Always Real, Memaw

Spitting Mad

One afternoon last week, my mother-in-law Cleo was at work in her cosmetic studio/clothing boutique in downtown Tuna, just as she has been six out of the seven days of a week for the past 25 or more years. Memaw is 81-year-old and puts in six days a week.

Two gals game in together and looked around. Cleo had not seen them before and welcomed them into the store and showed them around. One of the gals requested a makeover and Cleo gladly obliged. She sat her down at the makeover counter and began showing her all the latest colors, lotions and potions while her friend waited for her in the “husband’s chair” near the fitting rooms.

Cleo said the gal at the makeover counter seemed a bit distracted and kept turning the mirror in an odd direction, complaining about the light, but Cleo didn’t think too much of it because in fact, the lighting in the store leaves something to be desired. Then suddenly and without warning, the gal and her friend decided they had to go. And they took off.

Oh well, Cleo thought, no sale, but that’s how it goes.

About an hour later the credit card company called Cleo saying there was suspicious activity on her credit card and they wondered if maybe it had been stolen. She said, no, her purse was right here under her desk in the store and she went to get it. And it was there but her wallet was gone.

In less than an hour, the two gals had gone shopping at Wal-Mart to the tune of several thousand dollars.

Cleo said she just felt sick to her stomach. Everything including her social security card was in her wallet. She couldn’t even think of what to do first or whom to call, so she ran right out of the store and two doors down to the 1st National Bank of Tuna for help.

Together, Cleo and the bank manager called all of her credit card companies and reported the cards stolen. The manager also knew to put a fraud alert on her credit record. They took care of her, they went beyond the minimum. AD called and thanked them for looking out for his mama.

The police on the other hand. Two of the bank tellers in the drive through had seen the gals drive a way in a white car with Missouri plates. The police were called with this information right away but they couldn’t check it out right now because they were in the middle of a shift change. Feel free to go back and re-read that last sentence in case you think you read it wrong. In the middle of a shift change. Apparently Barney had to pull the bullet out of his pocket and hand it over to his other brother Barney and this takes some time.

The Wal-Mart manager was even less helpful than the police. Not his problem. Did not not care. Could not be bothered. So much for pro-active loss prevention.

Cleo said that for two nights she couldn’t sleep. She felt so violated and kept replaying the events over in her mind. She kept wondering what else was in her wallet that she had forgotten about. She wondered how this could have happened. She wondered what she could have done differently. She is alternately angry and scared but mostly exhausted. She wasn’t physically hurt in any way and for that we are grateful, but mentally she is bruised and battered and that makes me spitting mad.

In the past year or so my father was assaulted and robbed at gun point, my mother had her identity stolen and now my mother-in-law was robbed in her store.

There’s got to be a special level of hell for people who violate and take advantage of old people and children.

There’s just got to be.

57 thoughts on “Spitting Mad

  1. You know part of the problem with older people who have their identity stolen is that you have to be a little bit tech savvy to get it straightened out, you have to know who to call and how to work the call center systems and most older people don’t know how to do that. And most of us don’t have all that pertinent info written down in one place and it’s major heartburn to remember what credit cards you have, what the numbers are, etc. etc. It’s a mess.

  2. Wow. I am so sorry. Respect for the elderly in this Country is at a new low. We don’t teach our kids to revier their experience and advice. They should be a National Treasurer!

    Shift change is like that ALL over. Whoa, to anyone needing police attention during shift change. Actually, some departments come 15 minutes early off the clock for the briefing and then are on the street or changing cars by the hour. Still need a copy during shift change and you wait. I’m not praising or condeming. It is a fact of life.

    My sympathy to your mother-in-law. It is hard to get your sense of well being back after something like that.

  3. That is so infuriating!!! I wonder if those girls have any clue what they did to your sweet MIL. It will all catch up to them sooner or later but somehow that does not seem like enough. Really how sad must one’s life be to rob the local Merle Norman lady? (That MN thing is just a guess!:) Hope Memaw is Ok and that her credit isn’t forever messed up! But even more than that, I hope she isn’t scared.

