To the Editor,
I recently witnessed a shoplifting that left me angry, frustrated and bewildered as to what I can do about it.
Pulling into the nearly empty parking lot of a Nanaimo grocery store, I noticed a car in a handicapped spot and the driver sitting, obviously waiting for someone.
A woman came out of the store, grabbed two large plants and loaded them into the open trunk of the car. It was when she put not only the two plants she had grabbed previously into the car, but several others that I realized there was no way she could have paid for all those plants without taking them into the store to have them scanned – they were different plants, different prices.
Having filled the trunk, she closed it, then proceeded to grab several smaller plants. I got out of my car, made a mental note of the licence plate number, and walked toward the store entrance. The thief, realizing she was being watched, hopped in the car, arms full, and they sped off.
Inside the store, the staff was oblivious to what had just taken place outside. The floor manager was courteous, and thanked me for the licence number, but when asked if they had cameras outdoors, said he didn’t think so.
I was annoyed with the whole episode, on three levels.
First, I was shocked at the blatant gall of the thief and her accomplice, who obviously had jointly planned the heist.
Second, if a store is going to have merchandise for sale outside, why wouldn’t it have cameras or security watching it? Does the staff just trust everyone is honest enough to bring the item into the store to purchase it?
Or is it that the store management doesn’t care? The honest people will pay, and the price is marked up high enough that it will make up for those who choose to steal.
And, I was annoyed with myself. Why didn’t I have the presence of mind to grab my cellphone and tape the heist? I just wasn’t mentally prepared for what I had observed. And why do I care, when it appears the store doesn’t?
So the next time I complain about the price of groceries, I’ll remind myself someone has to pay for what others choose to take for free.