Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Do It Man, It Ain't Worth It

Important life safety tip: Don't steal. Ignore moral implications for a minute, stealing from a large corporation is a bad idea because of the low reward to risk ratio.

Yes, everyone does it. But you shouldn't not because you're a better person, but because it could potentially screw up your life.

Let me spin you a little story based in reality of something I saw happen, but where I have changed all the details and give no names. Girl works for company that is a subcontractor with a retail establishment. One day when girl is out and about she impulsively chooses to put jar of face cream into her pocket and then pay for some other minor item thinking she's clever. Unfortunately store security is on the ball that day and one of them spots her slipping the makeup into her pocket. They stop her just as she's outside the door and they have her dead to rights.

Worse it happens that this one item is on the expensive side and so she's over the limit where they have discretion on if they call the police on her or just give her an expensive warning. Even if the loss prevention people wanted to be nice and just let her go they would be risking their own jobs to do so and they're not willing to do that for a stranger in this economy. So they call the police. It isn't as bad as it could be because she's cooperative and has official identification and nothing else against her like chronically unpaid parking tickets or something. But she's still cited and given a trespass admonishment.

What does that mean? It means that she's banned from the property of the retail establishment for one year from the date she was caught on. So she's likely to be put in an awkward situation. She's going to be sent back to this retail establishment by her job and if any of the security people spot her she'll go to jail. Plus there is the court costs and civil restitution so that she's going to end up paying nearly one thousand dollars and not even get to keep the makeup she bought so dearly.

So she can be out of work or run the risk of going to jail. Don't shoplift kids.

This is a sort of worse case scenario where someone loses a job over shoplifting, but that's the problem. You don't know when everything will go wrong for you. Sure, you'll probably get away with taking that CD, but what if you don't and it happens to get much worse than the minor problem of not being able to go to one store and a $100-250 civil restitution (in Colorado). And this is not completely made up, I got a ringside seat to seeing it go down.

By the by, civil restitution is a thing where retailers can charge a person for shoplifting. Never heard of it? Relatively new and if it goes unpaid they turn into actual arrest warrants and criminal charges later. It is so that the police do not have to deal with every case of shoplifting a candy bar and to let the store get back some money for all the times a person took something and did not get caught.

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