Ethics

For the week ending 5 July 2008 / 2 Tammuz 5768

Above Suspicion

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I sometimes enter my local supermarket with the intention of purchasing an item or two, but when I see the long lines at the checkout counter I decide to forget about it. Leaving the store with no shopping bag or receipt might, however, arouse suspicion of shoplifting. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: A supermarket in Israel and the security company it employed were recently fined a combined total of 30,000 shekalim for unjustly accusing a woman of shoplifting and causing her great embarrassment.

The lady had intended to buy a package of tissues as a backup for the tissues she had in her purse and asked the security guard to point out where in the store they could be found. She didn't care for the tissues being sold and walked out empty-handed. The guard suspected her of shoplifting and demanded to search her purse in which he found her tissues. This suspicion turned out to be unfounded, but the store management refused to apologize and paid a heavy price for its stubbornness.

The moral of the story as far as you are concerned is to inform the guard on your way out that you did not find what you were looking for and thus remain above suspicion.

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