ChevsLife

Lifestyle & Parenting Blog

I’m A Parent. I’m Distracted. I Forget. Arrest Me?

Last night our tiny community was in an uproar and absolutely horrified as the news spread about a local mom being arrested and placed in jail for forgetting about her two coffees in her pram as she left Pick n Pay, Longbeach Mall! All this in the presence of her 8 year old AND a baby!!

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Now the question to ask is WAS THERE CRIMINAL INTENT!! Surely one can use your professional judgement?

As a parent, I know how distracting it can be when you shop with a child. I know how forgetful you can get when you have the voice of a child nagging in your ears while you try to maintain composure AND your sanity!!

I too have forgotten about items placed in the bottom of a pram while shopping with my son when he was younger. I too have walked out with a child holding onto a chocolate that was not paid for. BUT the management and staff at these stores were always understanding and empathetic when I returned to pay/pointed out that I honestly forgot about the item/s.

In my case, professional judgment and compassion for my situation as a parent was crucial!

Are we as parents’ easy targets for the retail sector while the REAL THIEVES are seldom apprehended or brought to justice? Where was the FAMILY FRIENDLINESS when this mom forgot about the coffees that she placed at the bottom of her pram while trying to carry all her other items, push a pram AND keep an eye on her 8 year old?

Have retailers become so consumed with “CRIME” and “JUSTICE” and a “NO NONSENSE” approach that they forget to use critical reasoning? Imagine how many hundreds of thousands of cases would be on the court roll if ALL retailers did this? Wasting the court and our limited policing resources on a parent’s forgetfulness?

The thought of spending a night in jail and a possible criminal record for BEING A PARENT in a shop makes me want to stop shopping in-store completely! Imagine the impact on profit margins if we, as parents, decided to no longer shop with our children?

Retailers remember that a MOTHER’s VOICE will not be silenced and WE WILL UNITE against this blatant lack of empathy and understanding for the challenges parents face when supporting YOU!  I, along with many other mothers will no longer support Pick n Pay, Longbeach Mall!  I may just be arrested for my forgetfulness while being distracted by my 8 year old!!!

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45 comments on “I’m A Parent. I’m Distracted. I Forget. Arrest Me?

  1. Surviving Jonkersville
    February 17, 2016

    OMW! That’s just horrible! Guess I should be doing time myself then because it’s happened on occasion. I always go back and pay for the item and the store managers and I’ve never gotten any flack for it. If anything, their understanding and appreciativeness for my honesty made me feel even more bad about those mommy blips.

    Poor mom! I can only imagine how she felt being treated like a common criminal. Not cool PNP!

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 17, 2016

      I know Celeste, it could so easily be one of us spending time in prison for – it is a scary thought . . .

      Like

  2. Charlotte aka The Stiletto Mum
    February 17, 2016

    Reblogged this on The Stiletto Mum and commented:
    I cannot believe this. How the hell do they arrest someone who forgot to pay for coffee because it was in the bottom of her pram and she had to deal with 2 children while attempting to shop at the same time? Then she got arrested in front of her 8 year old daughter. I do not make use of Pick n Pay at Longbeach Mall, because I have no clue where that is, but as a mother who has walked out of a store with things I have not paid for due toi being distracted by my children, I refuse to shop at or support any Pick n Pay until the case against this women is dropped and an apology is published and they pay for therapy for the 8 year old who had to witness their mother being arrested.

    Now mothers I ask that we all do the same and publically boycott Pick n Pay until this matter is resolved. Imagine if this happened to you in front of your children. #PicknPay #Pnp #MothersVoice #BoycottPnPLongbeach

    Like

  3. Charlotte aka The Stiletto Mum
    February 17, 2016

    I have reblogged your post with my comments and plan on sharing this all over the web Boycotting all Pick n Pays until this matter is resolved.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 17, 2016

      Thank you! It is ludicrous just thinking about it! This could so easily be any one of us . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lee-sa
    February 17, 2016

    Absolutely! I walked out of Checkers with milk, when the security pointed it out they laughed and said yes its hard shopping with babies…so now they have my loyalty. Will not shop at Pick n Pay again. After the attempted kidnapping at Capricorn Pick n Pay where they refused to hold the alleged kidnappers until the police arrived to this. Pick n Pay will not get another cent from me. I am a mom, research shows that moms spend 90% of their income on their families, we are the shoppers! Think about that Pick n Pay!

