Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Thou Shall Not Steal

An Alabama judge came up with a wonderful way to punish shoplifters (see above). Those convicted of stealing from the local Wal-Mart had the option of 60 days in jail or standing with the sign expressing their moral shortcoming. I enjoy it when judges make up penalties that buck the conventional fine and minimal jail time.

A bystander thought that the punishment was cruel, which I assure you it is not. As a retailer, I'm all for embarrassing shoplifters and would encourage a return to the days of Hammurabi's Code. People from all walks of life steal, and it's done in large amounts every day. I don't work in a particularly "bad" neighborhood and in fact my Walgreens has one of the wealthiest populations of any in the district. Yet, not a day goes by when 7 or 8 empty boxes of something are found tucked behind another product. That's just what is left behind, as it's certainly plausible that most don't bother to leave any evidence behind opting to take package and all. For every one of those items that goes out the door, we have to sell another 20 to break even. Not to mention the time it takes to file a claim and change the computers counts to reorder the product now lost.

As such, I care not for thieves. I'm all for fingerprinting every individual that comes into the store so that every time I find an empty package, we can submit it to the FBI's data base. I've heard the Jean Valjean argument that people who steal take items that they need, and I can tell you that that is crap. If bread were going out the door to feed a hungry family, I might (stress might) be more understanding. But I can tell you that the most frequently ripped off items are candy bars, condoms, pregnancy tests, and make-up. You tell me which of those someone MUST have, and I'll buy it for them.

I applaud the efforts of Judge Kenneth Robertson Jr., but I might suggest that these people have to wear the sign and apologize and do community service and serve the jail time and pay the fine and get a tattoo with the same phrasing and lose a finger.


Becky said...

YIKES! Who knew I lived with such a severe guy. I hope I haven't done anything wrong lately and that he isn't conspiring to cut off my toes, make me get a tattoo, fine me, and throw me in jail...

Jan said...

Drew, you make me laugh. Love the idea of the FBI data base not so sure about the finger loss.