After weeks of recuperating from surgery for ingrown toenails I could finally slip my tender feet into normal shoes and decided to go shopping. My sister-in-law had a birthday coming up in a week and I needed to get a gift in the mail for her. I'd also previously purchased some warm pants at my favorite department store, and wanted to buy another pair.
Luckily the store still had my size and color in the pants. I draped the pants over my arm to free my hands for further shopping and glanced around. I found a table of nice ladies' sweaters already wrapped and took my purchases to the checkout counter. Why do they make those counters so tall? I had difficulty hearing the saleslady behind the counter height because of its height, but finally paid and left the store.
By then my feet were hurting and I decided to end my shopping and go straight to my car.
As I crossed the parking lot as heard someone call, "Lady," but didn't look around. The calls continued and I finally did look. At first I couldn't see anyone. Then I saw a young Hispanic man who seemed to be calling me.
"Yes?" I said.
"Would you return to the store with me?" he said, so serious I felt my first concern.
He paused inside and asked, "Did you pay for those pants?"
"Yes." As I glanced down at the sack holding my purchases, I saw the pants still draped over my arm!
"Come with me," he said, his look stern. He led me through the store to a crowded room I'd never noticed before and seated me at a cluttered desk where a man sat studying the computer screen before him.
"I caught her," my nemesis said.
After a moment the other man looked up at me. "Can you tell me what happened?" he said.
"I came here to buy these pants and a gift, but forgot the pants were still on my arm and walked right out of the store without paying for them, but I'll gladly do that now."
"You can't." He tossed them on a pile on the floor. Then he recorded my name and address and took my photograph! "You can go," he said, "but don't shop in this store again for at least a month."
Breathing a sigh of relief, I hurried home to lick my wounds and I didn't return store for over a year. Although the department store has since changed names I still cringe when I walk through those doors and can't help wondering if my face is being run through facial recognition software in a back room.