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 17, 2016

      It is such a pity that we have to deal with this Lee-sa. I feel so sorry for this mom and her children, an innocent shopping expedition turned into an event that will forever haunt both mother and child . . .

      Like

  5. Julia swain
    February 17, 2016

    The complete lack of judgement by a manager in a so calked family friendly store is really deeply concerning. What calibre if person is pick n pay putting into management if this is how they react on the ground in individual situations? This is not a government institution, run by inflexible laws… it is a family shopping centre in an active and we’ll connected community. Unbelievable. I wonder if she has any recourse to the law?

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      The thought of being arrested for forgetting about an item in store while being distracted by my child is terrifying.

      Like

  6. Lisa
    February 17, 2016

    wow, I would be in jail by now too then. after this story, I will not be spending my hard earned money at PNP any longer, we as mothers are the majority of the shoppers, I would much rather support Checkers now. Lets all post this on Facebook and spread the word. #pnpmustfall# until this mother has been released and then an apology from the Store manager and Pnp has been publicly made. Disgusting PNP I am so disappointed……

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 21, 2016

      Lisa, yes, so many are no longer willing to support this shop. This incident should have been managed with more consideration for the children and discretion.

      Like

  7. Tanya
    February 17, 2016

    This is the most ridiculous story I have ever heard! I have arrived home from a shopping trip before to find a pair of kids pants in the bottom of the pram – which my 18 month hold had put there! I took them back to th store that afternoon and they thought it was a funny story but were hugely grateful that I had returned them!
    I think Pick ‘n Pay’s reaction here is disgusting. They are prepared to take the time to call police for something which was obviously a mistake but not when there’s been an attempted kidnapping??
    No more shopping at Pick ‘n Pay for me!

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      I must admit that I absolutely love shopping at the Fish Hoek Pick n Pay. Staff are always very helpful, security friendly and management often help out with packing bags, etc. It is so sad when you hear of such heavy handed approaches to a parent’s forgetfulness 😦

      Like

  8. Rene
    February 17, 2016

    I do this all the time, but always go back and pay for them, management is always greatful when i do. There should should more empathy here definitely, life happens and with 2 kiddos, even more quickly that we would like, give this mom a break man, come on people.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      When I had my niece living with me I had to make sure that I always had her in the trolley and as far away from the shelves as possible, because she would just take things from the shelves. She even opened up a sweetie-pie once, took a bit and left it on the shelf without my knowledge (being distracted by my son). I noticed some cream on her face and looked around and spotted the half eaten sweetie pie which I then paid for.

      Like

  9. Janice van der Schyff
    February 17, 2016

    A picket outside all their entrances should be arranged. I am far away from Long Beach but will make the trip.

    Like

  10. the_deal_is
    February 17, 2016

    Shocking! Absolutely shocking! I’m not a mother but I always have so many things in my hands from running around all day. So many times I have forgotten to pay for something that was right there in my handsimply because my mind is so preoccupied. The cashier usually just asks if I’d like to pay for that item and I’d be like “oops, my bad” – joke about it and pay.

    We all live such busy lives and for mothers it’s just so much more hectic. How dare they treat her that way. Those children will not be able to unsee what they did. The emotional scarring could certainly have been avoided.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      You know Shelley, even when I shop with a list of goodies that I need to buy, my dear son still manages to completely distract me from what I need to do. I honestly struggle to think straight since he has to push the basked trolley – I have to remind him of “speed limits” and then there is the non stop talking and questions while I try and block out all the other visual distractions in the store. I was so nervous when I went to the shop yesterday even though I only had to buy one bread.

