What did you do when you saw a shoplifter steal?

Completely by accident, I stopped a shoplifter – with the Power Of Voice.

I was doing a teacher training exercise for my PGCE at a museum, with my toddler along due to a childcare fail. He had been Such a Good Boy that I decided to buy him a treat in the shop as we left. At this point, he dropped all pretence of being a Good Boy, running riot through the aisles demanding All The Things. So, as I finally got to the checkout with more treats than intended, I was In A Mood. The checkout assistant popped his treats into a paper bag and handed it to the Darling Little Boy, who promptly scooted for the door as I waited for the card machine to connect with Jupiter or Arrakis, or wherever the Heck the payment authorisation takes place.

Just as he got to the exit, I uttered “Get Back Here NOW” in The Voice, known only to Irish Mammies, teachers, and the Bene Gesserit. This had the desired effect of causing him to spin round and return to me.

Right on his heels, however, was a teenager who had also been exiting, with some goods he had not paid for. He handed them meekly to the checkout assistant, apologised to both of us, and left.

The checkout assistant and I just about held ourselves together until he was out of sight before falling about laughing.

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