Unfiltered Story #207081

, , , | Unfiltered | September 1, 2020

I work in the electronics department of a major big-box retailer. We’ve had a string of successful and attempted thefts recently, frequently involving backpacks and other bags, leading management to push us to be more vigilant. While making my rounds of the department, I see a woman placing a small package in her purse. For emphasis, this is in a department full of small packages with high values. Even though I can’t see what the package is, the color of it is quite similar to one of the store’s in-house brands.
Me: “Excuse me ma’am, what was that you just put in your purse?”
Woman: “It was just my cigarettes.”
At this point, considering I have no real evidence, I’m prepared to back off.
Me: “I’m sorry, it just looked like something else from where I was standing.”
Woman: “Do you want to look in my purse?”
At this point, I’m under the impression that she’s making the offer in an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding, so I lean forward to see inside the purse that she has opened and held out in front of her. I can clearly see a pack of cigarettes on top of the items in her purse. At this point, I apologize for the misunderstanding again as I straighten up, ready to forget that anything had ever happened. Clearly, I was the only one thinking along those lines…
Woman: “I want to speak to your manager right away.”
Me: “Sure, not a problem.”
I then walk away to put out a page for any available member of management to come to the department, first over our walkie-talkies, and then multiple times over our intercom. During the ten to fifteen minutes it took for a member of our over-extended management team to show up, I continue helping other customers in the department while she stands glaring at me and talking on her cell phone to who I assume from the bits of conversation I overhear to be her husband. As the minutes pass, I can hear her making increasingly blatant exaggerations, including that I accused her of stealing and demanded to search her purse. When a manager finally arrives, she makes a bee-line for him while I am busy ringing through another customer. I hang back and listen quietly while she tells him the same inflated story she had given during her phone call. My manager then asks me to come with him and leads me down to the end of an aisle so he can hear my side of the story. I’m in the middle of telling him when the woman comes around the corner from the next aisle over and launches into a rant about how she’s never been so offended in her life, that I (again) accused her of theft and demanded to search her purse, and informing us that she would be contacting a lawyer while demanding that my manager give her my personal contact information. Any attempt to interject or defuse her by either of us is immediately shouted down until my manager decides that he and the woman would need to continue the conversation on their own at the front of the building. The woman takes this moment to exclaim that her husband (who, may I remind you, was not present for any of the events leading up to this) will be joining them, and that was the last I saw of her. My manager eventually came back to get my side of the story in a more sedate environment, and that was the last I’ve heard of it. But I’m also writing this on the same day it happened, so who knows if that’s the last I’ve seen of her particular brand of crazy?