Tuesday, May 08, 2012

It's the Principle of the Matter

Today I was going in to a grocery store when I saw a young man hurrying out towards me. It all happened so fast, that my brain didn't really process it all, but I noticed he was holding something. As he hurried past me, and then began running through the parking lot, I realized that the things he was holding hadn't been paid for! I looked inside to see if I could see anyone to notify, but there wasn't anyone nearby. I whirled back around to see where the boy went, but could just see the back of his head as it disappeared behind a car at the other end of the parking lot.

I decided that I needed to tell someone, even if they couldn't catch him. I thought that maybe they could watch their security camera footage so that they could watch for this kid if he came again. So when I went to check out, I told the checker. I was really surprised at her unconcerned attitude. She told me that when she took that job, she had to sign a paper that required that if she did see a shop lifter leave the store, she wouldn't chase after him. She said that it is a security issue. That reminded me of the time that I tried to catch a shop-lifter. That event could have ended very badly, and I was just lucky I didn't get hurt. So I understood what she said. But I didn't understand why she didn't report it to someone! Maybe they just think this is part of the expense of having a store, and they just let it go? I don't know what she was thinking, but isn't it sad that people like that boy cause the store to have to raise prices for the rest of us?


Grannymar said...

Alas, we all pay for the shop lifter! The cost (called shrinkage)is built into the prices we pay for our shopping. :(

Maxi said...

It makes no sense to me that the owner would not have photos of known shop lifters.

This way the cashier can call police when these crooks come into the store.

Blessings - Maxi

Looney said...

I would guess that the paperwork is required by the government, but that would need to be verified.

Inklings said...

I think it is pretty sad that we have become so blase against crime.

Nene said...

I agree with Inklings. If they don't care why even report it? Pretty sad.

Ursula said...

Why are you so keen to stop a shop lifter, particularly a mere youngster? What's it to you if they manage to get away? Unless theirs is a real need few will risk prosecution.

And may I say, at least here in England, prices are so inflated, supermarkets' profit margins so high that someone, respectable and in the public eye, recently observed that we, as a nation, should not be surprised when some people are reduced to stealing.

The thief with a conscience will never steal from a private corner shop. Stealing from those chain stores which throw out thousands of pounds worth of food into landfill, every day? That's no crime. That's social justice. And before I meddle in someone's affairs, their dire need, I'd rather turn a blind eye. Big bosses won't go hungry. Neither will you.


Delirious said...

I guess for me, Ursula, it's matter of principle. It's a matter of right and wrong. And more importantly, I kept thinking about that young man, and the path on which he was starting in his life. This time was a few small items, but that kind of mentality will grow, and is only the beginning of a life of crime. I was thinking about how it might actually help him to change if he was caught.

Ursula said...

I know, Delirious. I know what you are saying. Yet, there are principles and there are principles. The limited experience I have with both youngsters and their elders trespassing on the law is that most DO know that they are doing wrong. Yet feel there is little choice. And that's the real tragedy.

And,if - for a relatively small misdemeanour - you turn in a youngster it'll only harden them, make them dig in their heels.

I firmly believe - and I might have said it before - that there is no more prison, no more punishment, than that of our own conscience. We don't need police, a cell, a court, for being admonished. Most of us will do a pretty good job of doing so ourselves. It's called guilt.

I'd be naive not to understand your reasoning that if you let people get away they think it's an easy ride; so why not do it again. Still, I do believe in giving people a chance, and a second, and a third. The law is the law, but you and I are not necessarily the ones who should enforce it. Though please do should someone have the temerity to bludgeon me. Even I draw the line somewhere.