Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Theft By Finding"

Woman who took potato waffles and pies thrown out by Tesco is handcuffed and charged with stealing

''I thought I could help feed me and my family for a week or two'

"A woman was handcuffed and 'treated like a hardened criminal' after she helped herself to food worth £200 that had been thrown away by a Tesco store following a power cut.

Dozens of people could not believe their luck after the outlet of the supermarket giant bagged up thousands of pounds of spoiled stock and left it out in the street.

Sasha Hall, 21, helped herself to potato waffles, pies and ham from outside the Tesco Express in Great Baddow, Essex.

But she was stunned when police arrived at her home and arrested her for suspected 'theft by finding' and took her to the station in handcuffs.

'There was £3,000 worth of food going to waste on the street,' she told the Essex Chronicle. 'It had been thrown out, so I thought I could put it to better use.

'When the police came round I was so upset. I felt like a terrible criminal.'

The shop worker said the supermarket - which has the motto 'Every little helps' - should have been pleased that the food would be put to good use."

Yet your trash can be rummaged through by eco nannies in Britain to see if you're complying with recycling laws, and anybody's trash can be picked through and taken by cops there and across the pond if they suspect violation of ever expanding terror laws. This is a couple of days old and I suspect all charges will be dropped because the light of reason sometimes shines too brightly on dim bulbs.

Here's the corporate view. Brain dead, idiotic bean counters think that slightly spoiled food should be trashed and destroyed because consumers who might use it then won't buy the food at retail price. On paper this means loss of profit. On paper. Call the cops who primarily exist now to harass and bludgeon anyone who doesn't play by corporate rules.

In reality it's much different but the fucking corporations, known henceforth as FC, won't change their policies for fear of losing a few cents in retail profits.

Spoilage is inevitable in supermarkets, and what I understand is the FC send unsellables back to someplace that tallies the stuff for tax writeoffs. Then it all goes to a landfill.

There are a bunch of saner alternatives to this insanity of wastage. The supermarkets could discount food that's slightly less desirable but the FC hate to do this, wanting the consumer to always pay full price and not get the idea that if you wait a day that steak will be a couple dollars off. Food past it's fresh prime could be donated to charity for a tax break, a win/win scenario. But to the bean counters, that means employee work that has to be paid for. In this cold, corporate scenario, they hold a gun to your head and force you to pay what they demand, or else.

When I lived up in a modest sized town in Oregon, there was a grocery store I always shopped in. It wasn't a chain but a locally owned market. Back in the 70s it had an incredible community policy. Out in back they kept one of their dumpsters very clean and put all their less than desirable and basically unsellable produce carefully in boxes. The stuff that shoppers wouldn't choose to pick on the store shelves, but was just fine. They did this every day and anybody could come and pick out what they wanted or needed for free. I'm not ashamed to say I went and got some meals when there were hard times, but most of the food went to older folks who lived in the area and knew they could get some sort of grub when they had no other alternative.
I'm here to say that that sort of life affirming largesse had astounding repercussions for that store. Community solidarity and support for altruistic generosity meant that supermarket weathered the threat of extinction several times from giant chain stores who came and went in the area.

Altruism is a concept the bean counters don't understand. That and kindness and reputation will mean far more in the long run.


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