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BOTD 11/22/16 "I Didn't Steal It" DMK Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
I DIDN'T STEAL IT
A DMK Production

Your thirteen year-old son, Percy, has had his heart and mind set on a new video game.  He has saved his allowance and money earned from mowing lawns and is ready to make the purchase.  The issue is that the game is rated M and so Percy cannot buy it himself.  Despite the rating you have no issue with the game and agree to go with Percy to buy the game.

You and Percy are supposed to go this afternoon to make the purchase but you get tied up at work with a late unscheduled client.  You call Percy and explain that you all will have to go a few hours later than planned. Percy seems naturally disappointed.

Percy decides to give it a try by himself so he bikes down to the store (not an issue - it is within his boundaries.)


PERCY - 13
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The clerk, who is also the manager on duty, does refuse to sell the game because of Percy's age and the rating.  Percy gets an idea.  While the clerk/manager is busy in the rear of the store, Percy reaches over and lays three twenty dollar bills (the game costs $59.96 and, no, Percy did not consider sales tax) on top of the register and walks out with the game.  The anti-theft alarm sounds as Percy is leaving.  Unknown to Percy, the AC vent right above the register has blown the three twenties to the floor behind the counter.

Of course Percy is stopped by the clerk/manager who calls you instead of the police.  Percy did protest that he paid for the game but, of course, the bills are gone when the clerk glances in the direction of the register.

When you are able to arrive, Percy is sitting in the store's office.  The clerk has just found the money on the floor but says it wasn't enough (due to Percy's failure to consider sales tax) and that he would need to wait until the night's audit to determine if the cash didn't accidentally fall out of the till. The clerk/manager maintains that, in his opinion, Percy is guilty of shoplifting but he is willing to let you handle the issue.

Is Percy in trouble?  If so, how will he be punished?


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AFinch

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Sherrif
Percy IS in trouble, but not for shoplifting. At 13, he should be able to deal with a little bit of delayed gratification. As his $60 doesn't totally cover expenses, the manager is technically correct, and we are lucky that I'm being left to "handle it". I will wait while a drawer audit is done, retrieve Percy's money, and take him home and spank him.

He can wait another few days before we go BACK to a (different) store and buy the game.

18Smacked

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Cowboy
First, I will determine how much of a problem it will be for me to fully appease the store’s manager on duty. From the sounds of it, he is not making a federal case out of all this (he did call me in lieu of the police) so, I should be able to pay the sales tax, and have Percy apologize sincerely, and trust things from the store’s perspective should be fine.

I need to bear in mind exactly the issue here. I was willing to allow Percy to have the game. The problem is that he was not paying the full cost of the item (he had miscalculated that part of the transaction, and, in a legal sense, exiting a store absent a sales receipt can constitute shoplifting. Of course, a thirteen year-old boy would not understand this, so he needs to be taught this by me.

In addition, his desire to have this game got ahead of his brain. He should have waited for me, and I hope he is realizing the risk he was running by what he did. He could, for example, have tried to see if I would call the store and allow him to have the game. Conceivably, they might have been willing to do that, but he did not even try and see if they might allow that.

I think I will have a long and serious talk with him at home, and see if he realizes how fortunate he was that the store called me rather than the police. I will ask Percy for his version of what happened from the very beginning, and why he did not try to call me or wait for me. We will talk about the receipt, the sales tax, and what a policeman would consider shoplifting.

If, in fact, he definitely realizes this, then I will allow him to get by with a lecture from me, and perhaps some chores. But, it must also be crystal clear that he must never again repeat any of the scenes from this episode or he will be getting a very stern spanking.

On the other, if Percy feels that the store was making a mountain out of a molehill, and scoffs about everything that happened, he must not realize the store could easily have pressed charges on him. I will therefore need to take a very hard line here in order to impress the seriousness of his actions. He would be getting a very sore bottom to help him mull over the gravity of his foolishness.

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Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
Yes, Percy is in trouble but it is hard to articulate why.  The missing sales tax is an unnecessary complication.

What Percy missed is that a sale is a contract between two parties to exchange stuff but BOTH parties must agree to the exchange.  The store (one party) was not just satisfied with the money ($60) that Percy (the other party) left but required that he be of some minimal age.  The same sort of age requirement (discrimination) as for alcohol.

Many times we leave cash in exchange for some product because we are in a rush and the clerk (if any) is busy and that usually is OK.  Percy might have used that as a justification except the clerk told him no just before.  There may even have be a legal need to do this.

Percy, in his mind just did an exchange and therefore did not steal.  He did leave the asking price so there was an agreement as to an acceptable exchange which I think a judge would accept.

He in trouble for not honoring social conventions which he not so familiar with and more significantly for not waiting as he was told too when I was late.

Y.

