The great grocery store theft
Published 2:39 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023
By Jack Godbey
I was at the grocery store today, and as I fumbled through my pockets trying to figure out where I left my grocery list, I finally gave up and decided to wing it. I mossed over to the produce section, and I reached down and grabbed a couple of grapes and popped them in my mouth. As I was munching down, I realized that we treat grapes at the grocery store like they were on the buffet line at a restaurant. It’s totally fine to eat grapes and no one considers it stealing. This has become so commonplace that not even the pimply faced teenager that works at the store bothered to take his eyes away from his cell phone as I filled my cheeks full of grapes until I resembled a chipmunk.
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Many people think that we must test the grapes to make sure they are good before we buy them. With that logic in mind, I wonder if it would be OK if I went to the deli and started chowing down on a chicken leg to make sure the rest of the chicken was good. Something tells me that wouldn’t work out well for me.
I began to think about how society thinks that stealing certain items is wrong while stealing others is perfectly acceptable. I noticed that everyone in my office takes an ink pen or notebook home with them, and no one says anything about it. However, when I tried to take some office supplies home it was suddenly a big deal. I worked hard on loading that copier in my truck too.
I often find myself traveling for one reason or another and staying in a hotel somewhere. It seems acceptable to take home those little bottles of shampoo or lotion that they leave on the bathroom sink for you. However, I take a few things and they try to charge my credit card to pay for them. Oh well, those hotel curtains didn’t look good in my house anyway.
It seems that no one thinks anything about stealing little things from the restaurant when we go out to eat. I personally, have more packets of hot sauce from Taco Bell in my fridge than my stomach will ever be able digest. Not sure why because I don’t like hot sauce. We seem to think straws, napkins, and plastic forks are free for the taking without giving it a second thought. Then we get upset because our Big Mac isn’t as big as it used to be. The money must come from somewhere.
When I was a kid, it was our tradition to travel to the Food Fair and load up on groceries for the week. I recall picking up a pack of Big-League Chew and started trying to convince my parents to buy it for me. When they declined, I made my way outside to go pout in the car. When I arrived in the car, I noticed that I forgot one important thing; to put down the pack of chewing gum. Just like that, I had become an accidental thief. I imagined how I would survive in prison and if the prison TV picked up Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings. We were taught to be honest, and those lessons ran deep so with my fear escaping my eyes and running down my cheeks. I admitted my mistake to my parents and returned the item to the store. I was scared but I felt proud that I did the right thing.
Honesty is a virtue that is quickly disappearing in our world. However, it is one that I’m proud to say that I practice every day. As long as we don’t count grapes that is.