When we walked out of JC Penney’s store in Waycross, the sneaky little ink tag still clung with its death grip to Larry’s new pants. We strolled right through the door, stopping to talk to a cosmetologist about haircuts, of all things. No alarm sounded. Everything was quiet except for our chattering and the soft whirring of the air-conditioner. You know the noise I’m talking about- the raucous, there’s-a-thief-escaping-with-stolen- merchandise alarm that makes everyone turn and glare at the culprit in the doorway. No, the alarm remained silent, leading us to believe all was well. And in this manner, we were deceived and highly inconvenienced.
We went off to the movie—Captain America, and then drove back to Baxley at a leisurely pace. In that bag, the ink tag waited patiently, insidiously. Back home, I hung the bag on the door and went about my business.
I called Josh and told him his dad and I had gone to see Captain America.
“Mom, that’s a really dumb movie,” he replied. “Why didn’t you make him take you to see something good?”
Knowing Josh’s choice of movies, I wasn’t especially invested in his opinion either, but I would have been happier reading a good book. However, the popcorn was good.
Two or three days later, I decided to check the length of the new pants. Chances were pretty good that I’d need to shorten them a tad. Since Larry would need to wear them soon, I thought I’d better go ahead and alter them. I pulled the pants from the bag and there it was on the pressed leg of those new Docker pants—the red and white plastic disk designed to prevent theft. Obviously, I had not stolen them. The receipt nestled cozily in the bottom of the bag. If I had been trying to steal them, I would have succeeded that one day.
“Well, shoot!” I said, or something close to that anyway. “Now I’ll have to drive back to Waycross so someone else can correct his mistake. The price of the pants just went up substantially, considering the price of gas these days.”
Since I didn’t have time or the inclination to go right then, I mumbled and grumbled to everyone I encountered. They gave me various suggestions.
“My husband took one off with the bolt cutters once,” my dear blonde friend said.
“I called and JC Penney actually sent someone to my house to take one off. That was a long time ago though,” another offered.
“Maybe one of the local stores could take it off for you,” Janey said. “Those little gadgets are all the same.”
“Oh, no, they aren’t. I tried that one time. They’re all different like every one of those computers that swipe your cards in the stores. All different,” yet another insisted.
I carefully considered all their suggestions, envisioning a trip to Waycross as I listened.
On Monday morning I discovered that I had to make a quick run to Waycross to Lowe’s. Larry desperately needed supplies that the Vidalia Lowe’s didn’t have. However, I had to be back in Baxley by 11, else my bridge club would not only eat without me; they’d even play without me. Oh, the horror! The horror!
Lowes’ opens its big automatic doors at 7 a.m.; Penney’s opens at 10. Curses! Foiled again. I drove back to Baxley with a heavy heart.
Later that afternoon, in desperation, I carried the pants to a local store, where I am a good, regular customer, to show them my receipt, explain my plight, and throw myself on their mercy just to see for myself if they could take the tag off. When I walked in the door with my bag, the alarm blared. Other shoppers weren’t prepared for someone bringing stolen goods into the store, I guess. Several looked at me with their heads cocked sideways.
All’s well that ends well though. The nice clerk took the tag off in about 2 seconds and I was on my way home. The point of this whole saga is—if you buy clothing out of town, check to see that the ink tag does not go home with you.