The Safest Way

by Nic Olson

Shoplifting is a serious problem. There are people that intentionally steal from a large corporation just to antagonize capitalism. First degree shoplifting. They do it to stick it to the man. The Man.
Play The Man, not the puck.

I worked in a bakery during my grade twelve year, for about six months. Because I went to school, I only worked the closing shift. The nightly tasks included counting every single piece of baking left store wide, marking the amount of each on a graph, and throwing out certain breads, buns and pastries and keeping certain breads, buns and pastries for the Food Bank. Donuts, for example, where thrown out on a daily basis. Flawless, untouched balls of dough covered in sugary toppings were dumped in a garbage bag every night, and that garbage bag was then put in a garbage compactor, to ensure that no single person could enjoy their sweet fillings ever again. Often times I would take single bites out of donuts while I was throwing them out. One night I counted over ninety donuts that needed to be thrown out. I took a bite out of every single one as I dropped them into the garbage. Employees were not allowed to take any home, but I took home about six every evening. Cinnamon buns, strudels, donuts, in paper bags, hid under my father’s old blue winter jacket as I walked out, waving to the boss.

I tried something new yesterday. I’m not especially proud of it, although I am far from ashamed. I was working the night shift. Not the graveyard shift, which has an interesting piece of history behind its name that has to do with the phrase ‘saved by the bell’. The Night Shift. Until nine, selling clothes. Back to school frenzy is over, people have sated their consumerist needs and are shampooing their shoes, hemming their pants and altering their dresses as they cry about the lack of digits in their bank accounts. Therefore, work is slow.

Yesterday, my coworker and I, while playing iPod Touch Price is Right, were craving a croissant, glazed with chocolate icing on it. Lucky for us, the Safeway in our mall baked this very same item. I grabbed some change and left Toby to play games alone. I walked into Safeway via the indoor mall entrance, headed to the bakery which was nearby the entrance. The batch of super croissants had been freed from their glass jailhouse and impending doom in the trash compactor. I took a chocolate dip and honey glaze instead. I bagged them. I walked to the cold drink aisle, grabbed two 99cent Arizona Green Tea Ice Tea with Ginseng and Honey, and headed to the checkout. There were only two checkouts open. And they were both quite full. I waited briefly. I looked to the door, noticing that the regular security guard had vacated his regular position at the mall entrance. I noticed that there was no one working in the deli, right near the doors.
I began walking. I looked around as I pursued the doors, noticing no Safeway employees anywhere nearby. As the exit grew larger, my face got hotter. My chronic heartburn flared up one hundred degrees with each step. Things got hazy, Safeway started spinning, and I was more terrified than I have ever been. I stepped onto the white and black tile of the mall floor, made a straight line for the out doors, and speedily strolled to my store. My face began to drain of its vibrant red criminal colour, and my heartburn stayed the same. I entered my store, shared the story and the goods, ate my food as fast as I could and laughed.

I shoplifted. The total cost of the goods may have been less than four dollars, but I paid nothing. They were going to throw out those donuts in forty five minutes. They weren’t that good. And after eating the sugared ball of dough, my Arizona Green Tea didn’t taste as sweet as it should have.
Or maybe that was the taste of guilt.

I have never done this before. I’ve never had the urge, or the need to do it. The first time I legitimately shoplifted was when I was twenty years old. I felt like it was something I needed to do before I died/before I turned twenty one. Something that I needed to do for myself. I needed to see if I had the character, the audacity, the gallantry to perform a cowardly act.
I did. I learned. I am the same as I was before. Except more badass.
This is my personal development. Thank you for being a part of my personal growth.