*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a woman who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission.
My mother had a coworker at Walmart who loved baby blanket sleepers even though she didn't have a baby. Why did she love baby blanket sleepers so much? She enjoyed using them as a shoplifting aid.
Baby blanket sleepers came folded in a plastic bag. Any parent with a baby should be familiar with them. My mother's coworker would open the bag and fill the baby blanket sleeper with various items from the store where they worked.
Then she would purchase the single item, the baby blanket sleeper, at the registers at the front of the store without revealing how many stolen items she had hidden within it. That was her game.
One day, this woman had the audacity to take as many DVDs as possible, stuff them into a baby blanket sleeper and cushion them with her favorite thong underwear.
When a cashier told her how surprised she felt that the baby blanket sleeper was so heavy, the woman told her not to worry about it. "Just do your job," she said. Just like that. She was that audacious.
My mother's coworker got away with stealing from the store where they worked for a very long time. She took it for granted that she would never get caught.
When her friend got engaged, the woman arranged some sort of deal with the associate who worked in the jewelry department. My mother's coworker told her friend to come into the store, and try on diamond engagement rings and wedding bands, and she did—and somehow, she walked out with them on her finger without paying for them. My mother never learned the details of how she made that happen, but she did.
When my mother questioned her coworker about the rings, the woman replied, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."
"That's one way of putting it," my mother told me.
What goes around comes around, and this woman's shoplifting spree ended as abruptly as it began. She lost her job, almost lost her freedom, and definitely lost her dignity, all because she couldn't resist the urge to steal. Baby blanket sleepers may seem like an innocent item, but for this woman, they will always be a reminder of her downfall.
The woman worked at Walmart for more than a decade before she got caught, but she did get caught. Getting arrested and led out of the store in handcuffs wasn't worth all the freebies she took over the years. She may have stolen thousands of dollars worth of DVDs, underwear, jewelry, and other items, but her attorney's fees cost thousands of dollars, too, and she barely avoided jail time after her trial.
The moral of this story is that even if you think you're being sly and clever, eventually you will get caught if you steal. It's not worth it to risk your freedom and your future for a few items that you can live without. So think twice before you take something that doesn't belong to you.