Bad choices…no wait…just plain stupid decisions!

Okay, I know I have written before about various odds and ends news stories, and I don’t plan to make it a common occurrence (although it may become a once-a-week posting), but I had to comment on three different stories that are gaining some national press time.  These are stories about people that are just plain stupid…or at least come across that way based on a decision that they have made.  I don’t know which story is the worst or which I should really start with.  It is funny just wondering what these people were (and may still be) thinking.  Since I haven’t been real kind with Wal-Mart lately, let’s start with a story that involves yet another Wal-Mart story across the country.

You may have seen this story already, about a guy in New Jersey that was arrested for shoplifting at the local Wal-Mart.  To keep it short, Irwin Krakow had lost a bet.  As the loser of the bet, he had two choices on how to pay up.  First, he could run naked through the street.  Or he could go to Wal-Mart and shoplift $50 worth of items.

I wonder what his decision-making process was on this.  I can see him thinking it through – “I am 58 years old, can’t run that fast, and wouldn’t look very attractive naked, so I think I will steal something” – or something like that.  Maybe he looked up the penal codes for the area to see which crime would give him the lowest fine/jail time.  Who knows?  Irwin does, and it was probably something more along the lines of – “shoplifting could be pretty easy, especially if the items are small enough for my pockets.”

He might have gotten away with running through the streets naked.  We’re talking New Jersey where you can see plenty of skin on MTV’s Jersey Shore.  Would anyone have really cared?  He even lamented about shoplifting after the fact, not because it was wrong, but because the fine for running through the streets naked would have been cheaper.

But he chose instead to take a USB card, two spoons, a nutcracker, a decorative tree, and t-shirts.  Okay, he must not have been thinking about things that could be hidden in his pocket.  How in the world was he going to hide a decorative tree?  The other items could easily be hidden, but a tree.  Maybe he was hiding behind the tree on his way out the door.  “Pay no attention to the decorative tree walking out the door… it probably just needs some fresh air and rain water to liven it up.”

I don’t know what is worse about this story…the fact that he didn’t even get the $50 in merchandise as was the payoff rule, or the fact that he somehow got out of the store with a decorative tree.  Kind of makes the Wal-Mart employees seem “not-so-smart” as well.  Maybe we should hook him up with Hersha Howard.  They could probably enjoy some time together in the slammer.

She was arrested and charged with assault for beating up her roommate.  Why would she do such a thing?  Because the roommate supposedly ate her prized Thin Mints cookies.  I don’t know about you, but those are some prized cookies.  So prized, that Hersha decided to attack her roommate with scissors, a sign, and a board.  Assault with a deadly weapon charges and $10,000 bail later, she might just want to re-think her intelligence in that decision.  Maybe she should have contacted Irwin and asked him to shoplift some Thin Mints for her while he was at it.

I don’t think she would have overreacted if she knew the whole story behind the disappearing cookies.  The roommate claims that she gave the cookies to Hersha’s kids.  The kids in turn mailed the cookies to Estibalis Chavez.  They don’t want to see her die of hunger.

What the kids don’t realize is that Estibalis is voluntarily on a hunger strike.  Why?  It isn’t because of all the beans that she has grown tired of eating.  No, instead she decided to starve herself until she gets an invitation to Prince Williams wedding to Kate Middleton.  Is she a BFF that Kate forgot about?  Was she de-friended on Facebook for showing favoritism to Prince Harry?  What would cause her to not get an invitation to the wedding of the year?

You got your invitations right?  I am sure mine is in the mail so I am not worrying about it at all.  I guess this 19-year-old just doesn’t have patience to see if it was held up in the mail.  After all, it is international and my experience with letters going internationally is that it can take a few weeks.  Good grief Estibalis, give it a chance to arrive.  Maybe they didn’t put enough postage on it.  Maybe the drug cartel intercepted it temporarily so that they could take all the gold leafing off to help pay for the next shipment. 

Just be patient.  And while you are waiting, have a dish of beans, and maybe some chicken.  You don’t want to be too thin when you arrive at the wedding ceremony otherwise nobody will recognize you and you won’t be let in.  The ceremony at Westminster Abbey is still two months away.  If you starve yourself that long, Irwin might mistake you for his decorative tree because your arms and legs will be about as thick as the branches.  It won’t be a pretty sight, especially if you get re-stocked at Wal-Mart.

Just another view from a Palmtree.

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Employee Appreciation Gone Awry…

Have you ever been in a situation at your job where you thought you were doing an exceptional job, probably even done something that would go above and beyond anything that you thought that you should be required to deal with?  Did you get a “thank-you” or possibly a “job well done” type of recognition?  If you were lucky, you may have even received a monetary bonus.

