Trying to “Steal” a Bargain

When I was about twelve, two of my cousins (sisters) came north for a couple of weeks to visit.

We’d only recently become close with these girls (long story!), so it was a treat for my sister and me.

We were like stair steps in age — but totally different in appearance.

As fair as my sis and I were (thanks to our blond-haired father), they were dark with attractive Italian coloring.

One day, we decided to go swimming. But back then, the pool required females to wear swim caps.

Horrid, rubbery things, often decorated with fake flowers and sporting a strap beneath the chin.

So your nasty hair wouldn’t soil the pool water, I guess.

(Say, how come guys didn’t have to wear them?!?)

Because our cousins didn’t have swim caps, Mom and Daddy drove us to a store and sent the four of us inside with money for the purchase.

We stood at the shelf for a long time, giggling at the styles. Finally, our older cousin decided on one, but noticed its box was marked a couple of dollars more than the rest of the caps on the shelf.

“Do you think they marked it wrong?” she asked.

Probably, we all agreed.

Then someone (I don’t remember who) had a brilliant idea.

“Let’s just take it out of this box and exchange it with one from a box marked less.”

Part of me wanted to argue the right-from-wrong aspect of that, but I held my tongue.

Even back then, I knew how important scoring a bargain was!

So we paid for the cap and returned to the car.

Once settled in the back seat, we couldn’t stop ourselves from bragging to Mom and Daddy about our deal.

They were horrified.

And drove right back to the store, shooed us inside, and demanded we admit to the sales clerk what we’d done.

And pay the difference.

If that wasn’t mortification enough, before we were permitted to go swimming, we had to go to Confession.

And tell the parish priest.

Poor fellow.

By the time the third one of us showed up behind the veil and started in on our story, he asked in exasperation, “Just how many more of you are out there?”

And that, my friends, is how my parents reinforced the “stealing is wrong” lesson!

20 thoughts on “Trying to “Steal” a Bargain

  1. ““Just how many more of you are out there?”

    Bwhahahahahahaha! OMG Debbie, that was HILARIOUS!!! And I know exactly what you mean about having to go to confession and confess because I (being catholic) had to do the same thing. Confession was a BIG thing back then. In fact, we were not permitted to take Holy Communion unless we went to confession first.

    “As fair as my sis and I were (thanks to our blond-haired father), they were dark with attractive Italian coloring.’

    Same in my family as well. However, my mother was the light Italian and my father was the dark. And all us kids took after my mother – blonde hair and blue or green eyes.

    FAB post, dear lady! LOVED it! Have a faaaaaaaabuloso weekend!


    P.S. BTW, I love your new template design. Especially the green background because green is my favorite color.

    • Ron, I just know that poor priest was hoping we weren’t a “gang” of ten, ha! He was probably thinking it would’ve been easier (and faster!) to line us up and have one spokesperson. At least we’d all agreed on our story beforehand, ha!

      Isn’t it funny how genes shake down? My eyes were blue until I was two, then they gradually turned hazel. But almost all my cousins are the olive-skinned type — very attractive and much easier to handle in lots of sunshine.

      Thanks so much for the compliments. Green is one of my favorite colors, too (the other is blue). Have a super weekend!

  2. Scoring a bargain was leading you off the righteous path into a life of swim cap crime. That is mortifying—I mean really, swim caps? SWIM CAPS?? Your crime was a swim cap switch. That is too funny.
    New header is very pretty and oddly appropriate for your post—“header.” 😀

    • You know, it’s embarrassing to admit I was a swim cap thief! And I hate to say it, but I’m glad the store finally went out of business and I no longer have to go in there. But my folks were quick to nip my thieving ways in the bud — and having to tell Father made it that much worse. At least back then we didn’t do Confession face to face, ha!
      Glad you like the new look. I was intending for it to look more Irish!

  3. Debbie, this was so funny and yet there is a good ol’ fashioned moral to the story. Sounds like something my sisters and I could’ve done and my parents, too, would have reacted in the same way. Love your new look.

