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I accidentally shoplifted a tool last week. It was unintentional, but the tool has already turned out to be quite useful. Feelings of guilt have descended.

Ever get home from the grocery store and start putting groceries away only to discover that you somehow ended up with something you didn’t’ buy? This usually happens when two checkout belts are side-by-side and you or the bagger accidently put something extra in your cart.

These are usually minor items and I typically don’t worry about it. You could take it back to the store but if it’s food they can’t restock it. The original purchaser has probably already gone back to the store to replace the item. Besides, I’ve had the reverse happen where I don’t make it home with something I got, so I just keep it and figure it all balances out.

But I was at one of the Big Box stores last week and when I got home I discovered a small bag along with the other that contained a single item: a short 7/16" wrench. This was a regular wrench, but shorter than standard size for reaching into tight spots. Like clamps, you just can’t have enough 7/16" wrenches, and although I wasn’t aware these short ones existed I’ve already used it a couple of times and am thrilled with it.

But, oh, do I feel guilty. Unclean. Illicit. I feel like a criminal. This isn’t a 59-cent bunch of bananas, this is a $10 tool. And a darned useful one at that. In spite of my lack of intent, this is something I’ll have to make right.

I’ve saved the hanging-tag thing that was on the end of the wrench, and the next time I go to the Big Box store I’ll take it along, have them scan it, and pay for it like the upstanding citizen I used to be before embarking on my life of crime.



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