"'Look around and see if you see a youth,'" the clerk told her. "'He was behind you when you got the money and he followed you out.'"
Oblivious, she scanned the dark parking structure and couldn't see anyone — until she spotted the baseball cap wearing man, exactly as described. The clerk quickly dispatched two security guards to the car park, and she was escorted out safely.
It wasn't until she got home in rural Galway that the thieves actually struck. Unbeknownst to her they had followed her to the store and then home, snatching her bag from the trunk where she left it to carry a sack of potatoes into her house.
Skip to eight months later, and she receives a surprising call from her neighbor, who'd been out walking and found her purse laying beneath a hedge.
And another sliver of light: while the €2,050 was long gone, the €950 ($1,150) she had hidden in a separate zip pocket was still there. Or at least, some of it was.
"The slugs had it all winter long and they'd eaten every €50 note, everything except the metal strips," Kathleen lamented. "My wallet was full of slugs, my bag was full of slugs, my purse was full of slugs."
Indeed, her photos show her now-moldy yellow handbag, and the sorry-looking but still very obvious remains of what were once 19 €50 notes.
But despite still having all the bones of the mollusc meal, the Central Bank refused to replace the notes.
"I was out of the whole lot -- the bank wouldn't honor the 950," she mourned. "They said there wasn't enough information to see that they were legal."
As well as being irked by the stubborn Central Bank, Kathleen also points the finger at the Bank of Ireland, where the robbery began on its premises.
"It actually started in the Bank of Ireland," she said. "In my view, I shouldn't have been let out of that bank that day, because I was in danger."
One bank worker called in to cement the bad news: the metallic strips were not unique identifiers, and without the serial numbers, her case was lost.
He admitted that if common sense prevailed, the bank would see the evidence and the police report and replace them — as host Joe Duffy pointed out, it was unlikely the slugs would turn up with the other halves of the notes demanding replacements.
Some listeners were less sympathetic, telling Kathleen it was her fault for leaving the purse in the open car — especially after the bank warned her she was being targeted.
Host Duffy vowed to inquire if Ireland's Revenue Museum could buy the remnants and turn them into an exhibit.
As for Kathleen, she takes a little solace in the fact the thieves were denied the money, too.
"I do hope he's listening today and he finds out he missed the 950," she cursed. "I'm sure he's not, he's too busy robbing people."