  4. I hate to hear that! I also believe there is a special place in hell for people like that.
    We have a volunteer at our non-profit who is 91 years old, lives by herself and still drives. She was in the grocery with her purse on her shoulder, but unzipped. Someone reached in and stole her wallet and she didn’t realize until she went to check out.
    It’s so sad because it hurts the confidence of otherwise active elderly people. I hope they catch those girls!

  5. So sorry for your MIL. I’m so glad she had the nice people at the bank to help her do the things that needed to be done to straighten up her accounts. I sometimes think that people, especially older people in small towns are very vulnerable because they are so trusting and used to leaving doors unlocked etc. I’m sure your MIL never even thought about locking up her purse while she is in the dress shop. I used to work in a large building and the women would keep their purses under their desks as I did. One day while I was down the hall at the restroom someone stole my wallet and I didn’t realize it until evening when I needed to pay for something. The police said there are crooks that go around to just that kind of place because it is so easy to just take the wallet and leave. Another time in a different building some one walked in and stole artwork and assessories off the wall in a common entry way. Later in the day he came back for the lamp. Talk about boldness. My thoughts and prayers are with your MIL.

  6. That is awful. I hope something good happens for her soon, to help her recover from such a harsh experience. I’ve always been curious about where Tuna really is too.

  7. Just horrifying. There’s an important lesson here, though: make sure your elderly relatives know how critical it is NOT to carry their Social Security cards in their wallets! And be sure to keep your children’s Social Security cards in a secure, locked place. Identity thieves love to go after kids because their credit is, of course, a blank slate.

  8. That’s just horrible. It’s terrible the way the elderly are seen as targets to those without a conscience, and, worse, a nuisence to those sworn to serve and protect. Horrible. I hope your MIL finds her balance again soon.

  9. I am SO sorry this happened to your MIL! How despicable, really. And I am so sorry to hear about the other things that happened to your parents too. It just hurts my heart.

    I honestly don’t know what’s worse, strangers or people you know stealing from you. I worked w/ a girl who stole my credit card & within 3 hours she’d used it at 2 Targets & the gas station. I had to smile and continue to work with her while the investigation was pending AFTER I i.d’ed her on tape. It was awful.

    I hope your MIL can find some peace amid this terrible experience…

  10. I couldn’t agree more….what is it with people today, that they can’t respect the elderly and treat them with the respect they deserve. I just don’t get them. I guess those girls thought they could really make out with some big shopping through your mil. Wonder who else they ripped off during their little crime spree??? A little ol’ man, some little kids, or maybe a pregnant single mom??? Ok, off my rant….I’m so glad she wasn’t physically hurt.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about this. I’d be spitting mad too! It’s really sad how awful people can be. I’m glad that the bank was helpful to her though.

  12. I don’t know why but these incidents still shock me. It seems all too common in our lives, yet we still want to believe the best in people. Funny, I was just talking to my sister the other day about how my street and neighbourhood is “safe”. I said yes maybe but there is no stopping just anyone from driving into it, and this is what has happened to your mother in law. I hope you can get this mess sorted out and she is not too scarred from the whole thing.


  13. Oh, so sorry to hear. I’d be angry, too, and the lack of helpfulness by the police and Wal-Mart manager only add insult to injury. Sigh. For a country that’s supposed to “progressive”, I am often amazed at how little we’ve come.

  14. That is just terrible – I’m so glad she wasn’t physically hurt. I do hope the police get their bullet passed around and get these two robbers!!

  15. Horrible! What a rotten thing to do. I hope those girls get what’s coming to them. And I have found another reason to dislike Wal-mart.

  16. The “shift change” is a ridiculous excuse for not helping, I know Tuna has overtime, and it is all paid by the citizens of Tuna. What it is, is just lazy, lackadaiscal law enforcement with the Tuna P.D., in which I have had experience with myself. Also, as for the Wal-Mart manaagement not wanting to help; that just infuriates me more!
    All the Manager had to do was pull up the transaction number which was given on the Credit Card and he would have had them on their security camera, he could then play back through their every move in the store. Zoom in, zoom out, then possibly follow them onto the parking lot, get their license plates off the car as they drove off, zoom in, zoom out. They have cameras everywhere!! Shame on Wal*Mart, shame on Tuna P.D., and I hope the thieves get their share of misery here on earth, and in the hereafter.

