I Stole from Safeway

A couple days ago I stole from Safeway. Let me preface this. This has been my second week of “working” as a live in care-taker for my dad’s sister’s husband’s dad. Got it? I put working in quotations because, in many ways, it doesn’t feel like work. It definitely feels like work every time I lay down to go to bed and realise how incredibly tired I am, or when I try to read in the afternoon and find my eyes wandering over the pages of my book as I struggle to stay awake. But mostly the things I do fall more under the category of normal life. I wonder sometimes if mothers feel similarly (I don’t presume to say that I come even close to what moms do, but I do sometimes feel that I’m getting a tiny taste). Most of my day is filled with simple things like cooking, shopping, doing laundry, cleaning, being company, and helping to get clothes on and off. I do most of these things for myself anyway— now it’s just a little more and a little different. So, while my time here it’s very different from jobs I’ve had where I come home exhausted from working with tools and lifting all kinds of silly steel things, It still comes with it’s challenges and difficulties of its own. Overall though, it’s been a great experience so far, full of stories and laughs and card games.

So, I stole from Safeway. We went shopping the other day, “Grandpa” and I. And we were going through the list of groceries we needed, with Grandpa pushing the cart to give him something to hold onto, and me reading out labels and prices, since my eyes are still able to do that. While we looked, I saw that Old Spice deodorant was on sale. As a side note, I’ve used lots of other deodorants in my life, but have occasionally had trouble with my skin reacting a little to some (that makes me sound like a sissy). But, Old Spice has always been fine, so rather than figure out what it is that gives me issues, and which kinds I’m okay with, I just stick with Old Spice. And, seeing as I didn’t have a spare, I thought, why not grab an extra while they are on sale? So I did, making sure not to put it in the cart, because Grandpa is very generous and would have insisted on paying for it if he saw it. In this case, a little poor eyesight goes a long way. However, as we went through the store and I soon busied myself with putting fruit and vegetables in bags, the deodorant went into the pocket of my hoody to free-up my hands. And amidst loading the cart, paying for the groceries and going out to the car, taking the cart back, and making sure Grandpa got into the car fine, I completely forgot about the deodorant. So, as we unpacked the groceries back at home, a sinking feeling of guilt, horror and shame come over me when I felt something in the pocket of my hoody, totally forgetting that I had put the deodorant in there. I know it was an accident and could be easily fixed, but I still felt pretty terrible about it. There I was, an unwitting shoplifter at large with my stolen merchandise. Thinking back, I’m a little surprised how easy it was. I wonder if a lot of stuff gets stolen on a regular basis from places like that. Or maybe all the shoplifters get caught — something God spared me from in His compassion for His scatter-brained child.

So to fix the problem, that afternoon I decided to combine my exercise with alleviating my guilt, and went for a run to Safeway, taking a key for the house and five dollars to pay for the deodorant. However, this meant that when I got to Safeway, I was mildly sweaty, wearing exercise clothes while standing in line at a till with one stick of Old Spice deodorant in my hand.

When I go to grocery stores I can’t help but judge people for their shopping. I don’t mean it to be malicious or anything, but I enjoy looking at what kinds of food people get and trying piece together an idea of the kind of person they are and the lifestyle they live. Since “you are what you eat”, I’m really just looking right into their skimmed milk and free-range egged soul. I’m always amazed to see the people that load their carts full of chips and pop, with the occasional box of frozen pizza or something and wonder how these people’s bodies survive. I wonder what their house is like, or what a normal day looks like for them. I can’t help but smile when I see people buy weird health food and then throw in some sweet junk food or something as well. Or the people that buy that cheap, calorie filled whatever in the bakery section or candy aisle — the kind I always see but have never ever bought and always wondered who in the world would pay hard-earned money to eat something like that. Or the lady who picked up a magazine from the shelf (you know, the ones with scantily clad, airbrushed females that promise weight-loss routines and tell you all about what’s going on with Will and Kate, and who’s breaking up with who in the acting world?), to take a quick flip through it’s enlightening pages while she waited in line for the one person in front of her, and then had it scanned to find out the price and, rather than put it back on the shelf when she decided she didn’t want it, handed it to the cashier to deal with later. Silly, silly people.

Anyway, considering all the shopping analysis and judgement that I pour out on the people I see, I couldn’t help but wonder about what people thought of me — standing in line and holding one stick of deodorant. Did they think that I was at home, ran out of deodorant and ran all the way to Safeway just for it? Or did they think that I just decided to go shopping in the middle of a run, which I conveniently had five dollars for, and that all I needed was deodorant? Or maybe they thought I was running, got sweaty, started to smell and essentially had a deodorant emergency that couldn’t even wait until I got home? Whatever people thought, I tried to put my feeling of embarrassment behind me and act as normal as I could buying my one stick of deodorant.

After explaining that I had gone through without paying for it before, I paid the cashier for the it and then handed it back to her. Her “thank you” was forgiveness enough, and I couldn’t help but feel a little lighter with the weight of my crime lifted off me as I stepped out the door and ran off into the parking lot.