      Even told Kai that it is so important that we not forget to pay for anything in the shop – he read this blog post and he was shocked that a mom was arrested for forgetting to pay for something!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. melissa
    February 17, 2016

    WOW!!!!! What was that manager thinking? So many different ways of handling the situation instead of traumatising the kids. That manager should be put in a store with kids and see what mums need to go through and see IF he or she remembers all hat is in he pram. I am disguted that no empathy. was shown to the mum. No more PnP

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      Unfortunately we cannot teach empathy. This incident has really increased my awareness of the harsh realities of parenting and how vulnerable we are . . .

      Like

  12. Anthea Oosthuizen
    February 17, 2016

    Dear SPMs,
    I’ve noted the Pick ‘n Pay incident with interest, not least of all from a legal point of view.
    A number of issues need to considered:
    1. Pick ‘n Pay would not have managed to effect an arrest without prima facie evidence (Prima facie evidence is a legal term used to mean that you have enough evidence to prove something by pointing to some basic facts, but that your proof can be refuted.) This means both that they have not necessarily “failed” by effecting an arrest, AND that it is by no means certain that their evidence will hold up in court. We can, therefore, not judge the situation anecdotally or via the retelling of it from our multiple perspectives, nor from our individual or collective experiences of similar incidents.
    2. Pick ‘n Pay seem to have followed due process.
    3. The personal trauma and discomfort experienced by the “accused” is something that we can all have empathy for (whether or not the “accused” committed the alleged crime or not).
    4. We may not all identify with the naming and shaming of Pick ‘n Pay in the name of this group.
    5. If we agree as a group that naming and shaming of individuals is not permissible, then can we not extend this courtesy and respect to an institution (which in law is, in any event, a juristic person)?
    I wish those of you who are outraged by this incident well in your endeavours to support your friend. However, I’m not sure that naming and shaming Pick ‘n Pay will actually win the accused any ground in the legal matter that will now need to be adjudicated. I think, therefore, and suggest with good intentions, that the best way to help your friend is to get her a good lawyer.
    With best wishes.
    Anthea Oosthuizen

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 17, 2016

      Dear Anthea,

      Thank you for addressing SPM group members via my blog. I must however point out that this post is not on behalf on any particular group, but is my personal opinion from a parent perspective.

      Your obejctive opinion on naming and shaming is appreciated.

      This incident has, however, given voice to the realities that we as parents need to be aware of since it is quite obvious that, in an innocent moment of distraction, we cannot expect the same level of discretion and reasoning when an incident of this magnitude occurs, and the implications such an incident may have, not only on ourselves, but also on our children.

      Best wishes,
      Chevone

      Like

  13. lyannen
    February 17, 2016

    Let’s Boycott them and show them we stand united……

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      I may not spend a lot of money in shops, but this incident has completely put me off shopping at Longbeach Mall.

      Like

  14. Erika
    February 17, 2016

    Please Pick n Pay is to blatant and above all of us Moms to understand I say Boycot them Show them where the money lies!!! Shocking!!

    Like

  15. Kim
    February 17, 2016

    Do a little research and you’ll find a lot of these stories come out and not just at PNP. The same thing happened to me at Checkers Hyper, Tokai. It was incredibly traumatic and embarrassing, and it escalated to a point where I found myself in jail over a weekend and then court, leaving my fully breastfed 2 month old baby behind. I still hold a lot of anger but not at the security guy, he was following protocol. I’m angry at the Managers of Checkers for not taking the time to listen to me and mostly at the police who handled it very badly. Needless to say it was thrown out of court.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      I’ve been shocked at all the incidents that people are now reporting!

      Like

  16. Rudi van Eeden
    February 17, 2016

    I am not a woman. But as my wife works long hours, I normally do the shopping. It has happened on a number of occasions that I have something in my hand, and forget to add it to the list of items to be paid. Then all that happens is the cashier asks in a very polite manner if I have already paid for it. Then I realize my mistake, apologize, and pay for the item. This happens with my children with me. I certainly think that the matter could have been handled differently, all they had to do was offer her the opportunity to pay for the coffee. Simple. But to arrest a mother with a baby and an eight year old. No. And to Anthea Oosthuizen, the law does not need prima facie evidence, as all they do is call the police and a case is opened. Only in court prima facie evidence is required. I myself have paid for something that a mother forgot to pay, they really do have their hands full. I do it because the mother is so busy with keeping her children safe and secure, that other stuff passes her by. And seriously, me paying for something that a child took, that’s a no-brainer. Let the mother continue on her way. If it was an expensive item, maybe PnP was correct. But coffees? No. I will boycott with you ladies.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Parenting really do leave us vulnerable to so many things, but this incident is really such an eye-opener, one that makes me nervous of shopping in busy retail outlets with my son, because this could so very easily be me.

