There's a local talk show host here in Northeast Ohio who likes to use the phrase "I'm living in a world I don't understand." I'm beginning to agree with him.
A few weeks back we heard about the incident of a family that was busted by a Safeway security guard when they forgot to pay for a sandwich their famished daughter ate while they were shopping. Read the details of that incident here. Well, Safeway is at it again.
This time, at store in Northwest Washington, a girl was threatened with arrest and forced to sign a paper acknowledging she is no longer welcome in Safeway stores for eating some apricots and then putting the bag back on the shelf. That might seem a reasonable solution if not for the fact that the hardened criminal in this case only 4 years old and hadn't yet learned to read or write.
The company has apologized and relieved the security guard of his duties, and the store's divisional president offered to take the girl around the story (including a visit to the bakery) to show her the grocery store is not a scary place. While the hire ups were quick to react and ultimately did the right thing (read about the story here) it shows that common sense isn't as common as we might like.
I'm not sure how you teach common sense or instill it in your employees, but if those on the front lines of your business don't have it, you could be in trouble. These incidents certainly aren't going to close the food chain's doors, but it's not really doing them any favors. I can only imagine if my kids were still that young, I'd hesitate to walk through those doors. And that can't be the kind of feeling any business wants to provide its customers.