A Sad Statement

My bride and I attended a birthday party for Anna Grayce Knight, our granddaughter, at a public park in Cherokee County. It was a beautiful park with magnificent play equipment for children of all ages.

So, what really caught my attention?

Vandalism protection

Vandalism protection

In Georgia, similar fences are placed around vending machines at the Interstate rest areas. I would venture to guess that such safeguards are becoming the ‘in’ thing.

What a shame!

As a small child, I can remember folks not bothering to lock the doors of their homes when they went away for several days. Merchants often had soda machines in front of their stores; patrons would pay either before or after taking a bottle out of the cooler, but they always paid.

I stopped at a small store in Hot Coffee, Mississippi one time and was told that the original owner would leave the store open and unattended when he went home for lunch. People would leave notes describing the items they took in his absence.

It’s a shame that shopkeepers can no longer trust customers as they once did… and the honest folks pay the price.

Prices for merchandise of all sorts are higher to cover the costs of the items stolen by shoplifters. When vending machine operators have to enclose their machines in chain link fencing – with special openings that cost more to make – we all pay a bit more for that beverage.

I learned a long time ago that there are many people who are just plain thieves; they have no qualms about taking things that don’t belong to them. Then there are others who do have qualms, but take things anyway… finding a way to justify it.

I recall a time I bought a new color television. I paid a few hundred dollars for it. Shortly thereafter a friend told me he could have gotten me a much better one for less than a hundred dollars. I asked my friend if it ever occurred to him that the cheaper TV was most likely stolen. His philosophy was ‘I didn’t steal it’ so it was okay. Somebody else would buy it if he didn’t.

In my mind, that is also stealing. I believe the law agrees with me on that point. If people didn’t buy stolen items, thieves would only steal for their own personal use. That would change a major problem into a much smaller problem.

But, once again, the persons buying ‘hot’ items justify their actions by insisting the merchants charge too much and don’t deserve to make big profits. They refuse to see the connection between stolen merchandise and higher prices.

There’s a farmer in the area who sets up a produce stand during harvest time. He leaves a box for people to pay for the vegetables they take. It’s nice to know there are still people who trust in the human nature of the honest folks.

But I won’t tell you where this guy’s stand is. I don’t want to ruin it for him.

We have to wonder what sort of fencing he’d have to put around his produce stand to keep the customers honest.


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