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 I saw a man steal food today.....

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Eliza_Doolittle
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Today I went to eat lunch at a Pizza Hut Express. I took my place in line to order. Once I was the next person, this "mentally ill" (maybe?) man came and pushed to the front of the line. He was about my age and was looking very impatient. He would turn and look at the people in line and then the person behind the register. He hopped from one foot to the other like a preschool child who can't wait until it's his turn. I noticed he was seemed really odd, so I decided that I would allow him to go before me and not say anything to him. So the lady in front of me is waiting. You know how they have you to step to the side of the register and wait for your food - - and then they go to take the next person's order.....that's what the lady in front of me was doing. However, the person behind the counter didn't immediately stop to wait on the man. Instead, she started getting all the things the lady in front of me ordered and left him standing there. Once she had all the items, she brought them to the counter and slid the bag with the food and the cup with the woman's drink over toward the woman. At this time, the man quickly grabbed the bag and the cup with the drink and turned and RAN - he pushed through the others in line if they were in his way. Then he took the time to STOP by the door to get napkins and a straw for his bag. The lady behind the register was screaming that this man was stealing. The manager ran around the counter and said "STOP." The man began to cry. He said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please don't hurt me. I'm very hungry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so hungry." And everyone was just looking at him. The manager let him go because he was mentally ill.

Part of me felt sorry for him. Then the other side of me was like: hmmmmmmmmm an actor? Faking mental illness? If he was faking, he did a good job and has found the way to get sympathy and get away with what he's done. If he really is mentally ill, then here's the ethical question When someone who is mentally ill has been failed by our system, should they be allowed to steal for food like this man? You can't help not feeling sorry for him if he IS mentally ill and CANNOT get a job and HAS been failed by the system.

Then another part of me wonders if a truly mentally ill person can plan so well how to steal the food and get away with it? He waited - knowing food would slide across the counter - and then grabbed and ran. That took planning and mental control - - focusing on his goal.

I've thought about seeing if there's a # to call where people go out and help the mentally ill and tell them what street I saw him on and see if someone could find him and help him? Surely there's a program out there.....(But was he really mentally ill?) If he's homeless, he'll stay around the same area (or that's the trend I've noticed - we have a truly mental ill man who lives in my area - and he doesn't go stealing like that - but we do feed him. He doesn't ask. We see him every day. We know he's homeless - and we give him food. He's also sick and has problems walking. So, he's really physically NOT able to get a job. I do feel sorry for this guy and do feed him.)

I don't know, though. So I struggle - should I feel sorry for the Pizza Hut thief? Or is he just a low scammer? A thief who's learned how to get around the system?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Gosh, ED, you are kind of gone, then you come back with a hard question.

Do mentally ill persons learn to work the system? Yup
Is this chap one of those? Dunno
Are there programs to help? Yup, but they have rules and most people don't like rules.
Can mentally ill persons get funds from the government? In most cases, but there is little restriction on how the funds are spent unless there is a guardian, so people don't necessarily take care of "real" needs with the funds
Do "normal" people learn to act ill to get away with socially unacceptable behavior? Umm, 419. There have been TV programs and accounts of people begging along the US highways, then driving off in expensive vehicles that they seem to own.
What kind of pizza was it? Wink

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Mental Illness is a rough topic concerning ethics,

From what you said, I am guessing he was just mentally ill. I am no psychologist, So only you could see him. Most people need to be evaluated to decide whether they have an element of dementia. From how he acted prior I don't think he was acting

History has long tried to figure out how to deal with mental illness. For a long time euthanasia was popular especially in the 1930s with the U.S Eugenic programs. Which by the way Hitler studied and was very interested in.

People can do OK with the proper medication and treatment for dementia. Someone with dementia is very sick however. Your pizza hut beggar could have been or was using some hard drugs prior to this. The way you can tell if someone has a form of dementia is that they act rather snappy and tend to switch topics a lot. Others are completely incoherent.

Example "I was once in Iowa. Dogs are nice there. I don't know what I am going to eat tonight. I met this lady....."

The problem with the pizza hut guy and the overall topic was that he technically stole. Well he didn't really steal if he was allowed to take it. He could have been asked to leave or pay up. The manager however saw the situation easily diffused by just letting him go and this is how it works in most of society. Look at it as compassion.

