What To Avoid in Iceland: Shoplifting

December 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s beyond awkward when you’re alone in a foreign country and being accused of shoplifting.
How do you say ‘I deny these allegations’ in Icelandic?

I had been feeling pretty intrepid. Pretty worldly. Obviously I was getting pretty big in comparison to my boots because as I exited the first shop I had visited in Reykjavik, I set off the security alarms. I was as surprised as the girl at the counter was, but had the same flash of self-doubt I get at security in airports; Did I remember to take that machete out of my bag? I don’t own a machete. What if I bought one and forgot about it like I do with sale items and nail polish remover? So as the girl stared at me, waiting for me to either break down or bolt, I went through the same thing. Maybe I did decide to smuggle that heinous Cindy Lauper-esque wig.Think fast. But because I am extremely conflict-averse I figured the fastest way out of the situation was to meekly offer my bag for inspection and hope she wouldn’t call the Icelandic authorities.
After a borderline invasive bodily search, the shop assistant unearthed a security tag left in my jacket by a Topshop employee where I had paid too much money for the cursed thing in England. Upon the discovery of the tag I tried to look triumphant but the girl’s face showed a tricky mixture of surprise and residual suspicion so I took my leave while I had the chance.

It wasn’t until I was well down the street that I realised I was still clutching the incriminating tag she had inexplicably returned to me. I tossed it into a bin before realising there was a policeman standing next to me. In the presence of the law, it suddenly appeared to throb guiltily from the vessel of debris. Had it always looked vaguely reminiscent of a tracking or explosive device? I tried to look as nonchalant as possible and returned to my hotel room with a hamburger to watch American television.

Big scary world- 1
Me- 0

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