Agreed 100%. While I understood that it definitely looked suspicious for me to be chatting with one friend while the other was (apparently) stealing in the back, it just blew my mind that this manager didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt. The wild part is I never heard a word about it from the store manager or other managers. He only told me that “story.” Now whether he went to them (all white males, minus one black woman — who he for sure did not mention it to) privately, I have no idea. All I know is I went home for spring breaks, summer breaks and winter breaks, and the store manager welcomed me back as a rehire (raise included) the entire two years. So either that manager didn’t get his way or he realized he f**ked up but was too indignant to admit it.
While I was definitely irate that those two students put me in that predicament — only one of the two apologized, the guy who was talking to me at the register — I’m still more disappointed in the manager. We’d never even had an inkling of beef before that night. We clearly weren’t all that cool, but I (naively) thought there was enough respect there that he’d know I wouldn’t participate in something like that.