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I was doing my weekly grocery shop last week, wandering and browsing around the fruit and vegetable section. It wasn’t very busy, just a few other fellow shoppers. I happened to notice an elderly gentleman also checking out the fresh produce. We smiled at each other and continued on our way. When I glanced in his direction a short time later, I noticed he slipped a couple of apples into his bag. I couldn’t believe what I’ld seen so I kept my eye on him and caught him slipping a few other things into his bag. He wasn’t taking huge amounts of any one item, just a couple of each. My dilemma……report him or not? Is he a poor old pensioner struggling to get by and unable to buy fresh produce regularly? Or is he just a low down thief?


Posted by mom81879, 1st November 2015


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  • That would definitely be a hard dilemma to be in!! Times are getting tough, that is for sure. Hopefully he did steal for the right reasons, and not just out of habit or something. Might be a good idea to suggest to the place you were in to supply pamphlets that let people know of the help there is out there to help people financially or with food…

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  • I’m not sure that I would assume he’s stealing. Sometimes people place things in their bags rather than trying to juggle lots of items, and then take them out to pay for them when they’re at the checkout. You could only be sure it’s stealing if you watched him leave the store without paying for the items.

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  • Stealing is always stealing. However he may need some assistance and it would be good for someone to point him in the direction of a local food bank or community centre that gives away groceries for free to pensioners – or at a very cheap rate.

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  • People steal for a variety of reasons and this man needs help with this behaviour. Being caught might just be what is needed to stop and address this illegal behaviour.

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  • I tend to think it’s stealing. There are ways to ask for help.

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  • A third option would be to tell the guy you have noticed his behaviour and if indeed you have seen him then it is only a matter of time till the supermarket catches him in the act and that would end in a criminal conviction. Hopefully being seen and spoken to may well cause a cease to his stealing.

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  • Stealing is stealing and should be reported in my opnion

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  • I’d have the same dilemma as I too would have the feeling that he was a struggling pensioner and feel terrible if I were to report him. But alas stealing is stealing and if I were to do anything I would most likely mention it to the check out attendant on my way out.

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  • Like they say, if we see something we should say something. Regardless of what his economic situation is, stealing is not acceptable.=

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  • Now I think back on it, I should have reported him. I just felt do sorry for him thinking he didn’t have enough money to eat :,(


    • You’re only human, and the fact that you were able to think with compassion makes you a kind person. It’s not always possible in those situations to think critically when our emotions are involved. I’m sure the universe will sort this problem out with this elderly man eventually.

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  • Regardless of his situation, it is stealing. There are organisations that provide free food for people in need of food. Stealing is a criminal activity and not ok.

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  • I don’t think its ok at all – but whether I would report or no is a different issue… I have a feeling I would do something about it so as not to be complicit in the illegal action.

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