Since recently being caught shoplifting I have had to face the consequences for the bad mistake I made. I cant tell you how scared I was and how I felt like a complete idiot and I wish I hadnt done it. Id do anything to take it back, and it was the worst mistake Ive ever made, I knew it was wrong and reprehensible and yet I still did it. I have never been in any sort of trouble before. Not at home, not at school, and especially not legally. I do not know why I did what I did, I still have no excuse for my actions other than complete stupidity and disrespect. I now know how much effect my actions have on myself, my mom, my friends, the neighborhood and the world.
Ive had time to really sit and think and realize the seriousness of my actions. I could of been arrested, charged with shoplifting and taken to juvenile detention center, banned from the mall, and end up with a criminal record, which would make it harder to get a job or get into college later. No one wants to hire someone with a record of stealing. I did not realize at the time, how much of an impact something I do now, as a teen, will and/or could, affect the rest of my life. I now know how wrong my thinking was and how my mistake have effected a lot of different people and places.
In this essay I also want to share some of the things I have experienced and learned over the last couple months. After I was caught shoplifting, I felt extremely scared, even too shocked too cry. I felt horrible for what I did, and I still do to this day! When you steal it makes people look at you differently. I knew it would be hard for God to forgive me and I prayed so much to him to forgive what I did. I felt extremely sorry for what I did and it was hard to forgive myself for it. But I had to, forgive and move forward.. to accomplish the goals that were given to me. I believe the worst was just knowing how disappointed my mother was with me. I couldnt even look her in the eyes for fear of seeing the disappointment & sadness for quite a long while.
I knew from the moment my mother walked in and saw me & my best friend sitting there in front of the deputy, that my life was about to change in many ways. I could tell from the look in her eyes and the tears rolling down her face that I had just lost one of the greatest bonds that my mother and I had, and that is trust. My mother has always taught me that trust is earned not given. I know it will take a long time for my mother to fully trust me again. I know I will never make this sort of disrespectful and irresponsible mistake again, as I never want to be the one to make my mother cry and be sad. I did not tell anyone else of this incident. I couldnt bare to deal with more disappointment, I had had enough. The loss is far greater than the gain of anything you may get shoplifting. I will never ever shoplift again as I have learned a valuable lesson the hard way.
I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity of a second chance with my life with the help and guidence of Teen Court. I was forced to learn about my mistake and its effects. I had not thought of shoplifting as having an effect on the economy or community as I have learned. Every day prices on things that we need continue to go up and up. Things like bread and tea become more expensive for reasons I did not know and make it harder for families to afford what they need to survive. Above inflation, over-priced items and product quality there is one other reason this is happening. That reason is shoplifting. It is a completely unfair and unjust reason for prices to go up but its reality.
Shoplifting affects many different areas that I never realized when I committed the crime. The number one reason for small, new businesss to close is shoplifting.When people steal from companies it takes away profit, and the share holders and company owners are not in the business to lose money, so what happens is the company takes the loss from the low level employees, they reduce hours and cut benefits and increase the prices to make up the difference. The police departments are forced to increase staff to handle all the thousands of shoplifters, the courts are overbooked with shoplifting cases, foreclosures, evictions and taxes are on the rise. It saddens me to know that I contributed to these situations.
I had to sacrifice my weekends for the community service hours that was given to me and in the beginning it was not clear to me as to why the community service hours were given. I now understand, accept and was more than grateful, to volunteer my time as a way of giving back to the community for the attempt of taking something for free. The VSA was a great thing for me, I got a lot of animal therapy, I learned all about the adoption of cats, taking care of them and their cages, I had to talk to people, which I am quite afraid to do most of the time. I conquered my fear of being socially inadequate, more outgoing, and have a bit more confidence in who I am as a person.
I have learned so much from (what could of been a lifelong mistake) this incident. Even people who accompany shoplifters are in danger; for being with a shoplifter is almost as bad as shoplifting. Not all shoplifters are the same, there two distinct types. I have gained far more than I ever would of expected. I have walked away with a sense of knowledge, accomplishment, confidence, pride, and a few new friends. They say that everything happens for a reason, I believe this now more than ever.