Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crimes of Fashion

Ahhh~ the holidays are right around the corner. The Christmas music, the different variations of Jingle Bells--jazz, orchestral, pop, r&b, Kenny G-- on constant rotation everywhere from the shopping malls to Starbucks and even on the radio while you're driving from the shopping malls to Starbucks. The smells of pine and cinnamon apple, the food that's infused with sage and butter. The food coma.

Yes, the holidays remind me of so many things. And one thing in particular....


I, like many--and i'll dares say most--Koreans, used to be a compulsive shoplifter or what i like to call thieffette. When I was in middle school, an upperclassman asked me to go to the mall with her. Back then, we all went to Gwinnett Place Mall for some reason. Anyways, I said okay. We browsed through clothes and shoes and bags, and I began to notice that she never actually purchased anything, yet she seemed to be accumulating all this stuff as we went from store to store. Being the naive pea I was at the time, I felt bewildered and amazed simultaneously. I remember that day so clearly...

Peas: "Where'd all that stuff come from?"

Upperclassman: "Oh this?" I just took it."

Peas: O.o

Upper-classman: "You can get away with it you know. You can have everything you want, and not have to pay a single cent for it."

It was my turn. She asked me to get her a mickey mouse ring from the disney store. I was given some pointers and quickly shoo'ed into the store. My heart was pounding. My hands were clammy. And I felt like I was going to throw up. I grabbed the ring, and made my way to the exit. Success. With her coaching me from the sidelines, I was home free. I passed my initiation into the coolkids club. And then I felt it...the rush, the excitement, the wickedness!

My first solo lift was at Sanrio Surprises. A friend and I jacked overpriced-yet-adorable jelly pens, mechanical pencils, notebooks, and such. Gradually, it went from a $4 pens to Gucci sunglasses and $300 denim.

I was a savvier Winona. I had a system. And i wasn't cracked out on oxycontin. Nothing was unshopliftable. I was proud of myself. My mentality was, let's see how far i can take this thing. It's bigger than me now. It's an addiction. My technique was unbelievable. I could take 6 items into the fitting rooms and come out with 6 items but with 10 items hiding under the clothes i wore to the mall. It was better than any drug--cliche, but true.

And then the inevitable happened.

Location: H&M in NYC

When: the Holidays

Why: During the holidays, there's more store traffic meaning store staff is usually grossly understocked or pointlessly overstocked with holiday workers who are pretty much incompetent. The result?: mayhem and an extra hectic environment.

Logic: The perfect opportunity to swipe.

I carried a large Chanel Cabas tote and off I went. (what kind of psycho steals while carrying Chanel? me, obviously. and WI-NO-NA FOR-EVER.) I began stuffing my expensive luxury bag with belts, purses, dresses...etc. My sister caught me and told me to stop. She said that an employee was talking about me (i have the ears of an elf and can hear ladybugs talking, is what she always says). I just figured she was being paranoid or trying to spook me. Lo and behold, as I was trying to leave the store, the security officer stopped me. "Please follow me, miss." I was taken to the back room. (My sister also...she was considered an accomplice. HAHA!) This guy dumped my purse and everything fell out. Imagine someone dumping out mary poppins' bag. It was THAT bad!!! An entire wardrobe plopped out. Fuggin trees came out. It was EPIC. I plead that it was my first time and even made myself shed tears. I think they still have my picture hanging up in their back room. I filled out some paper work and left with a slap on the wrist. As I walked out with my sister, I threw my head back (karleen-style) and let out a huge evil cackle (again, karleen-style). After all that drama, I was STILL able to swipe a beautiful, red beaded belt. I guess, in a way, I felt like I was giving them a big "F YOU!" To this day, i remember my sister's appalled "omg, you've gone completely mad" face. it looks like this =0

I'm older now. I don't shoplift anymore. The only thing I seem to swipe is men's clothes. I have a zillion mens t-shirts in room. I have acquired quite a faboolicious men's collection. I adore my guy friend's clothes... the smells, the misadventures, the laughs.

Anyway, like i said, I don't steal anymore. First of all it's wrong and I strongly believe in karma and I feel like karma definitely got me back in various ways. And secondly, how pathetic would that be if i was 25 and shoplifting? Pathetic and trashy! But I do believe that the "stealing phase" is something that every adolescent goes through, ya know? Now, I just steal on accident, unconsciously, i swear. Yesterday i walked out of Sephora with a Masaki Masaki eau de parfum rollerball. I was just twiddling and spinning it in my hand and the next thing i remember is getting home and finding it in my bag. WUT THE?!?! The devil must have a hold on me! I need to return it, i feel so bad. So the lesson, my dear kittens is that although you think you're being slick and getting away something, karma is always watching and will eventually nip you in the butt. SO DON'T DO IT!

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