Only once in my life have I ever stolen something. It was at the age of 10. I was spending my summer vacation at a tourist center in Magaluf (Majorca), with my family. Every afternoon my brother, my sister and I would hang out with a group of other kids our age. The fun we had! Playing, eating ice cream and buying comic books and goodies! We loved going to one of those bazaar-like shops, so typical on the beachfront, always open, where you can find many kinds of goods offered for sale: flip flops, Pamela hats, paperback novels, inflatable mattresses, postcards…Something like the national version, of much better quality, of the Chinese bazaars that would later invade the streets of every town and city in Spain. One afternoon, as usual, we went into that shop. My brother, my sister and I bought some comic books and an assortment of candies. When we gathered with the posse they laughed at us. We were seemingly the only ones that had paid at the till. We looked at the stolen loot, stupefied and hypnotised in place. You could have filled several large bags of candies. Someone had even swiped a Mortadelo y Filemón summer special (comic book), hiding it under his shirt. How had they dared? Oh my God, so embarrassing! Weren’t they afraid of getting caught red handed? Weren’t they afraid of what their parents might do if they ever knew it?
“I’ll show you how to do it”, told me the most veteran shoplifter. And I went back to the shop with him for the demonstration, so dead easy he had described the modus operandi. “You always pay for something cheap, like chewing gum”, taught me my coach. “So, the owner never suspects you and you can take whatever you want”. Encouraged by his example, I took a bag of sunflower seeds that cost me five pesetas and hid a Toblerone chocolate bar in my overalls pocket. My face was cherry-red, my heart was pounding hard in my chest.
Not daring to look at the cashier right in the face, I gave him a five-peseta coin. “Put the chocolate bar on the counter or I’ll tell your parents”, he blurted out, a grim look on his face. Master-Thief had snuck out of the shop.
Alone and terrified, completely deserted, I dropped my swag on the counter, even the seeds already paid for. I just wanted to get away from the shop as quickly as possible. Lucky me that my parents never got to know my extraordinarily short career as a thief’s apprentice. They would surely have locked me up in a juvy. The lesson I learnt then has lasted all my life. I have never ever taken anything that did not belong to me.
It is obvious that nobody in the former Catalan regional premier Jordi Pujol’s family has never ever hidden a Toblerone chocolate bar in their overalls pocket.