May 4, 2018 Friday
We were queuing up at the payment counter of a clothing and home accessories store when two African-American women, approximately between 30-40 of age entered the store, walked up straight to the front racks where designer bags were hung then grabbed almost a dozen bags and casually walked out of the store undeterred. The store’s security man was inches away from them and he knew the two women were stealing but he didn’t stop them. He just let them walk away, free. When the thieves were already outside the store’s glass door, the security guy just said “don’t come back!”. I was aghast. I was so appalled at what I have witnessed. I left the line and walked over to the guy. I asked him why he didn’t do anything to stop those thieves. He said he couldn’t because he would lose his job. I was dumbfounded. I said “if you don’t stop them, they would come back and do it again”. He said they are not allowed to accost the thieves. I said “can you not call the police?”
He said “not in that quantity”. I was really disgusted and angry that this things are allowed to happen. In America? Is it because this is land of the free? Then I can just grab stuff from their store, leave and not pay. And why the heck am I falling in line and paying for a cute blouse? Because…. I am not a thief.
I was not satisfied with the store employee’s reasoning. He was not a security guard. His uniform says LOSS PREVENTION. He could not prevent losses. He allowed the thieves to get away. Maybe that’s the store’s policy. But that’s bullshit. People steal your merchandise right before your eyes and you are not allowed to stop them? If you call the police they would say oh it’s too cheap? Is it because they are not Hermes or Chanel. I doubt very much if one could walk into a Louis Vuitton store and cart away a dozen bags.
What do they have to steal before the police would bother to act, one whole truck of bags? Maybe the policemen are too busy solving big crimes they no longer bother to act on petty crimes. But this is no longer petty if this is happening all the time. I once witnessed an African American guy entered Lowe’s store then grabbed some tools and ran away. See, it’s now prevalent here in America because they tolerate it. Free shopping. Free stealing.
Then more and more people would do the same thing.
I now feel unsafe shopping here. That means, anyone can grab my bag while I am at this store and the store employees will not do anything to help me. Not content, I asked the cashier, how many times does this happen here? Once a week? OMG!! Everyday! The same people do it. But of course. They are emboldened by the fact that no one is allowed to touch or stop them. This thieves must be stopped. By letting them do as they please we encourage more people to do the same thing— to steal openly and not only from this store but from other stores as well.
My sister and Bong recently had a two weeks vacation in Manila. They met up with Bong’s Lex Talionis brod mate who invited them to have dinner at SMDC’s condominium and mall, Jazz Residences along Nicanor Garcia formerly Reposo Street in Makati City. They witnessed little boys and girls grabbing candies from the grocery and running away. The helpless security guard gave chase but the thieves were so little and ran much faster. And the guard was alone versus 5 tiny thieves. He caught one and recovered the loot. But what does one do? Bring the 5 year old boy to jail? Scold the parents? I think they should arrest the parents. It is sad to think that those kids will grow up to be thieves and graduate to bigger crimes.
When I was little my five centavos could buy one dozen of multi-colored sugar candies from sari-sari stores. Most of the time the tindera let me get from the garapon (glass jar). “Kumuha ka na”. I could get more than 12 if I wanted to because no one was looking. Would that be stealing or making umit? But there was no necessity to steal. If I wanted to have more than 12 candies all I had to say was “penge po ng dagdag” and the tindera would gladly give me a few more candies. I’ve witnessed poor kids showing up at the store asking “pwede po bang pahingi ng kendi?” The store owner would dip her fingers into the jar and grab a few candies. Maybe doing business in those days were much easier and cheaper. No need for a sari-sari store owner to pay for VAT on her rent. No need for her to hire an accountant to do her books. No need for her to fully secure her store with steal windows and gates and hire a guard to keep an eye on her candies. No need to invest on CCTV cameras to deter thieves.