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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Nothing starts the day like a confrontation with a stranger.

Between dropping the girl at school and going to playgroup with the boy, I stopped at the local grocery store. I probably should have divined that the visit was going to be a strange one after the second person commented on how cute my daughter was. He really does look like a boy. Even when he isn't in his blue snowsuit.

Standing in the cracker aisle I opened up a box of Ritz crackers as part of my strategy to distract the boy and finish up my grocery shopping. An older man walked past me, stopped and turned back towards me.

You shouldn't be doing that, he said. It's illegal to open the food in the store.

What? I asked I always open a box of crackers when I shop. That's how I get my groceries done.

You're shoplifting.

I'm not shoplifting! I always pay for everything.

It's shoplifting if you open it in the store. You could get arrested for that.

I'm not going to get arrested.

The police could arrest you for that.

Are the cops going to come? Are you going to call them?

I could call them.

Bring it on! I said walking away from him. Bring it on!

I finished my shopping, still shocked and enraged about my encounter. When I saw that he was at one of the two open checkouts, the other being the one to eight item check out and not wanting to give the store any other reason to call of the cops on me, I skulked at the back of the store until he was done.


I don't shoplift. At least not until they invent a sleep store. Then I will be buying, or even stealing, sleep by the bucketful.


  1. That's ridiculous... I've totally eaten crackers in the store (and I don't even have a kid to be my excuse!). Sometimes you just have a cracker emergency!

    As long as it's not weight-based and you scan the package at the end, seriously... what's the difference.

    What does rub me the wrong way is people eating grapes in the store which I see all the time. Those you can't pay for later. Unless they're willing to be subject to a weigh-in on the way in and out of the store!

  2. See, now, if you were feeding the kid grapes, or something that is sold by weight, he'd have a point. But crackers? If someone had a problem with it I'm sure one of the cashiers would have mentioned it to you. As it is, I have a hard time believing the police are going to take you down because you found a tactic that lets you shop in peace.

  3. I ALWAYS open something for my little one to eat. I almost always get dirty looks too. I don't care. They obviously don't have young children. If they do, they need to lighten up a bit. =) Keep on being a great mom!

  4. Wow. I think it's something about being out with kids that makes some people think they have the right to spout off that way. I know that your son really had nothing to do with it, except in a peripheral way, but just being with children seems to open us (esp. mothers) up to public scrutiny.

  5. Ya, grouchy old man was wrong. They may not love it if you do it, but it isn't shopping lifting unless you leave the store without paying for it. So don't worry. And I'd have hidden at the back of the store too.

  6. I'd have gotten in line behind or beside and proclaimed loudly. . .and this box of crackers I kindly opened to keep my son happy while i shopped. I'd obviously like to pay for it in full. I was accused of shoplifting by a fellow shopper and I just want to ensure that this is not how I'm viewed.

    Jackass. Honestly. You took nothing you did not pay for. I get so irate at meddlesome people who clearly haven't been in your shoes.

    I haven't commented in a while but just a note to say I read every post! (and take great pleasure in all your fine words!)

  7. hee hee! Would have been frustrating at the time...but what a funny (crazy as a cracker) guy! There should be some kind of citizens arrest you can make for meddling.

    If you had let the boy get antsy and cry while you shopped people would have been judging you for that! You just can't win for trying.

  8. I have let the boy eat a banana in the grocery store. But then I always ask the cashier to weigh one of the bananas twice.

  9. I do that too!! And really I don't notice ppl in the store, I am usually in lala land and always distracted by my kids. You know I have to get dressed when I leave the house, but my husband always says "what cha getting dressed up for"..anyway, he always asked if anyone "checked" me out while I was shopping, I just think it is funny because I just don't NOTICE ppl!! :D Now if someone WERE to say something to me, I am usually always polite...even to cranky ppl, I say, kill 'em with kindness and just walk away!! Who cares what they think anyway!!

  10. seriously? but that is how you shop with any child under the age of 3- it is the only way. you can't bring your own crackers because then they'll make you re-pay for them - sigh - am all huffy and *how dare he* on your behalf.

  11. People are so rude, sheesh! Wish I had a witty come back for you.

  12. Unbelievable. Clearly, that guy was having a pretty bad day. Just sucks that he had to try to pass it on to you.

  13. Ack! I'm glad you stood up to him when he confronted you. Obviously he never had to shop with a toddler. We open crackers, and cookies, and if we are thirsty, we scan the empty bottle at the cash. The cashiers never even notice usually.

    It irks me when strangers feel they can comment on your actions without understanding the context. *nyah-raspberry*

  14. I've done that with my kids. I have to say it irks me though when I see parents giving their kids a banana - that *is* shoplifting, as they are sold by weight, not by the bunch. KWIM?

  15. If opening crackers in the store to subdue a child is illegal, then a myriad of other activities should be too! ie. People taking up the whole aisle while they chat obnoxiously on their cell phones, paying in pennies or arguing over two cents at the cash while there is a huge lineup behind you, parking right in front of the store and putting on your four way lights instead of parking in the parking lot and walking your lazy ass to the store, etc.

  16. Totally ridiculous. The man is from a generation that ignored their children, children were seen and not heard. He never went shopping with children.

    I applaud you for taking your child shopping. There is great life lessons to be taught in the daily chores. I know a lot of moms that refuse to take their kids in a store at all.

    I take all three. We talk about what we are buying, how to prepare food, we "read" the list and talk about healthy vs not so healthy food. We always have a treat after we are done shopping, however when I just had one she constantly snacked through the process.

    You totally did nothing wrong since you paid for the product. I have seen adults without children doing that!

  17. Ridiculous. I do it all the time. It's shoplifting to consume an item you can't pay for because it's sold by weight, and to leave the store with an item without paying for it. As long as it's paid for before you leave it's not shoplifting.

    I have yet to encounter a cashier that gave a rat's rear, as long as you pay for the item at checkout.