A COMPUTER OPENED a supermarket for business, turning on the lights, switching on the cash registers and unlocking the doors.
But it was a public holiday, so no staff turned up.
Yet shoppers did.
The first used a self-service till to pay for her goods.
Other customers at Pak ‘n’ Save, one of the largest supermarkets in Hamilton, New Zealand, sneaked off without paying.
Ninety minutes later, someone called the police. They pulled into the supermarket’s parking lot just as many motorists zoomed off.
“This is funny on so many levels,” said TS (reader Thomas Seifert), who told me about the incident. “You have people who seem nice and normal on the surface turning into looters at the first chance they get, possibly motivated by revenge for all those years spent trying to steer a trolley with a wonky wheel around the shop.”
Professor Paul Morris from Wellington's Victoria University reckoned the high rate of theft could be due to the fact that the incident happened on Good Friday, when the more moralistic people were at church. "It's the secular who have gone shopping on Good Friday—and you've put them to the test,” he told the Dominion Post.
Not sure if I agree, despite that fact that I’m more moralistic than most people.
I always complain if I find my children watching pirate DVDs.
“This is not a pirate DVD,” they object. “It’s about talking animals.”
Anyway, I have sympathy for the people who didn’t pay. Supermarkets rob us every day of the week. If a customer robs them on one occasion, it’s hard to feel sorry for them.
Take my local supermarket for example, which I shall Park ‘n’ Rob, with due cause.
This is the least moral entity I’ve ever encountered, not excluding the murderers I met when I was a court reporter.
- The person who stacks the shelves gives customers one message, the person who writes the shelf price tickets gives us another, and the person who programs the cash register’s barcode reader a third. The result: fooled customers.
- The posters advertizing discounts are blatant lies, with “sale prices” being higher than normal prices.
- The supermarket’s internal, managed inflation rate is clearly modeled on that of Germany in the 1920s multiplied by Zimbabwe in 2008.
Anyway, there was more excitement to come at the supermarket in New Zealand.
Police discovered that the computer had also turned on the security cameras—and filmed the whole episode.
It revealed that 12 shoppers paid, and 12 didn’t.
At the time of writing, half the naughty ones had returned and paid the cash, while the other half were given a one-week deadline before the video tape goes to the police.
Last night, my local Park ‘n’ Rob had a sign announcing a “sale” on my favorite fruit: the conference pear.
They were 52 per cent higher than normal.
From now on, let’s all take our own security cameras when we go shopping, and one day one of us will catch the real criminals in the act. Mwah ha ha ha ha.
Other supermarket price signs sent in by readers: