Maumee, Ohio - Marketing
We reached the door of the Supermarket at the same time and, in
deference to her gray hair and seeming frailty I stood aside that she
might enter ahead of me. She chose a shopping cart and moved slowly
along the cosmetics aisle, the cart’s wheels squeakily protesting the
need for a little oil.
There was something vaguely familiar
about her and, as I followed at a short distance I wondered if, when or
where I might have encountered her before. The face was handsome, in
spite of a network of fine lines around the eyes and mouth, and she
carried herself with a lissome grace startlingly at variance with the
threadbare coat which hung loosely to her cracked, misshapen shoes.
A singer from yesteryear? An actress?
A dancer? I watched her and wondered and then I saw it. The flash of
hand to shelf and pocket, the movement so flawless that for a moment I
doubted what I had seen. She looked around and unhurriedly, moved on a
few paces, then there it was again, the smooth quick flow of hand to
shelf to pocket.
Mesmerized, I watched as her swift
movements continue every few seconds. She would push the squeaky cart a
few more feet, quickly grab something and go on about her business.
Though her appearance led me to believe that she did not live in the
most favorable conditions, deep down I thought otherwise. She was too
graceful, too regal, too . . . something. Then, I saw it.
As not to look suspicious, the woman
stopped at the end of the aisle to admire fruit. She chose a cantaloupe
and began to examine it for flaws. This choice seemed odd to me, but it
was not what made me truly suspicious of the woman. It was her hands.
Her hands seemed young – a sharp contrast to what the rest of her
appearance would have you believe – and very well taken care of. As she
inspected the fruit I watched how delicately she handled it and I
noticed something about her fingers. Each had a precise French manicure
and smoothness unlikely for most in her impoverished situation. I also
noticed a scar across her left ring finger – not ugly, but there, and
She carefully placed the cantaloupe
in a plastic fruit bag and put the bag in her cart. Intrigued as I was,
and against my better judgment, I stopped following the woman, and
continued with my own shopping. I returned home wondering why a woman
who could afford a fresh French manicure would steal cosmetics from our
At home, I put away my groceries and
sat on the couch while that little woman plagued my thoughts. I turned
on the television to entertain myself with something other than her odd
“New precautions are necessary to
prevent shoplifting from Master Market. My undercover exposé today at
six,” said a woman on my T.V.
This sentence caught my attention
because I left had Master Market only a few hours before, and watched
that lady shoplift. I looked at the woman sitting behind the desk. She
had her thick chestnut hair pulled into a tight, elegant bun. Her suit
was freshly pressed and her jewelry was gorgeous. Her neatly manicured
hands were folded across the news desk and a huge engagement ring sat on
her left ring finger. I was admiring her ring when I saw something – it
was a scar. Not an ugly scar, but a scar; the same scar I had seen
earlier that day.