I was out on my lunch break today (taking a nice looong one, since they’re going to fire me and all, I feel no reason to be punctual about returning to sit at my desk and fume), hanging out at the Barnes and Noble, when I spied something.
I was seated by the window, getting a head start on the book I decided to buy, when I noticed the guy across from me was looking around furtively. And then he pulled a book off a shelf and tucked it into a plastic bag he had produced from his pocket.
I witnessed someone shoplifting!
The store has security guards and police stationed all over the store, especially during the lunch hour, so I slid out of my chair and mosied over to the nearest security guard and said, “I think that guy just stole a book.”
The guard thanked me and strode off to deal with it.
And I was left with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I’m not sure if I did the right thing. Would I have reacted differently if he had been stealing food? What if he had been stealing an ipod? The guy was in the art section of the store – you know, where Time’s Picture of the Year books are displayed – so he wasn’t stealing a resume book or a self-help book. Would that have made a difference?
In addition, while I don't exactly live a life of crime, I have stolen shot glasses from bars while on vacation and I have a pretty large collection of post-its at home courtesy of my employer.
So now, in addition to being in a kitten-kicking mood about work, I’m feeling guilty and hypocritical about reporting a theft.