At the company I work for, we have a quarterly meeting called Accolades.  Part of the purpose for this meeting is to give accolades to our co-workers in appreciation for the work that they have done.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the project.  If I am grateful that my office mates took a shower on a daily basis, thus providing a better work atmosphere, I can give an accolade.  However, it wouldn’t seem like much of an accomplishment unless Pigpen from the Peanuts gang was working in my office.  Regardless, whatever is deserving of an accolade in the givers eye qualifies.  The receiver gets a certificate and $5…nothing big but it can buy lunch for the day at your local fast food joint.

Recognitions such as these do a lot for morale, and in many times helps promote the company itself as one that cares about clients and employees alike.  Maybe Wal-Mart should look into doing something like this.  Maybe they do already.  If they do, they need to re-evaluate what qualifies as a deserving recognition.

Take for example an event that took place on Black Friday this last year.  I don’t know how national this story went, but here in Utah it was widely report.

The Wal-Mart in Cedar Hills, Utah was just as busy as every other Wal-Mart in the country as people were clamoring to get the “big deal” that they just had to have.  And as happens at every store on Black Friday, there was a very heated customer on this particular morning in Cedar Hills.

The Cliff Notes version of the story is that the guy was upset about something and took it out on a female employee.  A little more detail shows that the customer was physically, verbally, and emotionally harassing…or maybe better said as abusing…the employee.  So, another employee intervened and protected the harassed employee.  Oh, and by the way, harassed employee and harassing customer happen to be husband and wife.

So the hero stepped in and protected his co-worker from harassed and assaulted and got fired for it.  Hmm, I don’t know about you but I think that an accolade is in store for the hero.  It could be a thank you, it could be free lunch at the in-store McDonalds, it could be something…and it should be.  But instead, he was told that he broke rule 194.3.2 subparagraph B3 (or whatever the policy number was) and was therefore out of a job.

Fast forward two months.  At the Wal-Mart in Layton, Utah, a shoplifter was caught by a female employee trying to steal a Netbook computer by unwrapping it and hiding it under his clothes.  He was taken to the loss prevention room, which seemed really logical since they didn’t want him to get lost in the big store.  While he was being questions, two male asset protection associates (plain clothes FBI wannabees) entered the room with a male store assistant manager.  (The story is cooler if you know the sex of the employees)

So during the interrogation the shoplifter admitted his wrongdoing and removed the computer from his clothes.  Then he removed a loaded handgun.  He grabbed one of the male employees, placed the gun against his lower back and told them all he just wanted to leave without any problems.

At this point I would be saying something to the effect of, “let me get the door for you”, but then I would be letting an armed bandit out into public.  We couldn’t let that happen.

So the other employees decided they were going to protect their co-worker and make sure that they kept this guy in custody.  How did they do it?  The other two male employees spun the shoplifter around and the female employee took the gun out of his hand and secured it.  The three male employees secured the shoplifter until the police arrived.

Now how cool was that. Quick thinking, fast action, and those “I-want-to-be-in-the-FBI” instincts diffused an ugly situation without any harm.  Even the police officers that responded to the store told them that they had done everything right.

About a week later, Wal-Mart told them that they had done it all wrong.  Oh those security-minded retailers…what do they know more than the police when it comes to disarming a shoplifter?  In fact, the foursome was told that they were fired for violation of rule AP09.  The whole rule and not just subparagraph 2A.

What AP09 says essentially is that employees are allowed to use “reasonable force” to limit the movement of a culprit that is trying to get away.  But if that culprit pulls out a weapon, all “reasonable force” must stop and they should let the culprit go.

I don’t know about you, but if I had been in the store that night, I wouldn’t have wanted them to disengage and let him out into the store where I was shopping.  Think of the potential harm.  Seriously, he comes out with his gun, and then the rival gang sees it and they pull their guns, then the common citizen that carries their 2nd Amendment card pulls out their gun for protection, and before you know it I am the only one without a gun.  I don’t need to find out that the only one in the store not packing heat.

Apparently the employees thought the same thing… I mean about someone being released into public with his weapon.  They acted as they did for the safety of those patrons that were in the process of shopping.  They were heroes that night.  And they got fired for it.

I know that Wal-Mart has a policy that was violated, but why can’t they look at the situation, look at the policy and say something to the effect of, “We know you were trying to protect people, but please don’t do it again.  This is just a warning, so go back to work.”  I can guarantee it won’t happen again now.  Nope, those employees are gone and not available to protect the public that is shopping at that particular Wal-Mart. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some people no longer shopping at Wal-Mart either.  Whether it is because they are protesting the treatment of the employees, afraid for their safety, or just envious that they don’t have a gun themselves, the store may lose some business.  Is that worth what they did to these employees?  No!

So on that note, I will be trying to contact these five different employees of Wal-Mart and asking them to come to my work in May so that I can present to them an Accolade certificate and $5.  And if I don’t get in touch with them, just know that I am glad they did what they did.  Maybe they can get jobs as bodyguards or security guards.  They can put down some experience on their resumes now.

Just another view from a Palmtree.