Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Thief Among Us

While I was in Spain, the lack of a computer forced me to go out and buy some *gasp* pens and paper.

At the department store's office supply section, I picked up a notebook and put it down immediately, unhappy with the cover. I moved over a foot and looked at a different group of notepads, picking a few of them up, too. As I was doing that, I noticed that one of the saleswomen had been standing at the end of my aisle. She didn't ask me if I needed help, so I assumed she was stocking something. I went to the next aisle to look at the other notebooks. The woman appeared again, this time on the other end. I ignored her and went back to the other aisle. She appeared again. I moved towards the pens.

The saleslady moved to the cash register, which was by the pens, and she was now joined by another saleslady. When I disappeared around a particularly large display, one of them appeared behind me, acting as though the aisle behind me suddenly needed tidying. It did, but so did the rest of the store. Why care all of a sudden? For 15 minutes the women kept shadowing me through their office supply domain. I actually started switching aisles more frequently just to see if they would follow me (they did).

What was I going to do? Grab a handful of erasers and make a run for it? Stash Hello Kitty notebooks in my purse to sell on the office supply black market to some five-year-old HK addicts? Apparently my orange sundress and flip flops gave away my secret identity as Master Office Supply Thief. There's a new criminal in town and she's set on making off with reams of A4, off-white printing paper!

In the end I went to the counter and paid four euros for a green notepad and a set of pens. Disappointment floated around the two women as one begrudgingly rang me up and the other one drifted away. Maybe they thought they were going to be heroes that day, collaring a thief in their midst. Sadly, I turned out to be a simple, upstanding citizen who just needed some alternatives to a computer and the internet.

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