I still can’t believe it

I have never been accused of being a thief before.  This whole incident is still draining my line of thought.  But I will start at the beginning of my story…

So, my mom and I went to a local store (on Sunday of this week) that we visit occasionally to see if they have her necessary herbal tea in stock.  We went around the store, sampling some samples that the associates in the store had on display.  Perfectly legal.  And this store isn’t small; it is like a supermarket, with food and cosmetics.  Well, the tea wasn’t in stock.  After trying a few more samples, we decided to be on our way and exited the store.  After a momentary contemplation in our car in the parking lot, we were about to leave but we saw outside my mom’s window an associate trying to get our attention.  My mom lowered her window.  The cashier asked us if everything is all right.  My mom replied, “Yes.  Why do you ask?”  He slowly responded, “Well, we noticed that you came here earlier [we came around 8 a.m., which was an hour after the store opens its doors to customers; we left around 8:45 a.m.], and we were wondering if you left the store with a product without paying for it?”

All right.  Let’s freeze this moment for a second (figuratively).  My mom and I would NEVER EVER STEAL ANYTHING FROM ANYONE.  We only brought some samples with us to the car, and from the way that some of the employees in the store were eying us, it was evident that they already knew that we didn’t take anything from the store.  Why didn’t any of them have the guts to ask us that directly in the store in the presence of other customers?  To spare us public humiliation?  I don’t think so.  They already humiliated us by even daring to ask us such a question without any proof or witnesses, and by almost forcing us to a search and seizure of our car (which is against the Constitution).  Now, to continue…

My mom said, “We only have some samples,” while showing him the papers holding some pieces of bread and cookies (and I following her lead).  He stared for a while through our car windows and then said, “Okay.”  My mother, suddenly understanding the depth of what he had just accused us of, retorted, “WE do not steal.  You should go after those who do; there are many of them in Fresno.”  He laughed and said, “Believe me.  There are.”  With that he left, without so much as an apology or explanation.  He had not even introduced himself as an employee of the store, so who were we to know who he really was?

I was hurt and humiliated, as was my mom.  We had just been falsely accused of stealing.  And we had been singled out from all the other customers, some of them looking like they had slept on the streets all their lives.  Where is justice?  Hiding in some cave at the ends of the earth?  I have been in a state of shock since that day.  And now I feel like I have to watch my every move in every store.  Because some…moron :x…did that to us. 

Such events make me feel miserable and despair of ever finding peace on this earth.  But perhaps peace does not exist…only injustice.  As I have learned from my short life span.

Natalie Gorna

P.S. My 11th article has been published on the Examiner today!

2 thoughts on “I still can’t believe it

  1. Slava February 18, 2010 / 06:59

    Oh, what an unpleasant story happened to you and you mom. Three years ago, I worked at a store which is like the one you described. On day, an employee of our crew caught a thief. He was a respectful looking man. He’s clothes looked pretty rich: shiny fur hat, stylish glasses, white shirt with a tie, plaid black and white scarf, black coat — only rich people wear coats like that one in my city, — leather gloves, dark classic pants and glittering absolutely clear shoes. The thief tried to steal a bottle of expensive cognac.

    From other hand, there was an old woman, who went to the store every day. She looked quite poor, but we all knew she’s a constant client and never steal.


    • Natalie Gorna February 18, 2010 / 15:23

      We were long-time customers too; we have been going to this store and shopping there for more than 10 years. And there is no hard rule that when you enter a store and browse, you must buy something. Besides, there was no proof that we stole anything, so asking us something like that was unconstitutional.


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