Volume 92, Issue 71

Wednesday, February 3, 1999


Race relations still have a ways to go

Helping yourself can be a bad thing

Helping yourself can be a bad thing

I, like many students on this campus, spend some of my time each week at a part-time job. Mine happens to be behind the counter of a well-known Canadian retailer where, this weekend, an event occurred which I feel needs to be addressed.

Three customers came into the store and asked to see some merchandise in the display cabinet. I cheerfully fulfilled their request and answered a few questions and they then parted to shop elsewhere. Or so I thought.

They later returned and while I helped one of them with an item at the other end of the store, the other two helped themselves to a product in the display cabinet. They had calmly observed where the keys were kept, gone away to plan their caper and executed it flawlessly.

Now, I'm sure no one out there will speak up to condone these actions – everyone agrees that stealing a product worth $1,000 is naughty. Furthermore, my own position at the store is not in jeopardy, nor will this theft affect my paycheque. I suppose what really bothers me about this whole deal is the brazen shamelessness of these people.

I'll admit that I'm no shining example of Sesame Street virtue. I remember to this day the rush of anxiety I felt as I escaped the variety store clutching my first illicit Rain-Blo packet, but therein lies the difference. I felt guilt, remorse and shame – and the gum seemed to lose its flavour more quickly to spite me.

Here at Western, the topic of surveillance constantly surfaces for discussion. My store has no security cameras, even though it deals in high-priced electronic merchandise. Readers will likely claim the store was asking for it by not protecting its interests, but in the next sentence those same readers will reject any suggestion that the Concrete Beach web cam is harmless.

What I now feel compelled to mention is the constant theft of personal belongings from lockers and classrooms across this campus. I suppose I must have met one of the criminals who has engaged in such activities, as they must simply be members of the Western community.

As I don't know who to address this to personally, I speak to all such people. You disgust me. And to those low-lifes who stole from the store I work at Sunday – I hope your mom finds out.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999