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Source: (consider it) Thread: Deliberately doing wrong
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Without full details. In my business we have detected that an employee who worked for us for about 3 years started to pilfer cash amounts that add up over the 5 months of the pilfering to several thousands. The audit shows only in that time period. We manage to dismiss them after careful respect for the sick leave/human rights. (Sick leave being a retreat of this malfunctioning employee who used this to try to avoid dismissal). We have what appears to be about 4 separate, calculated acts of theft, with care to cover tracks. Without needing full details, the police will arrest them shortly.

My question is how does someone move from honest behaviour to something like this? Where they know that they are doing it, at the very time they are doing it? This almost conforms the activities of personified evil in my mind. (There are some additional details which involve some conversations with this person related to the dismissal, which show firmly the deliberate move to wrong to us).

My question is how is that people can do such things, moving from good to evil (or what appears to be that). The intent, and the clouding of judgement, perhaps seduction of gain? Highly disturbing.

[tangent]
I have experienced evil before, in the form of violence toward myself and family. I get the impulse control aspects. This is different in the careful, planful way it was done.
[/tangent]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11036 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Could there be a self-justifying component to it? "I am underpaid/oppressed/misunderstood and therefore am taking it out in kind from my oppressor"?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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IMHO the act (if deliberate) begins long before you can detect it. If it's an act fueled by vengeance or resentment, it begins as soon as the person feels an injury and chooses not to deal with their feelings in a healthy way (say, talking to you). If it's straight "I want the money, that's all," then it started when either greed or financial need hit, and the person (again) chose not to deal with it constructively. The longer those emotions go undealt-with, the more clouding of the mind occurs, and at some point the idea of cheating you comes in. Because the mind is fogging over, they begin to play with the idea, just play--I would never really DO that--and the daydream grows into "How exactly would I go about it, if I did ever do that?" which turns into a plan, and then opportunity occurs... All during this process the mind and conscience are getting steadily more clouded, until by the time the act happens, the person has probably convinced him/herself that he/she is totally justified. Or mostly justified. Mostly will do, especially with the added lie-to-self about "Of course I'll put it back in a couple of weeks..."

IMHO this process is more or less the same for any major premeditated sin. I think very few people go into such crimes with a wholly awake and functioning conscience. The lies to self come first.

ETA: The clouding and self-lying process continue after the crime is completed, as the person continues to work on justifying him/herself. One person who wronged me was completely convinced by the end of the process that ... Well, never mind, let's just say it was observably and obviously contrary to facts and he knew that, once upon a time. But no longer.

[ 04. March 2017, 17:40: Message edited by: Lamb Chopped ]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Stetson
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# 9597

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LC wrote:

quote:
I think very few people go into such crimes with a wholly awake and functioning conscience. The lies to self come first.

The number of people I like probably tallies into the dozens, if not hundreds. The number of people I would trust enough to grant access to my bank card and PIN number for an extended period of unsupervied time? Probably an exaggeration to say that I could count them one hand, but let's just say that it's considerably lower than the number of people I like.

And it's not that I think the potential thieves would all consciously be doing evil. More that they'd start off saying "Well, Stetson said I could only take out twenty dollars a week, but now my insurance premiums have been upped, so I'm sure he won't mind if I take out a bit more this week to cover the difference. I'll pay him back when I get that new job next month. That's a pretty surefire thing." And it would all go downhill from there.

And, yes, I would find it completely understandable if people were equally reticent about placing that kind of trust in me. I think I'm a pretty honest person, but there's no real reason for anyone else to assume that.

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rolyn
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Our local paper is rarely without stories of this kind. I think the technology of withdrawing money, being as clean and easy as it is, can make even trustworthy individuals in charge of confidential information more susceptible to the Tempter.
Not that I am excusing it in any way shape or form. When someone gets caught bang to rights over this it ought to be on the front page, so when they get sentenced it will act as a deterrent to others.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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mark_in_manchester

not waving, but...
# 15978

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A friend of mine ran a small business. One of his longest-serving employees stole £70k from him over years and years - it was a hell of a shock when it came to light.

