The following somewhat-autobiographical post was originally shared via website www.thefirsttime.com on 15 November 1998. It was republished here on 22 March 2021.
What feels like eons ago, when I was a mere stripling of a 13 year old, I was ‘caught in the act’ of shoplifting. It hadn’t even been my idea, which pissed me off even more, but several weeks ago my friend Martin (equally young) told me about how he’d successfully stolen computer software from right under the noses of a nearby shop.
I tagged along with him, and he demonstrated his art of stripping away the security tag and the box, pocketing the media, and walking out under the guise of enquiring at the desk about something completely different.
Over the following three weeks we’d go in every few days, pocket a game or two each, and escape… The adrenaline buzz was frantic, and however cleanly we always got away, we always broke into a run the moment we were out of the car park. I stole, in total, about 8 games. Martin took, in the period of this story, somewhere in the region of 9 or 10. He had, after all, had a headstart!
However, on what must have been our 9th or 10th ‘raid’, it all went drastically wrong. We slipped into the store casually, as usual, and made our way to the appropriate aisle. I felt sure that we were being followed, and kept one eye always on the shelf assistant who always seemed to be watching us… Martin picked up the game – I think it was “Jet Racer” or something to that effect – and asked why I hadn’t already got one. I pointed out the assistant who I thought was watching us, and urged Martin that we should just leave. He wouldn’t have it. He dumped the security tag and the packaging between a gap in the shelves, and we hastened for the exit.
We got through the checkouts with no problem, and were just approaching the exit doors when out of nowhere the assistant I’d seen earlier appeared in front of us. He accused us of shoplifting and asked that we empty our pockets. I cam up clean, of course, but the fact that Martin was red-handed meant that I could at least be got for “Aiding And Abetting”… But no – when the police came Martin just had to fulfil his moral obligation to tell them about all the games I’d stolen, too… Fuck him, then…
My parents, as you can imagine, took it very well when I came home in a police car.