A few weeks ago, I read a story about a shoplifting ordeal in a local Facebook group and it prompted many conversations since and was definitely food for though (no pun intended).
The gentleman who wrote the thread mentioned how he had apprehended a wannabe shoplifter in our local village Co-op store and was surprised when no-one from the queue of people stood mere metres away helped. No-one had intervened to help, despite this gentleman being on top of the tea-leaf, which resulted in him being released when the shoplifted mentioned he had a knife and he would use it. Classy guy.
There was clearly sympathy for the have-a-go (almost) hero, but also comments from opposition and from actual people stood in the queue at the time. People were either unaware of what was going on and simply hadn’t seen, or they were with their children and didn’t want to get involved. Which is fair enough, if I had Liv with me then my first priority, as it is at all times is to protect her, plus who actually is that observant when stood in a supermarket queue? Generally you keep your head down, grumble about how long queuing is taking, pay and then finally be on your merry way.
The general consensus was that the gentleman who tackled the shop lifter probably shouldn’t have got involved. “The Co-op are insured against the loss anyway” and “it’s not worth getting hurt over a pack of sausages” were comments bandied around by people who accepted what the shoplifter did and didn’t bat an eye.
When did it happen that we all became so blinkered? How shocking is it that people actually have the need to shoplift a pack of bloomin’ sausages in today’s society?
The possible consequences of being caught shoplifting are:
You may end up being arrested and taken into custody.
If you are convicted in court of shoplifting, you can be fined and/ or jailed for up to six months if the goods are worth less than £200; or for a maximum of seven years if they are worth more than £200.
A shoplifting conviction means you will have a criminal record.
You may be offered a police caution as an alternative to prosecution. However, if you accept, this still counts as a criminal conviction.
You make a bad name for yourself and can be banned from the particular store.
Now I don’t know about you, but having to deal with the police intimidates me, which is mainly due to the fact that I was brought up with respect. There is a distinct lack of that these days and clearly the importance of those sausages far outweighed the potential threat of a fine/potential jail if you are a repeat offender – but worse still, a criminal conviction, which has all types of implications throughout your life.
A couple of weeks previous to reading the thread, I myself was witness to a shoplifting incident. The guy brazenly walked past me, picked up some meat and then hightailed it through the automatic doors of a Tesco Express. I had been in my own little world, staring at the meat selection as an Keto fan would do and was weighing up my options of dinner that evening. I’d clocked the guy as I walked in, scruffy urchin, clearly on some form of illegal substance but never did I imagine he would do that and so close to me too. The alarms were ringing and two of the young Tesco female employees were attempting to run after him before I knew what was going on (It’s more sedate in my dream world!).
Thoughts of ‘I should have thrown my basket at him’ and ‘I should have tripped him up’ sprang into my mind, but never did I think of running after him and kudos to the female employees that did, not knowing what was waiting from them on the other side of the doors.
I’ve now certainly become more aware of the shoppers around me whilst out and about, not because I am about to pounce on someone I suspect, but if someone does shoplift near me and I am able to throw something, I will. Though Liv is always my priority and I certainly wouldn’t get involved with a raucous that could lead to me getting hurt… over a pack of sausages.
What would you have done in these scenarios? Have you ever experienced a shoplifting incident?
If I did manage to save the sausages and apprehend a shoplifter, I would certainly expect free shopping for at least a year – just putting that out there!