said...

No stories yet as mine is 3 and just pitches a fit when she's told we're not getting something. I must say, though, that I'm a little surprised at the number of people who encountered store employees that kept insisting to the child it was no big deal. Really? Obviously all you good parents thought it was or you would have never taken the kids back to confess.

Ok-mini rant over. Kudos to everyone helping to raise responsible kids. Good luck with ending the life of crime Meanest Mom.

Anonymous said...

I worked at Walgreens in college. One day I caught two kids shoplifting. They were 8 and 5. They had made SEVERAL trips in to the store grabbing toys, shoving them in their shirts and then taking them outside, tearing off the packaging and stuffing them in their hidden back packs. I caught them on their last trip. They probably would have gotten away with their crime had the 8 year old not attempted stealing a poster...down one pant leg and across to the other shoulder, a very noticeable lump. We nabbed them, called their grandma AND the police. I had to stand guard over them in the break room until the cops arrived. They were stoic until Granny and the cops arrived, I think they thought we were bluffing...then they both went pale. Turns out they almost got away with over $75 in loot. Let's just say, I think they were hoping the cops would take them away...Their Grandma looked pretty upset! I hope they learned their lesson! :)

Rachel said...

WHen my sister was about six, my sister stole a little toy from the baby-sitter's house. She kept putting her hand in her pocket; she said her hand was cold, but we could TOTALLY see through that lie because there was a big fat bulge in her pocket when she took her hand out. We found the toy and marched her back to the baby-sitter's house.

Sarah said...

One of my sons stole a ring pop from Staples when he was about 5. I didn't know until we got home and I put all 3 children back into the van and made him apologize to the manager. He looked terrified and he still remembers it 3 years later.

My husband caught our 10-year-old trying to put some Pokemon cards up his shirt at Fred Meyer. He told him to put them back and gave him a talking to when we get home, then he made him tell me what happened. He said, "Mom won't be mad." I said, "Oh yes I am mad! You know better than that!" If it were me, I would have made him talk to the manager even though he didn't get away with taking them.

Kay said...

I don't have any stories about my own, but I once saw a 10 year old try to walk out of Target with a toy. The security guard stopped him, took the toy out of his hand and told him when he had money he could but it. She said it very, very nicely and sweetly too. Almost sing-song. I kept thinking 'That kid knows better and he'll be back.' There was almost no lesson. :(

Christine said...

My oldest daughter was 3 or 4 and stole a package of tic tacs from a grocery store, I didn't see it until she had stuffed her mouth full on the way to the car. I marched her back in to customer service, made her tell what she did and apologize. Then, since she had opened the package I went to pay for them and had no money in my purse. I had to write a check for something like 50 cents (this was 20 years ago). This made me even more aggravated with her so she got double the lecture. But, as far as I know she never took anything again.

Samurai Mom said...

All of my kids have done it at least once and one didn't get a visit from Santa one year because it was becoming a habit. Usually it is candy. Unfortunately, sometimes the cashiers don't seem to think it is a big deal. Grr.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to all of the parents who actually care enough to teach their children right/wrong! My daughter is only 2, so we haven't dealt with this (yet).

Last fall I was completely impressed when I went to Walmart and there was a girl, probably 12-14 years old, walking back and forth in front of the store. She was wearing a sandwhich board sign. It read, "I shoplifted. Walmart let me get away with it, but my Daddy didn't."

I filed that idea away, just in case I need it some day. Praying I won't, but it's good to be prepared, right?

thetwistedruffle said...

when my son was about 4 he stole a ring pop from walmart too. i caught him once we got to the car so we went back in and i told him he had to give it back to the gal at the counter and say sorry. he has always been super stubborn and wouldn't do it. we sat on the bench and i said we would wait there until he would do it. a well meaning walmart worker tried to come over and scare him into giving it back by telling him people go to jail...that didn't go well, and he sort of freaked out so we just left. she ruined what could have been a good learning experience!

you're not alone!! don't worry, they mostly turn out okay...

M said...

My son hasn't stolen anything yet (that I'm aware of.) It's only a matter of time.

