What do you call the opposite of shoplifting?

Many years ago,  when I was just a wee lass, I remember my brother getting taken into custody by the police.  It was a dark day for our families good name and a lesson that sent fear into both myself and my other sisters.

His crime?  He had stolen a pencil from the newsagents.  My mum found the pencil and my brother confessed to being a thief.  Quick smart,  he was taken up to the police station where Mum explained to the officers what her son had done.  Without further ado,  he was placed in a holding cell for an hour.

My brother, who was 7 at the time, never stole a thing again.

But this lesson sent shock waves throughout me and my siblings and earned a new feeling of respect and awe for our mother, along with a great dose of terror. She was one who followed through on rules and threats. We were not going to fuck with her anymore.

At least until I was in Year 8 at High School.  I was at a fancy-schmancy boarding school (held there against my will) and some Christian Group were holding a special chapel service to raise money to buy bootlaces for Bolivia, or something like that.  With one fell swoop, I emptied the contents of the offering dish into my pocket,  unbeknown to me under the watchful and evil eye of a Geography Teacher. I obviously just had to purchase a new Jimmy Barnes tape or the latest Incense Body Spray. Anyway,  I was hauled into the Principal’s Office,  my mother was summoned and I earned a week’s suspension for my efforts.

I can still hear the Evil Bitch Troll’s voice as I left her office.

“This is something that you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life…..”

And it is true. I have to live with that for the rest of my life……………………

Anyway, I have managed to be deceitful and devious again without really even knowing about it.

It all started at the end of last year when notes were being bought home from the boys about returning overdue library books. I gathered then up from under various beds and actually found one lodged down the back of the couch. They were dispatched to school.

The next day,  Jack came back with a note explaining that there was still a missing book outstanding.  It was this book

The Romp in the Swamp!  Over the last few weeks of last year and throughout the Christmas holidays,  Jack would remind me and ask “Where is Romp in the Swamp?”  It became an overused and fast running gag in our house.

“Has anyone seen the car keys?”

“They are right next to Romp in the Swamp….”

Then we moved.

Moving gives you the perfect reason to sort, chuck and rediscover things that you had started to begin to only imagine you once owned. It was also the perfect scenario to end the Romp in the Swamp drama. Keeping my eyes peeled why we packed,  there was no Romp in the Swamp ANYWHERE.

Weeks later and Jack was getting all antsy about how he will not be able to borrow from the Library until Romp in the Swamp had been recovered or been paid for. 

The next morning I went to the library at the school all ready to fess up and pay up.  The librarian could not have been nicer. I explained to her that we had recently moved and we had searched high and low for Romp in the Swamp and we simply could not find it.

She looked at me and Jack and said sometimes there were cracks in the system and that quite possibly the book HAD been returned and was roughly hanging out in the reference section or something like that and she cleared our name without further penalty. Which was wonderful. Until this morning. When I discovered Romp in the Swamp in my bottom desk draw…..

So now I am in the awkward position of having to smuggle this book BACK into the library without anyone noticing what I am doing.  I feel ashamed. I feel dirty. Like a common low-life criminal who agreed with the sweet, sweet librarian and blamed their faulty system.

And THAT is something I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life.

Have you ever been taken into custody?
Ever had a brush in with the law?
And should I fess up to the Librarian?
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  • PerthWife

    I borrowed from my local library years ago. And never returned the items. Then I moved away. Years later, Husband and I moved back to the area.

    I have not been able to borrow from the library for fear of the librarian scanning my user card then keeling over in shock when she discovers the items on my card are 3285 days (roughly) overdue.

    I have no idea what will happen when I have kids and they want to go to the library to borrow books…..Perhaps I shall have to take them to another library in another suburb where no one knows my name…..

    • Mrs Woog

      Hopefully they have changed systems and you will be good to go. x

    • Michelle Bancroft

      I had this happen to me. When we moved back I owed over $150 in overdue fines. The next year they had a deal where you could dontate canned goods to the salvos and $5 would be wiped for every can given. I got all mine paid off…. The kids loved me for it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10732238323362098098 Shelley @ My Shoebox Life

    Hmmm, wouldn’t mind a bit of a romp in the swamp myself! It is hump day after all! But given the principal and teachers read your blog, I think the game is up for you young lady! x

  • Lindijanej

    As a former librarian, and daughter of a teacher, all sorts of things similar to that, happen so your school librarian will probably just laugh and forget about it. Send it back with Jack, and add a letter of apology, or front up all apologetic. She will probably be more inclined to soothe your apologies, so you don’t feel so bad. :)

    • Mrs Woog

      Thanks for that.  Some good honest advice x

  • http://twitter.com/crazymumma Mandi

    i’m wondering if i’m going to be in the same boat as you in the next few weeks. We have also ‘lost’ a school library book and I have literally ripped the place apart looking for that damn Aussie Nibbles book. Its driving me crazy!  Its now confession time this week, and i’ll lay a big bet on it that Murphy and his bloody law will bring that book out of hiding as soon as confess our borrowing sins. 

