In the Autumn of 2016 I volunteered at a Children’s Charity shop for a couple of weeks in Nottingham. On a memorable Tuesday morning, the shop was really busy. ‘The Charity is doing great’ I thought to myself.
‘Excuse me, do you work here?’ a woman approached me as I was folding a couple of scarfs. ‘Yes I do, how may I help? I replied
‘Well, I know this sounds bad but you see that old lady there with the white bag? I think she’s been putting clothing items in her bag and I doubt she’s going to pay for them. I know it sounds terrible but I thought I’d let you know.’
‘Oh I see, thanks I’ll see what I can do’.
I went on the upper side of the store so I can get a better view and the lady was right. That granny was putting underwear items into her bag.
‘For frick’s sake’..a thought came out..’That granny is nicking panties! From children!’..another followed.
She was an old lady so I didn’t really want to go and confront her.
Luckily, one of the manager was around so I went to her and interrupted her speaking to a customer: ‘Mas, sorry to interrupt but I saw this old lady shoplifting. It’s the one over there with the white bag’ I discreetly pointed towards her. Mas looked at me and nodded as if this had happened previously and she would take care of it as she always does. She went straight in her direction, and started talking to the lady. ‘Great’ I thought, ‘only if she hadn’t gone to the wrong one instead!’ my mind continued,.
I tried to signal that it was the wrong person but it was too late: I saw the Panties Nicker Granny make her way around the shop discreetly going towards the exit. So, as there was nothing left to do, I went and tried to block the entrance. ‘Excuse me. Did you pay for the items in the bag? I think I saw you put some in. The till is that way’ I slightly grinned at her.
‘Oh these? Oh no, these are from another shop’ she laughed nervously as she tried to make her way out of the shop past me.’ ‘Do you mind if I take a look then?’ I asked her on a more assertive tone and grabbed her bag, still grinning though. At that point she knew shit was gonna get down.
‘Take your hands off me!’ she grumbled, as she managed to push me out of her way and started running. Well, running per say, as she was more like wobbling due to her age and size. So I started pursuing her, kind of wobbling as well. So as I was wobbling I realised three key points:
1) She’s an old lady. What was I gonna do? Tackle her? Kick her in the back? Trip her?
2) I was a foreigner chasing an old lady. It would’ve been enough for her to scream and ask for help and I might have gotten bottled in the head in no time
3) She had a tattoo on the back of her neck that said “S.T.E.P.H.E.N” I wonder who that was.
So I ended the pursuit with a lame ‘I’ll report you to the police’ final shout out to her, as I stopped wobbling. ‘Heh, good luck with that!’ she responded as she wobbled across the road. She almost got hit by a bus. I’m glad she didn’t.