shopliftingDay 11 – Shoplifting

Ah those days as a kid. When money was tight, desires were great and you wanted to fit in. Why do kids steal or anyone for that matter? Well, if I reflect back on why I stole as a kid. It was to have the things that my schoolmates had. To fit in was the driving force, I’d say.

Having a few bargain store pairs of pants and shirts, while other wore “roots” and “polos” and wearing $10 shoes while others showed off the converse, nikes, etc. well made you feel “inadequate” at school.

Ironically, it wasn’t clothes or shoes that I stole. Actually, it was games, food and sports gear. Yes, I’d return my worn down hockey stick and walk out with a new one from Zellers. 🙂

One story, I clearly remember, was going to Gerrard Square with my elder two brothers. They were giving away frames with biblical quotes on it in the mall, so I took one and put it in a bag. We thought we can use the frames for other things! 🙂

Well, that day were up to no good and went over to Towers, a department store across the railroad tracks from Gerrard Square. In the store, my brothers dared me to “steal” a nerf soccer ball. So I placed it in my bag, under the frame. When the lady at the “security” check-out counter asked me what I had in the bag, I showed her the frame on top and she let me go. Phew. 🙂

My brothers saw what I did and thought they’d get a nerf football too. Well, guess what? They got caught. My dad had to get them from the police station and when they got home. They got a beating of a lifetime. My brothers snitched on me, but I locked myself in the bathroom and escaped the beating. For many years after, I always had a great laugh at their expense, bringing this incident up. 🙂

We stole not because we were bad kids. We stole because we wanted the things other kids had and we didn’t. Eventually, good sense prevailed and I stopped stealing around 12, 13 years old. By this time, I had started working full-time in the summers and part-time during school at Kohinoor Foods on Gerrard St. I started at $3.50 an hour and enough money for myself to spend and to give to my parents for home expenses. All of my siblings helped out.

Luckily, I never got caught except once. The funny thing, I didn’t steal for me and it was for “food”! I had taken my younger sister with me to the “park” and lost track of time. I was probably around 10ish and we were supposed to get back home, because they were having to go somewhere (the details escape me). When we returned, everyone had already left. My sister was hungry. So off to Gerrard Square it was. 🙂 Miracle Food Mart to be precise. I tried to steal a chocolate for her and got caught. I told the guy it was for my sister. He let me go with a warning. We starved until everyone got home that evening. Luckily, they didn’t have to get me from the police station 🙂

So today, I count my blessings every day and thank God for all he has given me and for how many times he’s watched over me. My kids have no clue, the life poor kids in the world endure. Not that we spoil them and spend lavishly on them. It’s just times have changed, their needs are met and they live in a society where they fit in and are part of the norm.

I’m grateful they have never stolen. My wallet is always sitting on my desk, I’ve never counted how much money is in there. Whenever they have needed money for a trip, etc. they’ve just asked and they got it. When I was a kid, we were too afraid to ask for money, even for school trips, because we knew there just wasn’t any for those “luxuries”.

So I ask you to not judge a person if they have stolen. None of us know their story. We can’t know how we would have acted if we were in their shoes. So count your blessings if your wants and needs are taken care of. Be humble if you can give to others and not have to take. Be kind to those who can’t afford to.

If you are stealing and reading this. Don’t, if you can.

There is no escape from harvesting our Karmic actions. No matter how innocent it looks or insignificant we feel our actions are. The law of action can not be overturned. If we take advantage of one person now. We’ll have to pay it back, and some, to another. When that will be? no one knows. But if you will reflect on your life, you’ll notice it’s happened to you many times. I know I’ve given back far more than I’ve ever taken and that should be all our goals in life to experience spiritual riches.

So share love and hope as much as you can. As always, If you have a story to share, I’m all ears! 🙂

Thanks for reading. God bless and goodnight.

Jas Jagpal