On the 17th Day of Christmas Sandra Cimadori gave to me…
It’s not like we sell anything anyone really needs. This stuff is the discounted excess of upscale department stores. It ain’t life or death. I do my job, Loss Prevention Specialist, but I’m not about to risk getting punched or maybe even shot confronting some woman who just shoved a Marc Jacobs purse down her yoga pants. My job is surveillance. Then I alert Armando the Security Guard. He meets the suspect at the door and politely suggests they pay for that bulge in their crotch. It’s an easy gig, getting paid minimum wage to protect corporate profits. And it’s Florida so spotting shoplifters ain’t exactly like tracking America’s Most Wanted. Yeah, it might dip down to a frigid 69 degrees in December, but do you really need an overcoat? OMG when I was growing up in Jersey, me and my friends used to go shopping in Manhattan wearing our toboggans and big puffy jackets… let’s just say no money changed hands. That’s why I’m uniquely qualified for this position – I know every which way you can jack the merch.
It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve got my eye on this boy. He’s been in here a couple of times during the past week, but I haven’t caught him doing nothing except looking suspicious and kind of miserable, hanging around a display of pink cubic zirconia rings.
“You need some help?” I say.
He busts out crying. WTF?
“My mom’s bad sick. I wish I could get her something nice, but I don’t have enough money.”
Shit, I know he ain’t lying…somehow I know. I’m a great judge of character. My heart spirals down to my stomach thinking about losing a mom. All of a sudden I feel like I’m in a freakin’ Hallmark Christmas movie, the ones where the main character has to make some big moral decision. Jesus.
“Do what you gotta do, kid.”
I turn my back on him. I know where to stand to block the security camera. I am the Loss Prevention Specialist.
Sandra Cimadori was born in New York and grew up in South Florida in a multilingual home. She graduated from Florida State University. She teaches and writes, dividing her time between North Carolina and Florida.
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