that's life (Australia)

Secret Story

Rhonda knew her friend was shopliftin­g – but what could she do? Rhonda Ross, 58, Gold Coast, Qld*


Every Saturday, my friend Molly and I drove to the shops in her car to do our grocery shopping.

While we were friends, we were very different. She earned a good wage, while I was on a pension. She bought the best brands, and I bought generics.

One day, I was helping her put her bags in the car.

‘Molly, look,’ I said, holding up some moisturise­r. ‘This was under your bag in the trolley. It couldn’t have been rung up. You should return it. It cost 39 bucks!’

‘I’ll pay for it next time. I can’t be bothered now,’ she shrugged.

But every week, there was something that Molly had ‘missed’ paying for.

At the checkout once, she began shifting her handbag around in her trolley.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

‘Everything won’t t in,’ she said, ustered. ‘I should have taken my other bags out to the car before we started.’

I noticed a jar of caviar beneath her handbag.

‘Look, this is hiding.’

‘Good spotting,’ she snapped, placing it on the counter.

At the department store, I watched wistfully as she chose pricey dresses for her granddaugh­ter. She hung them on the trolley and put a rocking horse on top.

‘There’s a long queue

– why don’t you wait for me in the car?’ she said. ‘Okay,’ I said, glad to get out of


After she came out, I saw all the dresses were still hanging on the trolley. ‘Molly, you didn’t pay for them!’ I shrieked.

‘Oh no!’ she cried, looking morti ed.

Grabbing them, she raced back to the store.

‘How did you go?’ I asked her, when she returned.

‘No dramas, all sorted,’ she replied.

‘Did you get a receipt in case they were the wrong size?’ I persisted, but she avoided the question.

It was clear that Molly was a shoplifter.

We continued our weekly shop and she’d always steal a few items that had ‘just slipped under her bag’.

The following Saturday, I had a dental appointmen­t so I told Molly I’d catch up for coffee afterwards.

When she pulled up to the cafe, she was shaking.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.

She sat down, trying to compose herself.

‘I’d just paid when a security guard asked me to follow him – in front of everyone!’ she cried.

‘Oh no – why?’ I asked. ‘I showed him my receipt and pointed out I’d spent nearly $300. Then he said someone had seen me tucking items under my bags!’ ‘That’s awful,’ I said.

‘It’s unbelievab­le. Even after I paid for the things I’d missed, he took my details, saying next time the police would be called!’

‘How scary,’ I said. ‘Incredibly,’ she nodded. ‘You know me – I’m very honest. The hide of him!’

‘How embarrassi­ng for you, Molly,’ I said.

‘It was!’ she exclaimed. ‘From now on, make sure you don’t have any other items hiding in your trolley!’ ‘I will,’ I assured her.

Molly must have learned her lesson because she hasn’t stolen anything since.

But of course, I’ll never tell her it was me who alerted the store manager to her wily ways that day! ●

‘I’ll just pay for it next time. I can’t be bothered now,’ she shrugged

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