Saturday, October 20, 2007

I am a "Role-Model"

This past week I did something that I am not proud of. However, it seems that on occasion in life there are simply things that you cannot predict. Apparently shoplifting is one of them.

Wednesday was another wet, miserable fall afternoon in our fair town. I spent about 20 minutes walking around in the rain going from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for a place to get my prenatal vitamins because my regular place was out. After finally locating them, I went to the grocery store to buy a few things. All I wanted to do was get some things to bake a cake for an English class I had the next day. Nothing more, nothing less.

I went to the check-out counter. As the cashier scanned my wares, I was putting my items in the plastic bag that I also wanted to purchase. (Note: In Germany you must either bring your own bags with you or buy them at the check-out.) As an impulse buy I had thrown a candy bar on the counter in hopes that the chocolate would lighten my mood, even if it does not lighten my weight.

My total was around 7 Euros. I pulled out my debit card and continued to pack up my items.

Lady at the Register: Oh, no! You can only use debit cards for purchases over 10 Euro.

Claire: Yes, but I don't have any cash.

Lady at the Register: Then buy something else.

Claire: But I don't need anything else. I just need this.

She stared at me. I stared at her. I was mortified. There was a line forming behind me. It was clear that I would have to leave everything there. I shoved everything towards her and kept mumbling, "I'm so sorry," as I tried the leave the store as quickly as possible.

Half way down the street I realized that I had accidentally put the candy bar in my purse and had not given it back to the lady at the register. I stopped in the middle of the street and stood in the rain and tried to decide what to do. Which is more humiliating, accidentally stealing a candy bar or going back to admit that you stole it?

I told the German the story when I got that home that evening. With a totally straight face, he looked at me and said, "You are a thief!" My mortification doubled. Then he started laughing. "What did you do with the candy bar?"

"I ate it. I figured that after all that trouble I deserved a bit of sugar." He laughed even harder. "I guess I will never be going to that store again," I said.

After reading this story, you might think that I need of a vacation. You would be correct. Which is why I am happy to report that I am writing this from . . . Motown! That's right; the German and I travelled to the U.S. yesterday and are going to spend the next two weeks doing absolutely nothing.

Our flight was okay but a little bumpy over Canada. However, when we landed in the U.S. two strange things happened. First, at passport control they looked over the German's passport and then mine. They asked the normal questions: where are you going, how long will you stay, why are the two of you together if you have different last names. Then the agent asked me if I had ever lived in Philadelphia. I was completely shocked. "Um, no." The agent then sent us to another line where a very intimidating man wearing a gun asked a few more questions and punched a lot of information into the computer. Then they let us go on. It all only took about 5 minutes, but was very weird.

German: What was that about?

Claire: I have absolutely no idea.

Then, for the first time ever, we were stopped at customs. They did not look in our bags but they did x-ray them. The agent asked, "Are you sure you don't have any tobacco or alcohol products with you?" I wanted to say, "Dude, I am 6 months pregnant, why would I have that stuff with me?" However, the one thing that I have learned from all of my international travelling is that you should NEVER make jokes at immigration or customs. I just looked at him as seriously as possible and said, "No, sir." Then they let us go on.

German: What was that about?

Claire: I have absolutely no idea.

The German turned to me and smirked. "Maybe they know that you steal candy bars."


Maria said...

You steal candy bars? LOL! I don't know that I would have gone back either. And I might have played the pregnant card to see if I couldn't make that lady feel bad too!

Hugs, and enjoy the US!

Juanita said...

The German is funny! Hope you have a great time in Motown.

Carol said...

In most cases I'd bring the candy bar back, but in this case I wouldn't. Why? I dunno, but I agree that at that point, you deserved it!

Glad that you're in the US; wish you could visit Seattle!

I know you feel big and yukky, but some of us would love to see a photo of you as a glowing pregnant mommy!


C N Heidelberg said...

I accidentally shoplifted once too! I still feel guilty about it to this day. I'm glad at least one other person can understand how accidental shoplifting can be possible :)

J said...

Glad you guy have a chance to get away from it all before the baby arrives.

My bags were xrayed when I flew into Miami 3 years ago, but I was a single male travelling alone - not a preg woman travelling with her hubby. How odd.

ann said...

thanks for the chuckle. your german is a hoot! i didn't write quickly enough to offer you support - but nothing like a trip home to do that!

(if there is a pang or two about the candy) pitch an extra euro in the next charitable collection of your choice and call it good.

have a great trip!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

OMG...I am rolling with laughter! Thanks for's a great story!

Eimear said...

That is hillarious.....Bet it made you laugh too. The German's humor is priceless.
Hope you are having a wonderful time.

Gardner said...

I stole a spoon, a real metal spoon once, and probably led my son (a 2 year old at the time) into a life of crime. I can't remember if I took it back, since we didn't go to that restaurant very often.

The German d.h. is a funny guy. They heard about the shoplifting. That's a riot.

Roam2Rome said...

Just found your blog and this story had me absolutely laughing! loved it :)

Lynda said...


......That is just the smartar*se remark my German would make. Great story. Don't feel bad, I once shoplifted a reel of cotton when living outside Munich, just forgot it was in the shopping bag until I got home... I have felt mortified about it for nearly 20 years now!!