I should win some kind of award for Worst Blogging Management Ever. Seriously.
First of all, I never post enough. Have you noticed that? No? THAT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE ALL BUSY READING SOMEONE ELSE. Because I don't post enough. Secondly, when I do post, it's always at a terrible time, so my brain associates posting with things like 1) having been awake for 42 consecutive hours and yet still feeling that it's necessary to write 2) being late for any number of things (work, meeting friends, weddings) and yet still feeling that it's necessary to write 3) being miserably sick, and yet still feeling that it's necessary to write.
I never seem to feel that it's necessary to write when I've had plenty of sleep, am not late to anything, and am enjoying stellar health. Therefore (and, handily, third), when I DO actually post I am always either sleepy, late, sick, or some combination of the three and I always have too much to say and not enough time to say it and plus my writing skills are questionable at best when I'm healthy, and so, well...hmmm. You see. You read this. You see what the problems are.
Now, I bet you think I'm going to come out with some sort of solution to this. Like maybe I'm going to try and post every day, even if it's nothing great, blah blah or something like that. Or, maybe I'm going to find some time, some special time in my week where I can just sit down and really concentrate on writing, you know? The Art of Writing.
I'm going to tell you a story of how I sent someone to jail for Valentine's Day. Because I did. Send someone to jail, that is. And today is Valentine's, if you hadn't yet realized that fact. And also, if you've only just now realized that, allow me to look at you, just for a moment, with mixed feelings of awe and concern. Awe that somehow you have managed to ignore this Consumerist of all Consumer holidays, and concern that someone in your life may not feel the same level of detachment towards the day. Anyway, neither the point nor my problem. Good luck with that, though!
Today, I sent a lady to jail. Not just a lady, mind you. A lady thief. Some might say that you can't call a thief a lady (or maybe it's vice-versa) but I am just trying to express gender here, not provide a commentary on manners. This lady, she has come into my store on several occasions and shopped around - never buys, but always looks. I usually converse with her for most of her visit, and have always found her to be decently pleasant. In fact, I have (ha!) always prided myself on not being a horrible, snooty boutique owner, the kind who turns her nose up at every other customer who comes through the door, the kind who makes an immediate judgment on the customer's socioeconomic status upon first glance. I hate those owners, and I have vowed never to become one. So, I don't care when somewhat scraggly-looking people walk in my store off the street just to look around. I have given tons of earrings and little bracelets and one really warm coat away to people who come in and actually NEED something. It's kind of refreshing, really, to see someone who really needs something and then I can provide it. It's a nice contrast to the people who complain about one missing sequin on their 150th beaded shrug. Ugh. Maybe I'm in the wrong business after all. But I digress. Back to the lady.
Oh! Lest I forget. Many of the shop owners will get together in merchant association meetings and tell each other about the shady characters they had come in their shop last week, and warn each other to watch out, I think they were casing the store, blah blah. It's nearly ALWAYS minorities, who they target in these little meetings. Minorities and people who look a little disheveled. And it's almost never "Hey, I got robbed last week, here is the description of the thief". It's usually just guesses and assumptions, and I always roll my eyes in disgust and wonder how people can be so hateful and judgmental. And then I get freaking robbed blind. And I start to see how people get so hateful and judgmental.
So, my lady thief. She looks scraggly. She is a minority. She fits every stereotypical mold you can think of for "criminal". And yet, I do not want to believe that it is so. So I talk to her. I ask her questions. I treat her in the same way I treat EVERY customer. And she steals from me! First time it was just a shirt and maybe some earrings. I wasn't sure about the earrings, and I didn't SEE her take the shirt; it was more like she was there and so was the shirt, and then she was gone, and so was the shirt. You know. Next time she came in, I followed her around a little more closely. I didn't want to accuse her of anything, not without knowing for sure, so I just watched. Then the phone rang. I turned my back for literally two seconds, and she was gone, with two empty wooden hangers swinging in the breeze of the open door. One leather jacket and one pair of jeans. Damn. This time, one of my employees was almost positive she saw the lady stuffing the jacket into some very large bag she apparently carries inside her jacket. We followed her out the door, and she turned around to see us watching her walk away. She then turned her back and sprinted around the corner, leaving me with very little doubt that she was, in fact, stealing.
She came in again today. I had sworn that if she ever came back, I would ask her to leave, or at the very least, follow her around in such a way that she would WANT to leave. I was at the store, alone, and was putting a couple of paint cans in the back when I turned and saw her outside my front door. I immediately stopped what I was doing and met her at the door, just as she was coming inside. "I got paid today," she told me. "Just coming to look and see if you have anything new." I smiled, sort of, and realized, once again, that I don't have the balls to be really mean to anyone. I couldn't throw her out of my store. So I started following her. Like, within a foot of her person, following her. It couldn't have been pleasant for her. It certainly wasn't for me. She grew tired of this game pretty quickly, made a couple of rude comments, and left. I breathed a sigh of relief, and only then noticed the FOUR empty hangers on the leather jacket display. I ran outside, holding the four hangers, I don't know why - maybe to bolster my confidence - and began writing down her license plate number. She got out of her car, yelling at me about what my problem was. I told her that I was writing down her plates and was going to call the police because I had just watched her steal at least four leather jackets from my store. She started screaming. "I didn't steal nothing from you! Come look in my car, bitch, come look in my car!" Just that phrase, over and over. I wrote down the plates, went back into my store, and immediately called the police. Apparently, once the 911 lady ran the plates I gave her, it threw the whole thing into a bit of a higher gear than I am usually accustomed to when reporting a theft. The police sent four trooper cars in my direction immediately, and actually nearly caught the lady right then and there, in the parking lot. She managed to get away (pulling in front of oncoming traffic) and the police turned around to continue the chase. I'm not sure when they actually got her.
When the officer came into my store, about 15 minutes after I called to report the theft, he wanted to get a little more information from me. Could I identify her in a lineup? Definitely. Would I be willing to testify to the story I just told him? Of course. She is a repeat offender, correct? Yes, sir, she has been here several times, and stolen from me at least twice. She's a problem, he told me. She has committed various crimes of varying degrees all over town and they have been looking for her for a while. Until now, they never had her license plates. You did a great job, he told me. Your boss should give you a raise.
I didn't want to tell him that I am the boss. I didn't want to tell him that I didn't feel great at all, that there's nothing great about getting stolen from, about getting taken advantage of, and especially about that lady, that thief, proving the snotty store owners right.