However, last week he told the neighbor kids that his 3-year old brother was in the hospital because he'd shot a staple gun into his eye and we couldn't get the blood to stop dripping from both eyes. The kids went home and told their mom, who immediately started making us dinner and called her husband at work to alert him of the emergency. Their oldest child came to our door to check on us... and that's when I learned of the lie/fib/brag.

I made my son apologize to our neighbors. She handled it great (better than I did) and talked to him about lying and attention-seeking. My son walked away telling her, "I didn't know I was going to learn a lesson in all this!" My neighbor later told me that after it was all said and done she laughed so hard, and got herself right out of her winter depression.

Meg said...

I let my daughter (4) look at a book in the store while I shopped. I never intended to buy "Princess Comics" but was so distracted by my other baby that I didn't think to put it back. We got to the car and I realized we had "stolen" the book. I was SO exhausted and baby was screaming so I told my daughter we would pay for it next time (bad mom, I know). The funny part is that a couple of months later I did buy a book from a store and my daughter kept saying "did you steal this one or pay for it?" Nice.

Emily in NY said...

In 1999, I was teaching 5th grade in Colorado when a theft problem began to raise its head in the classroom. Nothing huge went missing - pencils, erasers, and school supplies were the most common targets - but then a pair of earrings disappeared from a backpack and the problem seemed to grow larger.

My co-teacher and I had already spoken to the class several times about the thefts, usually trying the I'm-so-disappointed, we're-in-this-together, you're-hurting-your-classmates'-feelings, how-can-we-trust-you approach... but now we I decided to take more drastic measures to get the kids' attention.

Because of the recent Columbine shooting, all of the Denver-area schools had police officers routinely patrolling the parking lots and hallways. We knew "our" officer well - he was a friendly guy who'd stopped by often. My co-teacher and I approached him and told him about the theft issue, asking if he'd come into the classroom and speak with our kids. He agreed, although he didn't tell us just how or when he'd handle the situation...

So, there we were. Mid-afternoon, Friday, usual routine, when suddenly the back door opened and in walked the police officer, in his full uniform. In a great departure from his normal demeaner, he was completely stern as he walked slowly to the front of the room, then turned around and, in his Officer Voice, announced that he understood there was a stealing problem in the classroom. He then proceeded to tell the kids what happens to thieves: they go to jail. And then he proceeded to explain, in fairly detailed language, just how much "fun" jail could be.

Oh. And just as he began speaking, he put his hands on his hips, moving aside his jacket... which oh-so-casually exposed his GUN, sitting right in its holster.

I don't think those kids ever paid more attention to anything that was said in that classroom...

Once the prison description had ended, the officer told the kids that he was confident that nothing would ever go missing in our classroom again. And, although I'm not usually a fan of such blatant scare tactics... He was right. I'd have him back in my classroom again in a heartbeat. ;)

Robin said...

My son stole a tiny bottle of Elmer's Glue and a spool of ribbon from Office Max. We realized what he had done after we left the store and were shopping at another store. We immediately drove back to Office Max and made our son tell the manager what he did and then he had to pay for the items. He was TERRIFIED he was going to jail.

Once we got home, the glue and ribbon sat on the counter, where he could see, for one week, and then he had to watch me throw them in the garbage can.

He then told me that the only reason he took it was because he wanted to make me something pretty.

Yeah, I felt like crap after that!

Goldielox said...

When I worked at WalMart, one of my co-workers came through my line with her boys. One of them was carrying a toy which she told him he couldn't have. Instead of putting it back, he made a mad dash out the front door, running as fast as he could. She had to chase him down and drag him back into the store with the toy.

mpierce said...

I LOVE the dad that made the girl wear the sandwich board in front of Walmart!! That is such a great way to deal with the stealing issue.

We did something similar with my daughter when she was caught stealing from Walmart.

We made her write a sign saying she was a thief and we pinned it on her (one on the front, one on her back) and took her to Walmart and walked around with her for an hour or so. She was humiliated.

I don't know if that stopped her from stealing or not, but I know she remembers it and was humiliated.

I think you have to do SOMETHING in order for the lesson to stick.

