Monday, September 1, 2008

Mama's Darling Little THIEF

I have 4 children.

I have dragged these four children into many, many stores - over the years.

I have been to Target.

I have been to Wal-Mart.

I have been to Dillards and Marshalls and Toys R Us.

I have - on an occasion or two - unloaded a child from a shopping cart or stroller - or moved a child from the van to the house - and ...


It's happened.

I've pushed a few shopping carts and toddler strollers ... back into a store or two - to return ... STOLEN toys or candy.

I have.

What about you?

Has this happened with one of your kids?

What do you do?

Do you return the STOLEN toys or candy? Or ... are you On The Flipside and and blow it off (I've done that a time or two, as well)?

Please go over to the sidebar and answer the poll question on this subject.

Poll results: If Your Child Swipes Something From A Store What Do You do? 15 People participated in poll. 13 (86%) said they would immediately return the item. 0 said they would blow it off and go on home. 2 (13%) said they've done both - immediately returned the item and also blown it off and gone on home.


Stella said...

I was just thinking about this the other day. Neither of my kids have taken anything....yet.
I have a feeling it could be any day for my almost 4 year old.

I would definitely be returning it immediately and my son, or my daughter if she took it, would be accepting responsibility for his actions. Doesn't matter what it is. Taking it without paying is wrong on any and all levels, in my opinion.

Ashlee said...

I'm loving that picture. It would be something that just might prevent older kids from having sticky fingers. Imagine the humiliation! :0)
I make my kids take it back. It will teach them a good lesson about right vs. wrong and perhaps keep them from doing it again.

dani said...

ha, kel, when katherine was about 5, she and i returned from a specialty store here in town. i noticed that she was playing with these flat decorative marbles (used for flower aranging). they resembled the mancala marbles her bff will had.
i asked her if he'd given them to her to which she replied, "no."
i asked her several times where she'd gotten them from before she finally fessed up that they'd come from the specialty store.
i was livid. i told her to go get her piggy bank and all the marbles together. back to the store we went.
i knew the lady well that owned the store. i made katherine explain what had happened. "s" started to tell her to keep them but saw that my eyes were about to bug out of my head, HA!!!
she took them and thanked kat for returning them. and, the kicker... i made katherine give her all the pennies she'd been saving to boot. ("s" knew better than to decline at that point;)
as far as i know, that was the LAST time that ever happened again.
that was one of the few times i've had to play "mean mom" with katherine. but it worked!!!

forgetfulone said...

It happened to me when I was a kid! Maybe I was 3 or 4. It was a lollipop. I had to go back in the store and return it and apologize. I never took one again!

Julie said...

Well, none of my kids have ever stolen anything, but if they did, I would march them back into the store and make them return it to customer service and make them apologize.

Are You Serious! said...

♥ I have to return it right away even if I already have the kids all loaded up. Otherwise it would haunt me forever... :)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

My oldest son was about 4 when he took a candy bar, unwrapped it, and started eating it as he was in the cart (we were in the checkout line).

I took it from him, paid for it, and asked them to throw it in the trash. He cried, they looked at me as though I was a monster, but it was the last time it happened.

I have an extremely clear memory of my mom taking me back to the store to pay for and apologize to management for stealing a butterscotch disk out of a bulk bin. I had confessed out of guilt after I ate it. Her strategy sure worked!

Andrea said...

So far my kids haven't done this -- but if they did, I would make them return it every single time (at least I think I would...). They need to know that it is NEVER okay to take something that you didn't pay for, not just some of the time.

Angela said...

We always call if we've made it back home and offer to pay over the phone. But if we're close that kid will learn a lesson and we march back in and apologize.

Angela said...

Yeah if the kids open candy in the check out line, 1. they don't get it, 2. I pay for it, 3. I either toss it in front of them or share it with the other sibling. But the offending child doesn't get any.

Brittany said...

I remember this happening when I was younger, with my little sibs. We always had to return the item, appologize, and then we had some sort of punishment at home. I plan on doing the same with my kids, if (when) the time comes. Even if it's an accident, once you "keep" the item it has been stolen.

rthling said...

