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Old 12-23-2017, 01:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wal-Mart Suspends a Controversial Shoplifting Punishment

Wal-Mart Suspends a Controversial Shoplifting Punishment
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Old 12-23-2017, 02:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had no idea this thing existed, and yes, it is very "WTF" that a corporation would have any legal right to have any "alternative" to prosecution. That said, I'd love to see the justice system offer reeducation programs like this as alternatives to criminal sentences for first offenders (and I think they do in some places).

Mark my words, it's a matter of time before it's fully legal for big corporations to have their own alternative punishments to the justice system. They've been doing it for a long time, it will just become more legally sanctioned.
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Old 12-23-2017, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think the bigger story is why states and local authorities don't perform more diversions, as it does seem to work and saves everyone some grief. Once you have a police record you are marked, and it's harder to stay on the positive side of the ledger.
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think the bigger story is why states and local authorities don't perform more diversions, as it does seem to work and saves everyone some grief. Once you have a police record you are marked, and it's harder to stay on the positive side of the ledger.
Because there's more money to be made by making people who make mistakes in their lives into criminals. More reported crime means police departments get more dollars, and more criminals equals bigger paydays for our for-profit prison systems.
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Old 12-23-2017, 06:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Or perhaps enough tax payers, politicians, and interest groups are all too happy to throw people under the bus if it means not having to pay for it, and cloud up the issue with the usual "soft on crime" and FUD nonsense because it'll never work so why even try.
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Old 12-23-2017, 07:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Since the programme apparently costs the shoplifter "hundreds of dollars" it's presumably an advantage primarily for people are, or whose families are, reasonably well-off and who shoplift out of greed or for fun and thrill-seeking, rather than for people who shoplift either out of what they see as economic necessity or to fund drug habits. The latter might be thought capable of benefiting, too, from less punitive interventions than fines or imprisonment, despite their economic difficulties.

It seems to me all part of the same thinking, albeit at the very opposite end of the spectrum of criminality, that allows the "affluenza defence" and awards a rapist six months in the county jail because he's already suffered so much losing his place at Stanford and his chance of competing in the Olympics.

That is, more succinctly, one law for the rich and one for the poor.
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Old 12-23-2017, 09:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Since the programme apparently costs the shoplifter "hundreds of dollars" it's presumably an advantage primarily for people are, or whose families are, reasonably well-off and who shoplift out of greed or for fun and thrill-seeking, rather than for people who shoplift either out of what they see as economic necessity or to fund drug habits. The latter might be thought capable of benefiting, too, from less punitive interventions than fines or imprisonment, despite their economic difficulties.

It seems to me all part of the same thinking, albeit at the very opposite end of the spectrum of criminality, that allows the "affluenza defence" and awards a rapist six months in the county jail because he's already suffered so much losing his place at Stanford and his chance of competing in the Olympics.

That is, more succinctly, one law for the rich and one for the poor.
Yes.

One of my first thoughts about this program was that I'd buy into it for my kid, but of course it's not fair! And I fear it will only get worse. If you're rich, you pay a fine and attend some sort of therapy or reeducation. Poor people get prison and their records ruined.

And Brock Turner is trying to appeal his sentence on the grounds that the prosecutor "lied" when he said it was behind a dumpster, when it was actually just near a 3 sided trash. ...because this is a very important piece of information that makes it sound so much better!
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Old 12-24-2017, 09:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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And Brock Turner is trying to appeal his sentence on the grounds that the prosecutor "lied" when he said it was behind a dumpster, when it was actually just near a 3 sided trash. ...because this is a very important piece of information that makes it sound so much better!
What the? Odds are you tell ANYONE something is near a dumpster and it is actually near a 3 sided trash they will not be confused. That is like using a brand name on your shopping list when the generic will do. Talk about clutching at straws!
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I know what a dumpster is, but wtf is a " 3 sided trash"?
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Old 12-25-2017, 11:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I just looked up '3 sided trash' on Google and the vast majority of the articles, and images are about Brock Turner. Is 3 sided trash really a thing?

