in which I’m happy that I was just being an idiot

Yesterday I lost my wallet.

But don’t worry- I found it. Of course, this was AFTER I caused a bit of panic in Target because I was convinced- CONVINCED!- that someone had stolen it from my purse.

Boy, did I feel like a tool when it was all over and I finally had my precious wallet in my hands.

I got to the checkout and opened my purse- and my wallet wasn’t there. I looked around on the floor, in the cart- nowhere. By this point, my stuff was already moving down the conveyor belt toward the checkout lady and I had to tell her HEY! I don’t have my wallet! WHOOPS! She was super nice and waited while I ran out to my car.

It wasn’t there. Not on the front seat where I figured it must be because I had stopped at the drive-thru bank on the way to deposit some checks (and at this point, I’m thinking: Thank GOD those checks are safely in the bank and not in the hands of the EVIL PERSON WHO STOLE MY WALLET, OMG.) Not on the floor in the front of the car. Not in between the seats. Not under my drivers seat or the passenger seat.


I ran back inside, fighting back tears. My brain was going in all sorts of crazy directions, remembering all the things in my wallet and how replacing that stuff will SUCK SO BAD. I only had $2 cash in there, so whatever. It’s the other stuff- the drivers license, the 3 credit cards (2 personal, 1 business), the insurance cards, the gift cards I haven’t spent yet.

(And, I didn’t even think about this one until later, but if I didn’t have a license, I didn’t have a photo ID. Without a photo ID? NO PLANE TRIP ON FRIDAY MORNING TO GO TO CHICAGO TO SEE SAMANTHA. Holy crap.)

The woman at the checkout went and got the manager (everyone was SO incredibly nice, even when they were thinking I was a lunatic.) While I waited, I called Dan to have him cancel our credit cards, NOW, just in case the Mean Jerkface Who Stole My Wallet is at the checkout buying themselves some early Christmas presents with our hard-earned money. Then the manager came over and they asked me some questions- Are you sure it’s not in your car? (Yes, I went and checked.) How long have you been here? (30 minutes.) Where did you go in the store? (Kid section, holiday decorations, cleaning supplies.) Did you leave your cart at any point? (Well… yeah. I’ll admit it. I stepped away for a few seconds here and there in the holiday section, it was really crowded and I was trying to look at extension cords. And it’s possible that someone might have reached in and grabbed it.)

They took my name and gave me their name and the store phone number. Tomorrow (today) they would have someone take a look at the surveillance cameras, and I could contact the police if I wanted to do so. We headed back to the holiday section, just to see if it was laying anywhere. Apparently when wallets are taken, they usually turn up somewhere nearby, with the cash gone but everything else still there (credit cards and things are traceable, cash is not) After 5 or 10 minutes of looking behind stockings and bows and boxes, we gave up.

I thanked the manager (again, SO NICE.) and she wished me luck and we all hoped it would turn up. I left the store empty-handed.

I felt so NAKED. And vulnerable. I felt sick. And I hated every person I saw, wondering: WAS IT YOU?? OR YOU? YOU JERKFACE. There is a particularly awful feeling of helplessness and violation that comes with theft. Even perceived theft. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really felt that way before. I’ve been lucky and the closest thing I can think of that has happened to me is when some d-bag smashed the front of my car in a parking lot a week after I got it, right after I graduated from college, and they didn’t leave a note or anything. That sucked. But this was even worse.

Because really, it was my fault.

Yeah, even if I wasn’t the one who did the stealing, I’m the idiot who put my purse in the front of the cart and walked away. Maybe just for a moment, but I could recall a few specific times when my purse did leave my sight- I may have only been a few feet away, but I wasn’t looking. It would have been SO EASY for someone to do. I could HEAR my mother’s voice in my head, lecturing me about all those Dateline Specials she’s seen about this EXACT STORY and she has an old VCR tape I can borrow if I want to watch! It’s CHILLING!

