Three decades later, I still have a very vivid memory of the day I learned about shoplifting. My mom was in the checkout line at Acme and I was eye-level with the candy rack and oh man did that Rolo look tasty. So I took it, because that’s what I thought you did. I was wrong and was told so by my horrified mother when I offered her some chocolate a few minutes later. She took me back in, paid for the Rolo and explained to me about shoplifting. I’m just lucky I didn’t pilfer that treat from the Safeway in Everett, Washington.
That’s the store where a 4-year-old little girl ate a couple of dried apricots from a bag of dried fruit. Her dad didn’t notice, but a security guard did.
But rather than take the opportunity to educate the young girl on the whole “you have to pay for things at the store” thing, the security guard decided he would just boot her from the store.
Says the girl’s mom:
He proceeded to tell them, ‘Your daughter stole and she’s banned from the store, and we’re pressing charges. And she needs to sign this form saying she understands she can’t come into any Safeways.
And even though the girl hasn’t mastered the finer points of her ABCs, the guard still made her scribble something on the document.
Once word got to Safeway HQ, the guard was the one who was kicked out of the store.
“Our policies on shoplifting are intended to protect our customers, but built on common sense. And everyone understands what common sense is,” a Safeway rep tells KOMO-TV. “We are as appalled as the parent is. Our division president was absolutely appalled, called the mom and apologized.”
Consumerist reader Max has his own tongue-in-cheek theory about what actually happened: “See, the little girl didn’t have a loyalty card, and management has given security guards a quota for signing people up, so that was what she actually signed.”
Thanks to Max for the tip!