They look so good and tasty…
And they’re just sitting out there, in the open, for anyone to take.
The cookies and doughnuts at the bakery… at the supermarket… are what I’m talking about, of course.
The pastries at the supermarket are put into unlocked shelves in the front of the bakery section and people are trusted to not steal them and eat them as they shop.
But when I was in the supermarket the other day, I saw a woman who took it upon herself to just grab a few of those cookies and scarf them down, at no cost to herself.
Yes, that’s my politically correct way of saying she didn’t pay for them.
Now, obviously, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen something of this sort in the supermarket, whether pastries in the bakery, or a piece of fruit, or even a bag of chips. But this instance got my mind moving again on the topic. Not necessarily the “stealing” of the cookies in and of itself but, rather, the whole taking without paying thing.
As a society — globally, not just as a nation — we all enter into a social contract with one another (thank you, John Locke). Basically, what this means is, all of us, as people living in the same community and world, agree to abide by certain rules and standards and accept responsibility in many situations to protect other people from things on the negative side of the spectrum.
Clearly, that woman — and the others I’ve seen doing the same in supermarkets — didn’t get the memo.
People break that contract all the time, and on bigger scales, certainly. People steal from electronics stores, clothing stores, rob other people’s homes… and just the other day, a popular jewelry store in Hewlett was robbed, with its staff still inside and working.
And let’s not forget the even bigger fractures of the social contract: people harass, rape, assault, and murder other people. Not to mention terrorists who commit the mass murders of huge numbers of their fellow human beings.
The fact that goods and products are left out and not locked, like pastries on shelves, clothes on racks, and electronics stacked in the middle of stores, isn’t an invitation to take them. It’s simply the store trying to trust people.
The social contract and its rules are there for the protection of society as a whole, but for the individual’s protection as well, even the people who decide to break them. They seem not to realize that, however, and they are simply looking out for themselves, not thinking about the ramifications of their actions, large or small. The world would be a lot better if people realized the social contract exists for their benefit and protection, too, and stop breaking it.
Otherwise, who knows… they could be next.
“Action is the foundational key to al success.” – Tony Robbins
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