Mark Thompson

Stealing from the self-service checkout: Crime or no?

Approx Reading Time-10Is stealing from the self-service checkout a victimless crime, or are you deregulating the economy, you cretin? Vote now. Anonymously of course.

 

To start this article off on a sensationalist note, stealing from the self-service checkout is on the rise! (Cue the black and white freeze frame and/or red stamp of blunt judgement a la Today Tonight.) According to one independent study, 50 percent of those polled knowingly stole produce from the self-service checkout.

The two people polled by the study shared the same car, and perhaps after this article goes out, the same jail cell.

The confirmed criminal of the study, my partner, toothpick behind her left ear, the collar of her leather jacket popped skywards, eyes afire with James Deanian rebellion, proudly shaking the bag of Portobellos she liberated under the nose of the dead-eyed security guard. She pinched it, because she didn’t want to pay for it. She has a job, and enjoys the rule of law, as do I.

But, as she claimed, seventeen dollars for mushrooms is excessive.

And that I agreed with.

However, a crime it was. Should we turn ourselves in? Should we be breaking rocks in the hot sun for the rest of our existence? Neither of us would take food from the shelf and do a “runner”, because that’s stealing. But cheating the electronic eye of “The Man” somehow isn’t. Society deems it as an artful deception. Like getting out of a parking ticket by lying.

I could expand on the vicissitudes of the free market economy, or too the squabble between farmers and retailers, but honestly…who cares? Is it a crime or not? Should everything be broccoli, or are we just a bunch of low-rent fruit larcenists?

If we put in a Fuji as a Granny Smith, so what? Who’s fault is it? Is it ours for having a lack of scruples? Or the system’s fault for not being advanced enough to identify an apple as an apple?

A crime of passion and opportunity. We have all shopped under the brutal conditions of the empty stomach. We have all done rash things. And yes, on a larger scale, Avocados should not be $3 and Porterhouse should not be $20. We need our money for dancing and spoiling people who leave in the morning. It’s a victimless crime. It doesn’t matter, because Woolworths and Coles can buy another avocado. It’s breakage, right? They’re cool.

Or is it? Using the above ruling, can we traipse into a Maserati dealership and surreptitiously substitute a Hyundai badge and away we go? As always, the moral question lays solely in the hands of those who swipe the produce.

Now I could expand on the vicissitudes of the free market economy, or too the squabble between farmers and retailers, but honestly…who cares? What we’re interested o’er here is a general consensus of the general populace.

So, is it a crime or not?

Should everything be broccoli, or are we just a bunch of low-rent fruit larcenists?

Vote now. Anonymously of course.

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