June Renew: Day Twenty Eight
I confessed to my co-worker today that I may have overbought halogen lightbulbs on Amazon as their sale is being phased out in New York City. I don’t remember how we got onto the conversation, but I was prefacing another story I had to tell him. I already told you guys all about how I feel about LED bulbs, but this isn’t about that. We’ve got another NYC sentiment on deck here, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to capture your attention for just a bit longer.
Anyway, I told him I was scrounging the lightbulb section in my local CVS the other day, just to make sure there were indeed no halogen lights to be bought. But they did have a four-pack of these little bulbs you could use as accent lights if you had a lamp to accompany them. I then told him about the strange feeling that came over me. I thought, if I really wanted to, I could just slip this four-dollar item into my purse and no one could do a thing about it. I could just steal this and walk out. Who knows if the alarm would have blared? And even if it did, you can’t prosecute me in this city for shoplifting. Not for anything under a thousand bucks, anyway. It would have been done so easily, and there were a million ways for me to justify taking something that was not mine.
I did, of course, pay for the item, even though it burned my ass to do so. The government isn’t letting me buy these anymore, why should I even pay for a product you’re not selling? My co-worker said it was “good” I didn’t steal it, and it obviously is. But a feeling like that has never snuck in before. It was new, and who could blame me, living in the environment I currently do?
I then told them about another time I was at the Shops at Columbus Circle. There’s a Lululemon inside, another store that’s been the subject of news stories and stealing. Part of me really wanted to go inside and not just take something, but make a point of it as well. I wanted to have a hidden camera on to confront a worker, asking her, “If I just took this item and walked out, what would you do?” If I wasn’t so sure I could lose my job over such deliberate provocateur behavior, I would have done it. Perhaps I did in another life. But these feelings still exist in this one, and they’re odd to me. It’s like someone else came in and stole my identity to create a new person who’d steal without hestitation. And I have to question these delinquent tendencies before my morality gets pilfered too.
The cost of living is entirely too high in Manhattan. I’m lucky I’m not dealing with the sky-high rent crises, as I’m an owner. I’m grateful for that. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the city isn’t suffering as well. It’s a hard fight with dinguses holding public office, but I’m willing to do so. They’ve fleeced the taxpayers for far too long. I just have to be keen on not adding to the problem. There’s better ways to get sticky fingers as long as the Bonnie to your Clyde isn’t about that shoplifting life.