I appreciate the parents that take action of some sort. : )

Lisa said...

I was once shopping at Wal-Mart. I had a few things in my hands and threw a backpack that I intended to purchase on my shoulder. I paid for all the stuff in my hands and, when I got to my car, realized I had walked out with the backpack still on my shoulder and hadn't paid for it. I couldn't beleive the cashier didn't even notice and the alarms didn't go off. I went back in and paid for it, though! :)

Arlee said...

Several years ago a neighbor I didn't know approached me several empty Jell-O pudding containers. I cheerily said hi, figuring she must be on a pudding binge. She asked me if I recognized the empty containers. Well of course I do, I said, they are empty pudding containers. Looking at me like I had just fallen off the hay wagon she then asked if I had a little boy named L living there. Why yes, I said, now suspicious that a friendly eating binge was not in our future. My son overheard the conversation and immediately came clean. He and two of his friend had snuck out of our house while we were sleeping and through pudding at my neightbors house. His defense? They never left our yard. They stood in our backyard and threw the pudding across the street at her house. He apologized and offered to clean up. She wouldn't let him mumbling something about him not cleaning it right. That was pretty much the beginning of my son being grounded for most of his Tween years.

Gabrielle Mappone said...

As a teen I went shopping with a neighbor and her toddler in a stroller. We went into a variety of stores including a shoe store. A while later, we went for lunch and went to get the child out of the stroller- and found a shoe tucked behind his back! We went to return it and found it funny a few weeks later!

Anonymous said...

When I was little (and one of four kids in 3.5 years!) my Mom used to take all of us grocery shopping with her. I know....that was her first mistake! Back in the day, Brach's used to have a big bin of candy that you could purchase by the pound and I used to hide out in the corner of the deli and shove my pockets full of those mini Brach's caramels. The sad thing is I never got caught, but I still remember doing it to this day and feel bad about it.

When I was older and in grade school, my Mom told me I couldn't order a book from one of those Scholastic book club order forms they sent you home with from school. I snuck into my parent's bedroom while my Dad was in the shower and lifted $5 from his wallet, secretly filled out the form and turned it in the next day at school. Again, I never got caught and have NO IDEA how my Dad didn't notice cash missing from his wallet and I magically appeared a few days later with a new book. They were none the wiser.

I promise I am a good person and I don't steal now in adulthood, but I was a very sneaky child! I am assuming that whole "Karma" thing is going to get me with my own three. They are only 3, 21 months and due in July so I have a few years before I really have to worry.

Melinda said...

My son recently stole a baggie full of money (coins) used by the special-ed kids at his school to learn how to count money. Yeah. Awesome.
His tearful explanation when confronted by the sweet teacher was that he NEEDED the money, so she assumed we were in financial duress. Um, nope. He "NEEDED" the money for...drum roll please...his mission fund. Yeah, my son stole from special education children so he can serve the Lord someday and teach others about not stealing. Amen.

Audrey Hammer said...

My daughters (now 8 and 6) have always been major kleptos. They have stolen gum, chapstick, and craft ribbon that I know of. At home I have to lock up my gum, chapstick, cough drops, and makeup to keep them out of it.

My friend's little boy stole some nail polish for her -- "I got this for you, Mom!"

Anonymous said...

I am the mom of older children adopted from foster care. Each one is a wonderful blessing to me and I remind myself often that they are children of God. However, the lessons I have learned as I try to deal with their behaviors have nearly driven me over the edge at times! As a child, I was raised with the typical toy/gum/candy theft resulting in a trip to the manager and the item either thrown away or donated to a needy child. As a parent, it's a whole different ballgame! Two of my three were trained to shoplift by their b-mom and I had to step up my game as a "MEANEST MOM!" Consequences went from confession/return to confession/return DOUBLE the price/grounding to ASKING the manager to call the police! My policy for older kids who know better is steal a dollar, replace two (in addition to loss of privileges, etc.) Shame and guilt are not motivators here. We all have to find the thing that works... oh... and another thing we need? BFF's who bring chocolate and listen and don't judge me or my kids who are struggling to learn.