I just returned from my local village and I am flabbergasted. Gobsmacked. Shocked. Society is truly collapsing into itself. However, there is hope.
I walked into a local shop and held the door for the elderly gentleman behind me. As I passed through, a man in his late 40s, early 50s brushed by me quickly. He was medium built, not skinny, was about 5 foot, 8 inches tall. His dark hair was short and he had the start of a receding hairline. He wore a dark jacket and baggy jeans. This was the out door, so I assumed he decided he didn’t want to buy anything.
When he passed, I heard an unusual sound. A jingling of sorts. Like Christmas bells. This caused me to take a second look at the man as he hurried out the door, across the cement boardwalk and onto the parking lot. That’s when I noticed his baggy pants were not so baggy in some areas. In fact, his awkward stride revealed impressions of iPad shaped objects. The more I stared, the more I saw his pants were stuffed with items he didn’t pay for.
I shouted towards the cash registers, “That man is shoplifting! His pants are full of stuff!”
The woman beside me looked, too, and said the same thing. “Staff! Where’s the staff?”
Staff came immediately to witness the man’s awkward gate as he crossed the pavement to where vehicles were parked. The man got into a small (something like a Ford Focus) medium blue car. The lady beside me went through the door, saying, “I’ll get a picture of his licence plate.” I watched her go out alone. At that moment, I simply watched from the window, mentally recording what was going on. I do not have a cell phone, so I couldn’t digitally record anything.
Others watched, too. One woman, in her late 50s, early 60s, stopped pushing her cart and looked in our direction. “What’s going on?” she asked.
“Someone is shoplifting.”
“Big deal,” she said and strolled away.
Big deal? “Let’s be LA,” I said. “Or San Francisco where thieves steal what they want and honest people have to pay higher prices because of it.” Stupid woman, I thought. Insane.
If everyone was as passive as that woman, theft would escalate. Those with low or no morals would take what they wanted. Honest people would pay higher prices to make up for the loss, or stores would close down, leaving us without these goods and services.
Big deal, my ass. I bet if that man walked into her house and stole her good dishes, she wouldn’t be saying, ‘big deal’.
The one thing I wish I’d done differently was to leave the store and stand beside the woman capturing the licence plate with her cell phone. It would be a show of force, a deterrent to the thief to do her harm. While she didn’t suffer any harm, the next time things might not run so smoothly.
If people don’t start standing up for what is right and just, then society falls into a pit of evil, where women get raped on trains and bystanders only watch (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/police-say-riders-didn-t-help-woman-raped-train-does-n1281998), where people walk into a store without worry and steal bags of stuff, where elderly people are beaten on the street and people do nothing to help (https://www.insider.com/nyc-guards-suspended-not-helping-elderly-asian-lady-attacked-2021-3).
Everything is on a slippery slope. Seldom do things get better on their own. Everything slides towards the worse. We must make the smallest moral slip a big deal or society as we know it is done.