Letter at length, May 12

Not worth the thievery at store

Recently, shopping for bulk foods at Shop'n Kart, I noticed a homeless-looking guy reach his hand into raisins and eat a handful. Glad I wasn't buying raisins, I kept to myself while the thief walked around me, grabbed a handful of almonds, ate them, filled a bag with nuts and placed those in his backpack. Then, he walked away.

I'm honest; my groceries aren't free. I hoped to see the thief again to lecture him about stealing. When stores lose items to theft, who pays? Honest customers pay because owners raise prices to counteract thef's profit-loss. I used to work grocery.

The thief returned, reached into another bin and dined more. I told him I was going to inform a store employee of his thievery. As he walked toward the exit, I stayed on his heels, looking for any employee to complain. Finding an employee at the registers, I explained what I had seen. My voice was raised now, but I wasn't yelling while customers looked our way. The employee merely laughed, and the thief looked at me and said: "See? Nobody cares." He then left.

I later asked the employee why nothing was done. His response? "Because you were yelling." It then occurred to me that the homeless freely dine at Shop'n Kart because they know they can. Despite one loud (but honest and regular) customer, getting rid of a thief is too much stress for Shop'n Kart employees. Apparently, the homeless know this and will continue to dine there (with hands that have been where?), but no longer at my expense. There are other Ashland grocery options. I might pay more since other markets hire people to monitor this garish, and Shop'n Kart-ignored practice, but higher prices are worth that security. My family/friends agree. Theft versus regular paying customers: Which loss is greater?

Eric Heesacker


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