Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thug logic

Yesterday we rousted a couple of shoplifters at work. Since they were trying to steal CDs, it was easier just to rattle their cage so that they coughed up the goods, trespass them and kick them out as opposed to go through all of the hassle that would go into making an apprehension for a case that would most likely get dismissed or bargained down to a paperwork slap of the wrist.

As we were escorting the perps out, one of them turned to my manager and said, "What's it to you guys anyway? You still get paid if you lose something."

It made me wished we had gone for the apprehension.

You can see several flaws in our society from this encounter. The first is the attitude by these perps that it is okay to steal and that employees of a company shouldn't care if their employer's assets are stolen. This goes hand in hand with the glorification of criminal activity by certain sub-cultures. It becomes "cool" to steal, to take what you want. And we, society as a whole, perpetuate it by not standing up.

Standing up is too inconvenient. We don't have time to waste on something that will result in some punk getting a case dropped or 6 months probabtion. Some might argue it's the system's fault for being this ineffective. Who allows this system to stand?

We don't stand up to our elected officials and say "We're sick of this crime. Make penalties harsher, prosecute cases instead of dropping them, give us the law enforcement we need." Of course, this costs money. Money we don't have right?

Only because we don't stand up and insist on an end to pork projects and waste, and maybe be willing to give up that extra cup at Starbucks. But ask yourself this... where does the money lost to crime come from? It goes back to the addage of having to spend money to make money. If we invest in reducing crime, eventually the costs associated with crime will go down. It won't be quick, but the alternative is to pay more from retailers, pay more for insurance, and wonder when that shoplifter graduates to armed robbery.

How about retailers standing up to record companies? Telling them that they aren't going to help perpetuate the glorification of the criminal element. Sure, it may cost some revenue, but how much profit do you think is to be made off of this customer segment. And what kind of product do you lose the most of? Some may cry foul, claiming infringement on freedom of speech. But in the marketplace, there isn't freedom of speech... there are business decisions.

How about the record companies standing up and saying they aren't going to peddle this crap just to make a buck? Not to mention the negative stereotype they help perpetuate. Sure these artists can go to independent labels that specialize in that kind of media, but if retailers won't carry it in the first place, how long will those labels stick around?

People often note how much zeal I put into nailing shoplifters. And I see all kinds, from the typical stereotype to "grandma and grandpa" trying to steal digital memory, and I go after them all with gusto, as do my collegues. Because even though we still get paid at the end of the day, in the end it really is our money.


Post a Comment

<< Home