NOTHING much shocks me any more.
I've seen the way you humans regard ethics as flexible and how self-preservation takes precedence when push comes to shove. You're a ruthless species and, lo, deserve all that's coming to you when, yea, the Earth is consumed in flames and whatnot.
Only kidding. Even given my sunny appreciation of mankind, I was mildly surprised to read that one-third of citizens have stolen from supermarkets using the self-service tills. One-third! That's nearly everybody. Bending my own stern ethical ethos into something more flexible, one concedes that stealing an apple when one's family is starving might be justifiable.
But I see no starving waifs. I don't see that push has become shove. I just see theft and, lo, I am discomfited. The figures come from a study of 4952 shoppers carried by money-saving website watchmywallet.co.uk. I think I can safely say that no readers of The Herald have ever stolen anything, and you may opine: "Perhaps 1651 of these people were the spawn of Satan."
That is a good point well made. However, I intend ignoring it and focusing instead on a more sophisticated analysis, based largely on intuition and astrology. Let's start with our love-hate relationship with supermarkets.
We love them because they come up with the goods. We hate them because we know they're allegedly ripping off the farmers and making eyelobe-watering profits. So does that mean we can steal from them? Not, as it were, really.
The supermarkets' first mistake was trusting us. Self-service tills are inherently wicked and put temptation in the way of even the most godly. I don't use them myself as I have a beard, and these are not permitted in the bagging area.
However, self-service tills invite clean-shaven opportunists to commit the following crimes: pressing the button for cheaper fruit or veg when weighing items; pressing "small" for large salad boxes; putting provender without barcodes straight into bags; slipping more items through than declared; and, most cunning of all, walking off without paying.
One outraged expert told a baying mob of psychologists: "Often the people who choose not to obey the rules just don't have a conscience. They only do the right thing if they think they might be caught. I don't think they can be motivated by poverty because they'll still be paying for some of the shopping – so they can't be that poor. These statistics show a lack of morals in this country today."
This is grim news indeed. For some time, I've worried about the lack of moral guidance in our society, ever since I found the god of the Christians to be a dud. If I'd thought there was enough money in it, I might have started my own religion.
At the very least, we need rules. So perhaps we could take yon 10 commandments and update them to be more realistic in these relativistic times. The following was texted to me from the Lord Upgrade via a burning bush on Arthur's Seat:
1. Thou shalt have no other gods but me because I've an ego the size of Wales. But you can have celebrities.
2. Dinnae make graven images, ken? Nobody graves nowadays. Use an app.
3. Thou shalt not take my name in vain. Fair enough, I can take a slagging. And, you're right, maybe I should up my game.
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy, except for shopping and the football.
5. Honour thy father and mother, unless they are rubbish.
6. Thou shalt not kill, unless your Government declares war, in which case get wired in.
7. Thou shalt not get caught at adultery.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour, unless they have their stereo on too loud and deserve it.
9. Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's wife's ass, unless she wears that very short skirt, nor his ox, ditto.
10. Thou shalt not put through cheaper prices for vegetables at the checkout.
The last is particularly important. Stealing at the checkout could start you on the slippery slope. Before you know it, you'll be running a supermarket and making obscene profits.
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