  17. That is terrible! Don’t you just want to string people up that do this type of thing!?!

    I cannot believe the Police Department!!! OH MY WORD!

    My Aunt and Uncle were robbed at a rest stop a few years ago on their way from Florida. It was aweful!

    Hope your MIL gets some rest!

  18. Shift change?

    Hey, here’s an idea for wanna-be criminals–find out when your local police department has shift changes–and go for it, you will surely be a successful in your new venture.

    I’m spittin’ mad, too.

  19. I’d love to give that Wal-mart manager and his boss, as well as the local police a piece of my mind!!! Too bad you can’t give us their phone number, I’m sure a large number of us antique mommies who have elderly mothers would love to call and talk to them!

  20. Phthat!…(that’s my very bad version of spitting mad)…so sorry / angry to hear this. Where is the respect anywhere, anymore?! Criminals, sure they are in a class of losers by themselves, and I believe there is a place warming up for them; however, the reaction (ie LACK of action/and/or concern) by the police is apalling. Typical of the broken world we are living in, sorry to say. Will keep your mother in law in my prayers.

  21. SOOO lame! I can’t believe it. I was getting such a bad feeling when the one wanted a makeover and the other went and sat down…I believe that was called foreshadowing.
    I’m spittin’ mad too! I’m glad she wasn’t hurt though, and that she found out fairly soon.

  22. Oh, I completely agree with you. I tell my husband that all the time. I cannot believe people are so vile! Seriously, how long does it take for a “shift change” in a small town american police department? “I’m sorry, could you hold for 20 seconds while I sit in my chair, I just got here????” Seriously!!!

  23. That’s just so sad and wrong and totally mean. I hope it all turns out okay for her. Tell her to make sure and get her free credit report every year though.
    I had my wallet stolen while I was in college (from the children’s department of the local library – what’s up with that?) doing some research.
    About 2 years later I found on my credit report that I had been reported to a collections agency for a way late and huge phone bill in Texas. I have nothing against Texas… but I’ve never been there!
    It took me months to get that straightened out, but I’m just glad I caught it when I did!

  24. My grandma was mugged at her local mall in 82 when she was about 62 or 63…my cousin was at the mall at the time with some of his friends. My aunt had him paged and he and his friends chased the guy down and held him till the police came after the guy came and tried to take her car as well…
    I have always had an image in my head of these big football player teen guys ready to kill that guy for roughing up my Grandma…

  25. Your Grandma is in our prayers. We are 66 and we are taking precautions anymore ,because people are just out for what they can get . We all have to watch out for each other. What ‘ts going to happen when the Wal -Mart s mangers mommy has her purse taken. Whos going to help her . I hope it is one of us and not someone like her son.

  26. I can’t stand to think of Sean’s precious Memaw so wronged and hurt. The helpful bank manager was the one bright light in the pitiful cast of characters that Memaw encountered in this situation.

  27. I am so sorry for her! I’m a teacher in Austin and there has been a similar scam going on for years. People wander the buildings and take teacher’s wallets. We cannot possibly know all the parents wandering around, they must think. And they do the same thing: head to the Walmart self service lane immediately and charge thousands of dollars. (This happened to three of us at my school in one day.) A parent in law enforcement was able to get the security tapes. Walmart’s take? They didn’t care. I guess the card company’s cover it because they do nothing to stop this and it happens all the time in their self service lines, apparently. I know I’m rambling, but I am MAD. I am MAD for Memaw and I am MAD at Walmart for KNOWING this is happening and not doing ANYTHING to stop it. Bah!

  28. That is just terrible!!! It’s amazing what kind of disguise predators put on these days. Then she gets practically no help from the ones who should be helping. Poor Memaw! I’m mad with you AM.

  29. I’m so sorry, dear. Your family is like family to all of us with the stories you share.

    It happened to me too, it’s a nightmare…but let’s remember that no one was hurt and everyone is safe.

