My maternal grandmother used to watch my sister and I quite a bit while my mother and father worked and attended school. She was a rounded, vociferous German woman who, to put it delicately, always made her presence known. I loved my grandmother even while being slightly intimidated by her. She had very exacting standards for everything, from housecleaning to cooking to dressing. I know she loved me, but I felt like I always measured up a bit short.
She and my grandfather would take me grocery shopping with them. We would often go to a small supermarket not too far from their condominium, roaring the whole way in my grandfather's red sports car, Wagner blaring from the speakers. He always seemed to forget that he was no longer traveling on the Autobahn, and was the recipient of many a speeding ticket. No matter how many he got, it never deterred him from exceeding the speed limit, even though my grandmoher would screech in German at him while she and I white-knuckled any handle within reach.
That particular shopping trip was uneventful until we reached the checkout line. My grandparents were busy loading the conveyer with their groceries, and my attention was drawn to the array of candies within perfect reach. I know exactly why stores put them there, so that your kids will pester you for candy and because you are in a big rush you will acquiesce. Well, in this case I didn't bother to pester, I just grabbed the brightest box of candy I could find. They never noticed, and I must have known I was doing something wrong as I hid the evidence from them.
That is, until I was
We didn't even get the chance to unload the groceries. My gradmother insisted we turn around right this second and give that candy back. The wailing of the Wagnerian soprano only made me feel worse as my grandmother tersely explained that I personally was going to go to the manager of the store, tell him what I did, and give it back, along with the money she was going to give me.
So my sniveling self was presented to a confused manager, who upon viewing my grandmother fairly quivering with anger, took pity on me and insisted that I keep the candy. Poor man. Now it was his turn to be yelled at that under no circumstances was I to keep the fruits of my evil deed. Wisely, he then accepted the candy and the money.
I never stole anything again.
And to this day, I can't even look at a box of Chiclets.