Small Criminal…

I’ve always liked to think of myself as being a relatively generous and honest person, so when I found myself last week, being detained in Boots on suspicion of credit card fraud (ok it wasn’t quite as sinister as that sounds, but until it was resolved, neither my credit card or I were allowed to go anywhere!) I was slightly uneasy about the whole thing! Luckily I was found to be perfectly innocent, and in retrospect, I have to hand it to MBNA because they were very quick on the uptake and had I been unlucky enough to have been a victim, they would have put a stop to it straight away.

It turns out though, that I’m clearly not as charitable as I thought I was, because it was a donation to Cancer Research UK through Harry Moseley’s (a hugely brave boy who tragically lost his fight against brain cancer aged 11) website that put the fraud people onto me. Apparently this donation was hugely ‘uncharacteristic’ of me, which doesn’t make me proud.

Despite this, you may have realised if you’ve read my blog before, and the title of this post, that I haven’t got to the point yet. The fact was, I wasn’t in Boots alone, I also had my daughter with me. Never deliberate over which anti wrinkle cream to purchase with a four year old in tow, unless you’re prepared for comments such as:

“But Mummy, the wrinkles on your face aren’t as bad as the wrinkles on your tummy.” or

“Mummy, that lady over there needs some as well!” at a volume slightly too loud for comfort!

By the time the credit card saga had been sorted, we’d been in the shop for well over an hour, and this is where I get to the point! As far as I was concerned, given the circumstances, she’d been fantastically behaved, so I bent down and told her so, and mentioned that I thought perhaps she deserved a little treat for her efforts. I wasn’t expecting cries of delight or grateful embraces, not even a cuddle, kiss or thank you. However I also wasn’t expecting the response I got…

“Mummy, I was thinking I’d been good too, and I thought you might say I should have a treat too – so I had a Kinder Egg!”

Cue an incredibly chocolatey hand emerging from her pocket! My little pickle had helped herself to a reward in advance while I was on the phone! So now, not only was I emerging as an uncharitable fraudster, I also had a shoplifting daughter. A far cry from the professional secondary school teacher that I was only 8 weeks ago!

I was caught totally off guard and didn’t know how to deal with it at all. Obviously I had to pay for it because it was working its way through her digestive system by the time I realised, but it was how to speak to her and what to say.

I remember as a child, helping myself to a few of the penny sweets that were on the counter, and my Mum dragging me back into the shop to return them and apologise to the lady, but I was older, probably twice my daughter’s age, and she wasn’t consciously deciding to shoplift, aged 4. In the end she said sorry to the lady for not asking if she could take it, and when we got outside the shop, we had a conversation about how she would feel if somebody took something of her’s without asking. She then asked me if a policeman was going to come and tell her off too! I think she learnt her lesson and understood how wrong she was, but what do you do in that situation? Is there a ‘right’ way to deal with it, or is it just another one of those learning curves for parent and child?! I just hope this isn’t a skill she tries to pass on to her brother, because given his current eating habits, I’m not convinced he’ll be able to deny it quite so effectively:

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. The Boy and Me (@TheBoyandMe)
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 16:31:38

    Oh my word, that’s classic! I think you handled it perfectly, exactly how it should have been handled!


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