Motherhood: It's full of many new experiences ... but little did I know that shoplifting would be one of them.
Christina Montoya Fiedler: We've all been there: We're out with our toddlers, and suddenly they decide to have a meltdown. Not your everyday meltdown, but the kind that causes wide-eyed stares and gasps. My child chose the busiest day in our local supermarket to have the mother of all meltdowns.
We flew through our list, and at checkout, I scrambled to place our items quickly onto the conveyer belt and get the hell out of this godforsaken place called Ralphs. Maybe through the corner of my eyes, I saw my son playing with a pack of something he pulled off the shelf. Whatever. He stopped screaming, I stopped getting glared at and we were moving, on our way out to the Promised Land ... er, the parking lot and home. Couldn't hurt, right? WRONG.
I paid my bill, shoved the receipt in my pocket and we were off. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The sound was us setting the security alarms off as we exited the premises. I had no idea why, and kept going -- and would have made it if it weren't for the burly security guard who chased us down.
"Ma'am, may I see your bag and receipt?" he asked.
"Sure," I replied. "I can guarantee you'll find nothing."
Only he did find something: eight packages of Duracell batteries, costing a whopping $8.99 each. My little man had pulled a five-finger discount while I wasn't looking. (Or, judging by the number of items, a ten-finger discount). Whoa! I didn't know whether to be horrified ... or impressed at my son's stealth.
The security guard looked at us. "Ma'am," he said, "batteries are expensive, and kid toys take a lot of batteries. Is there a reason why you have so many here that are unpaid for? I'm going to have to call the manager."
Seriously? Did we look dangerous? To my rescue came our checker -- the dear lady who we checked out with nearly every time we came, but only because she gave us a balloon and endless patience. She acted as our character witness and let the security guard know that if any kid was to do this, it would be mine. I quickly agreed with her. (Only later did I question what she actually meant.)
On the ride home, I contemplated what had happened, and smiled. This could only happen to us.
|Christina Montoya Fiedler resides in Los Angeles, Calif., with her husband, Andy, and her son, Joseph. She juggles baby and work from home as a freelance publicist and attributes her strong love for life and sense of humor to her loving familia.|