Welcome to another weekend of Kitchen Chat.
What is the moral of stealing food?
I witnessed a young boy, probably 8-10 years old, stealing some nuts at a local supermarket the other day. I was not sure what I should do. I was browsing the fruit and vegetable section when I saw a young boy in a dark blue light jacket. He stood in front of a row of nuts section. Not sure what you call this section. But I am sure you know what I mean. This section offers a range of healthy nuts like almond, hazelnut, walnut, brazil nut to the less healthy nuts like peanut and cashew nut. They are stored in plastic see-through container with a front lid. The lid on some that does not stay open and annoyingly flip shut before you can even make the first scoop.
This young boy was standing in front of the nuts section. He looks a bit dazed. At first I did not pay much attention to him. I mean we often stand in front of a produce. Look at it for a few seconds to even a minute or two, wondering if we should or we should not buy the item. And, if we do – what are we going to do with it.
So I ignored the young boy like any “mind your own business” sensible shopper will do. Just look away. Nothing unusual. I continue to look for what I wanted to buy to cook for the weekend. After walking around several fruit and vegetable aisles – up and down each row, turned around and walked to the next row and started all over again – up and down the aisle, browsed each section. Without making any conscious decision, my eyes met the young boy again. Still standing in front of the row of nuts section. This time, after 5 minutes, he was a few feet from where he was before.
Then, I noticed a young girl about his age, in a school uniform, standing not far from me. She was looking at the boy, same as me. I looked back at the boy and saw his quick hand lifted one of the container’s lid and with his second hand, picked a handful of nuts and put into his jacket’s pocket. I was like a stunned mullet. Not sure what I should do. I looked at the young girl again, wondering if they were together. That she may be his accomplice on a lookout for anyone who may interfere with the young boy’s little nuts shopping adventure.
I was wrong. I saw the young girl walked towards her mother, who was busy shopping and pushing the trolley. I could not hear what she was telling her mother. But, I could almost guess that she was telling her mother about the young boy stealing some nuts. Because I could see her pointing towards the young boy, and her mother looked towards the same direction. From the mother’s body language, she said something to her daughter with one of her hand and first finger pointed upwards, then with a gentle motion, moved her finger from right to left, and left to right. I don’t read lips, but I could almost tell that her mother told her daughter to ignore the boy and mind her own business. They both walked away.
I was still standing at the same spot, trying to make some sense of what I saw and what I should do. Then a colleague of mine happened to walk towards me. We exchanged a little friendly, the usual gesture of meaningless greetings. I knew that was my only opportunity to bounce off him on what I have just witnessed. So I asked what I should do. He told me to ignore it. Pretend nothing happened. Walked away.
And, that was what I did. Walked away. Am I right? What would you do?
A. Confront the young boy. Tell him what he did was wrong. Give him some money so he can pay at the cashier.
B. Report the young boy to one of the staff or manager. So he can be punished and hopefully learn from his mistake.
C. Ignore the young boy. This thing happens. Walk away and pretend nothing happens.
Well, I chose C after bouncing off the idea with a passing-by colleague. I still think about the young boy. He looks scrubby, thin and hungry. He obviously does not have the money to buy the nuts and resort to stealing. Do I regret choosing C? I don’t know. On one mind – I am telling myself that is the best – pretend it does not happen. On another mind – I am telling myself I should have done something, but what?