I can't help it!

Kleptomania - This looks at it lightly
@SViswan (12072)
India
January 22, 2011 9:43pm CST
I was at a posh restaurant at a resort once. I was having breakfast alone and just reflecting and saw an elderly couple a few tables away. There weren't many people in the restaurant that early in the morning and this couple caught my attention because they were elegant and I thought I wish I was as poised and composed..lol. I continued with my thoughts and breakfast and didn't look up till the couple were leaving the restaurant. I wasn't really looking at them but noticed that the lady picked up something from one of the tables and quickly put it in her bag. Her husband didn't notice it. She didn't look the kind who would steal anything...and she did glance around guiltily and her eyes caught my eye. She realized I had seen what she did....and she quickly left the restaurant along with her husband. I didn't complain...but I was shocked at first and then I felt sad. I've heard of kleptomaniacs but never come across someone who is ...unless someone I know is very good at hiding it. I've also read that these people need professional help...but I couldn't possibly go and tell the husband that, could I? Have you come across such people? What would you have done if came across someone like this? What if it's someone you know?
3 people like this
13 responses
@GardenGerty (99413)
• United States
23 Jan 11
I have known of people of a certain age who did funny things. If it were a restaurant here, I could figure it might have been a packet of sugar or jelly or something. Nothing big, nothing she needed, but she just could not stand to let it lay there. It could also have been a tip. I knew of a couple one time that would eat out, the husband would leave a tip, and the wife would wait until he left and take it back off the table. If you do not know what she took, you cannot report it. I know it makes you sad that she knows that you know that she took something. My mother would steal cuttings from plants in public places and in people's yards.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Jan 11
It's not a tip...I think it's cutlery...a spoon or fork. I didn't want to report it because I could feel she wasn't really stealing (confusing to my own brain since it actually is stealing). My mother would do the same as your mom but she didn't really consider it stealing and she wasn't careful about not being caught since she didn't think it was wrong. She wouldn't take cuttings from someone's yard without asking...but if it was something hanging out of the yard, she wouldn't think twice about picking it up. We tease her and ask her to stop. She would pick up fruits lying on the road just outside the wall....but not pick up things where one is expected to pay for it. Not even soaps and shampoo sachets from hotels which people usually take home.
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Jan 11
I hope it was that...though the look she gave didn't suggest that...lol This was a resort where the restaurant would be open at all hours and if I took cutlery to eat in my room, it would mostly be the plastic ones...not the good cutlery...and if I needed the good cutlery (for whatever reason), I would mention it to the staff, right?
@ShepherdSpy (8562)
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
24 Jan 11
Seeing someone doing this doesn't necessarily indicate it's an act of compulsion on the part of the Person taking the stuff..Some people seem to think because they're paying for their stay or a meal in an establishment,they're entitled to a few "souvenirs"...taking cutlery or glasses,(Ashtrays were a popular item before the smoking ban legislation)towels or robes from the bedrooms,refilling miniature booze bottles from the minibar with substitutes like water or tea..It's theft..If it occurs out of sight of the staff,it depends on the Management (when someone would report the incident) it's worth losing a little by pilferage,or maybe losing business through a prosecution or negative word of mouth publicity..
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
11 Jul 11
As You mentioned,the Woman reacted guiltily when She realised You had seen her pocketing something from the table and hurried out to avoid consequences...She knew what She was doing at the time...I took a look at the kleptomania definition on wikipedia,which mentions a distinction between shoplifting/theft type behaviour,which is normally for some gain or monetary value,the difference being that there is sometimes no motive to a kleptomaniac's actions..there would be no feeling of guilt..they could pick something up,almost unconsciously,and keep walking without drawing attention to themselves..that is of course,unless there were witnesses present.. Thanks for Best Response!
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
23 Jan 11
How odd, I'm guessing it wasn't from the table they had just left, because I've known spouses who pick up tips left by their partners. But, I probably wouldn't have chased the husband down and told him, or the staff, because sad as it is, they expect a certain amount of "loss." However, if it were someone I knew, I would suggest they get help and I would stop associating with them. In fact, I did do that. Well, I never caught her stealing, but I heard about it and I limited my contact with her because of it. I have to say, because I was suspicious before the fact, I was careful around her anyway - something kind of "told" me she had some kind of problem. That's not to say that if she needed some kind of help, I wouldn't help her, but I sure didn't trust her with money.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Jan 11
It wasn't the tip...it was cutlery...a spoon or fork. If it was someone I knew, I would have suggested getting help. But I didn't know them.
1 person likes this
@ElicBxn (60884)
• United States
23 Jan 11
yeah, I wouldn't have interfered, I'd guess that the husband probably know it goes on... and, like I said, the restaurant expects a certain amount of pilfering.
@Marmot (595)
• United States
24 Jan 11
I haven't come across a situation like this, but I know there is a habit that have this symptom. Those people steel not because they need the stuff, but because they need the feeling that they steel something and haven't get caught! It's a kind of sick mind but they just feel excited. I think the best way is that we can suggest those people to see doctors.
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@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
Yes, these people need help.
@Polly1 (12649)
• United States
24 Jan 11
I have known of a few people who stole just to steal. They would steal whatever they could get their hands on. I would like to say I never stole anything, but to be honest I can't say that. When I was a kid, (no excuse, I knew better) I did steal a few things from a store. Dumb stuff, make up candy, I got caught. Actually glad I did. Now I wouldn't dream of stealing anything.