I've been on a slippery slope once, enough to notice - finding things in the skip, turning into taking things from stores. For a long time I have liked to think I'm pretty clean; but I'm sure I fail now and again. It's good to be pretty strict with oneself, and a mercy / luxury to have outgoings which can be kept inside income to the point where the temptations are really just greed, and not real financial pressure.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Could there be a self-justifying component to it? "I am underpaid/oppressed/misunderstood and therefore am taking it out in kind from my oppressor"?

No, I don't think this fits at all. We pay more than we have to, provide additional benefits and holidays, sensitive to pressing personal things. Willing to help out our people. We discussed our conduct about it all, and cannot see we did anything. We do see some early leaving and late starting of attendance at work (I examined the times of sign on to the office server, but that's about all - I never track people like this.)

Frankly I feel very sorry about the whole thing, that somehow we didn't detect anything, and that now this person is facing some awful things. The money part we can deal with; discussed quite extensively about going to the police, but we felt we had to because what if the person goes to work at another business and repeats this. But with the problem that they wouldn't be bondable (able to handle money or positions of trust), and not liking that sort of impact.

[tangent]
The forgiveness aspect? Frankly almost instant. It's only money. Upset that I had to even consider forgiveness. It's the trust issue
[/tangent]

Posts: 11036 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
...
My question is how is that people can do such things, moving from good to evil.. .?

My first question is "How do you know they changed?"

I start with the presumption that there is good and bad in everyone. Most suppress or otherwise overcome the bad, at least most of the time. However, sometimes temptations, situations, or circumstances can determine whether or not we give in to our bad tendencies. Well, at least personal experience supports this.

Even Paul wrote about this in Romans 7 "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing."

For stealing, for example, did this person come on hard times - a divorce, a market collapse, the loss of a spouse's job and/or inability to pay the mortgage? Were they being blackmailed? Or, did they just fall victim to the "keeping up with the Jones'" and it caught up to them?

Of course, it could be simply that they were a thief all along, and finally got caught. Not everybody always wants to do good.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Beenster
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# 242

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I don't know. There are lots of reasons.

I am thinking of a girl at work who runs payroll and I've found out she's fiddling it. I feel sick to the core about it. She has a chip on the shoulder a mile high, an amazing sense of injustice and feeling hard done by. she doesn't need the money, she feels aggrieved by what other people get paid, wants the same deals as everyone else. It's tedious.

My former boss used to say that people had a sense of entitlement and I guess that is somewhat true for me and I feel the sense of embitterment and wanting mroe come knocking on my door but there is always a choice.

My sense is there is no single issue, no one reason why some people make these choices and I know i have to stay conscious and clear as I have a power to wrong my employers in various ways but I prefer to sleep peacefully at night, and I'm blessed with an overdeveloped conscious.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Sorry you're going through this, NP.

I agree with the possible reasons sharkshooter listed, and I'll add gambling debts, addiction, and medical expenses for self or others.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17917 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
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# 368

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Devil made 'em do it! Eh no...?

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Love wins

Posts: 16874 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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I think it sometimes is a mindset change. Bear with me, but I have changed job quite a bit in my time, and any time I have started looking for new work, the die is cast - I am going to identify all the problems with my current work, and all the possibilities of a new place.

So maybe he just had a few bad days, was pissed of with his job, and took some money for reasons that made sense at the time. It is an instant hit making them feel good.

But then it works once, he doesn't get caught, so he does it again, and feels good about the money and not getting caught. It continues. And the mindset is fixed then.

So I don't think it is always that the person deliberately crosses a line - or rather, they may not feel that they have crossed a line, just moved it slightly. What we see is a radical change, however what they might actually feel is far more of a continuum.

Does that make sense?

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Blog
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Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Could there be a self-justifying component to it? "I am underpaid/oppressed/misunderstood and therefore am taking it out in kind from my oppressor"?

No, I don't think this fits at all. We pay more than we have to, provide additional benefits and holidays, sensitive to pressing personal things.
With respect, whether an employee feels underpaid or under-appreciated has more to do with how much pay/appreciation they think they should be getting, rather than what you think is reasonable (or even generous). You could be sat there thinking your pay scales are incredibly generous, and they could be sat there thinking they deserve another five grand at least.

[ 04. March 2017, 22:07: Message edited by: Marvin the Martian ]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
My first question is "How do you know they changed?"

