Today it’s Saturday. It’s late Saturday afternoon in fact. Russian Orthodox Christmas is but two short days away this upcoming Monday, January the 7th. So our favorite, our local, our closest, our absolutely enormous grocery store was jam-packed busy.

Mike and I shared one shopping cart. We did our shopping and proceeded to the checkout aisles and got in line. We waited, I went first and placed my items onto the automated, moving belt, I was rung-up, inserted my VISA card, it took, my items were ‘double-bagged’ and I turned to get the shopping cart but Mike had pushed it behind him back into the area ahead of the checkout aisles where a crowd of customers were waiting to check out.

I walked forward just past the checkout aisles, then I doubled back into the area ahead of the checkout counters, found our empty shopping cart, put my large doubled bagged groceries into the cart, and then worked the cart through the ‘automated’, ‘do-it-yourself’, checkout area.

And I then walked back to intercept Mike who was just finished being rung up and was paying for his items.

White On Rice!

Do you Want White On Rice!

A large (as in tall, as in muscular, as in imposing, as in trim-and-fit) Security Guard was-on-me as White is on Rice in one, short, New York minute! I speak no Russian. He spoke no English. But he made it all-to-plain that he thought that I had simply walked past the crowd of customers in the ‘automated’, ‘do-it-yourself’, checkout area without paying for my groceries.

Now at best, even on a good day, at my stage-in-life, I am / or I can be somewhat absent minded. This is to say, I thought to myself, “Did I get, did I save, do I have, can I find my credit card receipt for all of these groceries?”

After I make almost any credit card purchase, from a grocery store to a restaurant, I have a habit of wrapping my receipt around my credit card. So I opened up my wallet, and amidst a wad of cash and about six credit cards that I use, not to mention other rif-raft in my wallet, there was one credit card with a receipt wrapped around it.

By now Mike was at my side, telling this man in an aggravated and louder-than-normal-voice and gesturing at him that I was an honest person and that I would never ever shoplift or do anything dishonest and he, the security guard should be ashamed of himself for bothering me, an important guest here in Russia trying to help alcoholics and drug addicts.

The security guard may’ve thought, “I knew it. This man is just another neer-do-well himself.”

So I unwrapped the receipt from around my credit card and handed it to this imposing Security Guard. He looked at it, looked at Mike and then at me, then he pointed at it, running his finger slowly down it emphasizing it was for the purchase of one, and only one, item and gave me the you-are-going-straight-to-jail NOW look!  Prior to going into the grocery area of this gigantic supermarket, I’d purchased one small bottle of liquid Vitamin D3 and it was THAT receipt I’d handed THE MAN. Obviously I had, in my large bag of groceries, far, FAR more that one item.

I thought to myself, “Holy Suffering Christ! Did I even keep the receipt for all of this stuff.” .. “What to do?” .. “I can walk back to the cashier and let her know what was going on here.”

I decided to, very slowly, one single item at a time, unload all of the grocery items in my large bag. I did so. A big bag of popcorn. One package of instant soup noodles. A second package of instant soup noodles. A bag of Snickers candy (oops) food bars. A loaf of bread. More instant noodles. A roll of toilet paper. A jar of strawberry jam.  Voila .. there was a long receipt at the bottom of the bag.

Seeing this, Mike took his tirade at this guard to a newer and higher volume level. I too got a little animated and not too politely did some gesturing and pointing and speaking a lot of English joined Mike in verbally attacking this young man. Then I reached out, took his hand, shook it, and off Mike and I went. Had this store security guard been a formal  police officer, Mike and I would’ve been in some deep Kimchi!

Captain’s Rule Number One : Save and keep track of all receipts!

Needless to say, the above adventure was stressful and took-a-toll on both Mike and me. What to do? We went next door to a restaurant that is part of the gigantic super mall and ate a great dinner the two of us. I’ll show our dinner over on blogspot.

I put up a Post on one of my blogspot websites showing one of the five most memorable meetings that I’ve ever spoken at. It is special and I hope one or two of you reading along here will click onto the below link and share it with me :


Happy to be at home and not in jail.

Still Smiling .. Cap

To save her reputation, I won’t mention Patti on the above sign-off line. Patti has no idea of the above drama. Patti, this is why I came home and, after all the stress at the supermarket, and then a nice dinner, I immediately lay down and slept a couple of hours and forgot to text you that we were home S&S!


  1. Patti Boone

    YIKES! As in, Y I K E S !! As in W H E W !!! I am SO glad you are NOT in a Russian jail for attempting to shoplift. Low profile Cap, and do everything according to the book. Not a good idea to go back into the store with your purchased goods, good idea to KEEP all receipts until you are home safe. I am taking some deep breaths. Love and hugs. Patti

    1. cap chastain

      Yes oh Yes on all counts. Me too. I’m happy not to be in serious legal trouble. No name asked for, no passport asked for, no ID of any kind asked for, so I’m out of this very c-l-e-a-n. I do keep my receipts. Even at home. And I did have my receipt. BUT as things came down I got seriously concerned. Giving him a receipt with only one item on it did not help. BUT there it was, the checkout clerk had done her job. Put my receipt in with the items she put into my plastic shopping bags. I’m happy I did reach out and shake his hand.

      Now do you see why I did NOT remember to text you that we were home S&S. Much Love .. Cap

  2. Jeanne

    Opportunity lost, Cap. Can you imagine the post you could do from inside a Russian jail? I mean, EXTRAVAGANZA of all posts! Just kidding. What a time that must have been.

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      It was indeed to use your words ‘ what a time it was ‘ believe thee me. I won’t comment further. Bad decision to go back into the store with a bag full of groceries that one has paid for already. Whew. Smiles .. Cap

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