The Madison County Journal
August 30, 2000
Shoplifters are absurd
It never ceases to fascinate me the absurd
things people will do.
Shoplifters are among the most absurd.
Recently, I discovered the most absurd act of a shoplifter I
have ever encountered. Someone went into a local supermarket
and stole a video tape of the Life of Jesus! When I showed the
empty package to several people, they responded by saying, "Well,
whoever it was certainly needs to watch it."
Why do people steal? And when they steal, why do they take things
of little value? The average thing stolen by shoplifters is worth
five dollars or less. They steal ball-point pens, various kinds
of over-the-counter medications, small toys and similar items.
They take these items out of the packaging in which they are
displayed, and slip them into pockets, wallets or under their
No less absurd are the merchandise litterers. People pick up
items from the shelves, carry them around the store, change their
minds and toss them on the nearest shelf. In most cases, the
only loss is the time to store employees who have to find these
items and return them to the proper display.
Others pick up items from the freezer or meat counters and leave
them lying about. when this happens, the product is lost. When
a pack of bologna is found on a shelf, it cannot be returned
to the cooler. No one knows how long it was unrefrigerated. To
return it would put any buyer at risk.
Guess who pays for these losses? It is not the store. In order
to remain in business, a store must charge enough to cover all
expenses and generate a small profit. Every retail store has
an accounting item called "shrinkage," to cover all
forms of loss of merchandise. Shrinkage covers damaged goods,
items that go out of date, and losses to shoplifters. The price
of every item in the store is increased enough to cover the cost
of "shrinkage." The result is that you, the paying
customers, are the ones who pay for stolen merchandise!
Now, back to the person who stole "Jesus." This person
has no respect for themselves or anyone else. He/she has no reluctance
about taking money out of your pocket. He/she obviously has no
sense of right or wrong. He/she has no consideration for the
teachings of Jesus. Clearly, he/she has never read the Ten Commandments.
This casual theft of store items is indicative of the general
degradation of our society. Our movies, music and TV glory misbehavior.
Children are not taught to respect private property. They are
not taught to work for the things they want. They simply are
no longer being taught to be honest and dependable.
Proof of just how bad this problem has become was made clear
to me when I found that someone had stolen Jesus.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.
His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address
The Madison County Journal
August 30, 2000
From the Editor's Desk
Openness is key
to confidence in
The resignation of Dennis Moore as superintendent of Madison
County schools has set off a firestorm in Rumorville.
Whether or not there is any cause for alarm, the sudden departure
accompanied by vague reasons left many feeling something is wrong
in the county school system.
The most unsettling speculation has been that Dr. Moore left
because the county school system is in dire straits financially.
While county school board members - with the exception of Elaine
Belfield - say they're confident that the system is in good fiscal
shape based on the information they've received from Dr. Moore,
the word from interim superintendent Allen McCannon is that more
study of the system's finances is needed before he can proclaim
"all's well" or "we're in a fix."
This is a forthright assessment by Mr. McCannon. He's stepping
in to a big job and he's not willing to make broad statements
that may or may not be true for the sake of keeping people happy.
People should respect that.
McCannon was authorized by the school board Tuesday to conduct
an outside audit of school finances for July and August. This
is a good move. Madison County school leaders might also want
to consider one or two public hearings about school finances
to speak with anyone who may have concerns. Likewise, letters
to newspapers with their assessments of how the system is functioning,
spelling out in plain English the financial state of the schools,
would not be a bad idea.
This past week was a prime example of what happens when a public
figure provides less than the full story. Certainly, anyone can
understand someone saying "enough is enough" with a
job. But people have wondered why Moore is really leaving and
why so quickly?
Most will agree that when a school leader leaves on the fourth
day of school amid a heated issue, giving less than a two-week
notice, he should be frank about why. Saying you have a business
venture, but refusing to name what it is, raises eyebrows.
Dr. Moore entered this school system with big plans. He led an
effort to improve school facilities and to strengthen community
involvement in the school system. His Partners in Education program
has brought kids and the business community closer together.
While assessing his management of money may involve more investigation,
the superintendent was not bashful about addressing some longstanding
facility needs. And plans for a sports complex show that the
board has tried to think big under Moore.
Now some question whether they've bitten off more than they can
School leaders have a responsibility to be forthright with the
public - we expect the truth, even if it hurts those giving it
or receiving it.
If we feel shortchanged in this regard, our imaginations fill
in the answers. This has certainly been the case this past week
as some have drawn wild conclusions and passed them off as the
Hopefully, leaders will see that truth is the best way to take
the fire from Rumorville.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.