Yesterday I was on my way to Target (my weeks are now measured by what day I go to Target, I'm hoping to change that soon), rehearsing my list in my head:
Chai ($3.99 a box instead of $5.49 at the grocery store!)
Cherrios (because Jack is a big boy and is learning how to chew)
Baby Stuff, baby stuff and more baby stuff
Blah, blah, blah
Oh yeah, and mascara
You know how Target is. You go in for one thing that is $4.99 and you walk out with about 16 things and spend $80. I've made it my aim now to just look away from the clothes. I always get sucked in. So I walked in, averted my eyes and walked purposefully toward the baby department.
But what is strategically located cheek to cheek with baby items? Shoes. Specifically black, patent leather, peep-toe stiletto shoes. SO sexy! I did indeed try them on. I justified the detour by remembering that I'm going to be in a wedding in a few weekends and the bride requested that her entourage wear black shoes. Well... what do you know? They have my size!
After not too many more side trips I was walking toward the check out. But just before I surveyed the lines to choose the shortest wait, I remembered that I hadn't grabbed my mascara. So I turned back around and spent another few minutes wandering the cosmetic isles and selecting my lash product.
I then returned to the check out and forked over the cash for the "more than I wanted to spend but I can justify it all" total. Feeling excited about practicing walking in my new heels once I got home I loaded Jack into the car, found seat-space for all of my bags and ... wait... oh no! There is my mascara in the back corner of the cart! Did it just fall out of one of the bags? No, that would be too easy... it never was rung up!
What is a girl to do?
Don't scorn me because I momentarily considered just tossing it in my bag and going on my merry way. Serves Target right for not being more vigilant. Besides, do you have any idea how fatiguing it is to lift and bend and load and unload a 19lb baby from the car for every errand? A body can only take so much. PLUS, I always park in the back of the Target parking lot, next to the cart return so that I can open my door and get Jack out without fear of banging any other cars and then just tuck my cart right into it's safe little parking lot home without abandoning Jack in the car... So I can't just run right in and return it, I would have to TRUDGE... do you hear me, TRUDGE all the way back with baby in tow to hand over a tube of make-up that is only valued at $5.99.
But I couldn't do it. It would have haunted me forever. When Jack got older and asked me if I had ever stolen anything I would have to say, "Yes, a pack of Watermelon Bubblicious gum when I was four and a tube of mascara when I was a grown woman and should have known better!"
So I just stood there in the parking lot looking like an idiot. I kept thinking that maybe someone would just pull right in near me and be heading into Target and I could say, "Excuse me, I accidentally took this without paying for it, could you please take it back in for me?" Then I imagined their face and the implied, "You STOLE this and now are feeling too guilty, and you want me to absolve you of your sin?!" That wasn't a good plan.
I also considered just leaving it in the cart. My strong moral compass also suggested that was just a lazy man's attempt to get out of doing the right thing. If I was going to leave it in the cart I might as well just take it home (which I still really just wished I could do).
But in the end, good-girl won over tired mom and I unloaded Jack and indeed trudged back into the store and simply tossed the package on the nearest unoccupied checkout counter.
I walked out hoping for some surge of pride to lift my spirits and give me a tingle of "I did the right thing and I'm a good person" but no, I just thought, "Stupid morals. I could have had free mascara!"