      Like

  17. Natalie
    February 17, 2016

    The same thing happened to me on Sunday afternoon at checkers and I was only released at 10pm, scariest hrs of my life. Had to go to court yesterday and now again next month

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      Oh no, that is terrible! Hope that your situation is resolved without any long term implications for you.

      Like

  18. Romy Sommer
    February 17, 2016

    Every store seems to behave differently, depending on its management.

    My father had Alzheimer’s. He went through a stage where he no longer understood the concept of paying for things but he liked to go shopping. So he and his carer would go for long walks to the shop, where he would stuff his pockets full of big chocolate bars (no attempt to hide them!) then want to walk out the shop.

    Of course, his carer would chase after him (often trying to keep one hand on the trolley full of genuine shopping items we needed!) to stop him.

    The Checkers in Bryanston wanted him charged and jailed, even though he was clearly quite child-like and not with it at that point. They eventually got him banned from the entire shopping centre.

    The Checkers in Randburg, however, got to know him. The security staff at the doors would stop him, empty his pockets, and let him go on his way. They were polite, and very considerate in that they would never let him leave the store until the carer was in attendance. The staff would even recognise my father and would greet him whenever he entered the shop!

    For a family already struggling with such a terrible disease, that difference between indifferently adherence to rules and using professional judgment makes such a vast difference, that the latter could charge twice the price for every item in the store and we’d still choose to shop there every time!

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 18, 2016

      Oh my gosh!! Reading this I am horrified! How can anyone be so insensitive? So glad that you’ve found a FRIENDLY retailer in Checkers Randburg. Five stars to them!!! Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  19. Peter
    February 18, 2016

    As a father with two children. On regular occasions I had to find myself in an embarrassingly similar position. Red faced, you go back to pay. Once a “shoplifted” item my son took, 2 years old at the stage. All at the shop thought it was hilarious. I one had to go back to pay up where the till operator had miss-typed a R2000 odd item as R200 odd. It works both ways.

    However since we are human and this happens, we need to consider how we will deal with it?

    If you’re shopping at Pick n Pay, consider not getting caught and keep quiet? This is certainly what PnP is encouraging. However since i’m not made of such stuff. So best to avoid such stores.

    The last incident I had at Pick n Pay:
    Had a trolley. Lady at till chatting and laughing with packer who put items in a separate trolley. Near to exit with security watching. My only role was to put items for paying on the till, pay and leave with said items. As the last items were going through, I reached for my wallet to take my card out. All the time it’s still laughing and chatting between the till operator and packer.

    I paid, left and was stopped at the door. Everything had to be “checked”. It was unpacked. A bottle of spices was not on the slip. My fault? Security thought so, despite seeing what had transpired at the till. Logic failed and I was being made out to be a shoplifter.

    I went to find the manager. He was nowhere to be found. By this time I was livid making a big scene, furious. People were watching.

    Disgusted I left, stopping at the security officer, asking what now? A shrug left me supplying the answer: I’m going. You can either arrest me and I’ll make sure PnP get’s sued, or I’m walking out.

    This is exactly what I did, leaving the trolley at security. Back home I had the transaction on my card cancelled.

    Never been to that PnP again.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 21, 2016

      I once had a similar incident when a cashier insisted thar she gave me my change, which she never did as she was too distracted by her conversation she was having with her colleague! She closed her till and insisted that I did get my change! Well she gave me my coins BUT not my notes! I found a manager and insisted that her till gets cashed up immediately as I refuse to come back the next day to check if her till was over. I pointed out that I’m the customer and why should I wait until the next day to get my change when their staff are incompetent! Needless to say, 30 minutes later I got my change and NO apology! Some retailers no longer place value on customer service.

