The Store Shopper
Mary likes to shop at Safeway because she likes their wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Periodically Mary is seen sampling the grapes and strawberries to determine their freshness and flavor. The store has no posted signs inviting shoppers to sample the fresh produce, yet Mary, like many others, is oblivious to the fact that someone must pay for the sampled fruit. Mary rationalizes her behavior by thinking that she is only sampling a couple of grapes and strawberries. No one cares; everybody else does it too; and certainly a few grapes will never be missed. She eats the fruit in open view, suggesting to others that such behavior is common and quite acceptable. No harm done. Have you ever sampled the fruit? Is this behavior stealing? Why, or why not? A man was once arrested in a store because he sampled too many grapes. Is it socially acceptable to steal within certain limits?
Scenario 2 Highway Cash
It seems like once every year or two in the United States a guard forgets to properly close the back door to an armored truck and bags of cash fall out onto the highway. Finders keepers? If you came upon a couple of bags of money containing $100,000 dropped along a highway, would you keep the money? You are not responsible for the money being dropped there; and after all, someone needs to pick it up, right? Is it a crime if you choose to keep it? Are you morally and/or legally obligated to return the money? Under what circumstances do you feel it’s OK to keep the cash? Does the amount of cash matter in your decision-making process? Does whether the bags have identification affect your decision to keep or turn in the money?
Scenario 3 Every Step You Take, I’ll Be Watching You
Everyone has their own way of meeting people and developing relationships. Some are just better at it than others. Take Joe for example. There is a new coworker who has a cubicle not far from his. He is a bit socially awkward but cannot pass up an opportunity to make contact with this lovely person with the beautiful smile. Joe decides to leave her unsigned notes on her desk telling her how happy he is that she is working for the company. He has left a few gifts on her desk as well: a flower, some chocolates, and some fruit. Sometimes he has followed her home just because he is curious where she lives. A few times he has deliberately shopped at the same grocery store as his coworker but made sure she did not see him there. He doubts that he could ever date her because Joe suspects she might be married or at least have a boyfriend. Is this stalking? He has no intent to do harm, and he has given her gifts and does not hit on her like some of his coworkers. Joe is one of the good guys, right? After all, he understands boundaries.
Scenario 4 Desperate Times Require Desperate Measures, Right?
Are there conditions under which you would consider it justifiable to commit a crime? How about theft? For example, you find yourself out of money and in need of food for yourself and three young children. You just moved into town and don’t have any friends yet and no family. Your last paycheck was used for rent and moving expenses. Now you have no money left for food and the kids are hungry and one is crying. All you need is a few staples like bread, milk, and eggs. You know you will pay the store back later. So, you simply place the few food items in your tote bag and walk out of the store. In this case, does the end justify the means?
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