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This is Fred. He will tell you a story about crime and punishment. He is actually a good boy, but once he became a criminal and he is not proud of it.
At school he made friends with a group of very cool guys. There were four of them, they all made friends since early childhood and he trusted them blindly. At some point as they were growing life didn’t seem thrilling enough anymore. They were trying to invent themselves some dangerous activities - from parkour to extreme acrobatics but it wasn’t what they needed. After some thought they came out with a brilliant idea - shoplifting! This thing is really dangerous if you get caught and as they read in the internet can even make an antiglobal statement which is kind of cool.
They started with small things like stealing a chocolate bar or a coke bottle. They did it in a group trying various schemes - someone always distracting supermarket staff and other stealing. They browsed specialized forums and found out there was an entire shoplifters’ community with elaborate techniques of stealing more expensive stuff. It was more like a sport. Thus their actions became more elaborate. They didn’t do it for money - they had enough pocket money from their parents. They did it for fun and adrenaline.
In a couple of months they became professionals sometimes carrying out kilograms of expensive food and drinks from big supermarkets of their city. Fred will not explain the whole technology to you - it isn’t right. But point is that you can do it successfully only if you are sure that your back is fully covered by your mates and you work as a team. They were quite successful but the rule of life is that sooner or later you would be caught anyway. They didn’t realize it at the time.
That day came unexpectedly. They were at a supermarket at a big mall. It was Fred’s turn to get the food while his friends distracted the security. Till now Fred is not sure what he did wrong; point is that he was noticed. He put all the stolen products into his big jacket and accompanied by his team went towards the exit where he was stopped by a security guard who asked him to unzip his jacket. Fred felt thunderstruck… and all his feeling of safety went away as he saw all three of his friends running away from him as far as they could.
Fred is not sure what he would do if he were them but probably he would remain because he still believes in collective responsibility. He was standing in front of the guard, unzipping his jacket and feeling that everybody was looking at him. He was ready to melt into the ground of shame. The security took Fred into his back office and asked him, why he stole food, if he was in need or hungry. All of a sudden Fred understood that shoplifting wasn’t cool at all in it was enough extreme for him for the time being.He just fell into tears instead of answering.
The security guy was very nice and agreed not to call the police if Fred promised to give up. He had to call Fred’s parents though who came there absolutely furious and dragged Fred home. It took some time to convince them he was really sorry and that he learned his lesson. The sad part was that he understood that he couldn’t hang out with his friends anymore as he couldn’t forget their turning their backs on him and leaving him alone. He never spoke to them ever since. So his advice to anyone is to think twice before you are going to do something illegal for cheap thrills - it can backfire horribly.
7 Out 2018