ETA: course, if I take off the quotes around 3 sided trash, I get millions more hits, few about Turner. But also few are actually about 3 sided trash. We've got 3 compartment trash cans, and . . . well, that's basically it - either a trash can with three slots for different kinds of trash, or three trash cans linked together and lined up for different kinds of trash. None of which look like '3 sided trash' nor are called 3 sided trash.
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Old 12-25-2017, 02:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Admittedly I've read only the account in Wikipedia of the case, but assuming that's not wildly inaccurate, his case is that the encounter took place but it was entirely consensual (that's nothing like what he told the police in interview, but that's what his evidence was at the trial).

So it seems to me that the questions for the jury were all to do with the issue of consent -- was she capable of consenting (she says she wasn't, the evidence of the first responders is that she was unconscious when they found her, and later blood tests are completely consistent with her having been passed out drunk at the time) and, if she was, did she consent?

Neither of those, it seems to me, have anything to do with where exactly the dumpster was, or how many sides it had, so I don't see how the matter is relevant to an appeal.
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Old 12-25-2017, 03:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lexxi Gynoid View Post
I just looked up '3 sided trash' on Google and the vast majority of the articles, and images are about Brock Turner. Is 3 sided trash really a thing?

ETA: course, if I take off the quotes around 3 sided trash, I get millions more hits, few about Turner. But also few are actually about 3 sided trash. We've got 3 compartment trash cans, and . . . well, that's basically it - either a trash can with three slots for different kinds of trash, or three trash cans linked together and lined up for different kinds of trash. None of which look like '3 sided trash' nor are called 3 sided trash.
I'm assuming "3 sided trash" is referring to the three-walled shelter a dumpster usually goes into behind stores and in apartment complexes.
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Old 12-25-2017, 05:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Or a dumpster with three segments [like those garbage cans, which come up when I search 3 sided trash?]
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I can see arguments for both sides of why this kind of 'program' would/would not be a good idea. Lets face it, if someone is caught shoplifting, its reasonable to assume there is both video and physical evidence against them. So in that regard, its not like Wally World is making up false charges in order to turn people into criminals. It doesn't seem like there would be much doubt that if charges were brought against someone caught shoplifting, they would likely result in a guilty conviction.

These days, even being arrested can come back to haunt someone due to public records and/or background searches. So I assume walmart is attempting to be benevolent in some form by offering an option where the police aren't involved (plus I am sure it is far cheaper on their end rather than the costs of pursuing criminal charges). $350 for an online course and $50-75 restitution to wally world for the time spent dealing with the theft, is fairly reasonable, imo. If you have ever had to do any training courses for work, a few hundred bucks for a training course is pretty common, maybe even on the cheap end of the spectrum.

The extortion aspect is a very valid concern, but really it isn't much different than a plea deal or a settlement. Both are legal forms of extortion if you ask me. Having a criminal offense, even a misdemeanor, on your record will likely cost you far more than $425. On top of that, you don't have that looming fear of potentially being prosecuted later on down the road.

The main problem that I see is oversight of the program. Since it is all private institutions, there is pretty much zero transparency. The catch 22 is that not being public record is the primary benefit of the program. Maybe government approval of the training course, limits on how much 'restitution' the corporation can obtain, eliminate cost deductions for paying for the program on the spot, and require corporations to retain records of all people caught and the evidence against them for a certain number of years (maybe 5-ish) would be a decent middle ground for this program.
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Just because something is allowed by law doesn't make that something right.

WalMart has appointed itself judge, jury and executioner. It has taken the law into its own hands. There is nothing anyone can say or do that will make that right in my eyes.
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Lets face it, if someone is caught shoplifting, its reasonable to assume there is both video and physical evidence against them. So in that regard, its not like Wally World is making up false charges in order to turn people into criminals. It doesn't seem like there would be much doubt that if charges were brought against someone caught shoplifting, they would likely result in a guilty conviction.
Case in point, that I was involved in a few years ago. A guy was arrested for shoplifting in the local supermarket. He'd been observed by store detectives putting things into a shopping bag rather than his trolley. He went through the check-out, paid for the items in the trolley but not those in his bag, and was stopped when he left the store.

They called the police, who arrived, arrested the guy and told the store detective and the security manager (who had been involved in stopping the guy on his way out and searching his bag) they'd need to come down to the local police station to make statements.