For stealing, for example, did this person come on hard times - a divorce, a market collapse, the loss of a spouse's job and/or inability to pay the mortgage? Were they being blackmailed? Or, did they just fall victim to the "keeping up with the Jones'" and it caught up to them?

Of course, it could be simply that they were a thief all along, and finally got caught. Not everybody always wants to do good.

quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I think it sometimes is a mindset change. Bear with me, but I have changed job quite a bit in my time, and any time I have started looking for new work, the die is cast - I am going to identify all the problems with my current work, and all the possibilities of a new place.

So maybe he just had a few bad days, was pissed of with his job, and took some money for reasons that made sense at the time. It is an instant hit making them feel good.

But then it works once, he doesn't get caught, so he does it again, and feels good about the money and not getting caught. It continues. And the mindset is fixed then.

So I don't think it is always that the person deliberately crosses a line - or rather, they may not feel that they have crossed a line, just moved it slightly. What we see is a radical change, however what they might actually feel is far more of a continuum.

Does that make sense?

These are very helpful. So are some of the others. These capture what I'm contemplating. Change is a key concept I think. Was this person always harbouring something bad? Well, God knows I fantasize about doing wrong things all the time. I know this about myself, and have realized I must let the feelings take their course, not doing anything, and the feelings are dissipated. Don't we all do something like this.

There's something special going one when the person crosses the idea to behaviour boundary. That's the change. It is a turning toward something.

The question about bad personal circumstances is a good one, or leaving the job. Neither of these appear to apply. There's a claim for stress and stress leave from work that the immediate response to our inquiries, but I see this as knowing the jig is up.

Maybe I need to confirm that sinful nature of us all. Only by the grace of knowing to delay my own actions - I have nefarious feelings - that I don't do probably worse.

----
The police are, as they always are, invariably good when talking to older rich white men like me. They appear kind and decent. Which is maybe my fault. I generally judge everyone as capable of good. It seems that only in the anonymity of online that I can express the things I hold close and don't say in real life. It cautions me.

Posts: 11036 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
We pay more than we have to, provide additional benefits and holidays, sensitive to pressing personal things.

People have a tendency to become acclimated to their circumstances. So people of more than adequate finance can feel they are not doing as well as they are. And people spend to what they make.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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Re fair pay:

Sometimes, bosses think they're being particularly generous. But, because they have a much higher wage and haven't lived on a much lower wage in a long time, they don't understand that an employee can barely survive on the perceived-to-be-generous wage.

Of course, employees may not understand the costs of doing business, either.

NP, you mentioned paying more than you have to. If that simply means that you pay more than the official minimum wage, it's *possible* that it's not livable, and you don't realize it. (Not saying it's true, or blaming you for the situation with your employee. Just that it might be worth looking into.)

Here, in the US, the minimum wage is not enough to live on. Some cities and states have their own higher minimum wage.

That's rooted in the concept of a "living wage". Back in the late '80s or early '90s, the SF Bay Guardian had an article that figured out a living wage for SF would be $15.00/hr.

As of now, here are SF's recent, current, and future minimum wages (from the mayor's office):

quote:
The following wage increases will be in effect on the following dates:

May 1, 2015: $12.25 per hour
July 1, 2016: $13.00 per hour
July 1, 2017: $14.00 per hour
July 1, 2018: $15.00 per hour

This increase to the minimum wage is one of the most progressive in the nation and is part of a larger effort by Mayor Lee to ensure San Francisco remains affordable for low and middle income families while protecting jobs and small businesses.

Here's MIT's living wage calculator for San Francisco. (I don't see a date for the information. But, by the quoted minimum wage of $9.00, it looks to be several years old.)

And, per Minimum-Wage.org, the current California minimum wage is $10.50/hr., and the federal is $7.25/hr.

Just presented for your consideration.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17917 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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BTW: That Minimum-Wage.org link has the wage for each state, too.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17917 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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Min wage is 10.50 here. Living wage is 15.50. We start at 17.00 for office staff. It goes to 22 after 1 year in increments. Like I said more than we have to. We also give more holidays, benefits and retirement funds than req'q by labour regulations.