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@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
Oh I do know of some youngsters who do it for fun. Well, you learnt your lesson..lol...and you seem to be glad about it! :)
@lizmik143 (138)
• Philippines
24 Jan 11
I don't know of anybody who is a kleptomaniac. I would have reacted the same way you did. It came to mind the adage, looks can be deceiving. But, I wonder if a friend could have symptoms of being klepto. Whenever there are things just lying around and nobody owns it up, she would get the thing. Sometimes she would hide things intentionally. But she would return it later in a manner as if she were just kidding the whole thing.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
She could be having a problem...and then feels guilty later? That could be the reason why she returns stuff.
@bunnybon7 (36541)
• Holiday, Florida
23 Jan 11
sadly i have a cousin the same way. it may not even be something he wants or needs. everyone watched him at their house but some how something small would come up missing. he has been made to seek help by his mom and stopped for a while when he was a teen. then a little after his marriage started again. his wife made him seek help again. as far as i know hes been ok for a few yrs. but,who knows why or when he will again?
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
That's so sad about your cousin. It's hard for them too. They need support too. A stranger wouldn't understand their problem.
@p1kef1sh (45640)
23 Jan 11
In the early 1970s there was a famous woman called Dame Elizabeth Barnet who was arrested for stealing things from shops etc. She had plenty of money but something just took her over. I've never seen it done, but I know that it goes on. If it was someone that I knew I might well question their behaviour and try to persuade them to put the stolen item back.
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@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
If it was someone I knew, I would talk to them and try to get them help if I realized it was a genuine problem. But these people were strangers and it just got me thinking. lol...I probably should have thought about the hotel staff who would lose quite a lot of stuff if they had her for many days...or if they had people like her coming in regularly.
• Philippines
23 Jan 11
There could be lots of reasons why people pick up things in posh restaurants or hotels. I remember a long time ago, it was a christmas bash given by our company in a metropolis. The party was in a function room. About to leave, a guy from our group picked up a champagne glass and placed it in the bag of the girlfriend, another picked up a saucer and did the same. These items usually have the logos of the hotels on glasses and saucers. It was crazy and dangerous and I was afraid for them at the time. But they considered it fun and took it for souvenir. But these people were young and silly and the couple you mentioned were elderly.
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@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
It isn't right but I know of some people who do it for fun. But with the couple I saw, somehow I felt she had a problem and couldn't help what she was doing. Of course, I can't be sure...but that's how I felt.
@drannhh (15227)
• United States
23 Jan 11
How embarrassing. Yes, once when I was working at the university one of my students came into my office and I had a $20 bill lying on the table, that I put down just long enough to sign some paperwork that this boy (20 year old) brought in and while I was signing I saw him reach down and steal the $20 bill right in front of me. I could not believe my eyes. Since I knew his father instead of confronting the young man then and there as there were other students in my office at the time, I waited and mentioned it to the father. He got mad and yelled at me that that was between his son and me and he did not want to know anything about it. Well, no wonder! What kind of something was it that the lady picked up, do you remember? I have heard of ladies taking back part of the tip when their husbands give too much to the waiter, lol.
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Jan 11
lol...almost all the people who responded said it might be tips. I'm sure it's not the tip....it probably was cutlery. Oh..lol...I know a parent like the one you mentioned...and it makes me mad....but I can do nothing about it...because the son would have been equally rude if you had confronted him.
@damned_dle (3944)
• Philippines
23 Jan 11
I would have felt shocked too in your situation! But I have never experienced that yet. I'm just curious, what did she actually get? Is it possible that she only get one of her belongings she almost forgot?
1 person likes this
@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Jan 11
I think it was a cutlery though I couldn't see exactly as to what it was. It was more the guilty glance and the look she gave when she caught my eye that made me realize...all this happened in a fraction of a second. Soon the shock changed to pity...because she obviously didn't look like she NEEDED whatever it is that she picked up. If it was one of her belongings, she wouldn't glance around to see if anyone saw her picking it up. She probably was in therapy or something and relapsed. Poor thing...it must be so hard for people like who can't help stealing. Though they are doing it consciously, it's something they cannot help doing.
@jillhill (37384)
• United States
23 Jan 11
I probably would have done the same thing as you did...I know there are alot of people around with this problem. I don't know any personally...I had a friend a long time ago that took things from my house and acted like she didn't...except one birthday she gave me back a bottle of perfume that was actually mine and I don't think she remembered where she had gotten it from..it's really sad isn't it?
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@SViswan (12072)
• India
23 Jan 11
Yes, it is sad. If I saw a thief, I would have probably raised an alarm. But I felt sad for the lady and didn't want to embarass her either.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
23 Jan 11
A lot of people will pick up the sugar packs or the littel things dont know why but they do dont mean that they are kliptos
@SViswan (12072)
• India
24 Jan 11
Sugar packs, soaps , shampoos...those are normal things that people pick up. These are things that can be used and like another poster pointed out, hotel staff expect these things to be gone. But I think the lady picked up cutlery and it was the look in her eyes that got me thinking that she might have a problem with it. It's a thought that crossed my mind.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
24 Jan 11
yes these places exspect these things to be taken. If it was the only time she was to eat there couldbe she wanted a good souvineer. but look in eye could be a tip off!