Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Monday, 27 August 2012

Press charges or not - that was my choice yesterday

So  this week-end was busy and full of activity - I ran 45km! So by Sunday afternoon a nap sounded like a great idea. Instead grocery shopping was on the agenda. So off we went on our way home from the Blisters for Bread Race (which had been followed by a gym session). Griff was so exhausted he opted to stay and sleep in the car - I would have joined him if I could.

So Quinn and I did the shopping in a more or less zombie state, planning to make tea, bath and chill for the evening as soon as the shopping and unpack and settle into home mission was over. We couldn't wait...

So we get to the till to pay. Quinn asked me whether I wanted to cash in my Smart Shopper points. Good idea, so I send him off to do that. He comes back with the slip. So I hand my Smart Shopper Card and Discovery Credit Card (for Vitality Health Benefit points) to the cashier. He swiped both and put them up on his screen. We then showed him the Smart Shopper credit and he told me that was just a balance check and we actually have to convert the points and would need my ID for that. So he gives me back my Smart Shopper card and off I go to the machine to get the actual Credit Slip I need. Being a bit brain dead at the time this was more difficult and challenging than it should have been. I go back the dude, and he finished ringing the stuff up. 

I then gave him my Go Banking Card to pay with because I wanted to draw some cash. I reminded him to claim my Smart Shopper voucher - he'd 'forgotten'. So he does this. Gets all confused - so I end up half climbing over the counter and sitting on his counter to see the screen and help him troubleshoot the issue. At which point I got to read the script they have there, including the 'H.O.T' reminder of 'Hello, Offer Help , Thank-You'.. He was banging the screen, but there was a clear message saying 'WAIT' with a second count-down, 15, 14, 13... I told him to stop banging and let the countdown finish. I was VERY nice and friendly and joking with him. Even though he was rather gormless. I told him to call the supervisor but he said no he knew what to do. Quinn and I were joking around and being playful. I then sent Quinn off with the trolley while I finished drawing my cash and paying and off I went. As I left I said 'Remember to be HOT!' He said, in a Steven Wright dead-pan way 'I always remember to be HOT'. So all really cool up till then.

Anyway off we go on our merry way home. Get home and start the big unpack mission, cleaned the pool, fed the pets etc etc. We were doing great but then the SMSs started. They were from my Bank saying 'Incorrect PIN used' and there were about 7 of these 10 seconds apart until it said BLOCKED. I checked my bag. My Discovery card was not there. I realised I had never gotten it back. FUCK!

Jumped in my car and headed back to P'nP. Phoned the bank on the way and cancelled the card. As luck would have it I transferred money into it just a few days ago, so it had cash in it! Nooo!

So I get to P'nP run in and go to the till. He is gone. I ask where he is and am told, 'on Tea'. Great. So I find a supervisor tell her my Credit Card has been stolen. She took me straight through to the Security office. The whole time I am thinking it must be a mistake. I mean this dude was young and sweet looking. 

Anyway security were very helpful and efficient and started going through the video footage of his till. While management went looking for him. He was MIA - was meant to be on tea for 10 mins but ducked for over 30 mins. Soon we find my transaction on camera. It clearly shows me handing over 2 cards, him swiping both and putting them in front of him. He then gives me ONE card back, the Smart Shopper one, which I then use to get the Voucher. I then give him my OTHER card to pay and draw cash, so he never gives me the Discovery Card back. Also when I sit up on counter and view the screen, I didn't see it though, so it had been moved to UNDER the screen. I still want to believe the guy is innocent though...  Management come talk to me and tell me no card has been handed in sorry.

Then we carry on watching and see that 15 mins after I was there he closes his till, to go on Tea. You see him finish his last customer, she walks away and then he slips his hand under his screen, yawns dramatically, and then stretches and puts his hand in his pocket. BINGO! No way though. I couldn't believe it. I really didn't want him to have been the one, or for it to have been deliberate! Damn.

Management have now found him and taken him into the back room. They come through with my Credit Card, telling me they found it in his pocket. He insisted he DIDN'T have it, but they searched him and hey presto he DID have it. So they tell me I must decide if I want to call the police and press charges. I opted to go see him as a first step. 

So in I go and there he is young and wide eyed, evasive and quiet. Eyes downcast.

I ask him if he stole my card. 'No'. 
I ask him if he took it on purpose, 'No'. 
I ask him if he was just taking a chance, 'No'.

So how did he get it? 'The cashier picked it up, it was on the floor'
But now HE has it? 'He was going to hand it in'
But it was in his pocket 'Yes but he was going to take it to hand it in'
Did he use it? 'No'

So now I am getting annoyed. I tell him, look I actually KNOW what's happened, I have the evidence, I have SEEN the video and have phone messages so I KNOW exactly what went down, but I want HIM to tell me what he did. He then says he just wanted to check the balance.

By this stage the managers want to kick his head in. They are livid because their staff are actually and usually very good and this makes them look bad. This guy was a temp from an agency and this was his first day there. He is 16. 

I told him his honesty and integrity is seriously questionable and if he learns nothing else he should learn that:
1) When you cause shit and make bad decisions you OWN it and face the consequences and man-up to it. You can not lie or dodge, especially after you have been caught. and 
2) Honesty and integrity are vital, you are going to have situations in life where you can take a gap and you need to decide what the right choice is and if you are going to make the wrong choice, is it really worth it!?

Is it worth a criminal record? Is it worth jeopardising and changing the entire course of your future for?

He swore he didn't get any money out of my card (so far that seems true). But he certainly tried.

I then told him that he also need to think about the further consequences, if he steals from someone how is he impacting on THEIR lives? What if that person can't eat for the rest of the month now...?

I told him I was in 2 minds about getting the police involved.

On the one hand I was annoyed with him and the inconvenience he was causing to me, the management, the security (who were due to go home already). I told him I frankly didn't want to waste more people's time on him. I also told him that at 16 I didn't want him ruining his life and having a criminal record over something so stupid.

But at the same time I thought he needed a fright, he needs a wake up call and to realise that he can't get away with stuff like that. If he walks away from this and thinks it is easy he'll just keep going and get himself deeper into shit down the line.

I told him I was disappointed and as as single mom my worst fear is that my boys (one of whom he met) will end up like him. I just hope they don't.

He told me he was sorry and he won't do it again. I told him I don't actually believe him, but good luck and get some honesty and integrity and learn to man-up. Or become a useless good-for-nothing skelm. The choice is now his.

So now my card is cancelled and I have to pay to get a new one. But at least it doesn't look like any money was stolen, and MAJOR lesson for me is to pay more attention and not get distracted when I am paying and to MAKE SURE I have all my cards back.

I am fairly sure he saw the gap with me and took it, which is sad because it indicates intent rather than pure opportunism. He was also searched again while I was there and he had a Smart Shopper card, which he insisted was his. With about R130 credit on it. I told management he could well keep it on the side and swipe it every time a customer doesn't have their own and then he can earn there points. Clever and very devious. They were NOT AMUSED. They said they'd make sure he is dismissed and will never work at P'nP again.
So all in a all a fun way to spend a Sunday evening, when all I wanted was a nap!

What would you have done? Was I too soft on him, or did I handle it right??


  1. I dunno... this is a tough one. You do not want a 16 year old making a VERY stupid mistake to sit with a life long record, but at the same time the calculated way he did it, just annoys me.

  2. Wow, this is tough . I would have certainly insisted on his parents being called in as he is only 16.