Christmas Karma

| Working | December 23, 2016

(I am doing some Christmas shopping for my family. I decide to go into the high end store and pick up some very nice items. I work at a local juvenile detention “Boot Camp” as a drill sergeant. Since I’ve just gotten off duty, I am still dressed in my work uniform, which consists of a pair of camo pants, combat boots, and a comfortable shirt under my old jacket. I probably don’t look like I really belong in the store. Wandering around a bit, I find myself having the distinct impression I am being followed. This one employee seems to be always fixing a rack or something every time I stop. Eventually coming to the purses, I pause to pick up a couple to compare and try to figure out what my mother would like. Picking the right purse for my mom, I wander a bit further looking for a place to check out. About halfway through this wandering, I hear someone say “Excuse me, sir?” Looking back I see it’s the lady.)

Me: “You can check me out? I’d like to get this.”

Woman: “You can’t afford that.”

Me: “Huh? What makes you think that? I’d like to buy it for my mom for Christmas and—”

Woman: *snatching the purse from my hand* “That’s a likely story. You probably want to steal this and sell it for some crack.”

Me: “Lady, you don’t know me; I’ll give you that. However, don’t judge a person by how they dress.”

(She ignores me and wanders back to the purses area while I follow. At this point a gentleman in a suit steps up.)

Manager: “Is there a problem?”

Me: “Putting it mildly. Are you a manager?”

Manager: “I am.”

Woman: “This bum was trying to steal this [expensive] purse!”

Me: “No, I wanted to pay for it. You know, with money?”

Manager: “Sir, looking at you, I can see that you couldn’t afford this. It’s probably best you leave.”

Me: “Looking at me? What, because I’ve got military clothing on?”

Manager: “Sir, are you in the military?”

Me: “No.”

Manager: “Then you shouldn’t be wearing that. Would you like me to call the police?”

Me: “Call them if you want. I couldn’t care less.”

(The manager then asks me rather politely to come with him, as security escorts me to the back room. I camp out and wait while the guy gives me this rant about how homeless people like me think we can get away with anything, and how he WILL be pressing charges. After five or six minutes, a couple officers come into the room. They look at me, and then back to the manager, and back to me.)

Officer: “Hey, Sarge, what’s up?”

(At this point the manager speaks up.)

Manager: “This homeless person was casing the store and trying to shoplift a five hundred dollar purse. I want him arrested!”

Officer: “Homeless? Uh, Sarge, are you homeless?”

Me: “Not last time I checked.”

Manager: “I want him charged; he’s impersonating a member of the military, too! That’s Stolen Valor!”

Officer: “Sir, you need to really calm down. What makes you think the Sarge here was trying to shoplift?”

Manager: “Because he’s homeless! Why do you keep insisting on calling this bum ‘Sarge’?”

Officer: “Because he’s my boss.”

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