In our society there ARE mentally ill. It is something that we are going to have to deal with in my opinion, after all they are still human, just sick that's all.

I took several Ethics courses in college and what may explain how this works I will use Immanuel Kant.

Like I said before, he technically wasn't stealing, According to Kant, consenting to theft, isn't stealing (duh)

Kant came up with something called the Categorical Imperative, let me dig for this one.

There are three elements to it here they are

#1
Quote:
Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law


Basically, ask yourself this question to see if something is unethical

"Would I want, all my actions to be something that everyone does"
If you can answer yes, it's ethical

#2
Quote:
"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end."


Humanity is always the end. Never the means. Meaning say if I owned slaves, them picking my crops, the crops would be the end by the means of humanity. Therefore unethical.

#3

Quote:
Therefore, every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends."


Basically, in order to act ethically and allow for peace and harmony, one must always ask themselves categorical imperative 1 & 2.


With your pizza man, Perhaps he was starving if so is it justifiable to steal?

If you were starving and you needed a loaf of bread that was in a window, if you didn't steal it, you would die. Would you take it?

Now with this scenario ask this question if you say stole the bread to feed your empty stomach, "Would I want everyone that could be in my shoes to do this?" If yes, then it's ethical.

Ethics can be a slippery slope and there are no definite answers. It is indeed very subjective not objective.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
I am no psychologist
And then
Quote:
The way you can tell if someone has a form of dementia is
Can't have it both ways.
Quote:
Like I said before, he technically wasn't stealing
Taking something that doesn't belong to you is stealing. So yes it was stealing based on our social and legal definitions.

Quote:
then here's the ethical question When someone who is mentally ill has been failed by our system, should they be allowed to steal for food like this man
It is not an ethical question. It is a morality question and a legal question. Ethics is only the system of rules you chose to live by. Ethical behavior is being true to that system. Do you let him go thus providing positive re-enforcement to his illegal behavior or turn him in and may be get the help he needs.

Quote:
"Would I want, all my actions to be something that everyone does"
So, a social malcontent (gang member or terrorist for example) would answer yes, everyone should stand up for what they want and believe therefore they are acting ethically. This would lead to anarchy and therefore can't be used as a test for ethics that are conducive to a stable social structure.

Quote:
if you didn't steal it, you would die. Would you take it
This is an incredibly black and white example that is impossible in the real world. There are more than two possibilities; earn some money and buy the food. Offer to trade work for the bread. Stealing is the lazy, self pitying way out of the problem.

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Patri0t
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:20 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^I do apologize for using ethical for moral, my mistake. I only chose a one study of ethics. Since ethics is a subjective topic you make pick it a part any way you like. And I am not a psychologist, I took a course in high school a long time ago and thats about it.

Quote:
Quote:
"Would I want, all my actions to be something that everyone does"
So, a social malcontent (gang member or terrorist for example) would answer yes, everyone should stand up for what they want and believe therefore they are acting ethically. This would lead to anarchy and therefore can't be used as a test for ethics that are conducive to a stable social structure.





Again these are just one of the many studies of ethics, that being Kantian ethics, I don't this that there were gang bangers during Kant's time. Also I don't think the majority of people are malcontent. The whole world wouldn't fall into an anarchy unless the majority were malconent


Consented theft is not stealing,

Quote:

"If a thief were to steal a purse from in a non consented manner , it may have been that the victim would have agreed, had the thief simply asked. However, no person can consent to theft, because the presence of consent would mean that the transfer was not a theft. Since the victim could not have consented to the action, it could not be instituted as a universal law of nature, and theft contradicts perfect duty."


Quote:
if you didn't steal it, you would die. Would you take it
Quote:

This is an incredibly black and white example that is impossible in the real world. There are more than two possibilities; earn some money and buy the food. Offer to trade work for the bread. Stealing is the lazy, self pitying way out of the problem.


Again yes it is black and white but it is for effect rather than trying to deceive you. Why make a really complicated example.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:08 am Reply with quoteBack to top

How did the guy appear, besides 'impatient'? Smile
Meaning...was he clean, clean clothes....or look like he had been sleeping in a dumpster for a while?

