It’s Not Worth It! This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     I am pretty much a “good girl.” I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. I seldom break curfew, I volunteer, get good grades, and lead a well-balanced life. But one thing ruins this cute little description: I shoplift, or at least I used to.

I started shoplifting about two years ago. One day a friend did it at the mall, and I just followed suit. I don’t even remember what I stole, probably something small and insignificant like a piece of candy. But that led to the next time, and then another, and every time I would steal something a little bigger. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and makeup are now part of my contraband collection. A lot of people steal for the thrill, but not me. My reasoning? Why pay, when it can be free? I can’t believe that I fell for my own defective logic.

Never in a million years did I think I would get caught. I was too sly, too good for them to catch me. Looking back now I wonder why they didn’t catch me sooner. Afterall, employees are trained to catch shoplifters.

Being caught shoplifting is the worst feeling ever - a mix of dread, shame, disappointment, sorrow, anguish, and guilt. I felt physically ill. I wasn’t sure if I trusted myself to remain conscious or to keep from throwing up; I had to sit down.

It didn’t seem real until my mom came to take me home. Everything was surreal, as though I were in an embarrassing nightmare. The look of disappointment and anger on my mom’s face brought me crashing back to reality. The car ride home was agonizing. It was absolutely silent, but I could feel the incredible tension.

Once home, I got the lecture of my life. Obviously I was grounded for eternity without TV, computer, or any electronics. All my privileges were stripped, and I had a whole lot more chores. In addition, I had to pay a $250 fine and I will have a record until I am 18.

I never thought of the consequences of shoplifting, ever. I never thought I would get caught. Any shoplifters out there reading this probably think that I was just bad at it and that I was bound to be caught. If I were still a shoplifter, I would think that too, but here’s the thing: I was good - even great - at shoplifting. I would go into stores with friends and they never even noticed I was doing it. I used to be proud when they gasped at my “accomplishments.” My point is, it doesn’t matter how good you are, because the odds are definitely against you; eventually you will get caught.

I wish I had read an article by a recovered shoplifter. I wish one of my friends had said, “Hey, cut it out.” I wish I could have a do-over for that day and skip going to that mall. Shoulda, coulda, woulda - I didn’t, and now I’m paying the price.

So, don’t take this warning lightly because it may be the only warning you ever get. It’s not worth it; shoplifting is a horrible mistake. Take it from me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 1:43 am
i love this so much!
flyyy said...
Oct. 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm
I loved this! It was amazingly writen! Inpireing. Wow.
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