In Which Ms. Bean Is An Accessory After The Fact, Maybe

TECHNICALLY I am guilty.

That’s what Zen-Den, Esq, tells me.

That by not reporting what I saw to the authorities I aided in, but was not an accomplice with, someone who stole something;  that I am an accessory after the fact.

Well, so be it, says I.

Sometimes the entertainment value of not doing what you’re supposed to do is worth risking the wrath of the law.  As if this situation would ever involve the police.

You see, I was in the Self-Scan lane at the grocery checking out when I noticed a mother with a baby and a 5 y.o. boy.  The Mom was showing/supervising/focusing on Young Boy as he learned how to use the scanner.

🛒 → 😇 → 👶 ← 😇←🛒

MEANWHILE Baby Brother was sitting like a sweet angelic cherub in the seat part of the basket cart.

Mom had placed on the basket cart one of those quilted blanket-y thingies that attach to the seat part of the cart so that the baby never touches the basket cart itself.  [I have no idea what to call those things.]

Baby Brother, after looking at Mom to make sure she wasn’t paying attention to him, in a calculated and deliberate move, used his pudgy little paw to grab a toothbrush from the basket part of the cart.

I’m assuming that Mom had put the toothbrush in the cart as she was shopping in the store, planning on buying the toothbrush.

🛒→ 😁 → 👶 ← 😁 ←🛒

HOWEVER Baby Brother with the sticky fingers was planning to do something different.

His plan involved him hiding the toothbrush, where no one would see it, in front of himself in the folds of the puffy fabric that surrounded him.

Mine, mine, mine, his smile said!

This was a brazen theft right under everyone’s nose, except me who happened to see what Baby Brother swiped.  I could have, of course, squealed on him to Mr. Man who was in charge of the Self-Scan lane, but I chose not to.

And I cannot for sure say that Mom didn’t find & pay for the toothbrush before she left the store because I was out the door long before she and Young Boy finished scanning their purchases.

But I can say that I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard leaving a grocery store, my cart filled with items, legally purchased, and my heart filled with the joy that comes from watching babies do what babies do.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

64 thoughts on “In Which Ms. Bean Is An Accessory After The Fact, Maybe”

  1. I remember watching a little girl slip a candy bar up her coat sleeve while her mother was unloading the shopping cart and not paying attention. I’ll never forget the look on her face like she was saying, “I dare you to tell my mommy.”

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  2. That baby had no taste. Really? A toothbrush? What about a chocolate bar or a cookie? I usually see kids in carts munching on a bagel or something tasty. Never a toothbrush. You may be right and that’s all he could snag. Still…make it worth the crime!

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    1. Kate, I’m guessing that the toothbrush was all he could reach and that for him the joy was in grabbing something behind Mom’s back. He didn’t look like he was hungry, more like he was sneaky [in a baby way].

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  3. The first commenter is correct about some really corrupt parents deliberately using their children to help them shoplift. If they get caught…. well, of course it was just their kid being naughty and they’ll be sure it never happens again! Uh huh. Though even my overly cynical self thinks that wasn’t the case here… a toothbrush barely counts as petty theft. Unless you add it to all the candy that was probably in the little boy’s pockets…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I’m sure you’re right about parents using kids as a way of stealing things. In this situation Mom didn’t see Baby Boy take the toothbrush and hide it, so I don’t think it was anything criminal. As for candy in his pockets… I don’t think so because I doubt that his clothes had pockets in them! But who knows, eh?

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    1. L. Marie, sometimes I think I could write a whole blog about what I see going on at the grocery. I’m not sure that directing a stare of disapproval at Baby Boy would have had any effect. He was definitely in his own little sneaky world. So cute.

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  4. A teeny tiny Jean Valjean… who needed a toothbrush as much as Valjean needed bread… for all we know, ya know. 🙂 I once almost walked out of a story with a teeny tiny gift card (remember when people attached teeny tiny cards to gifts? Twas a thing in the 80s. I was small, though, and, for some reason, thought they were free. The man at the store got so mad, but my mom was like, “She’s a kid. She didn’t know what she was doing.” Babies… silly babies!