This they never did. Nevertheless, the Crown Prosecution Service continued with the case, and wrote to the store telling them that both the security guard and the security manager would have to attend on the court date to give evidence if necessary.

Neither showed. For reasons that were never made clear, the local magistrates found him guilty anyway. He appealed against both conviction and sentence, which in England means the case goes to the local Crown Court to be retried from scratch (the downside is that, if the Crown Court sentences someone, the sentence will usually be more severe than if the magistrates deal with it).

Trial date comes up. Crown Prosecution Service explain that, even though they'd contacted the manager of the supermarket, neither prosecution witness has shown. Irate judge adjourns the case for a week.

One week later, Crown Prosecution Service say that the store have told them that the store detective no longer works there, and they haven't been able to contact her. The security manager was supposed to attend but didn't, and phone calls have determined that he'd been sent to another store to cover for their security manager who'd called in sick that day.

Judge goes through the roof and dismisses all charges. He also directs that the store manager and the security manager attend court in a week's time to explain themselves (I wasn't around for that part of the fun).

What would you have had him do? Conclude that "it was reasonable to suppose" that the store wouldn't have called the police if they hadn't, in fact, caught the guy stealing stuff, and convicted and sentenced him?

I am sure they wouldn't have, and probably he had, in fact, stolen the items, but quite simply a court cannot properly convict someone simply on the basis that it's reasonable to suppose that the supermarket wouldn't have bothered calling the police in the first place unless the defendant was guilty.

On the other side of the coin, I would say if someone is in a position of trust and is caught shoplifting, their employer has a right to know about it. I would also say that it's very unfair on both potential future employers and other candidates for the job if someone who has been caught shoplifting but been able to escape the legal consequences through this sort of scheme also applies and doesn't disclose the incident.
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Old 12-26-2017, 02:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Walmart isn't being benevolent with this program. So many people steal from Walmart that if every single case was turned over to the court - they wouldn't have time to hear anything but shoplifting from Walmart cases. They'd need a special court all to themselves.
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Old 12-26-2017, 02:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Mark my words, it's a matter of time before it's fully legal for big corporations to have their own alternative punishments to the justice system. They've been doing it for a long time, it will just become more legally sanctioned.
They already have their own court system for civil disputes.
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:02 PM   #19 (permalink)
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They already have their own court system for civil disputes.
I know. I'm just saying that it will become more "official" that if you wrong a big corporation, you're in their system. Currently the legality is muddy and you often have to sign into it.
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Old 12-26-2017, 07:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Case in point, that I was involved in a few years ago. A guy was arrested for shoplifting in the local supermarket. He'd been observed by store detectives putting things into a shopping bag rather than his trolley. He went through the check-out, paid for the items in the trolley but not those in his bag, and was stopped when he left the store.

They called the police, who arrived, arrested the guy and told the store detective and the security manager (who had been involved in stopping the guy on his way out and searching his bag) they'd need to come down to the local police station to make statements.

This they never did. Nevertheless, the Crown Prosecution Service continued with the case, and wrote to the store telling them that both the security guard and the security manager would have to attend on the court date to give evidence if necessary.

Neither showed. For reasons that were never made clear, the local magistrates found him guilty anyway. He appealed against both conviction and sentence, which in England means the case goes to the local Crown Court to be retried from scratch (the downside is that, if the Crown Court sentences someone, the sentence will usually be more severe than if the magistrates deal with it).

Trial date comes up. Crown Prosecution Service explain that, even though they'd contacted the manager of the supermarket, neither prosecution witness has shown. Irate judge adjourns the case for a week.

One week later, Crown Prosecution Service say that the store have told them that the store detective no longer works there, and they haven't been able to contact her. The security manager was supposed to attend but didn't, and phone calls have determined that he'd been sent to another store to cover for their security manager who'd called in sick that day.

Judge goes through the roof and dismisses all charges. He also directs that the store manager and the security manager attend court in a week's time to explain themselves (I wasn't around for that part of the fun).

What would you have had him do? Conclude that "it was reasonable to suppose" that the store wouldn't have called the police if they hadn't, in fact, caught the guy stealing stuff, and convicted and sentenced him?

