About a week ago my spidey senses kicked in and I knew something was off kilter.  I looked around, did not see anything out of the ordinary, and continued on with what I was doing.

A few minutes later I got that funny feeling again, like I was being watched.  If I stood very still I could just make out a person in my periphery.  Turning my head the tiniest bit allowed me to make an inventory of the person’s clothing and what he was carrying.  Satisfied that I had identified my stalker, I turned on my heel and walked away. 

The man was a shadow.  He never came closer than twenty feet and he sometimes disappeared altogether, but he always came back as if I were a guarantee.

Oh how I wanted to grab this man by the lapels and shake him, letting him know I was not a thief.  I would have shook my shopping list in his face and pointed at my half-way full grocery cart to build my case.

For some reason, this Lost Prevention Officer had me in his sights.

As he had obviously appeared in mine, I decided to play along.  Heck, it was one of those days. 

I looped around the store, filling my cart with fruits, veggies, chicken and dairy, mentally placing each item on an ‘Ease of Theft’ scale. 

Green onions?  They scored a two because even though they are simple enough to slide up a sleeve their onion-y smell might give a person away.  A pound of butter?  A five.  Packaged steak?  An eight as I have never figured out how people are able to steal $100.00 of prime rib without getting caught.  Watermelon?  A ten.

For every aisle I cruised down, the LPO was there.  He occasionally deeked right when I went left, only to reappear from my other side.  I desperately wanted to sneak up on him and goose him from behind to point out that his surveillance skills needed a little improvement.  I don’t think he was intending to be obvious as he so clearly was trying to be non-chalant, and I’m not trying to be cruel about this whole thing as I completely support and understand when stores have to employ LPO’s to keep theft rates under control.

However, if a hunter is stalking another hunter, he had better be on his game.

I eventually made a big show of putting everything on the cashier’s conveyor belt and of paying the bill.  I half expected to get stopped when I exited the store but by then the LPO had moved on to another target.

The last I saw of the LPO was as he trailed a heavy set, middle aged man through the produce section.  There was a lightness in the LPO’s step, as if he were sure an arrest was imminent.  I took another look at the LPO’s target and realized I would have trailed him too – by the looks of the target he had already concealed a watermelon inside his shirt.




As an end note – I have many friends who were Loss Prevention Officers, so I tell the above story with light hearted intent.  I’m sure any fly on the wall of my police cruiser from my days as a rookie would have similar stories to tell…  🙂

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