    By the way, i’ll be the Mum with the big bag hiding amongst the stacks trying every so hard to put that book back without some evil teacher (or child!) seeing me. 

    • Mrs Woog

      The other thing you could do is just slip it into the lost property bin? Just thinking practically now. Us slack mums need to stick together xx

      • http://twitter.com/crazymumma Mandi

        see this is why you have so many people looking up to you, that is just sheer brilliance! Lost property bin for the win!! xxx

  • sam- o

    Libraries are an instrument of the Devil.

  • housegoeshome.com

    A friend told her four-year-old if he kept misbehaving, she’d take him to the police station. He kept misbehaving. She took him to the police station. The police were very good about it and gave him a thorough talking to. He’s been good as gold since … I’m not sure I’d have the guts to front up to the police station with my kids, but I admire her for following through. My threats are usually idle.  

    • Mrs Woog

      One of my kids went through a little shoplifting stage and I told him about his uncle and how we live withing walking distance of the Police Station.  Since then he has stopped shoplifting or has gotten better at hiding the evidence x

    • http://www.mayorgia.blogspot.com/ Mayor Gia

      Interesting. On one hand, genius. On the other, if I was a cop and dealt with criminals all day, the last thing I’d want is parents hauling their kids into my work so I can tell them to be good. So, I’m kinda torn on this approach.

    • sam- o

      I have been know to point out a Police car as a threat.  A friend in the Police told me off.  She said the kids threatened with the Police are the ones who have very little respect for the law and police in their adult lives.  I find that hard to believe though.

  • http://www.mayorgia.blogspot.com/ Mayor Gia

    Hahahah I’m sure the librarian would understand…

  • http://eccentricess.blogspot.com.au/ eccentricess

    Been there and done this.  However, my reaction was the opposite, I bounced into the school library the next day, excitedly waving the book towards the librarian (who was also an intergration aide in my daughter’s class) saying, “You remember that book I simply couldn’t find and you cleared it because it might have been the dodgy computer?  Here ’tis!”  and proudly put it back on the shelf.  She laughed.

    I had done four weeks of volunteering in the library, previously, in an attempt to find out if it had made it’s way back to the shelf.  Indeed, it had made it’s way onto A bookshelf.  My daughter’s, where I put it during a  tidy up.  😮  

  • Donna @ NappyDaze

    Why is it that things that have been lost for all time suddenly appear just after they are no longer needed? I’d say you fess up to the nice lady – you’ll probably enjoy a laugh together over it!

  • Desire Empire

    No, No and yes, or maybe just smuggle it back, she probably reads you anyway.

  • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

    I paid for an overdue book, then found it behind the bookshelf when I moved. I still have it. I bought it, right?

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      It was a Sweet Valley High. Nobody would blame me.

      • Mrs Woog

        Not the one where Jessica tried to steal Todd from Elizabeth?

        • Mrs Woog

          Jessica was such a skank x

        • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

          Haha until she realized Todd was too boring and she went for the college guy with the motorbike instead?

  • http://twitter.com/BabyguruAUS Sal | Chief Guru

    I’m not exactly sure a primary school should have a book entitled Romp in the Swamp so I would say keep it.

    Back in the days when my Mum used to dress us youngsters in our Sunday finest to go into town (ie Rundle Mall – we lived ten minutes away) I swiped a Baby Alive food sachet and put it in her shopping bag. Well, all hell broke loose when we got home and I was marched back to David Jones where I had to present it to the scary lady at the register and confess my sins. I decided not to mention to my Mum the shopping bag in which she had discovered said item was the same shopping bag she had obtained by casually walking out of a shop with it slung over her arm where she had placed it while she was deciding which bag to actually pay for! Pot:kettle:black!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00776318023948011292 Mishaps and Mayhem of a Gluten Free Life

    I remember being 13 and out in Sydney with my bestie her mum n nan. I made the dare to steal something from the bargain shop, I’d go next. My friend stole only to be confronted by bodyguards to give back the item. Both our bags were searched and my friend said it must have fallen in while she was looking at it. Even 15 years later she still won’t laugh about it. I think we were young n stupid n very lucky nothing else happened, it was that her nan was with us that made it worse.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10585766284041185792 fairy scribbles

    As an ex-library worker I can tell you it happens all the time… It’s not like you had a hissy fit and said it had definitely been returned and the librarian was a so-and-so… She’ll probably have a laugh with you and that will be the end of it. Unless of course she’s been replaced with an evil troll-bitch in the meantime… Then she may beat you with the book.

  • Bel

    My son still can’t use his local library card. He has an $80 fine for some CD book we borrowed when he was five, he is now 14. They won’t wipe his account and his name stays in the system FOREVER. I’ve tried with the new card option… apparently not an option.

  • Liza Jane

    I stole a magazine in a very clever way, shoved it up my white-sheer jumper!! The old lady behind the counter watched me do it, watched me walk out and followed me home to tell my Mother. I was made to write a letter of apology and could never make eye contact with the staff in the (local) shop again. Thank god they sold up and moved on eventually!!