I am sure they wouldn't have, and probably he had, in fact, stolen the items, but quite simply a court cannot properly convict someone simply on the basis that it's reasonable to suppose that the supermarket wouldn't have bothered calling the police in the first place unless the defendant was guilty.

On the other side of the coin, I would say if someone is in a position of trust and is caught shoplifting, their employer has a right to know about it. I would also say that it's very unfair on both potential future employers and other candidates for the job if someone who has been caught shoplifting but been able to escape the legal consequences through this sort of scheme also applies and doesn't disclose the incident.
That is an interesting story, but not sure what it has to do with what I said? I completely agree that the courts should have dropped the charges, since the store obviously failed to provide evidence. That should be the scenario for any court case where the prosecution fails to provide evidence. In fact, that is how a lot of people get out of traffic tickets even when they are clearly guilty...they show up to court and if the office who issued the ticket doesn't show, the charges are dropped. I never said that someone would or should be convicted of shoplifting even if the store fails to provide any evidence what so ever. In fact, I literally said that it was reasonable to assume that "there is both video and physical evidence against" the accused shoplifter. And it should have been implied that I meant that the evidence would be given to police and the courts for a successful conviction.
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Old 12-26-2017, 07:35 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Just because something is allowed by law doesn't make that something right.

WalMart has appointed itself judge, jury and executioner. It has taken the law into its own hands. There is nothing anyone can say or do that will make that right in my eyes.
I agree and disagree that walmart has taken the law into its own hands.

Agree because they are acting as if the person is guilty without a legal trial. Though it is more extortion than it is acting as the judge, jury and executioner, since they are threatening the accused with calling the police and pressing criminal charges.

However, I disagree because the accused is not required to do as walmart says. The accused can still take it to court, regardless if they are guilty or not. If they are innocent and can prove it, then it would be worth saying 'fuck off' to walmart's restitution and training course. If they are guilty and think walmart can't prove it, they can also tell walmart to fuck off. They can also take a gamble and assume walmart will never get around to bring charges against them. Or maybe they just wants to save the headache of potentially going to court and instead choose to do the stupid restitution and training course.

I think I would be appalled more if there were a bunch of stories where walmart accused a bunch of innocent people with shoplifting and was trying to extort money out of them with threat of legal action if they don't pay for this program.
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Old 12-26-2017, 08:59 PM   #22 (permalink)
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That is an interesting story, but not sure what it has to do with what I said? I completely agree that the courts should have dropped the charges, since the store obviously failed to provide evidence. That should be the scenario for any court case where the prosecution fails to provide evidence. In fact, that is how a lot of people get out of traffic tickets even when they are clearly guilty...they show up to court and if the office who issued the ticket doesn't show, the charges are dropped. I never said that someone would or should be convicted of shoplifting even if the store fails to provide any evidence what so ever. In fact, I literally said that it was reasonable to assume that "there is both video and physical evidence against" the accused shoplifter. And it should have been implied that I meant that the evidence would be given to police and the courts for a successful conviction.
We agree it would not have been reasonable for the court to assume he was guilty, though. I'm not sure why it's unreasonable for a court to assume something but reasonable for other people to.

You also say that even the fact someone has once been arrested for something, regardless of the outcome of the case, can have very undesirable consequences, so presumably there's a clear incentive, even if the store has made a mistake, to pay a few hundred dollars to make it go away rather than be arrested and deal with undesirable consequences.

I agree it's probably reasonable to assume that, in most cases, there's plenty of evidence and the store hasn't made a mistake, but that doesn't mean that it's reasonable to assume that, in any individual case, the person is guilty just because the store detective says so. To my mind, it's best always to test these things in court.

There's also, as I said earlier, the objection that's generally undesirable that people should be able to buy their way out of trouble in this way. If you employed someone in a position of trust, wouldn't you want to know about it if he or she were caught stealing things from Walmart?
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Old 12-26-2017, 10:58 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I agree and disagree that walmart has taken the law into its own hands.

Agree because they are acting as if the person is guilty without a legal trial. Though it is more extortion than it is acting as the judge, jury and executioner, since they are threatening the accused with calling the police and pressing criminal charges.