I would still vote for 'insane'. If you were going to steal pizza, why not steal good pizza?

Pizza Hut?


Yup. Insane.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

/\ Good pizza you have to sit at a table and wait for.

Frankly I am disturbed that you think anyone can 'look' mentally ill. I don't think it works like that.

You can look broke, starving and/or addicted. How does 'mentally ill' look different?

I've seen lots of people out of their tree on various drugs, for instance - mad or wasted? How do you know?

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Last edited by Roycropper on Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

It is possible for someone to "look" mentally ill. People with certain mental illnesses can show typical physical signs or behaviours for that illness. Also, certain medications can cause a person to exhibit physical symptoms, for example muscle stiffness (noticable when they talk as the jaw becomes stiff too) or teeth clenching/grinding

You'll notice I'm being careful with my words and saying "can" rather than "will". Not everyone on medication will exhibit symptoms and not everyone with a mental illness will "look like a nutter".

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

mentally ill people are unlikely to behave like that.

if a mentally ill person became hungry they would probably die before they addressed the need to eat - simply because by being mentally ill means they would either be unable to comprehend the need to eat or be unable to work out how to get food - there more likely to bite the customers than the actual food or start chomping on furniture - it might sound funny its not.

Personality disordered people would simply push everyone out of the way and grab the food and eat it there and then without thought of consequence.
(psychopathic disorder) = anti-social personality disorder, all the other groups would be too scared of getting caught.

There is no doubt that if uncared for mentally ill people will commit crime, but in most cases the crimes they commit are either unusual in they have no gain for the person or are of a violent nature again the motive is missing or unworkable.

the fact the way you describe the person would indicate they had full control of themselves and there mind and acted out of desperation, in my mind that makes them on the same level as a lad, however I have given no consideration to the actual circumstances of why the person did that act, there would not be a good reason in any event, as above he could have asked for the food.

If i ever found myself starving i would walk into a shop and tell them im starving and ill do anything they need for some food, most would let me do some washing up etc, that way the books are balanced i get me food they get the value of the food.

but in short mentally ill people really wouldnt act that way - requires far too much pre-planning and negotiation etc they wouldnt do it because they wouldnt be able to.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 9:49 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
not everyone with a mental illness will "look like a nutter".

Thanks Wayne feel better now. I wonder every time I look in the mirror
"r I won of them"

I have to deal with mentally ill people every day, as customers. You feel sorry for some, you realise that many are better cared for than the working populace. Some are great and I enjoy the interaction. Others you try to move on as fast as possible. They all require the same human needs as "normal" people. (whatever "normal is") Food, sex and music. Like everyone else they all like those differently Shocked

In answer to the ops question. Yes they can be as manipulative as anyone else.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Reading this story my first instinct is "drugs" not "mental illness" or possibly "desperation" or even "asshole" Crying or Very sad

We are on the verge of a global recession (check out the price of petrol) and stories like this are going to become more common. I heard a supermarket security guy on the radio today who says that he's having to apprehend pensioners who are forced to shoplift basics like bread, milk, tins of beans, etc on a regular basis now.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

harrya wrote:
Quote:
not everyone with a mental illness will "look like a nutter".

Thanks Wayne feel better now. I wonder every time I look in the mirror
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Pushing to the front of the line?

Sounds alot like Dubai...


SERIOUSLY everyone does this in dubai, they push to the front of the line and shit like that..


it's almost like everything is chaos here, no rules or anything..

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It's been my experience that when people steal food it's b/c they really are hungry. Who knows if he's mental, on drugs, or what, but he probably was starving. I always feel so sad when I see people arrested for stealing food, actually I find it disgusting it makes me sick to my stomach. Meanwhile you can steal hundreds of millions, if not outright billions leading to the trial of the century and it's anything but a foregone conclusion you will be found guilty, but for stealing some food b/c you and/or your family haven't eaten in days or weeks & you get put under the jail...absolutely disgusting.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I realise that I'll probably get slammed for offering my opinion on this, but this is what I honestly believe. And I can respect other's opinions, even if they differ, so I just ask that you consider mine likewise.