    Gee, I sound like my grandmother! (and I don’t mind at all)

  30. My parents both work with Seniors and I tell you, these stories are WAAAY too common. I agree with you, those that prey on the defenseless are in a category all to themselves. So sorry for your poor MIL. What a horrid experience.

  31. I too am sorry this happened to her AM, how sad and stressful to her and now she will be fretful and untrusting anytime someone walks in her store. I said a special prayer for her tonight that she would become bold,as to her surroundings yet not panicked and scared. I pray for a peace for her because it is a huge violation.
    I am sorry and I hope they catch them.

  32. Oh please…please…pick me to tell about Wal-Mart.

    I had my check number stolen by a little twit working in CVS about 4 years ago. I found out through the bank. They called me to check on my ‘many’ purchases all of a sudden. Bless their little hearts. The little snot had purchased several thousand dollars of stuff with checks she had made up with my number on them. The ONLY store that wouldn’t do anything about it was Wal-Mart. Every other place of establishment honored the stolen money…the bank re-imbursed me 6000.00. But Wal-Mart, because they use electronic checking with written checks would not honor 143.00. I hope they rot! I don’t write any checks anymore. I was ….. very mad.

  33. Maybe this has been said in an earlier comment, but if it were me, I’d be going to the city council meetings to voice my opinion on the “shift change.” And I’d be emailing, phoning, writing Walmart’s corporate office about the GREAT customer service that manager gave two thieves. (insert sarcastic smile here). It’s complacency like this that makes the criminals comfortable enough to keep on doing this kind of garbage.

  34. Oh, that’s horrible. Let Memaw know that there are people who will be praying for her and all that’s related to this incident. I worked for a municipality a few years ago and the police dept. was in the same building as city hall and shared office machines. A young lady came in one day to sign up for a “Minor in Possession” class that a judge had ordered her to take. The court clerk completed the paperwork and walked to the copier, in city hall, and while she was there the girl stole the clerk’s wallet. Right there in the police dept. After completing paperwork with her name, address, ss#, driver’s license number (and a copy of it) place of employment etc. Needless to say, she tried to use the credit cards but they had already been blocked. She did write a couple checks to herself and signed the clerk’s name, but fortunately the clerk had already canceled all those checks. But Wallyworld was out some money and the local grocer who cashed the checks for her. But she was caught, of course. Sorry for such a long comment but I understand how Memaw must feel after witnessing the clerk’s anxiety, worry, fear, etc.

  35. I’m so sorry that this horrible violation happened to your MIL. This story makes me spitting mad too!

    It constantly amazes me how ugly people can be to others, especially those who are of greater age. Knowing that God tells us to act justly, I’ll just pray that God will allow those two punks to be caught and brought to trial. After all, your MIL got a really good look at one of their faces… she’ll be able to identify them in a line up.

    Kudos to the bank for going beyond the minimum. Curses to the Police and WalMart for their lack of efforts to help.

  36. How awful! It just makes me sick when people take advantage of well-meaning people like that.

    And you are right, there has GOT to be a special place in hell for people like that!

  37. strange how the shift changes never happen when one is pulled over for a traffic violation! Not that it has happened to me lately… but wouldn’t that be funny!? “Sorry ma’am… the next officer on this shift will be here in a minute to give you your ticket.”

  38. So completely sick! I am so mad after reading this! All I kept thinking was how much these girls should have been in awe of this older woman working like she does and what she has to show for it. Just plain YUK! Wow, what have they missed out on that no one spoke love and respect for others into their lives or even respect for themselves. I pray that M.I.L. is feeling better and more relaxed soon though I believe these girls stole far more than her personal information. How do you put a price on your security? Take care of your little guy, Antique Daddy and yourself and please tell Memaw thant many are praying for her!

  39. What scares me the most, and angers me, is I am a SENIOR CITIZEN!! I am now one of ‘those people’ that are NOT respected by even the police! It is like once you pass a certain age, you are no longer viable to society so you need to disappear!

    I’m late reading your blog, but I hope someone has helped your MIL by now. The local news station should be notified of how the PD and Walmart did NOTHING to help her. And by doing NOTHING they HELPED the CRIMMINALS!! UGGGGG!!!

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