If you see someone shoplifting...

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If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Jainarayan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:45 pm

For ourselves it violates #2 of the Five Precepts: "I will not take that which is not given".

The dilemma: you don't know the person's motives for shoplifting, e.g. is it pathological, a compulsion; or desperation; or selfishness, the person wants it but just doesn't want to pay for it; the person feels entitled? You just don't know.

Do we have the right to make a judgment call and turn the person in, or do we err on the side of compassion not knowing the person's motive, and let it be on the person's karma? Are we complicit in the theft for turning a blind eye?

I did not see it, I was told by someone who did witness it, but did not "rat the person out". I said I really don't know what the answer is, and I'm of two minds about it. It's wrong to steal, but who knows what drove the person to do it?
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby LastLegend » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:26 pm

I would not report the person and pretend I did not see anything.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby etinin » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:58 pm

Most companies do more harm than good to this world and they will probably not miss the stolen product. Reporting the person may cause great suffering. If you think of it, their action will do very limited or no harm at all. In my humble opinion, the real problem of doing this kind of thing is that the kind of feeling which leads one to stealing may induce far more serious crimes which can very harmful to people.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:37 pm

Jainarayan wrote:For ourselves it violates #2 of the Five Precepts: "I will not take that which is not given".

The dilemma: you don't know the person's motives for shoplifting, e.g. is it pathological, a compulsion; or desperation; or selfishness, the person wants it but just doesn't want to pay for it; the person feels entitled? You just don't know.

Do we have the right to make a judgment call and turn the person in, or do we err on the side of compassion not knowing the person's motive, and let it be on the person's karma? Are we complicit in the theft for turning a blind eye?

I did not see it, I was told by someone who did witness it, but did not "rat the person out". I said I really don't know what the answer is, and I'm of two minds about it. It's wrong to steal, but who knows what drove the person to do it?


To my mind the right thing to do would be to asked the Shoplifter why they were doing it? If it appeared that it was out of real need, one could offer to help them so they didn't have to steal the item. If it was not of need, one could ask them to return it or threaten to inform the store.
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Namgyal » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:52 pm

Jainarayan wrote:...you don't know the person's motives for shoplifting, e.g. is it pathological, a compulsion; or desperation; or selfishness, the person wants it but just doesn't want to pay for it; the person feels entitled? You just don't know.

You don't know the full extent of the situation at all, so you just don't get involved. You should be concerned with your own affairs, the affairs of others are not your concern (unless of course you are called Clark Kent). If you report him to staff you might find out that he is carrying a firearm, or perhaps you'll meet him again someday on a dark night. In this world it is easy enough to become entangled in others peoples troubles without volunteering for it.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby dude » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:21 pm

Anything you do is a cause, including doing nothing. The intent behind the cause is also crucial.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Jainarayan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:14 pm

Knotty Veneer wrote:To my mind the right thing to do would be to asked the Shoplifter why they were doing it? If it appeared that it was out of real need, one could offer to help them so they didn't have to steal the item. If it was not of need, one could ask them to return it or threaten to inform the store.


In thinking about it, the most I might do is give a subtle glance of (non-judgmental) discouragement, or if close enough to the person whisper an offer to help if they really needed the item.
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Jainarayan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:20 pm

Namgyal wrote:You don't know the full extent of the situation at all, so you just don't get involved.


That's why I leaned towards not doing anything... I can't know what is motivating the person. I never encountered this type of thing before, or rather, I never gave it any thought if I should encounter it.

You should be concerned with your own affairs, the affairs of others are not your concern (unless of course you are called Clark Kent). If you report him to staff you might find out that he is carrying a firearm, or perhaps you'll meet him again someday on a dark night. In this world it is easy enough to become entangled in others peoples troubles without volunteering for it.
:namaste:


True. A cop once said that if he was off duty and he saw a crime taking place he wouldn't do anything more than any civilian even if it meant looking the other way. Another cop said they are never off duty, and would take official action. Fortunately I'll never find myself in that position (I'm not a cop).
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby lobster » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:29 pm

If going to do anything I would perhaps ask the shoplifter for directions to the nearest police station or perhaps point out some innocent and say, 'did you see that I think they were shoplifting'. However such behaviour needs considerable acting acumen. On the whole we mind our business, we are not virtue and ethics police . . . :smile:
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Clarence » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:52 pm

