Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Feeling Entitled in a Big Box

A few days ago, I ended up in a conversation with a young man about theft. I was giving a few illustrations of store thefts that I knew of. Then, in a way that could have knocked me over with a feather, he told me that he stole from a Big Box store.

I said, "What?"
"Oh yeah, I stole a computer one time and a bike another time from [Big Box]."
"You've got to be kidding me."
"No, it's [Big Box] so what does it matter?"
"What do you mean? It's not yours."
"But they have such a large loss margin per store per year. It's like $100,000.00 per store." "Then that doesn't give you entitlement to thinking that a portion of that $100,000.00 loss margin is your responsibility to take."
"But, it's [Big Box]."
"I don't care."
"They are in every country in the world."
"So is McDonald's."
"But, they aren't a good company and the family that owns [Big Box] is mean and rude and needs no more money anyhow."
"So, you'll just thieve anywhere?"
"Oh, no. Just at the big box stores. I wouldn't do it at a Mom and Pop or a locally owned chain. That's just bad."
"So, if you had kids-- which I don't know if you do-- what would you teach them about stealing? Would you teach them that it is okay as long as they do it at a larger, corporately owned store?"
"I'd let them make that decision for themselves."
"You do know that this will bite you in the butt someday."
"Hasn't yet. Nope. It isn't."
(I ended my conversation with him and literally walked away. It was wasted breath. I was doing nothing other than making myself upset and clearly not understanding his point of view.)

This is the same guy who told me that I needed to stop being optimistic and start living a happy life. "I am living a happy life." The day previous, we were discussing Pink Floyd and my co-worker announced that you have to be stru*ng out on dru*gs to get Pink Floyd. I told her that I've enjoyed them just fine having not partaken. "You've got to be kidding me." Um, no. In response, another co-worker announced that I needed to start to live a life. To which I announced, "I am living a life. A happy one."

So, let's get this straight. I don't drink, smoke, take dr*ugs or party. (Yes, I did drink and go to a few parties for a very short time in college.) I am optimistic and somehow managed to go to a liberal arts college, major in art and came out clean. I was married at 23. I bought a house with hubs at 25. I've been at the same job for 7 1/2 years. I have a 5 year old daughter who seems to be thriving just fine. Huh. Yes, I can see where I'm not living a life at all. Each person makes their own choices. As my choices might not be the choices for the masses, they are the choices that we are happy with. Sure, I don't drink or smoke, but that doesn't mean that I don't love people who do. For several reasons, I don't choose to do that myself.

I'm sorry to vent. This conversation just really bugged me. Hubs and I are working hard on raising K- to be a responsible, honest little person. I wonder if upbringing had anything to do with his decisions to thieve from [Big Box] or was it just some weird independent entitlement streak that struck him. Whatever it is, I've decided that I'll pray about it. Perhaps if the conversation comes up again, I can be a bit more constructive with my speech.

What would you have said?


ChupieandJ'smama said...

We have family members who work for a big 3 auto maker that don't think that sleeping on the job is stealing. They feel entitled. When they start spinning their tales of sleep I have to walk away. Theft is theft. Whether it's stuff, time, or feelings. It's all the same. Doesn't matter if the people have money or if they are poor. Doesn't matter if they are mean or nice. You don't take what doesn't belong to you. Period. Someone is paying for it. And that someone would be you and me. Prices go up. Taxes go up. Stores close. Automakers need bailouts. All so people can be lazy and take what they don't deserve.
Sorry to rant. I have a passion about this issue ;)

Jamie said...

I witnessed a shoplifting incident at Old Navy. What's bad is that the cashier and manager knew about it, yet did nothing. When I asked why they did not call the police, the cashier shook her head and said "We will all be paying a dollar more for everything next year".

I was so disgusted that I wrote to ON and complained. It wasn't like it was a robbery or hostage situation where it was difficult or impossible to call police. They just didn't.

I am still appalled at what happened. (I blogged about this when it happened, over the summer.)

Like you, I don't understand how people can feel entitled. Same for the low life crowd collecting government benefits.

Kirby3131 said...

Amazing isn't it? Good for you for trying to explain it to the person. I would have a very hard time looking them in the eyes again knowing that they stole just because they didn't care for the company.

we all pay.