Recently, I had some things stolen, and while everything has been (reasonably) resolved, I’m still left with this awkward feeling in my gut.
I may an oddity of sorts, but I do not understand the compulsion that some people have to take things from others. It’s not that I have an “It’s mine – get your own!” mentality; I simply do not understand that mindset. I’m no stranger to theft; as a child, my younger brother, Doofus, conducted routine forays into my room and closet for what he felt should have been his. A minor itemized list: Cassette tapes (of music that I’d recorded), clothes, money, and a three-quarter length wool overcoat that I’d purchased (my pride and joy). He ripped the lining out of it doing who-knows-what, and rather than own up to his irresponsibility, he simply returned the coat without comment, while asking our mother to intercede on his behalf. I’m still mad about that, by the way; it was a $300 coat that I’d gotten to wear less than a half-dozen times, and for some bizarre reason, Mama Furious felt that I should just forgive Doofus, including absolving any financial demands I might have towards repairing the coat.
There’s also the French Bread Pizza incident (oh, please don’t get me started on that one), but you get the point I’m trying to make.
Years later, Mama Furious explained that she took that line (i.e., she always sided with Doofus after I’d busted him in one of his numerous crimes) because I “had so many advantages, and he doesn’t.” I should want to help my brother, and my crazy belief that he should respect my property was mean-spirited on my part.
Wait . . . he steals my stuff and somehow I’m the bad guy. Uh, okay. We’re not talking about some “Les Miserables” level persecution on my part, by the way. He had his, and I had mine. What’s wrong with that? (Before anyone cries ‘Foul,’ know that I love Doofus and we’ve got a fairly decent relationship, but part of that is because we’re on different sides of the country now.)
Needless to say, I have little empathy towards thieves and those who enable them. I was online just casually reading various blogs a few weeks ago, and to my surprise, I came across one where people (based on what I’d read, many of the authors were young women) boast and celebrate their skills as shoplifters. Apparently, this is a “thing” now – to go into a high-end store, steal a thousand dollars worth of stuff, take photos of your “haul,” and brag about the whole thing online. Most of these authors claimed that their actions were “a blow against big business,” because those companies pay horrible wages and treat their employees like shit.
Get it? Let me put it plainly: The rationale is that the shoplifter is hurting the store as revenge for how the store treats it’s employees. They’re modern day Robin Hoods, except they get to keep what they’ve stolen. But the poor are definitely “in our thoughts and prayers.”
Yeah . . . it sounds just as stupid the second time I write it as it did the first time.
There are so many problems with this logic, the least of which is that insurance and loss prevention won’t cover the financial damages the company faces. Rather, the company will simply deny employee raises, cut or eliminate profit sharing, or in very bad cases, terminate their employment. In other words, people get fired because of things like this. I’m not trashing the people who do this, but this belief that they have a justifiable right to take someone else’s property – that it’s all somehow “acceptable,” is just too much.
As I said, I think that I may be weird because I lack the desire to covet what my neighbor possesses. I mean, why should I? If I want what he’s got, I can go get one. If I can’t afford it, I can save for it, and if it’s too expensive, then I probably don’t need it in the first place. I’m materialistic on the one hand, but not so that I want someone else’s stuff. When I was in junior high school, I had my locker robbed; to this day, it hurts me because my parents had to replace the pencils, paper, folders, and what-not – and honestly, the money wasn’t there. It hurt even more that I knew who’d done it (I’m no snitch), and I had to endure his smirk every time we passed each other in the hallways. (I’ve heard he’s upstate doing life for one of his escapades, so you know . . . karma). Even then, I questioned what he got out of his little stunt, seeing how all he managed was a haul of school supplies.
Well, as I’ve said – my situation is pretty much resolved, and I can probably get back to my life. But my quest for understanding continues – why steal?