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Be Self-Reliant for your own Survival

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Having had experience on both sides of the retail world — worker and consumer — and being observant, I have seen many disconcerting things in human behavior. One example was a boy running around with merchandise and hearing his mother tell the father, "I just gave it to him to play with while we are here." Great, Bratley ruins merchandise because feckless parents cannot keep him under control.

There are people who just drop stuff anywhere, whether trying to be funny or having changed their minds. That is bad enough, but they also waste food; a frozen pizza does not belong in sporting goods! There is a video of a guy trying to show his "badness" while being recorded in the drinks section. He would open bottles, take a drink, and put them back. Sick jerk. 

Grocery shopping, Pexels / Hobi industri, modified at FotoSketcher
On the other side of the coin, you have lackadaisical employees who simply don't care about working to earn their pay. (However, the Powers That Be at Corporate may be making demands that are not humanly possible to accomplish with the resources and manpower available. Employees get frustrated and shove stock on any peg with an opening. Good luck finding those golf gloves. Mayhaps they're next to the green pizza.) Stores get fouled up, and there is blame on both sides of the equation.

As a society, we cannot afford to have people destroying things and wasting food in stores. Also, there are five-finger discounts where people are stealing things simply for the thrill, not because of need. This child has a dim view of humanity, and people are not "basically good." (Think of those videos of mobs of people looting, and think about seeing merchandise under lock and key.) So I won't appeal to people to do the right thing. If you don't care about others, how about a big picture for yourself?

It should be common knowledge that when merchandise is ruined or stolen, manufacturers and the stores need to recoup the costs. Also, those workers you look down on have to put out the stock, but also put it back because some tinhorns just set things down and wander off. This wastes employees' time and costs the store money. Stores get it back to some extent by raising prices. You pay more. Do I have your attention?

Let's ride off on a side trail for a spell. Whether it's employees putting stock in the wrong places or shoppers stashing things anywhere, we as shoppers need to take care of ourselves.

Have you ever opened up something you just bought, only to find out that it's bad? Sure you have. The ideal approach on perishable items is FIFO: First In, First Out. Don't trust that idea being followed by stockers. Whether it is a half gallon of milk, a bottle of ibuprofen, or a small jar of seasoning, check the expiration or "best if used by" date. Sometimes it's hard to find or see, but it's usually there. Another minute or two can save you a great deal of aggravation. Yes, those things are very conservative for safety and lawsuits' sake, but if something expires on the same day, you may want to consider a judgement call on buying it. 

Also, make sure something looks right. If that tea drink or soda looks like it's been opened, perhaps a scumbag was tampering with things. Check the freshness or safety seal for your own sake.

Don't just drop off something you don't want to buy after all, especially something perishable. You are helping prices go up by doing that. Savvy? And check the "use by" date.

These things should prove helpful. If people won't think of the greater good and do something because it's right, they can think with their wallets and do what's right anyway.