Last week I went shopping with a friend. I paid for my things at the register and she paid for hers. At least that’s what I thought. When we got out to the car she began unloading things from her purse and admitted to me that she had shoplifted them! I was just shocked. I have known this lady for years, she attends church regularly and serves on the PTA with me at our kids’ school. She told me that the store makes plenty of money and will get paid back for what is stolen with insurance money.
Ever since this happened I’ve been uncomfortable spending time with her. This lady has overseen some of the PTA fundraisers including collecting and depositing money. Should I say anything? What and to whom?
Shocked and Amazed
Well, you know what they say, going to church makes you a Christian the same way that standing in the garage makes you a car.
I have also heard the excuse that stores can afford to absorb the costs of shoplifting and bad checks, but that argument is seriously flawed. No business can continue to absorb losses forever. Many stores recoup what they lose by raising the prices for all of us! And at some point, people are going to start losing jobs if thefts cut deeply enough into profits. This is NOT a victimless crime.
That being said, I am hearing a lot more of my clients admit to shoplifting once in a while. Because of job and/or benefit cutbacks, they simply can no longer afford enough food or clothing to meet their basic needs. They aren’t proud of it, but they’re desperate. I’m thinking this is not the case with your friend, however.
If you tattle to the PTA, word will eventually get around to your friend and she will suspect you. So I suggest you start by talking to her directly. Point out that the Bible is pretty clear on not stealing, whether the victim can afford the loss or not. Let her know how disappointed you are in her and that your friendship is at stake as long as she keeps up the shoplifting.
Tell her that you can’t sit by and allow her to be responsible for the PTA’s money knowing what you now do about her morals. Tell her you expect her to stop working in any capacity that allows her access to the organization’s funds. Say that if she refuses, you will tell the PTA leadership what you witnessed. And be prepared to lose her as a friend.