I went to CVS today to take advantage of a Nivea lotion and shaving cream sale. Just as I was walking to the cash register, I realized I didn't have my ExtraCare card: no card, no deal. I didn't want to put everything back, so I set my little reusable shopping bag by the door and walked quickly out to my car, only to be accosted 30 seconds later by a pharmacist saying, "Oh no you don't!" It didn't take me more than half a second to realize she and the manager and another pharmacist running up behind her thought that I was shoplifting. I didn't have anything but Monica, my credit card, and my keyless entry thingy. I told her that I was just heading out to my car to get my ExtraCare card, but she obviously didn't believe me. I told her I left the bag inside the door so I could go to my car. She was still dubious so I took her inside and showed her the bag. While she and her cronies were rifling through it, I went back out to my car to get the card. When I came back, the bag and my items were on the cash register counter. I felt furious, but I tried to be as polite as possible to the cashier, since he had nothing to do with the scene that just played out.
It really does feel awful to be accused of stealing. The only other time I've been confronted in such a manner was with Officer X in the Civic-Gate incident (Part I, Part II, Part III). The thing that bothers me the most is that no one apologized for chasing me and for the accusation. There is part of me who wants to write a letter and tell them exactly what I think about being accused and spoken to like that. However, I think it's best to just let it go and be glad that I had the presence of mind not to walk out with the bag on the way to get my little card. That mistake would have been difficult to explain away.
Addendum: I told Kevin this story and he said, "Well, why didn't you just leave the bag with the cashier? They wouldn't have accused you of shoplifting." So simple. So easy. Lesson learned.