The security alarm began blaring as I sifted through a bin filled with mildly abused apples at the local Safeway. The security guard was barely fazed as he walked slowly toward the emergency exit door left slightly ajar.
“Happens all the time,” he mumbled, pulling the door closed and deactivating the alarm.
Everyone in the produce department went on about their business—ruffling lettuce leaves, massaging grapefruit and plucking stray bananas from their bundled bunches
Fairly certain no one was going chase the perpetrator down the street, I made my way toward the express lane. The checker offered a mostly genuine, “howya doing?”
“Big heist today?” I said, nodding toward the emergency exit.
“Pardon?” she replied.
“The alarm? Someone ran off with a bunch of stuff,” I explained.
Punching in the code for abused apples, she responded with a slight smile, “I don’t even hear that thing anymore…it happens so often, I just block it out.”
The notion of people having to steal food made me feel rotten. But the fact that no one at the store seems to strictly enforce the rules left me wondering if there might be more empathy out in the world than I’d originally thought.
The jury’s still out on that one.