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    1. Tara, I remember those little gift cards. They were so cute it’s not surprising that your little self innocently took one. As for why Baby Boy needed a toothbrush I could not say, but he was the epitome of glee once he had it hidden away. I almost wanted to congratulate him on a caper, well done.

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  5. Cute story. You are so observant. I don’t use the self-check out lines because I am too afraid of hackers doing something to the machines when no one is around and getting my credit info. Call me paranoid but it’s happened to me once already with one of those machines that sit on the tables in a restaurant and a while ago it was reported that there was some hacking at our local Lucky store. That’s a whole different kind of theft! Just hope that baby doesn’t turn out to be a master criminal because no one stopped him when they should have 🙂

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    1. Janet, I’ve not heard about hackers using self-checkouts to get info. I have no doubt it could happen. I’ve never used those little machines that sit on the table in the restaurants. There aren’t too many restaurants around here that offer them, but I’ll be wary if I do use one. I agree, I hope Baby Boy learns right from wrong before he goes on a toothbrush stealing crime spree!

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  6. I often wonder how much actual theft occurs in those self checkout lines. My husband saw someone gather up his stuff and walk out without paying. I guess the salaries they saved by firing the checkers makes up for any loses. The rule follower in me might have said something to the mother. The rule breaker would have enjoyed watching the little boy do his thing.

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    1. Janis, I wonder that, too. It’d be so easy to steal things right in front of the cashier in charge of the area when that person was busy with another shopper. I can’t explain the logic behind those self-checkout aisles, but there must be some. If Baby Boy was older I’d have said something to Mom, but he was too young to really know he’d committed a crime, imho.

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  7. Cute anecdote, Ally. I’m going to have to start paying more attention to what goes on at the grocery store, obviously!
    Probably observing something like this is how Dickens got the idea for Oliver Twist – ya know, at the self-checkout lane in ye olde Dickensian Super Centre. 😉

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  8. I hope she did see it because something like that has happened to me once I was already unloading groceries into the car. Then I had to get the kids back out of the car and go back inside to pay for said item. It was a hassle. Once, the dad in line behind me pointed out that a can was hiding under the carseat in the cart. I was so grateful. He said, I’d hate for you to have to come back in again. I’ve been there. I said, yep, me too, thank you so much. But then again, this mom might’ve just thought, ah, screw it. it’s only a toothbrush. Either way, glad you got a good laugh from it all. 🙂

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    1. Betsy, I hope she found it too– but I wouldn’t be surprised if the toothbrush went home with them… for the very reasons you mention. If it were me out there in the parking lot with two kids, I’d take the toothbrush home. Then when shopping again with both kids in tow, I’d make a big deal about taking the toothbrush to the Service Desk where I’d explain what happened + pay for it. Do the right thing, just later.

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  9. OMG Ally Bean, I was just trying to reply to your comment on my Eureka! post, my finger slipped and suddenly it was gone…perhaps forever!! How appropriate that something would happen when trying to reply to a technology related post. No idea what I did or if it will return, but… I was saying that I would typically write instructions down but did not want to look ridiculous in front of the young staff who have no idea what older women deal with when it comes to memory! I told myself to try a practice look-up next weekend when I go back, just to see what I remember and to give myself the opportunity to WRITE STUFF DOWN.

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  10. Glad there wasn’t one of those ‘theft alert’ scanners betwixt the check out and the outside…..the alarm might have put off the little fellow from ever touching another thing that wasn’t his…besides deafening him. And Mom, being honestly indignant that they stopped her and frisked her for ‘stolen items.’ That kid might never have recovered….

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    1. Melanie, I never thought of those theft alert thingies! You’re right about what could have happened. To me the scene seemed so sweet and predictable. I suppose that I need to up my cynicism quotient, don’t I? 😊

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    1. Margaret, those basket cart blanket thingies are popular around here, but I wouldn’t know where you get them. The little guy sitting in this one looked comfy enough, I’ll tell you that.

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    1. joey, thank you for knowing what those thingies are called. I see them around and they look cute and clean, which I suppose is the idea. What is not the idea, I’m a’reckoning, is that they are a meant to be a good place for a baby to hide stolen property. 😊

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