      Like

  20. Karen
    February 19, 2016

    This is not new. Here’s my mother’s story. 21 years ago.

    When my younger son PJ was 4 years old, my Mom took him to The Wheel (in Durban) to go and watch a movie. Before going into the movies, my mom popped into Pick n Pay to get some groceries. While she was shopping at Pick ‘n Pay, she bought two small packets of powdered cheese (back 21 years ago, they cost R5.99 each). The packets kept sliding through the trolley bars and falling on the floor, so my mom put them in her jacket pocket to pay for at the cashier.

    At the till point, my son was distracting her and asking for sweets and cooldrinks – like kids do – and like the retailers want because they place them there especially so that kids can do this.

    She paid for the groceries (About R180) and as she walking out of the store, she was stopped and taken to the managers office and accused of shop lifting. My mother started crying and explained that she had put the packets of powdered cheese into her pocket because they were sliding through the bars of the trolley and that she had become distracted by her grandson at the cashier and simply forgot.

    The store manager – his name was Lance – told my 63 year old mother that he was sick of people like her and that the reason he doesn’t get bonuses is because of the shrinkage due to theft and phoned the police and told them he was pressing charges of shop lifting against my mother.

    The police arrived and when they saw my mother (who was very sickly and looked a lot older than 63) and saw my 4 year old son with her, they asked him to change his mind and he wouldn’t.

    The police HAD TO LIFT MY MOM UP INTO THE VAN because she couldn’t get in herself and MY FOUR YEAR OLD SON was put into the back of the police van and taken to Somtseu Road police station.

    She had to appear at the Magistrates court the next day but couldn’t go as that night she collapsed and was rushed to hospital.

    I went to the magistrate court the next day and explained everything to the public prosecutor who was horrified about the story – especially how my four year old son was placed in a police van when his gran was arrested, and he contacted Pick ‘n Pay and explained to them what their store manager had done and how he had exposed the company to litigation for his actions.

    PnP faxed through a form that my mother to signed, agreeing that no charges would be pressed against them and in return they would drop the shop lifting charges.

    Of course she did. She was lying in hospital because she was so traumatised about what happened.

    21 years later I read about the same thing happening to someone else.

    I still seethe when I think about what they did to my mother and to my son.

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 21, 2016

      Oh my gosh Karen, what a horrific experience!! We are easy targets . . .

      Like

    • Janice van der Schyff
      February 22, 2016

      So sorry for all the trauma your mother and whole family experienced.

      Like

  21. Candipot
    February 19, 2016

    I will no longer shop at Pick n Pay because of this incident. I am a mother of 3 and have also had similar incidents occur and also had to go back and pay for items. No one has ever arrested me, they have always been understanding. 1 Baby is very distracting when shopping. A baby + 1 kid is worse, 3 kids with a baby or toddler mixed in is like crisis mode in a store! You see the toddler pulling things off the shelves from their prams while the middle one lies on the floor crying because they want you to buy the pink box of tissues not the green one and the oldest one is trying to convince you that you need to buy them a full packet of sweets just for them and not their siblings, all while you are trying to remember why the hell you came to this shop in the first place!

    Like

    • ChevsLife
      February 21, 2016

      This is why this incident is so alarming! We could all be sitting with a criminal record if it weren’t for the Management’s ability to use their discretion, show understanding and appreciate the honesty.

      Like

  22. Michelle
    February 24, 2016

    Myopinion is that if you were not there you should not choose sides. Camera footage will tell the proper story.

    Like

    • RobinFist
      February 27, 2016

      That is right, let’s all bury our heads in the sand. I don’t need to be there to know that they did not need to arrest her. This policy of arrest arrest arrest is BS. While a battered woman must carry on being abused because her abuser’s court case is postponed to make space for this rubbish shoplifting non sense? View that o camera footage Michelle. Stupid!

      Like

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2016 by in Parenting and tagged , , , , , .
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