Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A Good Deed?

Image on Pixabay

Each week when I go to the store, I shake my head and wonder, "How in the world do some people afford to eat these days?" I am flabbergasted at the food prices, and I know how lucky I am because we are a two-income household. I am so grateful for what I have.

I know stores across the country are closing due to the high shrinkage levels. Even Walmart! I have a background in retail management and know many theft prevention practices, yet catching shoplifters is a tricky situation, and employees have to be careful when they believe someone is stealing from them.

While I was at the store on Saturday, I saw a man at the end of the aisle who looked a little suspicious. My retail instinct went into action. As I watched him, I realized that he was placing items in the waistband of his pants and under a bulky jacket. It looked like packages of meat. He dropped a banana, and I saw him stuff it into a pocket.

I immediately found an employee and described the man to her. As he came around a corner, he saw her and turned around and went in the other direction. I went about my business and checked out. As I was putting my groceries in my car, the employee came out, and I asked her about what happened. 

"He saw me watching him, and he dumped the items in the frozen food section. Thanks a lot for letting us know."

I know times are tough, and it is hard for many families to put food on the table. But that doesn't mean stealing is the answer. I live in a small community, and we have so many resources available to help people with food emergencies. 

I left there thinking I had done my good deed for the day. If that is so, then why does a part of me feel so bad now about reporting him?

 After participating in the Slice of Life March Challenge by Two Writing Teachers, I am continuing to write my stories with other teacher-writers as we share a slice of life on Tuesdays.


  1. Oh, Leigh Anne, how heartbreaking. I figured questioning thoughts would be tapping on your mind. What an ending: "If that is so, then why does a part of me feel so bad now about reporting him?"

  2. Leigh Anne, I suspect you feel badly because a part of you wonders if the man had a family to feed, but as you said, there are safety nets available. Ken and I have the same conversation about food prices. I think climate change is going to have a greater impact on food prices and availability into the future. BTW, I gave a speech on shoplifting back in high school and have a good story about shoplifting I need to write a slice about.

  3. This was a tough call to make, but you made the correct choice. We all end up paying for stolen items through higher prices. Help is available for all who need it and there is no shame in asking for it when necessary.

  4. Oh Leigh Anne, this really is tough. And yet... stealing isn't the answer. Last week some students decided to light some Axe Body Spray with a lighter (nothing good ever comes of Axe Body Spray). A passing teacher saw the subsequent explosion and immediately ran to pull the fire alarm. Later, she talked about how, even as she pulled the alarm she wondered "am I doing the right thing?" I mean... fire, explosion... yes, we should pull the alarm. In your case, the man was not arrested or harmed - yes, you did the right thing because stealing harms people, too.

  5. I absolutely sympathize with your mixed emotions. There is something about being in a place of plenty when one has nothing that brings out the worst. I also know that, down the line, you are helping other customers who are also struggling but won't turn to stealing. This world is a tough place, isn't it, and these are the types of discussions to have with our students. (I also appreciate your comment about resources in the community. Connecting people with "helpers," that's one important step.