I have been approached by random people in the street and they've told me that they were bipolar and had a Presbyterian psychiatrist. I have been buying guitar stuff and watching this old decrepit man go into spasms and start screaming trying to return some strings. I have seen enough to convince me that rarely...rarely...do people with mental problems truly have a medical condition.

Those with true medical conditions I feel sorry for.

Those 90% of others out there, I have no sympathy for, whatever.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As far as my experience goes, you can't say mentally ill people will or won't act a certain way. I attend church with a woman I'm pretty certain has schizophrenia, based on what I've observed. She is unmedicated, and frankly, at times, she's as highly functional and normal acting as anyone, but very shy. Other times, she's painfully shy, mumbling, with random tics and obsessive behaviors who has tactile hallucinations and neglects her personal hygiene. It depends on whether you catch her on a good day or a bad day. Even on her worst days, though, she's capable of at least some basic level of forethought and planning. You generally can tell by her demeanor if she's having a good day or a bad day. We do our best to make sure she's treated as nicely as possible and that she does get food to take home if she wants it.

My understanding is, unless you are a legal guardian or the person is deemed to be a threat to others, you can't force someone to be treated for mental illness. You can point them toward services, but I don't think they could actually go out and "bring him in".

Yes, people who cry "I'm hungry" are sometimes faking, but all that effort for a cheap fast food meal seems pretty silly. Again, at our church, we've had people conveniently land in and give us a sob story and ask for money. Our standard answer is to ask them to stay until the end of the service, and then they will be taken to get food and/or gas. If they're truly in need, they'll wait. If not, they roll on. So far, we've never had anyone take us up on the offer.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Eliza_Doolittle wrote:
Then another part of me wonders if a truly mentally ill person can plan so well how to steal the food and get away with it? He waited - knowing food would slide across the counter - and then grabbed and ran. That took planning and mental control - - focusing on his goal.


From what you said, he wasn't really that good now was he? He did get caught. They just let him go.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This week I saw an older man shoplift a package of bologna, not roast beef or turkey, bologna. Normally I say something but his bowed head and his slow movements made me turn away. Last week at a bathroom break at a park I hear "Hey, hey.... Geez" coming from a lady bicycle riding companion. This Down's Syndrome guy had snatched a water bottle from one of her cages and drank half a liter in a gulp. By the time I had dropped my bike and ran over, his attendant was there and apologizing for the theft. There were two attendants for 6 clients. It was 5 minutes later on the trail when she told me she first saw him in the ladies restroom with his head in the sink lapping up water.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:17 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Eliza_Doolittle wrote:
Today I went to eat lunch at a Pizza Hut Express. I took my place in line to order. Once I was the next person, this "mentally ill" (maybe?) man came and pushed to the front of the line.

The main point of this topic appears to be the term "mentally ill." First off, we really have no right to judge if a person is mentally ill unless we are a part of his medical team or know for a fact that mental illness exists.

There was absolutely no proof that you have that this man is mentally ill, so why do you continually refer to him as such?

You do it here:

Quote:
The manager let him go because he was mentally ill.


And again here:

Quote:
I've thought about seeing if there's a # to call where people go out and help the mentally ill and tell them what street I saw him on and see if someone could find him and help him?


This statement pretty much tells the real story:

Quote:
The man began to cry. He said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Please don't hurt me. I'm very hungry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so hungry."


I could be wrong, but it sounds like the guy was hungry and desperate. Maybe he was going to ask someone at the counter if he could have some food and hunger overcame him when he saw the food slide across the counter. There could be any number of reasons why the man stole the food, but that does not mean that he is mentally ill.

Yes, he was wrong to steal, but hunger does many things to a person's mind, and can heavily influence his actions. Instead of making a big deal out of a man stealing a pizza out of hunger, the compassionate side of me would have spoken to the manager and offered to pay for the pizza and considered it my contribution to helping to feed a person who is less fortunate than myself.

Yes, there are some people that act mentally ill or homeless in order to beat the system, but instead of being so suspicious, why not give this man the benefit of the doubt? It doesn't sound like it was planned, thus another judgmental statement:

Quote:
That took planning and mental control - - focusing on his goal


It sounds like he was extremely hungry, and probably homeless. He needs help, support, and caring, not pity.