It was a long walk back to my car. I was sweaty and stressed and I just wanted to get to my car and look again. Just hoping, praying it would miraculously be there.

And it was.

I’m not entirely sure how my wallet got to where it was in my car. I’m not a physics expert, but apparently my wallet can fly. It was behind my drivers’ seat, under the back part (there are some mechanical things under there (HEATED SEATS, YO.) so there’s not really a connection between the front and back underneath part of the seats) So not only did it fall backwards into the backseat area, but it somehow rolled forward so that it was hidden from view unless I squatted down and looked.

I never imagined I would ever be so happy to see a hunk of brown (fake) leather.

I hurried back into the store and found the manager to tell her I found it! Call off the hounds! She smiled and celebrated a bit with me (though I’m pretty sure she was ready to smack me for causing such a scene. But hey! I was just trying to spice up her Sunday afternoon at work! She looked bored.) Then they found my cart full of un-purchased items and I was able to check out and be on my merry way.

I felt like a huge idiot, yes. I felt bad that I immediately jumped the conclusion that someone stole my wallet (I’m pretty sure I used the phrase ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SURE! at one point. Advice? NEVER EVER EVER say you are 100% sure of anything in your life. You will eat your words.) (Which, in this case, I was only slightly annoyed about because: I GOT MY WALLET BACK.) But I think it was an honest mistake- I did go back to my car and check and I didn’t see it. Maybe I was too panicked to look thoroughly, I don’t know. Either way, it ended well. Even if it took 5 years off my life and gave me a bunch of new gray hairs.

Of course, Dan was happy when he heard the news. Partly because I caught him before he called the 2nd credit card company (first one has been canceled and they’re sending new ones- which means I’m going to have to memorize the number again for easy online purchases, DANG IT.) Partly because, YAY! No worries about replacing all that Important Stuff I would have lost. But I think he was mostly happy because BOY IS JEN AN IDIOT AND THIS IS GOING TO MAKE SUCH A GREAT “JEN IS AN IDIOT” STORY!

He asked me what my first thought was when I spotted my wallet in the car. “Was it: HOLYCRAPTHEREITIS, OMG I AM SO RELIEVED! or was it: OHCRAP, Dan is going to have a field day with this story…”

Truthfully, it was a pretty even mixture of both.


  1. Carley

    November 30, 2009 8:59 pm

    That would have to be the worst feeling in the world! So glad you found it and everything inside was safe and sound!

  2. san

    November 30, 2009 9:35 pm

    OMG. What a nightmare! I am so glad you found it.

  3. Steph

    November 30, 2009 9:49 pm

    I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point or another – we can relate. At least relate to the part where you THINK you lost your wallet. GASP GASP PANT PANT. Glad you found it :)

    I never told you about the story where I had lost my cell phone after Heidi was born. I went almost 2 weeks without it. Then finally decided it was time to get a new one (lost cause) because we looked everywhere and I did need one if I wanted to venture out anywhere with a little baby in tow. Not only was it the VERY SAME DAY but within the VERY SAME HOUR after making a purchase and renewing another 3 year term contract that I found the phone between my car seat and the door. LIKE I HADN’T LOOKED THERE BEFORE? Whatever. Sometimes life just likes to spice things up for you… :)

    • Jen

      December 1, 2009 8:44 am

      oh geez, isn’t that ALWAYS the way?? I’m glad I got things resolved in time before Dan canceled our other credit card and our debit cards, etc, otherwise we’d have a tough time this week spending any money! heh