  • http://www.fivelittleflags.blogspot.com/ Kell

    Well while you’re finding lost library books would you mind dropping in and finding Soccer Superstars which has been missing since Term 4 last year?

  • http://www.diminishinglucy.com Diminishing Lucy

    Remind me to tell you about Marks and Spencers and one of their cakes and their back entrance.

    And you have the same Oroton keyrings as me.

    And your Mum? She rocks.


  • Emma

    Mrs Woog  – doesn’t one of the teachers at school read your blog … I say you are busted !

    love Emma

    • Redundantmother

      Yes I remember that and was just thinking the same thing. Not only does one of the teachers read it, I think I remember the teacher telling Mrs Woog that they ALL read it in the staff room.

      You couldn’t be more BUSTED if you tried lady!

  • http://www.maxabellaloves.blogspot.com/ Maxabella

    We stole bubblegum from the corner store a few times and got summarily whacked across the hands and we never stole again (at least, I didn’t, my sister may or may not have another ending to this story – who’s asking?!).

    I wouldn’t mind a romp in the swamp, actually. x

  • boomerang jane

    We have ‘misplaced’ a few books over the past 13 years of my kids’ being at school.  A few were indeed in the library having been returned but not noted.  But a couple did fall through the cracks (literally – of the sofa and matress) and sweetly given a reprieve by the librarians (always important to stay on their good side – this is why I covered squillions of books with contact, to earn some brownie points).

    But I thought the book police had crossed a line when my son’s school told us his class could not graduate unless all books from the boys in Year 12 were returned, I started to sweat a little.  Thankfully all lost books were found in the nick of time.  But…my beautiful sweet 16 year old (who magically always looks like an angel and smells of fresh flowers, yet lives in a messy crap heap of a disgusting dump of a bedroom) found a book from Year 7 called “Planets and the Universe”.  Ah, oops, she’s now in college!  I was going to somehow drop the book off this week, but she did remind me that Pluto has been downgraded and isn’t technically a major planet anymore.  She assures me we would be doing the students a disservice if we return a book with out of date information.  What do you think?  I feel so guilty i’m driving around with the book in the back of my car…should I toss it in the trash or return it?

  • Farmers Wifey

    Woogsy don’t worryaboutit!  I do this all the time with DVDS.  (oh the shame)….

  • Esther

    This reminds me of when my daughter was a baby and her brother a toddler I took them to a new Christian bookshop with attached play area and cafe that opened near where we live.  I’m not religious but it’s not every day that a new cafe (with attached play area!) opens around here so I took them.  When I went to leave I couldn’t find our nappy bag anywhere, I searched the entire shop in case a kid had moved it or something.  I told the staff and they were so apologetic and then questioned the people who were shopping to see if they’d seen anything, they even offered to check their security cameras.   I left feeling very cranky and then of course found the bag at home.  Now I can never go there again.  

    And yeah I think you should fess up.  It was an honest mistake.  And she probably reads your blog and knows anyway.  

  • http://www.kympiez.blogspot.com/ Kymmie

    Haha, hilarious! I stole earrings when I was at school. Had me in a cold sweat. It’s almost my own lesson. It’s quite clear that I cannot look comfortable when stealing.

    I’m my own worst enemy. xx

  • http://mummasphere.blogspot.com.au/ Mummasphere

    All I’m wondering is what is this book about?? “Romp in the Swamp”?? Sounds a bit saucy to me…. 😉

  • http://www.aworkingmotherschatter.blogspot.com.au/ Polly

    I think you should frame it personally!

  • http://www.mummyontherun.blogspot.com/ Mum on the Run

    My brother was picked up for underage drinking a few years back.
    After seeing my Dad arrive to pick him up (and maybe grab him by the throat) – they kept my brother overnight for his own protection.

    Send Jack in – he’s the cutest Trojan horse ever.
    :-) x

  • Glen

    you damned book returner you —  hold your head low woman!! :-)

  • http://insidethesnuggery.blogspot.com/ sannah

    Darling Mrs Woog, My mum is 70, and she does that all the time. Gets overdue notices, tells the librarian that she is sure she returned the books, they apologise that their system makes mistakes, then weeks later she finds the books at home and smuggles the books back into the library. No harm done?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05837824105735439845 Suzi

    Lol! I still have a Harry & his bucket full of dinosaurs book in our book shelf that I swore black and blue we didn’t have – I also discovered it after we moved, but the kids changed schools too so I have never had to fess up…

  • Shannon

    Don’t all the teachers read your blog in the staff room during lunch anyway?
    The jigs already up Woogsy.

  • Penny

    Good lord yes. I got caught shoplifting a Sweet Valley High Book from the shop at blacktown station when I was 13 and had my first pash in library when I was 12. Am going straight to hell. Can’t wait.

  • Tracy

    I have so done this! Book smuggling is just as nerve racking as stealing!

  • Michelle @ blundermum

    My house is full of toy library bits. A wooden tree here, a train there, a few puzzle pieces…I’m surprised they haven’t banned us!