The “gentle” thief

by phoxis

This happened long ago, possibly 14 ~ 15 years ago, but I remember this very clearly, because this was a very new experience for me at that time.

I was in a toy shop with my mother one evening. The toy shop also sold a few different cosmetics in a corner where a a few women were trying out some products. This was a pretty old shop run by an old man, which we often visited.

A certain girl who seemed to be from a well to do family (as per current “society standards”), who was way older than me (as she was twice as tall), was opening nail-polish bottles and applying on her nails to test the colours and how it looks. The old man told not to break the the seals of the nail-polish bottles to test them, instead he told her to let him know so that he could get the samples out. The girl told okay, but as the sample set did not have all the colours, she anyways continued breaking the seals anyway. At a point of time all her finger nails were coloured.

The old man was very busy attending the others, and a few others were waiting to get attended along with us. The old man once again requested not to break the seal, as products with broken seal will not be sold. The girl was very rude and taunted the old man told (when translated) something like “I need to test things before I buy, isn’t it? There are shops who fool people and sell bad products”. Although this is kind of a valid statement, but the way it was told this was very indicative and disrespectful for the old man. She told it softly, but the tone and indication was otherwise. The old man happly replied that if there is any defect with the product, she may bring it to the shop and get the money back.

The girl had two more girls accompanying her. I was observing what they were doing. They were talking within themselves and now her friends were trying out the nail-polishes. The old man was getting very upset as almost all of the nail-polish bottle seals were broken. So he requested yet again politely and re-stated the cause why he is telling not to break the seal and tried to take the box down. Now the girl told very loudly so that everyone can hear, and it was something like, “Oh, you will not even see the products we buy?”. Till this point the people who were not following this, would have thought that the old man was the one who was creating the trouble. Then the girl told a few other stuffs which embarrassed the old man. Most interestingly, she actually has not “misbehaved” superficially.

Next the old man went to the other corner of the counter. Now what I saw was important, and at that time I was absolutely stunned to experience.

The girl sneaked 4 bottles of nail-polish out of the box and handed over to her friends, which vanished somewhere in their bags or pockets, which I don’t remember. Very soon they told the old man that they were leaving as she did not like the nail-polish shades she tested and also mentioned. The old man came and now he had to confront, he told in a gentle way that if they have kept them elsewhere, as there were 4 bottles missing. That is when the girl started making a scene and shouted that the old man is accusing her as a thief, and tried to talk other people on her side and to draw sympathy by playing the “victim card”. She told that she was trying to see the products but the old man was creating problems since they have arrived and now he is accusing her as a thief. The old man clearly told that there was 4 more empty slots than there was before, and he was just asking if they have put the bottles elsewhere. The girls used this situation and the gentleness of the old man and kept on accuse him and disrespected him passively (which I know now, at that time I felt very bad for the man).

Next, a man shopping at the counter asked the girls to just leave. The girl was telling a lot of things, but what I remember from that point is that the man just wanted the girls to leave and did not respond to anything at all. Before leaving the girl told that these kind of people try to get money from people by accusing people. After they went, the old man told what the situation was. After some time, the man to the rescue told the old man, why did he allow them for that long? The old man responded that he did not want any trouble.

They were able to get their nails coloured, along with four bottles of nail-polish to spare. used the nail-polish to apply on her and her friends’ nails, and then sneaked four bottles of nail-polish from the shop.

I remembered this incident because this was the first time I felt very bad for the old man even when the girl was not externally rude to the man. I thought about this at that time (as I did, and still do with many) incident, and was not able to find what was wrong.

These are a few observations which I can perform at this point of time, given my recollection of the major highlights of the incident are correct.

In the present day what I found out was, the girl never used any externally harsh behaviour. She was mostly passive aggressive, attempted to manipulate the other people, played the victim card. This the least three properties which can be confirmed. And these properties could not be rejected at all. The man, who saved the situation seemed to have an experience in such a personality, and therefore actually handled the situation pretty good.

And that’s it, just wrote down an observation. At least the blog is still running 😀