Monday, December 24, 2012

I May Have Stolen a Meat Thermometer While Doing a Good Deed

Tonight I went to finish the last of my Christmas shopping.  My in-laws took the kids for the night so I could get everything done and not have to wheel a stroller through the mall.

I bought my last item at Toy’s “R” Us.  I braved the mall.  Now I had only one last item on my list.  A meat thermometer.

I stopped at Target on the way home and in a display of amazing will power walked to the Express Lane with my one lone meat thermometer.

There were two people in front of me.  A young man, with what I think were his roommates, was paying for his groceries.  Well, he was trying to pay for his groceries, but his card got declined.

The cashier looked apologetic and said, “I’m sorry…”
She put his groceries aside and he went to Guest Services.

I thought how this was just like one of those Facebook stories that gets shared all the time about someone paying for someone else’s groceries.   If he came back and his card got rejected again, I would be that person today.

The woman in front of me paid and he came back.
“You ran it as a credit card and it was supposed to go through as a debit.”
“Oh, okay…I’m sorry” the cashier said and ran everything up again.  Again his card got declined.

“It says to contact your bank.”
Just as she started to put his things back, I said “Wait!” and I swiped my card.
 He looked at me stunned and said, “Oh man…thank you.”
“Merry Christmas.”

I would like to think I just did a good deed and didn’t give it another thought, but I am not that good of a person.  My thoughts we’re more like “Heeellls yeah!  I just did a good deed.”  This is probably what led to the next part of this story.

“That’ll be $11.45”, said the cashier as she was putting the meat thermometer in a bag.
“I don’t need a bag”
She pulled the thermometer back out and handed it to me.  As I was walking to the door one the man’s roommates yelled, “Thanks again!”

I got in my car thinking of some Christmas fantasy where the young man pays it forward.  In my version, he opens a center for under-privileged youth and later remembers the pivot point of his life being the day the nice lady at Target paid for his groceries and reminded him of humanity’s goodness.

Wait…Ooooohhhhh shit…I’m not sure I actually paid for the meat thermometer.  Now my mind was racing because I could only remember swiping my credit card once.  Oh my God, what if I just stole a meat thermometer from Target after doing a good deed!  I probably set of a chain reaction where the person behind me ended up paying for my item.

Now in a panic, I checked my credit card as soon as I got home, but it hadn’t cleared yet.  What is the proper etiquette when one has accidentally thieved a meat thermometer in the name of goodwill?

As I am thinking about this, it occurred to me that I did not use my bankcard, which is the account I checked, but my Discover card.  I log in and sure enough there is only one charge from Target.

I called Eric at work and confessed my crime.
“Just go back tomorrow.”
I couldn’t wait that long and I checked the Target website to find out by some Christmas miracle they are open during the holidays until midnight.  It was now 11:20.  I grab my coat, shove the meat thermometer in my purse, head out, and lock the door behind me.  This is a problem, as I did not grab my keys.

Well fuck.  I apologize for the cursing, but this is really the only proper response when one has just found out that they negated a good deed by stealing a meat thermometer and then locked themselves out of the house.  I was now thinking of how I was going to have to call my husband at work again and explain how his wife is not only a thief of small kitchen gadgets but also a dumbass that has just locked herself out of the house.  Then it dawns on me that we have a keypad on our garage door.  It also dawns on me that I have stooped to an all time low in the history of dumbass-ery.

It was now 11:30.  I grab my keys and race to Target.  I was hoping that the same cashier would be there but she was not.  I headed to Guest Service where I confess to my crime.  While I am telling the cashier this story I realize I probably could have just gone through the regular line and pay like a normal non-crazy person and avoided the confessional, but I felt weird about pulling a meat thermometer out of my purse that I have carried into the store.  I felt like this need some explanation.  Before you tell me the rational solutions to this like, “Hey, why did you put the thing in your purse in the first place?”, I will remind you that you are talking to the same person who in one hour has managed to steal a meat thermometer and lock, but not really lock, herself out of her house.

In conclusion, I righted my wrong by paying for my unintentional thievery.  It will be a while before I recover fully from my idiocracy.  Wish me well.

Have a merry Christmas.  Do a good deed.  Try not to steal anything in the process.  Definitely, don’t imaginarily lock yourself out of your own house.

The ill-gotten meat thermometer


  1. I paid for the person behind me at McGaggles last week. She ordered an ice cream cone. My good deed cost me $1.08. Not gonna lie: I was a little bit bummed.

  2. The best moment i think when somebody stealing a meat thermometer i really enjoy to read your article and also the Christmas occasion make this topic more interesting. A fantastic read

  3. I have this thermometer and I LOVE it for my son! It makes taking his temp so easy! Thank you for sharing with us and i hope in future you also update us.