Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shoplifting on Christmas - A Song And Parable

(Originally posted by Jill on Dec. 25, 2007)

The one and only time that I have ever shoplifted was on Christmas Eve day. I was working at Barneys Department store on the third floor in co-op shoes. The Co-op, for those that don't know it, is supposed to be the less expensive department. So shoes are $400 instead of $1000.

For weeks I had been eyeing this hat on the first floor. It was a knit tam: black and white striped with a red ball on top. I was waiting for it to maybe go on sale, as even with my discount it would have been $200. $200 for a knit hat that kind of looked special needs. And, $200 was way more than what I made a week selling high- end shoes (I never made employee of the month).

Never-the-less, I still had hope. I brought up the hat to the third floor to show my work mates. They all thought it was cute but hardly worth the money. Customers started coming in, so I put the hat down by the register and went out to the floor. It was crazy busy with last minute wealthy shoppers.

Side note: I did sell shoes to Barbara Streisand that same month.

7:00 came, and as I was preparing to check out and leave, the manager told me that it was starting to snow, so I should put on my hat-she was pointing to the coveted one. She obviously didn't see the price tag that was still attached.

What could I do? The manager told me to do it; she gave me permission. And…if I did walk out, I was stealing from the "man". It was not the hat of some poor individual. No, it was from the most pretentious of all department stores ever—Barneys.

This is what I said to myself as I walked, with hat on head, past cosmetics and perfumes toward the door.

I made it!

Two days later: I left it at a diner. I realized it about a half and hour afterwards. When I returned, it was gone. Someone had stolen it. The nerve. How awful that someone would do such a thing. It was just a hat.

jill: "that hat " (MP3, 3:32)

That Hat

Department store windows
cashmere and corduroy
aluminum snowflakes on strings
We move to the next one
and there is the hat you want
mechanical angels all sing

Let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with me
I wish that I could buy that hat
if only I had the means

The next day I come back
alone just to take a look
the more that I look I get sad
But still I ride up
to apparels-accessories
thinking of you in that hat

Blessed be the poor like me
who never has asked for much
I’m only thinking of the joy
I’ll bring to the one I love

Right there before me
in black felt and velveteen
I feel my heart start to pound
The store clerk ignores me
for more well-dressed customers
the moment that she turns around

Hark I hear the angels sing
nobody has to know
I take the hat under my coat
and pray for my journey home

I made it home.

Jill Sobule/Bill Demain

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