It appears as if the Great Safeway PR Machine has been rolled into action. If you recall, a pregnant lady and her husband were arrested for stealing a couple of sandwiches at a Hawaiian Safeway and their little daughter was taken away for safekeeping by the authorities while Mommy and Daddy sat in jail. No word was mentioned of what happened to the $50 in groceries they did purchase while the pair sat in stir. The couple had picked up the sandwiches while shopping and ate them as they made their tour of the aisles, then neglected to pay for the goods they had eaten. Even if the ommission of the sandwiches was not an oversight, I wrote that I thought carting them off to the hoosegow and snatching their daughter away was a bit overkill for the situation. I also wrote that the value of the sandwiches was $10 - apparently it was only $5, which actually makes the actions twice the overkill.
Not that I think stealing is right, mind you - I simply think that making the pair pay for the sandwiches and telling them sternly not to eat goods not yet purchased while they shop, regardless of how pregnant and famished you are, might have been a more prudent route for the management.
Regardless of my thoughts on the matter, Safeway has come out and stated that they will drop charges against the couple. Their child was returned, they got out of jail after posting $100 in bond and presumably got their $50 in groceries back. All should be right. Safeway also says that they will graciously rescind the year of banishment from the premises that had been levied against the two.
By "forgiving" the thieves, Safeway has gone on the offensive with their defense. I am assuming that by taking this stance, the couple will feel so relieved that they are off the hook that they will not allow the simmering anger, humiliation and sense of injustice boil over into litigation. A good strategy - the mom has already come out and humbly apologized for neglecting to pay for the sandwiches and to say how grateful she was that this entire "horrifying" experience is over. Bravo, Safeway - it worked!
Here's my bet: Within a couple of weeks we will see more articles about this incident and the articles will involve litigation, more use of the word "horrifying" and eventually a settlement that has been reached to the satisfaction of all parties. I fear nothing will be written about the store manager being ceremoniously disemboweled in the parking lot and his head skewered on a pole for all to see for bringing on this firestorm of horrified disbelief and subsequent shame onto the once-squeaky-clean grocery chain. I am not a litigious person - in fact, it would be tough to find a litigious bone in my body, even using a litigation tuning-fork. That said, I hope the couple sues Safeway and that the settlement pays for their childrens' education and sets them up to live comfortably in Hawaii for the rest of their felonious lives.
There is a moral somewhere here. It may be that life will be easier and people happier all around if everyone just took the time to use a little common sense before they jumped into some irrational action.
Of course, it might just be that you should pay for your sandwiches.