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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 11/28/2011

Safeway apologizes after 4-year-old is banned for life


(David Paul Morris - BLOOMBERG)
Apparently Safeway would rather open cans of worms than clean up open snacks.

Yes, the grocery chain that brought us the pregnant-mom-shoplifter-brouhaha in October is now apologizing for an incident in a Washington State store where a guard banned for life a derelict who opened a bag of dried apricots, took out a few to eat and returned said bag to the shelf.

The criminal: A 4-year-old girl.

Here’s the account from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“Savannah’s dad didn’t notice his daughter’s sticky fingers, but a store security guard did.
The guard stopped the pair as they left the store and led them back to a break room.

“He proceeded to tell them ‘Your daughter stole and she’s banned from the store, and we’re pressing charges. And she needs to sign this form saying she understands she can’t come into any Safeways,’” Alissa Jones [Savannah’s mother] said.
Savannah can’t read or write, but the guard, who Safeway hires under contract, had her scribble on the paper just the same.”

The Post posted an Associated Press story on Thanksgiving that said Safeway corporate officials have apologized and since fired the guard: “Our policies on shoplifting are intended to protect our customers, but built on common sense. And everyone understands what common sense is,” said company spokesperson Cherie Myers.

Well, not exactly. “Common sense” means different things to different people.

This is the second high-profile apology from Safeway in the last few weeks, after a guard in one of its Hawaii store’s confronted and pressed charges against two parents who had been shopping with their toddler. The mother was 30 weeks pregnant at the time and claimed that hunger and fatigue had prompted her to munch on a sandwich and forget to pay for it. The couple was arrested anyway. Worse, they lost custody of their toddler for the night.

A surprising (to me) number of readers responded to a blog post I wrote about that incident. Many derided what I thought was common sense — letting the parents go free — and instead applauded the law-and-order approach of Safeway security. (They also condemned me for my admission that I have, at times, snacked and allowed my daughters to snack while I’m grocery shopping with them.)

I’m wondering what readers think of this new case.

Was the apology and firing of the security guard ,justified? Should Safeway submit to a wide-scale seminar on parenting realities? Or are the parents here too, to blame?

More from On Parenting:

America’s Supernanny: New Lifetime show brings advice from a nearby mom

PETA Thanksgiving billboards target children

Co-sleeping with butcher knives: Are these Milwaukee PSAs overkill?

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 11/28/2011

Tags:  Safeway, kids and shoplifting

 
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