It is called living a semblence of an effing Christian life. You know responsibilities to others. That sort of thing. (I am a little sensitive about this sort of thing just now)

--------------------
Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11036 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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np--

Sounds your employees are getting great pay and benefits. [Smile]

Honestly, I wasn't poking at you. That's why I tried to state *possibilities* carefully. And I figured you *are* sensitive right now, especially because you framed the situation in terms of deliberately choosing evil.

You raised the pay issue, and I was just pointing out possible aspects of that.

I hope you get the best possible outcome.

ETA: One thing I had in mind was a long-ago professional who complained to me that she couldn't keep anyone in a front desk job. She told me how much she was paying, and asserted that it was "good money". It wasn't--just a couple of dollars above minimum wage. She was a good person, but misinformed in the area of wages.

[ 05. March 2017, 02:27: Message edited by: Golden Key ]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17917 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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No worries. It is my sensitivity. Business appeals to greed in the present Zeitgeist. Which has never motivated this son of a refugee.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11036 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Mili

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# 3254

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Addiction is definitely a possibility. In Australia there is a lot of debate about pokies (slot machines) as a lot of people get addicted and lose a lot of money. Then some steal from work to feed their addiction. However a lot of pubs and clubs make a good percentage of their profits off these machines and hotel associations make big donations to politicians and put pressure against any suggested changes to the gaming industry.

Others do just seems to be greedy and will take money if they can get away with it. Perhaps they think everybody is cheating and stealing or involved in corruption, so it doesn't matter if they are too.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
One thing I had in mind was a long-ago professional who complained to me that she couldn't keep anyone in a front desk job. She told me how much she was paying, and asserted that it was "good money". It wasn't--just a couple of dollars above minimum wage. She was a good person, but misinformed in the area of wages.

This is where simple and practical economics comes into play. They don't stay? Pay more, either in money or in benefits. Pay more, until they do stay. Competition with other employers in the area means that if you are near the top of the payers, they'll stay. It doesn't matter what the minimum wage is, what the other businesses say, what you think is a fair wage. Get the result you need.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Horseman Bree
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# 5290

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ISTM that the general points of the discussion could easily describe how the American evangelicals that voted for Trump came to become so separated from Christianity (not to mention reality!)

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It's Not That Simple

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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About 15 years ago, I went through a period of about a year when the only thing I did was gamble at the local Casino or work out ways to get money to gamble. During that time I stole small amounts of money from friends and family so that I could gamble. I would usually steal the money and go straight to the casino.

I can remember bits of these experiences. Mostly they were opportunistic, although I might manufacture an opportunity by not going outside with my friends for a fag.

My motivation was clear. I wanted to steal the money to gamble, and I think it became part of the whole experience, although my friends cottoned on to me pretty quick, thank God. There was no question of right and wrong, just desire and fulfillment.

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Human

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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simontoad--

Thanks for trusting us with that. Sounds like that problem eased up. May it continue to.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17917 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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Cheers. It can be good to know what one is capable of doing in the wrong circumstances, if only to avoid those circumstances.

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Human

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DaleMaily
Apprentice
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Every sympathy for your predicament. I hope it gets sorted with as little mess as possible.
[tangent] Did the worker steal physical cash (like from petty cash or a till) or were they transferring money from the account to themselves (not entirely clear to me in the OP)? IGWS that this doesn't excuse the crime, but I've seen and heard (Philosopher's Arms, maybe?) that people tend to see taking "electronic" money as not being morally equivalent to stealing cash (more of a victimless crime). The example of the lady convicted of stealing dropped money comes to mind, whereas I'm sure I read somewhere ( [Help] ) that people are far less likely to return or flag erroneous deposits into their bank account, despite them legally being the same thing.[/tangent]

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

Posts: 44 | From: London | Registered: Jan 2017  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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When there are errors/overcharging/undercharging one can always rationalize it by saying 'swings and roundabouts'. Where I work there is a complicated way to buy stuff on our online store. The shipping is calculated by the computer system, which seems to operate on a lottery system. Even we balked, once, when it charged $50 to ship a book (an ordinary paperback) and refunded some money. But by and large with a swing of a couple dollars one way or the other it's not worth the effort to either refund a few bucks or ask the customer to kick in some more money. We figure it all comes out in the wash.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

Posts: 5634 | From: Washington DC | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged


 
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