However, I disagree because the accused is not required to do as walmart says. The accused can still take it to court, regardless if they are guilty or not. If they are innocent and can prove it, then it would be worth saying 'fuck off' to walmart's restitution and training course. If they are guilty and think walmart can't prove it, they can also tell walmart to fuck off. They can also take a gamble and assume walmart will never get around to bring charges against them. Or maybe they just wants to save the headache of potentially going to court and instead choose to do the stupid restitution and training course.

I think I would be appalled more if there were a bunch of stories where walmart accused a bunch of innocent people with shoplifting and was trying to extort money out of them with threat of legal action if they don't pay for this program.
You do realize you are saying that it isn't ok to take the law into your own hands but it's ok to take the law into your own hands, don't you?

It doesn't work that way. People don't work that way.

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Old 12-27-2017, 05:25 PM   #24 (permalink)
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We agree it would not have been reasonable for the court to assume he was guilty, though. I'm not sure why it's unreasonable for a court to assume something but reasonable for other people to.
I never said it was reasonable for other people to assume guilt (not that it doesn't happen anyway; I can probably quote dozens of examples from SLU alone). I said it was reasonable to assume that the store (walmart, more specifically) would have video and physical evidence to back up their claim that they caught someone shoplifting and that they could use that evidence to get a conviction if they were to take it to court. My point was that I don't think walmart is using this program without valid evidence that would hold up in a court of law. If it was, I am pretty sure the story would (rightly so) focus on a bunch of examples of walmart falsely accusing people of shoplifting and then extorting them into using this program.

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Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
You also say that even the fact someone has once been arrested for something, regardless of the outcome of the case, can have very undesirable consequences, so presumably there's a clear incentive, even if the store has made a mistake, to pay a few hundred dollars to make it go away rather than be arrested and deal with undesirable consequences.
Yes, there is incentive to pay the money even if the store has made a mistake, but I did point out that the article does not provide any examples where the store made a false accusation, let alone a false accusation and the accused payed for the program anyway. In addition, even if the store did make a mistake (and lets assume it was an honest mistake because it did appear that the person stole something), in the absence of this program, that person still will potentially face arrest and all the hassle that goes along with being arrested and charged. I get that this program could, in theory, provide incentive for walmart to be lazy and accuse people of shoplifting without valid evidence, but as I mentioned, there are no examples of this and I doubt it would be good for business in the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
I agree it's probably reasonable to assume that, in most cases, there's plenty of evidence and the store hasn't made a mistake, but that doesn't mean that it's reasonable to assume that, in any individual case, the person is guilty just because the store detective says so. To my mind, it's best always to test these things in court.
Here is where we disagree. I don't think it is always best to take things to court, especially if the item value is fairly trivial, such as the fishing lure. And for what it is worth, the accused still can take it to court if they want, even with this program as an alternative. I am going to make another assumption that there is probably a threshold that walmart has where they offer this program as an alternative to court, and that the threshold is probably limited to first time offenders and fairly low dollar value items.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Innula Zenovka View Post
There's also, as I said earlier, the objection that's generally undesirable that people should be able to buy their way out of trouble in this way. If you employed someone in a position of trust, wouldn't you want to know about it if he or she were caught stealing things from Walmart?
I see your point. But I see this program as mainly a warning, like what traffic cops sometime give out instead of a ticket, or like the traffic safety course you can do through the court for one offense every few years. I touched on this a bit above. I doubt walmart offers this program to compulsive/repeat shoplifting offenders. I'll even stretch it a bit to assume that the main company that offers the program will warn stores if the person has completed the course due to incidents at other stores who use the same program (the article mentioned that a lot of stores use this program). If it was a one-time thing, I am not going to hold it against a person for trying to steal a fishing lure from walmart. I'd be worried about repeat offenders, which I can only hope that walmart calls the cops for those people.
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:31 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by WolfEyes View Post
You do realize you are saying that it isn't ok to take the law into your own hands but it's ok to take the law into your own hands, don't you?

It doesn't work that way. People don't work that way.

I thought about pulling a Luna but I'll leave the lynching to her.
Meh. I don't think it is a black and white issue. I kind of agree with what they are doing and I kind of don't. People do work that way. At least, this person does.
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