So this happened yesterday at work. I'm sick as hell, mind you, but I'm one of two full-time managers at my store (a plus-size clothing store that actually sells cute clothes, but is a little pricey) so I'm not allowed to take sick days until after inventory in February. Since I'm heavily medicated, I'm a little groggy and a little grumpy, but I'm trying to fake it to make it.
So this woman walks in, kind of wanders around for a while, picks up a few shirts. She's wearing a big coat, but it's Mississippi and it's about 40 degrees out so people are dressing like it's the snowpocalypse or something. I assist a customer who needs help with an outfit, I look back to the other woman, the shirts are gone. Not a big deal, really, because I have a sales associate there and we pride ourselves on excellent customer service, so I figure she's probably gone to set up a fitting room for the customer so she can keep browsing.
I look around for her a few minutes later and she's gone. The shirts (a graphic tee and a plaid button-down) are nowhere to be found. At this point I'm too tired to be mad so I just kind of resign myself to eating that cost come February and go about my day.
A couple hours later, she comes back. I've had a fresh dose of DayQuil at this point so I'm a bit more chipper, and when I see her come back, I amp my customer service act up to 11 and go to greet her.
Me: "Hey, welcome to (store)! I saw you in earlier, did you decide to come back for those shirts?"
Shoplifter: "Well, actually, I came to swap one of them out."
... um? I've been in retail for twelve years, and I've been managing for ten of them. Never, in all the time I've been in clothing, grocery, or video game stores, have I ever had a shoplifter so blatantly admit to their crime. At this point, I'm intrigued.
Me: "Oh? That's weird, I don't recall you buying anything last time. Did you have an exchange with you?"
She doesn't, at least not a visible one. She isn't carrying one of our bags with her.
Shoplifter: "Yes, kind of. See, I don't know how it got here, but one of your shirts must have fallen into the lining of my jacket."
I shit you not, those were her words. Verbatim.
Shoplifter: "I didn't notice it until I got home. It's not my size, though, so I came to swap it out."
At this point, I'm kind of grinning because what?? What the fuck? This is a joke, it has to be. I take a moment to look around for someone holding a camera---my DM, maybe---and then take the shirt from her, toss it on the counter to be refolded.
Me: "And the plaid one?"
For a minute, she looks angry, and then she seems to decide that ignorance is the best form of defense that she has.
Shoplifter: "What plaid one? I was only carrying that one."
I kind of stare at her for a few seconds before letting it go and showing her around to some of the sections. She ended up buying the first shirt in her actual size, a couple pairs of jeans, and another shirt (she wasn't amused when I took her to the plaid shirt she'd stolen and said "I think you'd like this one---oh, wait, don't you already have it?")
And after ADMITTING she had stolen it and was only bringing it back because she'd stolen the wrong size, she got MAD AT ME at the register because I wouldn't give her in-store credit for the shirt she was "returning". The one she never bought. The one she stole.