Melina and I headed over to the middle school yesterday for our first experience with volunteering there. We had signed up to help with the Scholastic Book Sale. To share a couple of hours with Melina and books is never a problem. Unless middle schoolers are involved.
I was the only adult volunteer there for about two hours. In that time, we didn't see many kids, but a few trickled in during activity time (that's recess to everyone else) and we had an entire class or two stop by. During one of the lighter times, as in when only four or five kids were actually in the space with me, I had two girls who decided I looked like the right person to try something on. They were wrong.
The first girl, dressed in a cobalt blue hoodie with a front pocket, kept looking back at me when she was at the trinket shelf. I watched her, checked the rest of the room, and then put my eyes back on her. Twice, I thought I saw her almost slip something into that pocket. So, my eyes stayed put, on her, until she gave up and left.
Middle Schoolers: 0
Middle School Mom Cop: 1
The second girl was even more brazen. She purchased a $0.99 eraser set (wrapped in very crinkly plastic) and placed it into her hand. She then went on for the next fifteen minutes and fingered just about any of the other accessories we had set up. She looked at the bracelets, the pointers, the calculators that looked like chocolates, and even the erasers like the ones she purchased. I watched as she put them in her palm and then placed them back into the bin. Or not.
On her way out of the room, I said, "Did you pay for both of those? I know I rang you up for one." She said, "Oh, I guess not," and put the second one back into the bin. No flush of the face, no apologies, just a simple shrug, as if to say, I do this all the time.
Middle Schoolers: 0
Middle School Mom Cop: 2
Here's the deal. I hope my kids never steal. EVER. But if someone is going to steal something from a book sale, at least make it a book. The accessories are just a bunch of junk; books are something from which you can at least learn.