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Last edited by sheboppe on Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tsnerd
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Instead of making a big deal out of a man stealing a pizza out of hunger, the compassionate side of me would have spoken to the manager and offered to pay for the pizza and considered it my contribution to helping to feed a person who is less fortunate than myself.


I've done things like that numerous times. My thoughts: if you are going to do that, don't make a big thing of it, and keep your charity away from the person receiving it. Most people are shamed, otherwise.

I used to manage a Marriott hotel, and saw my share of the various and different folks as they trickled in; I never begrudged anyone a cup of coffee or a muffin. Most, actually, approached me (since I was the guy in the suit in the lobby) and asked if it was ok.

There were others who were clearly taking advantage and camping, which tended to annoy me, and whom I treated differently.

I only met three in the eight years that I would consider mentally ill.

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freddyfudpucker
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:09 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

i recently saw a reports where America throws away some 3.5 lbs of food pere person per day-enough to feed the world. of course feeding the world involves some devastating logistics and would just be really hard, and no one likes that. but it seems to me like no one in this country should have to go hungry, and i cant really fault a starving person for stealing food. thers a sign in your account that tells me he doesnt normally do this sort of thing, the fact that he stopped at the door and apologized instead of just running away. he was home free.
as far as mental illness goes, as others have stated there is no way to know this unless you personnally know the person and thier diagnosis. but the mans most pressing problem was hunger, not med balance.

and, just because a mentally ill person appears to be stable for the short time you interact with them doesnt mean they are stable enough to hold a job. aside from that, try explaining the year you spent trying to find that stable place to an employer and see if you get the job! most jobs want to know all about large gaps in employment, and often its trial and error before the ill person realizes they wont work again unless they learn to lie through thier teeth. of course there are employers that are understanding and accommodating, but they are hard to find, and in the meantime-you gotta eat.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As someone who was on the street for a short time survival is no. one and if its stealing some food so you can eat for your first time in a couple days or grabbing some clothes off a line to say warm your survival instinces will over rule common sense and moral beleves.
I had done some things to that I was not proud of and normaly would never do to survive.
Im not talking about sexual type things so get your mind out oh the gutter. to me a person would have to be mentaly ill if he didn't try to do what ever he/she had to to survive.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If I have a way of doing it, and see somebody who's hungry, I'll help. I've been there - being hungry is one of the suckiest feelings ever. And I'm not talking about "Oh, darn, I missed lunch." Miss meals for even a few days and...oh, man. Everything falls apart on you.

So...if I see somebody who's hungry, and I can feed him or her, I'll do it. As quietly as possible, because I'm not in the business of embarrassing anybody but scammers and people who deserve to be embarrassed (typically NOT people who are having a tough time).

But I also try to get that person information about the local food banks and soup kitchens. Even out here in the middle of nowhere, we have resources for people who need to eat. I'll do what I can to get the information to that person because that's good for more than just today's lunch.

Mentally ill or not? Doesn't matter to me. Hunger is hunger.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As a casual observer of this thread, I tend to agree with SheBoppe. I am a volunteer for a charitable organization that assist needy families/individuals (St. Vincent de Paul Society - www.svdpusa.org) and I see this behavior. Mind you it is not often as most are ashamed to ask for any help. Once in awhile I (or one of our volunteers) come across someone very desparate and their behavior is erratic as Eliza has pointed out. People do strange things when they get desparate. The number of people trying to scam charities is rising and fast, there is no telling if this was a scam/ploy or what. I usually err on the side of caution and offer to give them the assistance line number (where they will provide resources and/or assistance) rather than money or pity.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

packman wrote:
if its stealing some food so you can eat for your first time in a couple days or grabbing some clothes off a line to say warm your survival instinces will over rule common sense and moral beleves.

As they should. It's very easy to be moral when you've got food in your belly, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, & other comforts. The fact is, people have to eat to live, there is no getting around it. If someone is stealing food, it is b/c they are starving. If anyone on this forum thinks they would not consider or actually steal food if they or their children hadn't eaten in a few days & they had no clue where or when their next meal was coming from, stop lying to yourself.

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