The 8th Commandment


originally posted about 5 years ago, but you never read it…

i was recently in a sporting good store standing near one of the registers, making a purchase, when a tall guy walked up around the line of registers and out the door. as he walked past me, the 20-something guy made too much eye contact with me. as he passed, i immediately looked at his left armpit, which faced away from the registers and cashiers, because i could tell he was doing something he should not. i saw a bulge beneath his hooded sweatshirt (on an 80-degree day) and knew he was shoplifting. i told the cashier even before the guy was completely out of the store. her reply: “i hate when people do that.” period.

i told another person, who said, “we can’t do anything about it now because he left the store.” to which i pointed out that the opposite was true, that you can’t do anything to a shoplifter while they are in the store, but you must wait until they are out of the store, then you can get them. while still inside, they can claim to be still shopping.

regardless, nobody cared. i pressed the issue until a salesperson happened to overhear me, and he went to find the manager. meanwhile, the cashiers simply commented how rude it is to steal and how there’s no point to it, blah blah, going about their business.

so why to people shoplift? for starters, at least in this particular store, it’s because they can. nobody cared, nobody made an effort to do anything about it. it’s as if their nails were wet and they didn’t want to mess them up.

we are pushing our standards of acceptability to the lowest they have ever been in this country. the more we allow things like this, the more we turn our heads when something or someone needs help, the more we have blind eyes and deaf ears, the further down we are going to sink.

people continue to think they have no effect on the world around them. we’re having a tremendous effect, but in the wrong direction.  however, you’d be surprised how much we can change things for the better – if we actually cared and made an effort.



33 thoughts on “The 8th Commandment

  1. It is disgusting and what’s more amazing is that the store owners do nothing about it..i have seen people opening up cans of soft drink or bag of chips and munching and gulping while shopping and no one complains or asks them to pay for those things…
    you are so right about pushing the standards of acceptability to the lowest…

  2. Besides, we are all paying for whatever the guy had in his armpit. For the cokes and chips too. I suppose if we don’t care, nobody will. Kinda’ glad I won’t be around for the verdict…

  3. I was in a boulangerie/patisserie/confiserie shop in France once when a pair of small hands popped around behind me, grabbed a huge brioche in the window, broke of a big piece and ran away. I was so stunned that I didn’t do anything straight away. Then I saw the child on the other side of the street, breaking the brioche into two pieces and giving one to a little girl, even smaller than himself.

    I told the baker’s wife who was serving in the shop and she ran across the road and brought the little boy back, calling for her husband who came out of the back and gave the boy a lecture before letting him go. Then he came to me and told me that the little girl was the boy’s sister, that both of the parents worked but didn’t send their children to the cantine and didn’t give them any money to buy anything. Of course, they were not given a packed lunch either. He wasn’t sure that the children even had breakfast before going to school. I felt really badly about dobbing the boy in, after that.

  4. It seems more so here in the States that people have become numb and complacent about many things..This store in particular is a great example. I wonder if the owners feel the same as the cashiers..if so, they must have $$ to burn..
    Liars & thief’s are two sets of people that keep the bad vibe alive ..

    • I had the same thought about the cashier. I would bet that the owner cares. It’s his/her money, not the cashiers. It’s crazy for an employee not to support the overall good of the business. I think someone needs new employees.

  5. I have to admit I’ve felt that disconnected working in retail, but then again I didn’t look for the theft, I never saw it. If I did I’d probably go all ninja on them.

    • it’s why bullies are prevalent. and bad parents. it’s easier to look the other way than do something. shoplifters have learned it’s really not hard to get away with it. it’s why some kids wear those big baggy pants – to put a dvd player in there from wal-mart.

  6. That’s so ridiculous. Why would the cashiers act like it was not a problem? I think it goes both ways. What you’re saying about ethics is true. But also businesses have the responsibility of making their employees feel like they are an important part of the company. I’m sure that the same cashiers would have responded quite differently if the shoplifting were robbing their personal homes. Whenever cashiers have that hands off attitude, shoplifting will continue to take place.

    Either way. It’s still wrong.

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