    • Pat, it’s funny how our peers and siblings can be our partners in crime! I guess this is how kids get confused by the mixed messages they receive — on the one hand, stealing is wrong but on the other, you’ve “done good” if you’ve scored a bargain. It was just too much for our childish brains to process. Glad you approve of the sprucing up I did!

  4. I have just had a revelation… But first, let me say that this was truly funny. First, the memory of those swim caps. Gosh, they were horrible. It was like wearing a girdle on your head. You’re probably too young to have been forced into girdles, but trust me – the smell of rubber is the same no matter what it’s supposed to control.

    The other funny thing is the priest, of course. If more parents dealt with their little darlings like yours did with you, we might have fewer problems today. But that’s a whole other issue.

    Now, the revelation. When I was in grade school, I went into a local drug and specialty store – the kind where you could pick up your prescription and a greeting card or little gift at the same time. I found myself in front of a tiny bottle of Evening in Paris perfume. It’s ghastly stuff, but that cobalt blue bottle was gorgeous. Yep – I lifted it. Out the store I went. Then, I walked around and around until I couldn’t stand it any more. I went back, and put the bottle in place. I felt like every eye in the place was on me. But, if anyone saw, they didn’t say a word.

    To this day, I’ve never much liked blue – especially strong blues. Not until this very minute have I thought that it might be my life of crime that gave it such a negative connotation for me!

    • Linda, your story about the Evening in Paris perfume made me laugh out loud — thank you! I’m glad to know I’m not the only “reformed thief” in this country. I can just see you as you paced around, wondering what to do with it, then deciding to do the right thing and return it. Your parents, too, raised a decent human being. Conscience is something we desperately need stoking these days (another issue, I know).

      Yes, swim caps were horrid and ugly. Whoever dreamed up such a torture device should be forced to wear one! Remember how hard it was tucking all our hair up inside it (even if one had short hair, ha!)

    • Kim, you’re such a dear to sing my parents’ praises! At the time, all four of us girls were mortified as we tried (unsuccessfully) to worm our way out of the punishment. But I’m glad Mom and Daddy stuck to their guns. Their lesson reinforced what they and the nuns in school were trying to teach us (right from wrong), and it’s something I’ve never forgotten!

  5. That was quite a lesson. But I think it had the desired effect, because it’s stayed with you (and I bet you haven’t tried to get an unlawful bargain on a swim cap since then :))

    In elementary school, I once stole a candy bar (while with a friend who encouraged to do it because it was fun.) Well, I took it, but I was so afraid of getting caught, and then felt so guilty for doing it, I couldn’t even eat it. My friend ate it instead and I never took anything again because I decided it wasn’t worth it!

    • Janna, you’ve got a really strong conscience, haven’t you? And here, I thought only Catholic kids were ingrained with that, ha! Good for you, not being able to eat that pilfered candy bar. I know that swim cap, despite how pretty we thought it was in the store, wasn’t very pleasurable when my cousin put it on and wore it.

  6. Your parents sure knew how to teach a lesson! My dad was a fan of lecturing us … for hours on end, it seemed … not allowing the offender to get a word in edgewise. Of course, I’m glad he never made me go to confession!

    • We got our fair share of lectures, too, but somehow this hands-on lesson really stuck with me. Not that I was headed for a life of crime or anything! Funny, but I can’t recall Domer ever getting into such a dilemma — probably because he’s one of the youngest cousins and never felt the need to go along with the crowd. Lucky him!

  7. I think another crime was having to wear the swim caps! My older sister had one with pink rubber flower blossoms all over it and I so envied it. Probably should have gone to confession for that too! Your exasperated priest’s comment made me laugh out loud. I know they aren’t supposed to talk about what they hear but I wonder if that was a “cute” topic of conversation at the rectory that night over dinner. And I loved your description of you and you cousins as stair steps in age. We learn honesty in different life lessons, don’t we?

    • Barb, I’m pretty sure poor Father did get a chuckle or two out of our story — at least he didn’t try to trip us up and see which one was lying, ha! No, we were clever enough to relate the exact same story, the exact same way, four different times. And the last one to go in didn’t even have to tell the story — when he asked how many more of us were out there, he told her he didn’t need to hear it again!!

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