Carrefour No More
The only thing I have ever really stolen in my life was a pair of SpongeBob Square Pants undies from a China Town market when I was 14. I still feel kind of guilty about that too. I have had many opportunities to steal and am pretty thrifty when it comes down to my last fiver, but due to my inconveniently strong belief in karma, I just can’t do it.
I have never been banned from anything in my life either, except clubs and bars on the reg’, but I always miraculously find my way back inside depending on how impressive I feel like being. So to be banned from one of the biggest supermarket chains in Europe for stealing was the ultimate roundhouse kick in the face.
My dysfunctional relationship with Carrefour began on a roadie through the French Riviera one Easter weekend when we we’re splurging on wine and chocolate for a nice ol’ evening celebrating the man who made sandals cool. I was on my way to the register with my one-euro wine and chocolate eggs when I felt a hand on my shoulder and quickly turned around to be confronted by a typical French manager. He aggressively snatched my goodies out of my arms and pointed at my bare feet, then the exit, obviously mistaking me for a dirty hippie. My tie-dye top and velvet pants probably didn’t help the situation, but how unjust to deprive an innocent girl of chocolate on Easter.
The rest of our Carrefour “essential” trips went smoothly. I wore shoes, we purchased our items and we left. Well, that is until one rainy afternoon in Nice, when we called in for a last-minute stock up. We had previously been getting away with half filling a bag of vegies or fruit, weighing it and putting the weight sticker price on before filling the rest of the bag. I didn’t technically count this as stealing, more just pure genius on the mullah saving scale.
At the “do it yourself” register, we got through a few items before the dreaded please see assistant sign popped up. She came over and clicked it through and we proceeded; however, things started to get a little suspicious when the sign popped up after every item we scanned from then on.
Eventually a giant, black, French security guard marched straight over to us and my heart stopped still in my chest as my mind immediately drifted to images of me eating the already-open Easter chocolate on the discount shelf. Fuck – they caught me. I was in trouble now. He guided us to a claustrophobic, dimly lit interrogation room where another macho French guard was waiting. He had a military haircut and looked like he could end me with one swift move, which kind of turned me on and scared me simultaneously.
Army dude held up our bags and explained in broken English that broccoli was not 30 cents for a kilo and a giant bag of potatoes didn’t add up to 20 cents. Then he poured the contents of my friend’s bag out on the table. An avocado, a broken foundation bottle and three kiwi fruits fell out. “We have cameras,” he explained. Well, fuck – that means he saw me eating the chocolate and opening jars of stir fry sauce to smell before choosing, and also pretending cucumbers were willy swords.
He took all of four of our licenses and for the next few hours filled out forms and made some serious-sounding calls. They found it a little skeptical that we were all from different countries. When we explained we were all just travelling together, he asked if we were staying in a hotel, which made me laugh. Our rainbow, spray-painted van was parked out front, and if he only saw our living conditions he may have let us go or even chucked in free noodles.
Turns out that in the end we just had to pay the extra amount for what everything actually cost and that we were eternally banned from Carrefour in Nice. Then I was caught eating the chocolate from a complimentary bowel at the customer service bench on my way out.
“Don’t worry – that’s free,” he told me with a wink.