One day after leaving Wal-mart, I noticed that both of my kids had something that didn't belong to them. They had taken the spiral bound numbers used for display prices. (They never thought to steal the merchandise, LOL) I took them right back in, straight to the CSM and told them to do whatever it is they do to people who shoplift, short of arresting them and taking them to jail. The lady looked at me as if I was crazy. She said they were too young, and that she couldn't do anything. I asked for the store manager. The manager told me the same thing. I couldn't believe it! They said they appreciated what I was trying to teach my children, but that they couldn't and wouldn't do anything to them if they stole something.
So I left and took them to the city jail house to show them where thieves go when they steal.
Do you believe that the jail was CLOSED for the holiday???
I was trying so hard to teach my kids a BIG lesson, and couldn't get any cooperation.

Dawn said...

It hasn't happened yet but it's bound to at some point. They put that candy right at the kid's level in the checkout stand (makes me mad)! If one of my kids did that I would definitely make them take it back and apologize. I used to work in customer service at a grocery store and it was fairly common for parents of young kids to bring them in to boss always kept a stern face and scared them just enough, even though he was the nicest guy- he knew the importance of the lesson these parents wanted to teach.

Pregnantly Plump said...

Little Elvis isn't at that stage, but I used to drive my mom crazy. I wouldn't steal things of value, but I would pick up all the pins and plastic clippy things that are used to hold button down shirts in place and probably hold other garments as well. She would be so mad when we got home and my pockets were full of plastic bits and pins.

Ellyn said...

My kids haven't taken anything yet but if/when they do, I will deal with it harshly.

I love the picture. I wish more judges dealt with crimes in the manner. I think it is a great way to punish wrong doers and show what will happen to potential wrong doers. It makes people think about the consequences of thier actions.

Sandra Carvalho said...

Always return the stuff back!I don't want them to get the wrong idea.

Brenda said...

Making them take it back is the only way to teach them that taking it in the first place was wrong. When my youngest daughter was 2 she put some rickrack from a sewing shop in her pocket, I heard a crackle in her pocket when I was buckling her into the car. I took her right back in and helped her return it.

Nicki said...

Pufferfish has "stolen" things from stores a few times. Its just cuz she reaches out and grabs things without me noticing. We've gotten home from random places and I've found weird items in the baby's stroller or clutched in her fist. I don't usually return the things if I'm already home when I find them. However, if it was one of the older kids who did it on purpose, or even without realizing it was stealing, I would take the child back to the store and have them return it.

One Scrappy Chicklet said...

I have taken things back in on more than one occasion. My middle son use to add things to the grocery cart when we were not looking also. I would get home and find out that I had paid for cat food (we have never had a cat), prunes (we do not eat prunes), extra boxes of cereal etc

Rosemary Bogdan said...

To my knowledge, this hasn't happened. If it did I think I would make them return it to make the point.

Courtney said...

I have made Taylor return the things herself explaining why and how. She never did it again!

Kami said...

One time I had put a bag of flour on the lowest rack of the shopping cart and forgot to mention it when I went through the checkout. I went back in to pay and the cashier seriously looked at me like I was from Mars.

I recently did it again and didn't bother going back. I forgot to pay though, really.

I don't think my kids have ever grabbed anything without my knowing but now that they are old enough I would probably go back just on principle....

Janet said...

It hasn't happened yet, although one day when we were at Lowe's, I had given my 2-year-old some of those colorful clips to hold onto, and he promptly stuffed them all into his shirt and pants. Fortunately I had counted carefully so I was able to find and pay for them all.
When it does happen, the child will be marched back into the store with the object, pay for it with their own money, and then not be allowed to keep it. And apologize for taking it.

Anonymous said...

One of my kids had been bringing home things he "found" at school. It didn't take me long to figure out they came from the teacher's game supplies. He was driven to school early the next day, made to apologize to the teacher. I am ever-so-grateful that she took it VERY seriously and talked to him about shoplifting and jail. She told him about a student who HAD been arrested at the school. (The incident hadn't happened at school, but it WAS serious, and the parents obtained the principal's permission to have the police come to the school to arrest the kid out of his 5th grade class. It was life-changing, to say the least!!)

I had hoped that would be the end of it for my son. But within a week or two, I noticed he had some beautiful polished stones. He had to confess he had taken them from a shop at the drive-through safari we had visited recently. It was an HOUR from our house. On the very next Saturday, I packed him into the car with all of the pretty rocks and took him back to the gift shop. He had to return them and apologize. The clerk wanted to blow it off and let him have them. I said NO. Then she said he could buy them. I said NO, that would only let him have something he had already stolen. She looked like she thought I was a mean mom.
It took a LONG, LONG time for this child to earn my trust again, and he knew why. Luckily, the lesson has been learned.