At some point, we may march a frightened looking small child into your store. They will proceed to hand you an item worth less than $1 and tell you that they recently removed this item from your store without paying you for it.

There’s a reason we brought them back.

There’s a reason they hand the item to you instead of just returning it to its proper place and walking out.

There’s a reason we’re having them tell you what they did.

Please don’t talk to them in a little kid voice and thank them for their honesty. Please don’t smile and tell them it’s no problem.

Helps us out a little here.

Scare them. Make them cry.

Take them into your office, sit them in a chair, and lock the door behind you before you give them a stern lecture about how bad stealing is. Ask them how old they are, then tell them that the only reason you aren’t calling the police is that your store rules say you can’t call the police on kids until they are 1 year older than whatever they say. Let them know that you are going to be looking out for them, and that the next time they come into the store you will be watching them closely.

Make this a memorable event that will live in their brain forever. Make such an impression on them that we don’t ever have to do this again. Go ahead and scare the siblings while you’re at it if you can.

Make sure they will know exactly what to do when they grow up and their kids take something.

Thanks Dad.

And thank you to whoever was managing our local Handy City hardware store in the early 80s.

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