I would report it. They are stealing. What about the shopkeeper? Do you know how much money they lose from people stealing their stuff? What if someone stole from you? I would also report it (unless they were hungry or very poor). Since I live in Europe we don't have as much poverty as in some other places so take that into account when reading my answer.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:42 pm

Not sure, but if you do think you need to intervene, maybe it's best to do so personally, rather than institutionally. I like Lobsters suggestions. There's of course a risk involved there, but really if it important enough to intervene on, it's important enough to take the risk in some cases. Intervening by reporting it has a fairly predictable, and bad outcome. Then again, personal intervention with the wrong person could end up with broken nose etc.

Tough call to make, important to choose our battles wisely I guess.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby greentara » Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:58 pm

I wouldn't report the person; unemployment or under employment is rife in the west. Furthermore you may bring about great suffering if you do.

It's best to act spontaniously, if you talk too much about it you've lost the natural flow. My instinct says leave well alone.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:42 am

This whole thread is just more proof that Buddhism in the developed world is mostly another romping ground for white well to do folks. This is the best quote to explain alot of the nonsense replies above me:
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky wrote:Always and in all times there have been such men, absolutely pleased with their situation in society and therefore absolutely satisfied with the condition of that society.
The Final Circle of Paradise.


But here is the real social reality for most in the USA who don't benefit and are not pleased with the conditions and I assure you NJ is one of the most expensive states in the whole USA:
41% of jobs in the USA pay $20,000 a year or less, and only 24.6% of jobs are good jobs that pay a living wage.

I wonder how many of the rat finks in this thread care about the massive organized theft of resources called capitalism developed and perfected after centuries of Western imperialism, which due to court systems and a state monopoly of violence has de jure legalized theft and dispossession. For example I doubt any Lenape Indian pre-dating European colonization in what is now occupied New Jersey could conceive that there would be a surplus of dwellings and also a surplus of homeless! All just because the homeless lacked this fancy pictorial representation known as money and some other Indian possessed too much worthless paper or coin!
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:12 am

And your response is a good example of how some in your generation get their jollies by talking loads of smack on the internet, in way that you never would in real life due to the immediate consequences of a likely ass whoopin' from some random angry person. You are one to talk about white or middle class privilege with all your myopic wannabe Anarchist lifestyle politics and existential ennui-nonsense.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:23 am

I guess facts hurt the most. There is a good saying about this:
Henry Ibsen wrote:If you take the life lie from an average man, you take away his happiness as well.


And btw lifestyle politics is only something I have seen used in ever in the anarchist milieu and only by those who want to make excuses for not doing something now, not changing who they are because they want to stay the same and pretend that their theoretical positions "after the revolution" matter. It is the worst solipsism and even on the face of it even your expressed views lack this mythical sense of revolution, so I don't know why you use that term.

Ps:
Who is actually listing their actual town and posting with their real face? I really doubt I have much to worry from older Buddhists, anyway.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:50 am

It does no good to justify stealing. Blame is also a type of theft, but it's mental theft.

Thank you for bringing up this topic.
I had never thought of this situation before,
except when I worked for many years behind the counter of a small shop.
But now I know what I will do.
If I see a person shoplifting, I will whisper to them,
"I just want to let you know...I'm pretty sure somebody saw you take that."
What that person does after that is their business.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby greentara » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:57 am

johnny, I''m getting off the subject here but there are also other forms of anarchy that attempt to avoid the use of violence, force and authority, while still producing a productive and desirable society.
There's a local radio station here that I sometimes listen to its called 'The Anarchist hour' it's not radical at all, just exposing the lack of transparency and zooms in on the 'big end of town'
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:03 am

This is all like saying:
You know why the oceans, rivers, lakes and streams are so polluted? Too much fish poop, which btw is not waste which is something only humans produce. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with human activity that obstructs or perverts natural processes and stasis with copious amounts of waste and engineering.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:12 am

Thrasymachus wrote:This is all like saying


What you are saying is that what determines whether an action is justified
is how angry you are.
The more angry you are about a situation,
the more justified your actions are, whatever they are.
So, it's okay to steal from someone
if what they do really pisses you off.

:toilet:
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: If you see someone shoplifting...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:17 am

Thrasymachus wrote:
I wonder how many of the rat finks in this thread care about ...
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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