SaleMom and I went shopping this afternoon. Unfortunately, I left my brain at home.

But let’s begin at the beginning. My birthday was a few days ago, and LOFT sends cardholders a small gift card to use during their birthday month. I’m still tired and congested, but the end of the month is coming up quickly, so off to LOFT we went, gift certificate in hand. We each tried on several things (partly due to the fabulous 40% off sale this weekend). I found a cute dress I wanted, and Mom found a sweater with a matching top that she liked. The only problem was, they didn’t have a petite size in the right color. She said she could alter the regular size, but I wanted her to get the proper size if she could. So I asked a clerk if she could do a search for the right size/color combo, and she found two at the downtown store. I placed an order and returned to the dressing room in search of Mom, who still hadn’t reappeared.

I found her and relayed the news, but she was worried. What if the store sold out before they processed the order? So we decided to get the regular sized one as a backup. I put Mom’s sunglasses in her purse, picked up the blouse and sweater, and chivied her out of the dressing room and up to the register.

The clerk explained that I could save an extra 20% by upgrading my LOFT card to a Mastercard. Getting a bigger discount sounded good to me, so I agreed and we went through the process of switching out my card. Then I gave her the dress, sweater and blouse.

What I forgot to give her was my $15 birthday gift certificate.

After we left the store and stopped at a gas station, I looked in my purse and realized my mistake. I debated whether to go back; I wanted that $15 credit, but would I lose the extra 20% discount if they re-rang the transaction? I almost decided to forget it and go home, but Mom said I should go back and ask. So I returned to the store with my bags, saw my original cashier, and said, “I did something really stupid; I forgot to give you my birthday discount card. Is it possible to fix it?” She assured me that she could, and after a few minutes of fiddling with the register and my receipt, she got it to accept the birthday gift. Hurrah! I left the store relieved and happy.

That feeling lasted about 20 minutes, until Mom looked in her purse and went, “Where did these sunglasses come from? Oh my God! I didn’t put these in here.”

I had been tired and hurrying and was so sure the sunglasses on the dressing room bench were hers; I never even saw the tag. I had unintentionally shoplifted a pair of sunglasses.


Mom starts trying them on while I freak out.

“They fit me perfectly!” she said. “How much are they?” She checks the tiny tag. “$24.50. Oh, that’s too expensive.”

The accountant in me takes over. “Forty perfect off, though. That’s only $15.”

She looks in the mirror again. “I like them! Maybe we can pay for them over the phone.”

One slightly embarrassing phone call to LOFT later and Mom is now the happy owner of new sunglasses. The lovely Spencer thanked me for calling, didn’t make me feel any dumber than I already felt, and even e-mailed me a receipt.

Guess we’ll call it a win.

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