Commentary: Licking ice cream and returning it to the store shelf, gargling with mouthwash and spitting it back in the bottle, and urinating on potatoes on a store shelf are three things I would never even think of, as would most rational individuals. My mother taught me right from wrong.
Once when I was 8 or 9, Mama sent me to the corner grocery store to buy Kotex, handing me just the right amount of money as I had performed this task before. As embarrassing as that was, what happened afterwards made an even more indelible impression on me. While there I snuck a candy bar in my pocket and strolled out of Luksa’s Grocery without paying for it.
Not only was Luksa’s Grocery a block away from home, but the family who ran it lived nearby were also a family of Czech origin, and the kids went to school with us. I clearly was not thinking about the consequences should I get caught.
When I walked the
short distance back home and handed my mother the bag containing her feminine
hygiene products, she noticed the chocolate candy. Asked where I got it, I
wrestled for an answer. Never being a good liar I confessed to her that I had
A good spanking would have been deserved but Mom did something even more impressionable. She had me walk back to the store and return the stolen merchandise. Pretending I did so was out of the question so I did as told. As I handed the candy to the elderly lady at the cash register I remember feeling so embarrassed, not only for myself but also for my entire family.
It was as though I had brought shame to my siblings and parents, as well. The store’s owners would surely think less of us after what I did, maybe even ban us from the store. Living in a small town I thought everyone would from this day forward look at all of us as a bunch of low-life white trash.
The cashier accepted the candy bar and thanked me for my honesty. She never said another word about it during my many more visits back to the store and as I got older, she always welcomed me with a smile and friendly greeting.
Blue Bell, mouthwash, and potatoes, oh my!
That brings us to today. A Lufkin, Texas Walmart was the epicenter of a series of disgusting acts in grocery stores involving mouthwash, potatoes and, yes, ice cream.
A teen was recorded snickering with pleasure as she opened up and licked a carton of Blue Bell ice cream at a Walmart before putting the container back into the freezer. The person filming her egged her on, cheering her to “lick it, lick it.”
“We have identified the ‘Blue Bell licker’ as a juvenile from San Antonio,” Lufkin Police wrote. “Under Texas law, anyone under the age of 17 is considered a juvenile.”
It’s enough to make you want to eat the store brand.
Only a week later, a different Walmart customer was videoed gargling mouthwash, spitting it back in the bottle, and returning it to the store shelf.
Maybe I’ll start rinsing with cologne.
Then came the piss de résistance, err, pièce de résistance. A Pennsylvania woman was caught with her pants down, literally, via a screen grab from a surveillance camera at a Walmart. (Insert Walmart People joke here.)
According to a
Walmart spokesperson, a store employee claimed to have seen the woman urinating
on a display of potatoes. The store immediately disposed all of the exposed
merchandise and sanitized the area.
Perhaps I’ll grow my own spuds.
Tampering with consumer products penalties
The Texas Penal Code defines “Consumer Product” as any product offered for sale to or for consumption by the public and includes “food” and “drugs.” “Tamper” means to alter or add a foreign substance to a consumer product to make it probable that the consumer product will cause serious bodily injury.
Tampering with a consumer product is a felony of the second degree unless a person suffers serious bodily injury, in which event it is a felony of the first degree. Simple tampering, such as breaking the seal on a product is a felony of the third degree
Tampering with food and consumable products are crimes, just as theft is. My mother taught me a lesson early in life about respect for others’ property, the difference in right and wrong, and about consequences for your actions.
The perpetrators in the recent rash of malicious acts against consumers unfortunately have not learned those lessons. Lack of respect for others property while seeking one’s 15 minutes of fame has taken precedence over the shame incurred, if any, to self and family.