  4. Priscilla

    November 30, 2009 10:23 pm

    I can tell you that getting your wallet stolen is awful. I had it happen to me at WalMart when Chuck and I were picking out a bike to buy Chuckie for his birthday! I left the cart for a second and this lady was looking at me weird. A few seconds later, Chuck said, you better go get your purse before someone steals your wallet and sure enough that b^%$h had stolen my wallet. There were three people who were working together and I was trying to follow her throughout the store and watch her.
    I went to the front of the store and cancelled my debit card as she was making her way to the checkouts! I beat her to it and she left the cart and walked out. As I was talking to the manager and we are watching her, Chuck walked out behind her, called her out and she jumped in her car and Chuck took off running to catch her! She nearly hit him as she hit another car to get out of the parking lot. We were too late and a random girl, used her cell phone to record the license plate! Which we thought was so cool!! The police tracked it down to the Hill District but never got anywhere with the case. I was so violated and upset. It was horrible!! So I feel your pain, except I wasn’t as lucky. They didn’t get any cash, maybe a few gift cards but I was crushed!
    .-= Priscilla’s last blog post: The Job Situation =-.

    • Jen

      December 1, 2009 8:43 am

      holy CRAP, that’s insane that you saw her and couldn’t do anything about it. How frustrating! It really was the most awful feeling, like someone punched me in the gut. I was so relieved when I found it, I almost started to cry!

      I also love the visual of Chuck chasing her out of the store. Such a stud!

  5. bluzdude

    December 1, 2009 9:17 am

    Oh, man… I hate that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that says, “Where’s my wallet?” or “OK, where’s the car?”

    Then if you’re lucky you remember your wallet is in your coat instead of your pants, or a big minivan pulls away and reveals your car behind it.

    I had something like that happen once when I lost my keys at the mall. I think I may have left them hanging in the keyhole of the hatchback when I took a load out to the car. You know you’re driving a real POS when someone takes the keys out of your car but doesn’t even bother to take the car.
    .-= bluzdude’s last blog post: Steelers Recap – Week 12 =-.

  6. Cassie

    December 1, 2009 10:29 am

    I’m sorry to laugh at you, but HAHAHAHAHA.

    I did that myself one time, except I was at home and looking for my wallet to make a purchase online. I spent forever looking for it, freaking out. When I did end up finding it (in the fridge WTF?!), my husband made fun of me pretty badly. He still hasn’t forgotten.
    .-= Cassie’s last blog post: Four Months =-.

  7. Tiffany

    December 1, 2009 11:12 am

    OMG!!! That sounds like something that would happen to me! So Glad you found your wallet!
    .-= Tiffany’s last blog post: I’m Thankfull for this cute lil Indian =-.

  8. Laura

    December 1, 2009 2:27 pm

    Omg. Haha! Glad it is back. Also, two things:

    1. You can still fly without a photo ID. I’ve done it. It’s actually FASTER.

    2. If you leave your purse in the cart often, they make these really great “purse security charms” that you basically just attach the purse to your cart. It’s unlikely that somebody will dig THROUGH your purse to find your wallet (especially if it closes) and it will keep your purse from being easily grabbed. I am giving them to all my family ladies this year for xmas!
    .-= Laura’s last blog post: thanksgiving #30 =-.

    • Jen

      December 1, 2009 2:38 pm

      So how did you fly without a photo ID? Did you just use a Passport? When we flew last month, we all had to show our license twice- once at baggage and again at security.

      You can bet- even though it all turned out okay- I’ll be keeping a MUCH closer eye on my purse & wallet while I shop now! Scared the crap out of me.

      • Laura

        December 1, 2009 4:34 pm

        You just tell them you don’t have a photo ID. Everything is pretty much the same, except you don’t go through the security checkpoint with everybody else. They pull you aside and actually open your carryons and wand you and all that. Really no different than the “random” checks the did back after 2001. It ended up being faster because I didn’t have to wait in line… I was actually waiting for the rest of my party past the checkpoint.
        .-= Laura’s last blog post: there is a reason strong moves slow =-.

  9. Melissa

    December 1, 2009 3:42 pm

    Really glad you found it, just sorry Dan will tease you about it forever. ;)
    .-= Melissa’s last blog post: Andrew’s birth day =-.

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