To Want Is Not To Need

February 12, 2008
By Stephanie Cleland, Corvallis, OR

I looked at the calendar; it was the 15th of January. Yep, it had been a month since I had been to Rite-Aid, so I figured it was time for me to go again. You see, my family had never been the wealthiest family around, but we always managed to get by. But when my father was killed in a car accident, we had nothing left. My mother was unable to get a job and had to stay home and take care of us kids, me and my brother. During those times, we were always moving from one homeless shelter to the next, never staying in one place for longer then three weeks. When my family had been shoved out of almost every shelter in town, we had to move into an abandoned farm on the outskirts of town. This is when I started the whole stealing thing. The first time I did it was when I was sixteen years old. Now I am eighteen and I am still in the same process of the monthly trip to Rite-Aid, the closest grocery store to the barn. Every month, it is my job to go there and stock up on the food and essentials we need for one month. So far I have only gotten caught by the police 3 times, but there’s never a serious punishment involved.
As I looked at the time, the clock read 1:53 PM. It was almost time for me to go; 2:00 was the peak of the day so to get there at 2:15 was the best time because it was almost impossible to get caught. As I got ready, I pulled my auburn hair back into a low ponytail and slipped on my favorite pair of jeans. I grabbed my pink corduroy backpack and slung it onto my back. I always tried to look as casual as possible. As I slipped on my jacket and shoes, I stepped outside and the cold weather instantly turned my face pink and I could see my breath. It was always cold in Colorado during the winters. I kept up a brisk walk as I made my way to Rite-Aid, trying to get there as fast as my feet could take me.
When I finally arrived, the parking lot was full of cars. It was the perfect time. I slowly made my way through the revolving doors and stepped inside, through the Steal-No-More, and the heated building automatically warmed me up. As I meandered through the aisles, trying to look as casual as possible, I found the first aisle I was looking for, the chips and crackers aisle. I made sure that no one was around, and when the coast was clear, I starting taking handfuls off the shelf and stuffing them into my backpack. My heart started beating at a faster pace; I always got a great adrenaline rush when I stole. My hands started shaking; I slowed down and started taking the items off the shelf at a slower speed. When I thought I had gotten enough and moved onto the next aisle and repeated the same process in each aisle of the Rite-Aid, getting more nervous every time a new item had made its way into my backpack, I was breathing very rapidly by this time and figured it was almost time to make my way out of the store. The last aisle I had stopped at was the children’s toys aisle. I knew my brother, Garrett, had wanted that airplane model forever, so I decided to get it. I took a deep breath in and reached my hand out to grab it. I held my hand there for a while, thinking that it was something he wanted, not needed. But I decided that it was something the Garrett deserved, so I grabbed it slowly off the shelf and stuffed it into my backpack as fast as I could and zipped it up. My backpack was so full; it almost did not zip up all the way. I tried to act as casual as I could as I quickly made my way quickly out of the store.
Right as I had just made it through the doors, the Steal-No-More went off, beeping like a maniac. Before I knew what had happened, the store manager had stopped me and was searching through my backpack. Next thing I remember happening was hearing the police sirens. The police came and took me and my backpack to the police office. There they told me since this was my fourth time stealing, I was going to have to go to jail for 6 weeks and do 100 hours of community service. The police also said that the one thing that made the Steal-No-More go off was the model airplane I had grabbed for Garrett. I only I hadn’t chosen that model airplane, otherwise I would have gotten off with no punishment. Why did I just have to go and decide to choose that last item to put into my backpack, I should have known better than that, but I couldn’t stop. My impulse had killed me. Now I was going to affect my family in a terrible way, I was going to inflict pain on them. This idea hurt more than anything. And the worst part was I would have to live with the knowledge that all of it was my own fault.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!