Guilty or Innocent

It was a Friday night in June 2000. I was living in Seattle, and it was my very first date with Tamara, a new neighbor in my apartment building. We went and saw "Mission Impossible 2," had dinner, and then decided to stop in at a drugstore for ice cream. Just as we were walking out of the drugstore with our cones, an explosive, high, shrill security alarm erupted from the drugstore as I walked past some vertical metal bars at the customer entrance. What had happened was this: A special credit card in my wallet had triggered the store's electronic theft-prevention sensor, causing the alarm to sound. Anyway, Tamara and I calmly proceeded to my car. The very next second, two of the drugstore's night employees were at the entrance of the store, hollering out to both of us to come back to the store entrance immediately. Even though we were both rather annoyed that the night managers were actually flagging us to return to the store (knowing that each of us was totally innocent of any kind of theft), we realized the prudent thing was to do as they ordered. As we returned to the store entrance, the male employee immediately began frisking me down, head to toe. They both asked for our receipts for the ice cream cones (of all the ridiculous things)! I snarled back at the night managers, saying, "Hey, we did not steal a friggin' thing from your store! Your security detector is screwed up instead! Why do you insist on frisking me?" To make a long story short, the female night manager told me that it was either something in my wallet, or one of my keys, that had happened to trigger their alarm. She told me it was my responsibility not to let that happen again. She recommended to me that I leave both my keys and the plastic from my wallet in my car the next time I shopped in their store. This did not ruin my relationship with Tamara (thank goodness); we had several more dates. However, I certainly phoned the regional office of the drugstore the next day in an attempt to complain. I'm not so sure this did any good, as they replied by saying the "security devices" were a necessary evil for cracking down on any and all theft, and I should've known to remove any and all magnetic or metallic devices from my person before entering or exiting their stores.

— Mo, 34

Love Library: Featured Articles