Miss W's blog

A funny thing happened on my way to the office

Miss W gets accused of shoplifting (cat food!)

In between a yoga class and a day at her computer, our blogger Miss W finds herself in some trouble over a basket full of cat food.

I’ve lived in Ibiza a long time. By most people’s standards, I live a pretty normal life. Well, comparatively normal compared to some of the more outlandish characters you meet on this island! I get up in the morning, go to yoga every day (disclaimer: TRY to go to yoga every day), run a business, manage a team of staff, meet my deadlines, cook at home, see my friends, read and watch a lot of Netflix. I go to a lot of interesting places and meet a lot of interesting people through my work but when it comes to having adventures or crazy things happening to me, well, I think my life is pretty tame. Until yesterday…

You see, a funny thing happened to me on my way to the office. Technically I was on my way home, since I work remotely, but it was that part of my daily routine where I left the yoga studio, en route to my house to get started for the day. So let’s just say I was on my way to the office. I left the studio feeling fresh, energised and happy, pondering the tasks I had to accomplish over the course of the day. I realised that I really needed a solid slog at my computer – you know the kind, where you switch your phone and email off and just write furiously (but happily!) for 12 hours straight. Oh – you don’t do that? Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I knew that was what I needed. [Editor’s note: Skip to the end paragraph for the concise version. Or pour yourself a drink and enjoy the journey. And gratuitous cat photos.]

With my impending studious work day in mind, I decided to detour via a few shops in order to pick up the bits and bobs I needed at home to get through the day without any distractions. Cat food, painkillers (I get a sore back on these types of work sessions but feel it’s worth it), water, matcha energy drinks and chocolate. Also some shampoo, conditioner and washing up liquid (organic! I care about the sea) as I knew I was running low. This is where my head was at. I couldn’t wait to get home, open all the doors and windows, get the fresh spring air running through the house and bunker down with my laptop. I was thinking I could start outside on the roof terrace, then move to my desk and finish up under my duvet.

I like to mix things up, you know? So first stop (and pay attention here because this part is important) was the pet shop. It’s diagonally opposite my yoga studio (Hot Yoga Ibiza in case you’re wondering) – couldn’t be more convenient for a yoga loving cat owner. I had my oversized Ibicenco basket with the hand-stitched leather pockets and trim with me, because again, I care about the environment and want to say no to plastic where possible. I filled it almost to the brim with a tasty (if you’re a cat) array of organic sachets, tins, boxes and bags of cat food. My furry friends have expensive taste, but I don’t mind indulging it – they’re my babies after all.

Then I went to the pharmacy (I LOVE Spanish pharmacies so much, with their flashing green crosses above the doors and sell anything over the counter attitudes) and also made a little pit stop at my favourite Spanish bakery for a pastry. Then it was time for the supermarkets. If you live in Ibiza, you’ll understand the plight of trying to tick all things off your shopping list in one place – it’s near impossible. We don’t have anything resembling an M&S and we most certainly don’t have a Whole Foods. But my list was pretty small and I knew if I took a slight diversion on the way home, I could swing via a HiperCentro (kind of like the closest you’d get to Tesco but not even half as good) where I could pick up the things I need AND be able to get a couple of little bags of brand name cat treats that my fussy felines have taken a shining too, despite their generic nature.

I zipped into the Hipercentro, slightly struggling with the weight of all that cat food in my basket combined with my yoga mat and my handbag. I decided then and there to make it brief and not get carried away as it was a 15-minute walk to my house and I was already feeling like a pack horse. I zoomed straight up to the pet food aisle, grabbed what I needed, diverted through the beauty section to pick up my hair products, completely forgot about the washing up liquid (you always forget something, right?), decided against buying water as it was too heavy and headed straight to the cash register. (In case anyone is wondering about my matcha drinks – no I didn’t forget, they’re from a little health food shop closer to home.)

I would say I was in the store no more than six minutes in total. SIX MINUTES. I got to the cash register and there was a scruffy looking man haggling over 27c. He had 20€ and his bill had come to 20.27€. I was quite far back in the queue but just as I was contemplating giving him the spare change (we’ve all been there), he moved on and the queue progressed. Finally, it was my turn and I put my few things on the conveyor belt, smiled and said hola to the cashier (I always make the effort to do that – with contactless cards and the like, no one even makes eye contact these days) who asked if she could check my bag. Por supuesto (of course), I said happily, unzipping the lovely caramel brown leather zip on my basket. I laughed as I tipped the basket in her direction and told her (in Spanish) that it was just full of cat food. And then this is when things got interesting…

All of a sudden, I feel like I can see Señorita Checkout Chick’s brain literally FLIP into a new mode. She snappily asks to see my receipt, except I don’t have a receipt – this is Ibiza, little tiendas like pet shops don’t give you a receipt for your purchase unless you specifically ask for it (and remember, I care about the environment – let’s not waste paper) or pay by card. I tell her this and explain that it’s totally different cat food (HELLO – the HiperCentro does NOT sell expensive organic shellfish and rice blends) but by this point she no longer cares about what I’m saying. I have become a shoplifter in her glaring eyes, and she starts rifling through my basket, pulling out all varieties of cat food and muttering that they also sell it, and I cannot take it back without a receipt.

By now, after the particularly long line, and my diversionary walk to this particular supermarket, I’m getting conscious that this arguing is cutting into my work day. And of course, I know I’ve done nothing wrong so I am starting to get a little irritated that she’s suggesting I have stolen cat food. I really, really, have to fight the urge to tell her that if I had WANTED to steal cat food, she wouldn’t even know I’d stolen it and I’d be halfway home by now, or that if I was planinng to steal cat food it wouldn’t be the cheap garbage they sell in the HiperCentro, but I resist since I know it won’t help my case. I’m reminded of the awesome Jane’s Addiction song Been Caught Stealing but I think breaking into song won’t be appreciated. I also want to ask her what it is about me that looks like a thief (as I mentioned – I am pretty normal! I was in my yoga gear, hair in nice neat braids and wearing Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses) but to my total horror, I have forgotten the Spanish word for thief! It’s on the tip of my tongue when she tells me I have to be detained while they check the CCTV footage of me in the store. DETAINED! Oh my days. Sidenote: I’ve never stolen a thing in my life – I put it down to working in retail from the age of 14. I always respected the P&L process.

So, turns out the HiperCentro version of jail is just standing in that little area behind the register, while Señorita Checkout Chick keeps hold of my basket AND makes me pay for the groceries she’d already rung up while she calls her manager. Her manager is equally as displeased to meet me, although I can tell the very minute she looks into my basket, she recognises this is not your stock standard HiperCentro issue cat food, but on principle, she goes back to her office and watches said CCTV footage, agrees I have not stolen anything and proceeds to let me go without a word of apology. I have half a mind to slip a Mars Bar in my pocket, like my friend Miss L does when she gets pissed about waiting in a checkout queue. But I rise above (thank you yoga practice) and dramatically stash everything back in my basket and stomp out.

The minute… I mean, the very MINUTE I have exited the sliding supermarket doors, my brain kicks into gear. LADRÓN! That’s the Spanish word for thief. I contemplate poking my head back in and finally saying my piece properly but instead focus on getting myself home for that long, intense work day. And instead, I mentally express my gratitude to Señorita Checkout Chick for giving me something to write about! Hopefully she got go home and tell her kids and hubby about the crazy guiri (expat/foreigner) cat lady she almost caught stealing today and we all live happily ever after. [Miss W’s note: I can assure you, these are not ALL my cats – I just wanted an excuse to publish all these pictures!]