More cops, more drama, when on my way to my favourite retro bakery yesterday, I witnessed another explosive scene being detonated on one of the corners of my local high street. This sort of kerfuffle is typical of the area and the style of friction can vary from a panto-style slanging match to a full blown fight with blood and hair extensions flying about.
When I approached the ‘centre’ I noticed people were lined up on both sides of the high street. Strange, I thought, as lots of them appeared to be using their phone to film and/or take pictures. What were they waiting for? A local parade?
It was then that I heard a woman screaming and when I turned my head, my initial thought had been that she was fighting off a man. Both her and the man seemed to struggle to remain upright. They were pulling and pushing. The woman was screaming on top of her lungs.
“Noooooooo,” she screamed. “Noooooooo!”
I wondered what was going on and asked the three guys standing next to me. Two of them were filming the battle that took place in front of us.
“She’s a thief,” said the guy who wasn’t filming. “She nicked something from the shop.”
“Yeah, she’s mad” said one of the guys without taking his eyes from his screen.
“That’s the security guy ,innit,” he then added. I could see him zooming in, trying to get a clearer picture of the woman. She was in vain trying to wrestle herself free from the firm grip of the security guard. Her jacket and top were halfway up, baring her midriff and exposing her truck-like tattoo. It could have been a camper van.
“Did she take something from the phone shop?” I asked the guys.
“No man, that’s the security guard from Poundland,” said one of them.
It’s one of the things I always wondered: why does Poundland employ a security guard? Now I realised, there was actually a purpose to it as the shop had to protect the many £1 items in-store from the wandering hands of their customers.
I could still hear the woman scream to ‘let her go’ whilst her whole body was fighting to get herself loose from her trapped position – yet my mind wondered off again. As, I tried to imagine what sort of item got the woman so excited, she just had to have it?
I then felt someone grabbing my arm and turned around. An older woman with a lot of grey and bushy hair stared at me with a bewildered look. She asked me if I had a phone. I did not respond immediately as I was still thinking: what could that thieving woman have found so irresistible in Poundland that she was happy to risk to go on police records? She didn’t look poor and she certainly did not look underfed. If she had been, surely she would have gotten herself something with a bit more substance from a different shop? I was consumed by that thought.
I then saw the old woman asking other people whether they had a phone. Despite this being 2013, and considering the fact that we live in an era where kids receive an iPhone for their first birthday, no one seemed to have a phone on them. Even the ones who were still filming, claimed not to have one.
The woman came back to me: “You have a phone?”
She appeared very stressed.
“Yes I do”.
“Call the police,” she said. “Now”. ‘Call them. Now.”
I told her I believed the police were probably already involved by now.
The woman seemed on the verge of being hysterical. ‘
“They are assaulting this poor woman’. “They are abducting her child!”
“What?? No. No. This is not what’s happening. She stole something from Poundland.”
The old woman’s arms were flailing in all directions. “It does not matter,” she said. “Look what they are doing to her! They should call the police and not take the law into their own hands like that!”
I wanted to tell her: look what the woman is doing to that poor security guy – but I said nothing.
“Are you calling them?’ the woman demanded.
And of course, I called the police. What was I supposed to do? I first got through to an exchange centre where they ask you what it is you need so I told them what was happening and they told me to hold on.
I waited for a moment but the line got disconnected.
By then, a police car appeared and stopped in front of Poundland. I thought things got sorted and did not call back 999. The old woman made a beeline for the police and I wandered off
Then I got a blocked call. I knew straight away it was the police calling me back. I told them what was going on and said a woman made me call them as she’d thought the woman in question was being handled too brutally. The police man reacted by telling me off for clearing the line earlier on.
“I so did not,” I said all vexed. “But I agree that I shouldn’t have called in the first place.”He laughed, told me the police was now on it and thanked me for the call.
And so I had more time again to think about what possesses someone to steal from a shop where each item cost £1. What is so precious that you just cannot stop yourself to steal it and risk the wrath of the burly security guard?
It is possible that this woman believed that nobody would miss or care about an item costing £1 only and perhaps thought that if they did catch her, she’d be let off with a slap on the wrist?
Most of the stuff on offer in these type of shops is very random: soaps, biscuits, crisps and mainly household items. Every now and then you can get your hands on a funky mug or an autobiography published by a Z-celebrity which upon release, two months before, cost £15 for one whole week but can now be yours for, well, £1.
I am not condoning shoplifting at all. I just think that if you are planning to steal something, do it properly. Get yourself a cashmere jumper, a ridiculously priced Diptyque candle and maybe some Kobe beef.
Don’t go for the live lobster though, they may crawl out from under your coat when you are trying to leave the shop. The claws peeping out from your collar will give away the game and you’ll not only end up with a fine, the lobster will get unnecessary stressed by it all.
Shoplifting and stealing in general always makes me wonder what prompts a person to do it. Is it due to greed or are they in trouble? Are they addicted and need the money? Or perhaps they’re suffering from kleptomania or are they just doing it for the thrill?
Even though I’ve not done any shoplifting myself and find it frankly despicable that people do this, I nevertheless still stand with my initial observation: if you are going to steal something, why the hell would you do it from Poundland? I guess the fine you’ll end up paying will be similar as if you would have stolen from Harrods. True, you’ll probably have to pay for the item you have stolen too. But as you have paid for it and because of Consumer Rights, would that not mean that you will be able to return it within 28 days and as such get your money back?
I don’t know what happened to the woman when the police came but I’d still love to know what it was she stole. Was it a multi-pack of biscuits, a family sized tube of toothpaste or did she fall in love with the autobiography of the X-Factor winner of 2011, Matt Cardle? And we all know, you can’t put value on love. Though, in Poundland, it will cost you. But only £1.
Yet even such small amount proved too costly for the lady with the huge tattoo. Yet the good thing is that once she’s paid the fine and the £1 for the item she stole, she will be reunited with it again. Which is comforting to know. She wanted it so much after all.