I helped a guy steal a vacuum cleaner this weekend.

Crazy afternoon on Saturday. Wife and I went to the vacuum cleaner store to get parts for…our vacuum cleaner. We walked into the vac store, and the sales guy was talking to a scruffy-lookin’ dude. When we set our dead part on the counter and asked for a replacement, the sales guy walked into the back room to get it. As he walked back out with our part, he yelled “HEY!” and I turned around just in time to see the scruffy-lookin’ dude running out the door with a boxed $600 vacuum cleaner under his arm. Took me a second to realize, holy shit, he just stole that! Sales guy ran out to see which way he ran, and I ran out too. He had parked in the lot at the restaurant next door, and was already climbing into his Jeep with it (not clear whether he was driving or had an accomplice waiting for him). He backed out and turned so as to loop around the back side of the restaurant (the long way around). If I had sprinted to the other side of the restaurant I probably could have gotten close enough to read his license plate before he got out onto the street…but for all I knew he might try to shoot me or run me down, so I just sort of jogged over. Couldn’t get a plate # from where I stood, but was able to report back to the sales guy which way he was headed down the street.

Crazy, never been that close to anything like that. The sales guy knew something was odd because the scruffy dude had been making vague inquiries about parts for an unknown vacuum cleaner; after the theft, it became clear that he had just been trying to make the sales guy disappear into the backroom so he could make his move.

I felt bad for having been the distraction that enabled the theft, and then also for chickening out on getting the plate number from the guy’s car - but as the sales guy pointed out, the loss is insured; it’s not worth getting killed over. In the end, the sales guy was only able to provide the cops a description of the perp, and the fact that he departed to the west in a silver late-model jeep. Slim odds, but I hope they catch the fucker.

That’s really common. I remember years ago, there was a couple of kids (twins) crying in the store, someone asked a stocker to get something out of the backroom and another guy asked one of the other employees for directions (and held up a map). About fives minuets later all the commotion died down, it suddenly got quiet and the cashier said “crap, I just got ripped off”. I think they quickchanged her AND made off with some seafood.

The boss said it’s pretty common for a bunch of people to try to tie up all the employees before they do what they’re going to do. To this day, when it looks like all my employees are getting tied up like that, I’ll go out in the store and keep my eyes open. I won’t answer the phone, I’ll keep scanning the store even if someone asks me a question, if someone asks me for something from the backroom, they’ll have to wait for someone else to get it etc.

Another thing people have done is used race or prejudice against us. I remember very clearly seeing a ‘scary’ black guy picking around in our seafood case and I was keeping my eye on him (as I do when anyone is spending a little too much time picking around in the seafood case, we get a lot of seafood stolen) and all of a sudden a white guy when darting past me with $30 worth of crab legs under his jacket.
Cameras, license place, me paying attention, prior arrest record, cops had him about an hour later.

if I may…

“Well, that sucks!”


It sucks for him, not so much for everyone else.

In college, I saw a guy burst out of the doors of a department store with his arms absolutely crammed full of (IIRC) women’s bathing suits. It looked like he had literally wrapped his arms around as many as he could grab on the rack, pulled, and ran. If I’d been just a little quicker to react, I probably could have tackled him. Wasn’t, didn’t.

You’re an elf. It’s a small machine. Synchronicity.

Uh-ho, I drive a silver Jeep and I haven’t shaved in a couple days so I’m a little scruffy. I’m going to have a hard time convincing them it wasn’t me at the roadblocks.

Same shit happens in game stores - I can remember being in whatever flavor of game store is in the mall in Waterford CT waiting to get a time card for my brother for his birthday and some kids came in, got busy and one grabbed a bunch of boxes that I am certain HE thought had games in them, but the Game Stop [I think that is what it is] puts the games in back and empty boxes on the shelves. Sucks to be the kids involved, they got pretty boxes and that is it. [They might have also grabbed some magazines or other shelf trash, all the good stuff tends to be behind the counter or locked up.]

Was it a Dyson?

Who you callin scruffy lookin??

I’m surprised there were no security cameras. Especially one in the parking lot to get plate numbers as cars go in and out.

It was a different parking lot.

There was a camera in the vacuum store behind the counter; the sales guy was sure that got a good look at the perp himself. Before I left, I suggested that he contact the folks at the restaurant next door to see if their surveillance camera might have caught the perp’s license plate. Don’t know what the outcome was.


I helped a guy move a body last month.
I was a pall bearer at a funeral.