I was at a grocery store tonight and there was only one active register, which was quite backed up. I decided that I’d go to the self check-out line even though I had a fair number of things to scan. I scanned about 10 items, and then the machine informed me that an employee had been contacted. I think it’s because all my groceries were backing up at the end of the conveyor belt. I saw someone come over to start scanning my items, so I started bagging them so I could get the F out of the store (I always feel like I lose a lot of time in grocery stores). As the employee scanned the last of my items, I had everything bagged and right at hand, so I (without thinking about it) just walked right out of the store. What follows was my series of thoughts.
Walking through the parking lot to the car: “Holy shit. Did I pay? I must have paid, right? Right? Oh shit, I don’t think I paid.”
Putting the groceries in the trunk and getting in the car: “You, sir, just made off with a week’s worth of groceries like a smooth criminal.”
Driving through the parking lot: “Did that store have any security cameras by the register? I can’t remember. But they must have - what kind of store doesn’t have security cameras?”
Pulling into the street: “Oh shit…what if their security cameras saw me? Even if they didn’t get a clear shot of my face, they would be able to see my height and weight and have a general profile.”
Coming up to speed on the road: “Shit, what if they did get a good look at me. Surely someone in the store would recognize me. What if I can’t go back to that store ever again!! …Is that a police siren [it was dark at this time]??”
Cruising away from the store: “Christ, what if the news has a story on a local grocery thief tonight? You’d better turn around. No! You made it off, just shop at another store for a few weeks. Dammit! I’m not going to lay low because of a grocery store! Turn around! Keep going! Back!! Forward!! GO BACK!!!”
And then I turned around and went back to the store. Oddly, when I walked back into the store, the register at the self-checkout line was still awaiting my payment, and no one seemed to be panicking or making police reports or otherwise acting as if anything was out of the ordinary.