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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I really don't care for the attitude of the clerk/manager. He finds the money Percy said he left and still considers this a case of shoplifting? Percy screwed up several ways here but he's a kid. I consider the embarrassment of being detained and accused of shoplifting is punishment enough. He's learned the hard way that many businesses will treat kids like shit, even though they have money to spend.

Kat

ivor

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Marshall
I'm intrigued to discover that in the US the price on the ticket of an item is not the price you pay. Here that is not the case so $59.96 would be all that is owed.

Percy is guilty of impatience and trying to circumvent the rules, but I don't see it as a spanking offence. I think he's just learnt a lesson which he isn't likely to forget in a hurry.

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Jack

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Admin
In this case, Y Lee is basically correct. There are a lot of reasons people don't just throw money down on the counter and run (and not having the correct amount is part of it) (not having a receipt if the game hadn't worked is another part of it).

In Texas, theft is defined as 'taking property without the owner's consent', which is exactly what Percy did, especially since he'd already been told no.

Here's what I'm thinking - I have no problem with Percy trying it himself. He knew they probably wouldn't let him, but I'm okay with him trying (and glad he didn't succeed). I'm willing to grant the benefit of the doubt that he didn't go to the store planning to pull this stunt. I'm willing to believe he didn't understand that this would be theft (though the fact that he waited until the clerk wasn't around suggests he knows it was wrong or at least not right).

I am not going to switch Percy for shoplifting.

I think Percy and I are going to have a talk on the way home. We'll see what he understands now. We'll talk about doing things behind people's back. Then I'll suggest he has a standard spanking coming when we get home, and when he's recovered, he can have his game. I feel like this is the right way to go, but I also feel like it's one of those occasions that part of it just depends on the kid's reactions.


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db105

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Trailboss
I feel that Percy made a serious error in judgment, but I don't feel he willingly set out to do something wrong. It would be very different if I hadn't consented to let him buy the game, but I did and he knew it was only a matter of time till I went with him so he could buy it. He just wanted to hurry things along, and did so in a very insensible manner.

Yes, technically it's stealing, since he took something without the owner's agreement, but he paid, or tried to pay, and it was something he would be allowed to buy anyway, as soon as I could accompany him.

I will have a talk with him and point out how much trouble he could have got into, but if I think he understands his mistake there will be no further punishment. The unpleasantness of the whole situation is probably enough punishment.

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StevieWeeks

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Trailboss
First of all, any 13 year old North American should be aware of sales tax... Stevie was aware of sales tax when he was nine and all (in those halcyon days it was 2%) and most boys of his age would normally automatically do a rough calculation...

To the non - North Americans... sales tax is added to added to the ticket price - and in my view this is better than European style VAT because it means that increases in the rate are immediately visible, making governments slightly less anxious to raise them - and this is general in both the US and Canada (except that Alberta has no PROVINCIAL sales tax).

There is something called the HST in most provinces, which is a blend of provincial and federal sales tax - it's currently 13% in Ontario.

It can get EXTREMELY complicated in the US since, in various jurisdictions, there can be state, county, and municipal sales taxes involved. This means that two stores in fairly close proximity can actually have different rates of sales tax...

What Percy did was wrong. He is breaking the law, and the store might have pressed charges... Stevie views this behaviour very seriously indeed...

Since I can't spank due to Canadian law... he's losing his electronics for two weeks... and he's better not get caught cheating if he doesn't want the punishment seriously extended.

Stevie.

David M. Katz

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Marshall
I am with those who say that a spanking is basically based on Percy's response and his ability to grasp the seriousness of the issue.

However, Percy did just add an extra week to his wait time for the game.


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kalico

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Sherrif
I'm with Katz....... and he is definitely waiting a week to get that game..




Hugs kal

Jack

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Admin
David M. Katz wrote:However, Percy did just add an extra week to his wait time for the game.

I seriously thought about that, but I thought that would be a much harsher punishment than 'just' a spanking, so I decided against it. It sure would get his attention, though.


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John Boy

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Sherrif
Ditto Katz

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Adric

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Cowboy
David M. Katz wrote:I am with those who say that a spanking is basically based on Percy's response and his ability to grasp the seriousness of the issue.

However, Percy did just add an extra week to his wait time for the game.

I'll go with Katz.  If Percy still seems not to have the message after having been detained at the store and lectured by me, then maybe he gets a spanking when he gets home.  (I'll bet he got the message - that detention at the store sounds pretty scary to me.)

The lecture, of course will be complicated due to all of the nuances that have already been discussed above.  It might go a little over his head.

I think the clerk was a bit of an SoB about the money even though he did call me instead of the police.

I'll add the week to the wait time.  Life is not so short that an extra week will make any real difference.  That should drive home the message about the consequences of impatience.

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
I like Katz s solution to this. In some stores in the UK you would need to have the game unlocked in the store or fished out of a drawer. Walking out with the box fresh off the shelf would be pointless. Punishment is due if thirteen year olds know tax has to paid on top of the displayed price

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