Monday, May 07, 2007

Slashing prices... and dignity

Let's just imagine for a moment, shall we? Let's imagine that you're the type of person to shoplift from Wal-Mart. Ok, now some of you have already imagined that your computer is gone, and therefore you have no way of reading this blog, so we're going to have you step back closer to the edge of reason. For the rest of you, imagine that you're not only the type of person to shoplift from Wal-Mart, but that you get caught. Now can you imagine what your punishment might be?

If you said, "Walking around outside of the store for four hours wearing a sandwich board proclaiming my guilt," you've won a prize! Or you've already read the article somewhere else. But that's exactly what two people in Attala, Ala. were forced to do after getting convicted of shoplifting from the mega-store. And yes, by wearing the sandwich boards, the two shoplifters were able to escape actual jail time, but at what cost?

After all, even store manager Neil Hawkins realized the high level of embarrassment involved in wearing such a disclaimer. Hawkins failed, however, to realize the high level of embarrassment involved in wearing his bright blue vest, complete with name tag, indicating his position as a Wal-Mart manager.

Of course, this type of punishment could be the beginning of a groundbreaking new school of thought for dealing with convicted criminals. If a shoplifter will be forced to wear a sandwich board proclaiming their guilt, maybe graffiti artists should have to tag their own clothes or home. Perhaps those found guilty of violating a restraining order should be locked into a glass cage on their front lawn. And maybe drug dealers should be employed to work at McDonalds.

It would certainly help with the overcrowded prison system. It would also make sure that there's a bed available within the next month, for Paris Hilton's arrival. Then again, it's not like she's really guilty. She just didn't know that "Your license is suspended" meant "Don't drive, you bimbo." It's a common mistake, really.

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