It’s one of those stories that just openly laughs in the face of common sense. A manger for popular supermarket chain Kroger’s accosted a known shoplifter in the parking lot. The shoplifter produced a knife. In a heroic act that demonstrated instinctual fast thinking, the manager knocked the knife out of the shoplifter’s hand and pushed him to the ground. It turns out that the suspect had a mile long rap sheet and does this on a fairly regular basis.
Kroger didn’t waste any time in recognizing the actions of their manager. They fired him straightaway. They cited that his actions were not in accordance with their loss prevention principles.
For those of you that don’t know anything about this industry, what it comes down to is that big chain companies like Kroger’s long ago became more concerned with the possibility of a lawsuit over actually attempting to catch shoplifters. Basically, they feel the potential liability of being sued by a shoplifter is greater than the items they are stealing. This is the product, of course, of an overly litigious society. You’ve all heard the insane stories of people doing really, really stupid things that are totally their fault, suing the company, and actually winning millions for their stupidity. It’s perfectly reasonable in our society to believe that a shoplifter might turn around and sue the company they were stealing from and win.
This could all be avoided, of course, by the simple application of common sense. Why not have a law that simply says that if you are committing a crime and the victim is attempting to subdue or stop you from committing that crime, they should not be liable for anything reasonable that happens. Instead, we don’t have any laws that protect the good guys and the bad guys prevail. Making it even worse, they actually fire a guy for trying to look out for his company. What kind of perverted message does that send to the company’s other employees and to shoplifters everywhere?
Think about it. Why does this logic not extend further? Why should an employee report another employee stealing? What if they’re wrong? What if they falsely accuse the person? Doesn’t that open up liability for a lawsuit? Maybe Kroger employees should simply take their own company’s advice and look the other way on everything. That is the message that is being sent. We don’t care about anything but getting sued, and in America, you can get sued for damn near anything, so that means Kroger doesn’t care about anything.
Sure this is just one company and one store within that company, but think about the message on a higher level. America is now the land of the “free” for real; take anything you want. What have shoplifters learned about Kroger’s how many hundreds of stores? They have publicly been told that it is open season. Take what you want. We won’t try to stop you. As a matter of fact, we will terminate our employees if they even think about trying to stop you. We welcome crime, we welcome your inclination to steal as you wish, and we don’t mind passing along all of those costs in the form of higher prices to our customers instead of trying to get the bad guys.
For the record, it’s probably not a good idea for a civilian to take on a potentially violent shoplifter that is armed with a weapon. We totally recognize that. It’s not a good practice, but in a case like this, does it make any kind of sense for the manager to lose his job over it? Meanwhile the felon is probably already out of jail. Hell, he’s probably casing out that same Kroger right now, because he damn well knows no one in there is going to lift a finger. They are all still recoiling from watching their manager get canned for trying to take a bite out of crime.