Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What To Do About Product Loss

Already this week we have found two empty costume packages. One was stuffed under a couch in the ladies Boodoir, the other hanging empty on the shelf. No doubt there are more. I think we suffer less loss than the average retail store, in part because the energy of this place, from the music to the layout to the staff, is distinctly non-corporate. I recently walked the full downward spiral of that retail consumer vortex, the Mall of America. Our store has more character than any store there; we don't have to answer to a corporate elite unconnected to the reality on the floor.

Most people recognize the difference, if only on a subconscious level. Most people enjoy the place, most are respectful. There are others who don't care about anything but the fulfillment of their desire, for whom theft is justified in any case - except, probably, when it happens to them. The theft of anything on the floor is like a violation, a deep affront to all we stand for, to all we are trying to do here. Stealing from this store is stealing from staff bonuses.

It gives me a sick feeling, finding that something has been stolen from us, which taints my view of people generally. A reminder how important behavior is, how important is a sense of community. Every act of selfishness contributes to the rot of the greater culture. For generations now, economists have been telling us greed is good. Selfishness drives innovation and economic growth, which will raise standards of living globally, which will contribute to the betterment of society generally, which keeps us all from walking on all fours, dragging our knuckles, picking flies off each others backs, etcetera.

Selfishness and Greed lead in one direction only, which is to say, it is the destruction of all that is sacred. How can I really blame the people who steal from us, when theft of the resources of the Earth is foundational to modern economics? We are all models of behavior for each other, and the behavior modeled by so many leaders of Corporations, leaders of Finance, leaders of Government is, get what you can for yourself, however you can, whenever you can, regardless of the effect on anything but yourself.

That, and there was a guy here this weekend spitting sunflower seeds on the floor. This is called boorishness, which I take less as an affront to me and the staff, as an unconscious reaction to the culture as a whole. A guy just walked in as I write this, reeking of booze. I thought he had cerebral palsy, at first glance. He asked for Marcus, then Marcelle. I told him there was no one by either name working here. He said, "We'll see about that," and stumbled into the store. I cut him off at the pet costumes and told him he had to leave. He didn't put up a fight. He's outside now, leaning on a guard rail. He can barely stand on his own. He doesn't look homeless. He's roughly the same age I am.

A growing discontent out there. Pundits everywhere with an opinion, most of them saying, in one form or another, if we just generate more wealth the problem will be solved. Wrong. The problem is so much deeper, so much more foundational. Hierarchy, the Will to Rule, Every Man for Himself, the death of community, indifference to the health of the Earth and all its creatures.

"What can I do?" Undo what has been done to you. Be caring, gentle, humble, generous and kind. Be Fierce. Look to your origins, to the beginning of the Universe. Offer yourself up to the Earth, in service. Allow that you are much more powerful than you think you are. Give yourself permission to follow what you know to be healthy for you, no matter what culture has to say about it. Heal yourself and you will heal the world.

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